Giant Bluefin Tuna - 1100lbs+ in 45 minutes (Video)
Steve Palmo caught and released a 115inch (straight measurement), 1100lb+ giant bluefin tuna in just under 45 minutes while fishing with Capt Troy Bruce and mate Ryan Young off of PEI (Prince Edward Island) on Bruce Brothers Charters. Despite 30knot wind gusts and very rough seas he managed this feat in an astounding 45 minutes. It was too rough for stand-up tackle, so Steve opted for the fighting chair and put on a clinic on how to fight giants that every angler should watch. Here are the important points (scroll down for video):
The Right Tackle for Giant Bluefin Tuna
The 130lb class 2-speed reel was loaded with 200lb braided line with a 100ft+ 130lb mono top-shot and tipped with a 130lb fluorocarbon leader (we recommend Yo-Zuri HD Clear). The rod was long enough to make it over the gunwales when placed in the chair gimbal. The hook was a 10/0 4x strong Mustad Ultrapoint Circle. These is very tough hook and is the choice of most PEI captains.
Careful Fighting Chair Management
Someone needs to steer the chair at all times. This is critical because the angler must always be square to the line. This is especially tough in a rough sea and even tougher near the end of the fight where the fish can quickly move across the stern. Fellow angler Mitch Wergiles took control of the chair at the end of the fight and be assured that the sea and the pressure on the rod made the chair very tough to steer.
Aggressive Drag Settings and Cupping the Spool
It is critical that the angler is comfortable applying maximum drag pressure using the reel’s drag settings. In the video below, the drag was at 50-55lbs most of the time. Steve was confident that he could stay in the chair at these settings. However, at certain critical points during the fight he used his gloved hand to apply additional pressure on the spool. After the initial run, he never allowed the fish to take a long run. He simply sat back in the chair and applied increasing pressure until he turned the fish. This was very important near the end of the fight once the captain and mate has their hands on the leader. Pay careful attention to his hands on the reel in the video!
Careful Boat Management
The boat in this video was a single screw (most of the boats in PEI are) and the captain (Troy Bruce) always kept the line on the starboard side where he had the best view of if. When the fish was far from the boat (into the braided backing) he slowly jogged the boat toward the fish. This reduces stress on the angler and on the gear. The captain’s job becomes even more difficult when the fish is close to the boat and the mate (Ryan Young) is continually providing instructions.
Proper Chair Technique
Steve Palmo has caught a lot of big fish in his career, this was the largest. His technique was absolutely perfect. To gain line he stood up in the chair and reeled furiously as the rod tipped dropped toward the fish. He cupped the spool as he sat back down in the chair to make sure the fish did not take back the line he just gained. Pay careful attention to his technique for gaining line in the video!
Not all wiremen are created equal. The fishing gods bless some of them with more size, strength, and toughness than their counterparts. Ryan Young (dark green skins) is one of the biggest and best we have ever seen. Once he had his hands on the line he worked with the angler to gain the last few feet. In the video Capt Troy Bruce (blue and orange top) joins in for the last few moments. He was on the starboard side while Ryan was on the port side. Their ultimate goal was to get the last few feet of line into Ryan’s hands so that a tail hook could be used to control the fish.
Determining Giant Bluefin Tuna Size and Weight
All the boats in PEI (Prince Edward Island) have rulers printed in the waterline. The giant bluefin tuna is simply lined up with the ruler and it is easy to get a straight line measurement. This chart shows the bluefin tuna length to weight conversion. The chart shows AVERAGE weight. This time of season the bluefin in PEI are rapidly approaching their maximum weight just prior to their long southern migration. It is safe to add 10% to the average weight on the chart.By Capt Andy LoCascio - Host of Northeast Angling TV Share your comments on the Northeast Angling Facebook page