Trolling for Pacific Blue Marlin
12.00 Noon on the Kadavu Seamount
Trolling a 7kg Yellowfin tuna skipbait rigged with a 16/0 Duratin Cirle hook. The hook was rigged to sit 4 inches ahead of the tuna’s nose and connected with waxed rigging thread. 9 feet of 400lb Ande leader, 19ft of wind on leader to a Melton bent butt & Penn International 80 STW.
A small blue marlin of about 100kg comes up behind the bait and quietly tries to eat it. The angler backs the drag off even more (it was set light already) and allows the bait to drop back controlling the spool with slight drag pressure to avoid over-spooling (bird’s nesting the line). The blue gobbles the bait and turns. Skipper calls for the angler to slowly bring up the drag. Some line pressure then the bait pops back up on the surface. No hook-up. Marlin comes back for attempt # 2. Same procedure but this time we give the marlin a good 10 seconds to swallow the bait. No hook-up.
Marlin comes back for attempt #3. This time the angler pumps the rod after raising the drag and the skipper gooses the throttles. No hook up. By now the bait is a good 100 yards behind the boat and the skipper can’t see what is going on below the surface.
Marlin comes back for attempt # 4. (This guy has to be very hungry or very stubborn). This time we drop back, all go inside, have breakfast, take a nap, wake up, make coffee, come back out and push up the drag. Marlin spits bait and finally gives up.
So do we.
What went right ?
- We went to the right place.
- We used the right technique to raise a blue.
- We theoretically used the right technique to hook him up on a circle hook
- Pumping the rod and goosing the throttles really wasn’t going to help when using a circle hook but hey, conventional wisdom wasn’t working. Try something.
What went wrong
- After 2 drop backs we should have wound the bait back much closer so we could better see what was going on.
- The bait was too big for the size of marlin we raised. We should have had a second rig ready to go with smaller bait, perhaps a stand-up 50lb outfit with a garfish pitch bait. We should have teased the little blue up and switched him onto the lighter tackle.
“In my humble opinion”
Just because you rig for a monster and go after a monster, it doesn’t mean the first fish you raise will be a monster. We missed a nice little blue because we were ‘thinking big’. Shame.
Be prepared for something other than what you hope for or expect.