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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sort of a transplant over from a hollow core braided leader discussion in tackle talk - some good points put across and deserves it's own thread imo;
I use a similar system for my heavier saltwater flyfishing rigging, as you say it makes for nice smooth connections-and as you say-at full strength.
Really depends on what situation your thinking of using it.
But we use 50lb hollow braided mono, to form loops for the front and rear end of the line both soaked in aquasure, with the excess wiped off(normally a fast sinker), then another loop in the front of the backing. To connect to the fly line.
I like to put a piece of 50lb Mason (four foot of which will stand up on it's own) on as the butt section of the leader as it improves turnover. then loop on a class tippet/shock tippet section. If I am going after something decent then I will have several class/shocks set up with flies on a stretcher, if busted I can be re-rigged and casting in less than 30 seconds.
The back of the class tippet I tie a bimini and then twist it and tie a figure of eight knot, this with give you four strands of line to sprend the load and the twisted section acts as a shock absorber. Shocks 40-150lb fluro depending on species and conditions. Always worth having a few tied with 60lb single strand wire as well-blo*dy Cuda get everywhere.
Alex,
I would look at Rio lines, as every Airflo line I have ever tried has been Cr*p, and got worse in tropical heat. I use a fast intermediate (instead of a floater) and Teeny lines from 250-750 off boats.
I would drop to 50lb gel for the backing-thinner, which slows the reduction of the arbor, makes it easier to get the fish back, plus 50lb will give you less line drag-important if you hook tuna/mackerel/wahoo.BE VERY CAREFULL DURING THE FIGHT-GEL UNDER TENSION CAN BE VERY VERY SHARP/DANGEROUS-I have the scars to prove it!!
Yes the stretcher holds the fly/shock tippet under tension, to keep them straight. just unclip the fly and you loop on the class tippet/shock/fly all in one go.
Alex,
Core strength of the flyline is not worth worrying about-Unless you plan on pointing the rod at the fish and clamping the reel and using the boat to try and drag the fish away from a reef. Not such a good idea kit wise.A good #12 is lucky to produce 4lb of lift (Gen 2 Thomas & Thomas Horizons), so fishing anything over twevle pound class with a #12 isn't really increasing your chances of landing a fish.
Straight through shocks might sound easy, seen it done. Great way to blow a fly rod to bits. Better to make the effort, tye class 12-16lb leaders up now before you go. At least you will come home with a fly rod with the same number of sections it started with.
Hit and drag techniques better suited to spin/light stand up/jigging gear-where it is a well known way to fish for GT's.
Worth remembering that many of the biggest fly caught GT's have been caught with light drags, they then tend to run, rather than dive into the reef.
http://www.flycastaway.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=8
It has been done, guys do land GTs with 16lb tippets, but the ones that do are very experienced and are fishing for line class records. They also leave a lot of fish wearing flies. If that's what you want to do then fine but you are going to lose a hell of a lot of fish when they rub the leader on the coral. The 100lb leader is not for strength, its for abrasion resistance. Even with 100lb you will still lose a lot as you can't stop them in the same way as you can with popping gear. If you use the rod angles correctly and fight the fish low down you are applying a lot more pressure than 4lb. The rod is at a very flat angle and its land based fishing so you aren't dredging the fish up. We fought a near 100lb shark to a standstill on the flats and that fish wouldn't have even known we were there with only 4lb of pressure applied.
Been there, point the rod at the fish and wind up the drag way up, hardly using the rod-In fact NOT using the rod really. You will still leave just as many flies in GT's doing this. Only problem is recovering line, fly rods suck for pumping fish regardless of the angle. Heavy drags slow them down alright but won't improve your hooked to landed ratio's. Just feeding the sharks!! There isn't a big game fly reel around that will run drags heavy enough to pop 16-20lb class tippets, and shock/flylines cut just as easy on reef as class tippets. Scale the fish to the tackle, #12 is still UL compared to even spin tackle. Great fun for small GT's, Queenies, small tuna, King mackerel, but frankly is vastly undergunned for real GT fishing.
Seriously try lightening the drags. Most of the time the fish don't dive straight in a snag. Wonders well especially when using a popper/chugger. I grew up on the north shore of Australia, spinning and popping for Queenies, GT's, Tuna, macks etc etc. The harder you try to play GT's the faster they will try and snag you. We used to do 40lb+ GT's on 10lb mono. Gentle touch will keep them higher in the water. If you want to land Big GT's then go for glass spin rods (NOT CARBON), get a reel that will handle 25lb of drag, load it with 80lb braid and tye the best knots you know, swap your trebles/rings for 5X/150lb class stuff. Then you can bully them. Trying to bully them on fly gear is a waste of time.
I love big game fly fishing, I was lucky enough to be taught how to rig for it and how to fight the fish by Trey Combs. Frankly I doubt anyone will every have more experience of real heavy duty salt fly than him. But there is a time when fly SHOULD be replaced by spin/jigging gear. Big GT's are NOT very hardy fish, and prolonged fights do result in played to death fish-if the sharks don't get them first. Hardly a nice thing to do to a fish that may have been hanging around that bit of reef for a quarter of a century. Fish first fun second, as long as it doesn't unfairly damage the first.
Guys have been catching plenty of Gts on Cosmoledo and the other outer attols of the Seychelles for years now. They certainly don't soften off on the drag. Fight time for a 1m + fish on 12wt tackle is sub 30 minutes. Often a lot less. You can't do that fishing IGFA unless you're VERY experienced and know exactly how much pressure you can apply before the breaking strain of the class tippet is reached. And there would still be a lot of luck involved hoping the fish doest rub off your class tippet on the coral when he tries to knock the fly loose. Trey Combes can do this and does because he focuses on line class records and fair play to him. Someone who is less experienced is going to get smashed up a lot and if you're only there for a week you don't really have time to continually fail. Fishing a light drag will be fine and maybe you'll land the fish but you'd be standing there a long time and i wouldn't want to be chest deep in water when the big sharks come up on the flats at high tide.
When I talk about using the rod angles I mean using the low down power, not straight sticking. 1 pump, two winds.
I have caught LOT of GT, Trevallies, Jacks, on Spin, boat, and fly gear. From the north shore of Australia to Kenya to Christams Island. Never had trouble with class tippets that are IGFA legal. I have seen lots of blown rods through "straight through" set ups in the hands of inexperienced or over excited anglers. Basically like putting 100lb braid on a rod designed for 20lb braid and then trying to lean on it.
Fishing over the sands on the atolls be it Seycelles or Christmas Island is probably the easiest place in the world to handle good sized GT's, but #12 are simply undergunned against fish above 50lb class. I will bet on the sharks/dead fish every time. Low down power is a factor of the reels drag setting-not the power of the rod, it is straight sticking. Which is a valuable method for fighting fish. But without a class tippet, a broken rod is only one tiny mistake away.
David I have tested to breaking most of the decent saltwater fly rods, even getting four pounds of tippet pressure will blow most of them. Even most #15-17 struggle to generate more than 6 lb of lift. Be it Sage, Loomis, T&T, Scott or whoever.
Fisher (if you can find one of the real ones) are simply in a different class power wise. Their #12/13 will lift 5lb off the floor. I have nailled sails, tuna and alsorts of bluewater fish on that rod paired to a tuned Tibor Gulfstream. And it is simply not man enough to handle decent sized GT's.
As for the Trey, I know no-one more concerned with releasing healthy fish. He plays fish to the max possible on the gear he is using-not stunt fishing for line classes.But so he is able to release them quickly. No one I know of knows more about squeezing every last ounce of pressure of fly tackle. But check out what he has to say about the #10-#17 fly rods and the power they are able to deliver. Fact I have seen the testing.
Short of custom built gear there is no fly rod available that will break 16 or 20lb class-only angler mistakes will do that. Although many might like to think straight allows more pressure to be applied-it is simply not true.
As for carbon rods, check out the differences in the elastic limits (which is where lift is limited in carbon rods) between glass and carbon rods. Then have a look at what the Australians use for GT's-and they DON'T like feeding the sharks. High tech isn't always the best way to go-hence why you don't see many carbon big game rods!!
Anyway Happy to talk to you Alex about rigging heavy fly gear-used to do it for a living so should be able to talk you through it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
More transplants;
Missed this one, really interesting read.........

As regards the Seychelles outer atolls, I have done three trips out there as a photographer - fishing on Cosmoledo, Astove and Providence. Plus I know most of the FlyCastaway guys very well, done plenty of stuff together over the years, with plans for more this year.

From my understanding, GTs on saltwater flats are a different proposition to catching them around reefs, shallow structure etc.

On the flats, a good 12 weight fly outfit used by a good fly angler is definitely not undergunned, and I have never come across one fly guy yet who plays their GTs on a light drag on the flats - quite the opposite in fact, they tighten right up and do all they can to get the fish in fast and green. Some of the best guys I have worked around (mainly the FlyCastaway guys themselves) put the most insane amount of pressure on the GTs on the flats, and I can't recall many of the "fights" being more than about five minutes, maybe ten max. But they are fighting these fish so hard, on a scale that is hard to comprehend if you have not seen it - and of course some of you guys have. I have photographed GTs on the flats to around 75lbs, seen far larger, the odd smash up of course, and there have been GTs landed over the 100lb mark on some of the flats. It can be done if you get clear water. Rocks and coral - almost forget it on the big fish with fly gear.

They are able to land such big GTs because they are getting a clear run at it over a generally clean bottom. It is what makes these outer atolls so special. I also can not recollect a shark taking one of the GTs during the fight, and there are a hell of a lot of big sharks on those atolls that can get too close for comfort at times. Seen bones etc. taken, but not GTs - granted, the odd one might get taken after release, but in my opinion the GTs rule those flats. I have seen more tapon and permit taken in the Keys by sharks than I have seen stuff nailed on those outer atolls of the Seychelles.

The guys I work with out there are NEVER fishing with light tippets - usually 120lb Suffix Zippy all the way through from fly line to fly. World records mean nothing to them. My mate Gerhard caught a tarpon in Angola on a 12 weight that was over world record fly size, but he did not bother claiming anything, the fish went back just fine. The odd smaller GT is landed by mistake when targeting bones and triggers on a 16lb tippet, but you can't help them charging in from time to time.

Not meaning to be in the least bit contentious, there are guys here who have far more experience than I have, but thought you might be interested to hear a bit of info from me on my Seychelles experiences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
And again;
Henry,
I agree (and said it above) that shallow flats (clean ground) fishing for GT's is a world away from NORMAL GT fishing. As I said the atolls and christmas island offer one of the very few chances to hook and land a large GT. Now shallow hot water means short fights if you straight stick with no class tippet due the low oxygen carrying properities of of the water, and VERY slow recoveries by the fish. So off it swims, but it will be knackered for days. At a survival disadvantage.
As you have said sand flats fishing for GT's might be a total of 2% of the GT fishing world wide. As normally these fish a very structure related. So most people that go overseas will incounter GT around a reef-and trust me even heavy spin gear feels lightweight in that environment. So stating that #12 is fine for GT's is somewhat miss leading.
I have said, CAN doesn't mean it right to do so. Alot of research has occured over the years with regards to catch and release of GT. The results are things like snorkels to pump COLD oxygenated water through the gills untill they are fit to release. Some anglers that truely value fishing for larger GT's will go to great lengths to do what is right by the fish. Foregoing even the "grip and grin" pics in favour of video of the fight. So the already stressed fish doesn't have to be removed from the water. We are talking about fish that in some cases are older than the anglers catching them.

I have caught bones on #3, bonito on #5. Both are stunt fishing, nether is ideal for the fish. I thought I was being clever at the time. Older and wiser now, I listen to the people that really know what they are doing and love the fish that they target-more than any personal gain. "I carry enough rod" If more people learned to use the equipment properly, rather than just modifying it and then trying to pass it off as still fly fishing, then world wide I think the standards would improve.

Oh and west african tarpon-I think pretty much everyone has done the 200lb plus out there , dating back as far as the 1950's. Billy Pate has done them over 350lb in the eighties. And no he didn't weigh a record fish for the same reason as your friend-no certified scales.

My point is 99% of the time that you run into a decent GT, a #12 isn't going to land it, yes in a couple of tiny locations it will. But you hook one anywhere near structure and then tell me the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Final one;

Dave - in complete agreement.........I have no real experience of GT fishing around "structure", but from what I hear and see, it's another world completely where even the heaviest spinning gear feels like a stick of candy when a big GT is rampaging around.

But I am going to beg to differ on the issue of the 12 weight - but please bear in mind here that I am only going on the opinions of the FlyCastaway guys I work around, and they are about the best fly anglers I have spent proper time with. Personally I think a 12 weight is a good mix between being able to cast decent lines on the flats and also having enough power to horse big fish.

I am not qualified to get into a proper discussion about stress/release problems with fish, but I guess that this is an issue with most kinds of fishing in most parts of the world at sometime or another. Much as I stand behind catch and release, I also accept that nothing is ever perfect, and if we as anglers and as people were completely and utterly against any kind of potential distress or harm coming to any fish we might catch then we would not go fishing. The only way to avoid any single issue with the release of a fish is not to catch it in the first place.

But we are anglers, and we want to catch fish. And I applaud the measures that increasing numbers of people go to with their captures.

Not an easy subject.

What I am not into in any way shape or form is fishing insanely light gear just for record chasing - balanced gear, get the fish in as green as possible, get it back.
 

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If you are landing GTs in under 10 minutes and not removing them from the water because you are on the flats then I'm confident that that fish is coming in green and will release as well as one caught popping. The flats fish are mainly caught on the edges where the water isn't warmed significantly by the sun and the oxygen levels aren't affected in the same way as the center of the flats where you'd target bonefish.

Surely if you fought them under the light drag system as you suggested this would exhaust them more?

The straight through max drag approach stops the fish running far. The length of the runs and the fight duration are what will use up the fish's oxygen levels.

Nowhere is it suggested that you attempt to fish for GTs over structure with fly gear of any kind. In that type of fishing 5m of line taken can be death and you can't stop a fish in the same way as you can with PE10 popping gear.
 

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I've caught GTs in Aus on fly gear and popping gear.

I agree with the both Dave's above - any kind of fly gear for GTs around structure is going to end in you losing the fish, and probably some fly line too. Very small GTs ok - just. I fish a 'big' 10 weight for tuna, and goldens and spanglies and its fine - but you have to get a good reel with a heavy drag and 'give no line'. Straight sticking almost.

GTs on popping gear - best fun in the world. Go heavy and play hard. Even then you'll lose some - go barbless and pray the popper pops back up.

Wish I was there now under a blazing sun with a GT right behind the popper just about to smash it ......
 

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Alex is going to ohave kittens now we're talking about popping in the fly fishing section!

We're both going on a trip to a deserted atoll miles from anywhere next month to nail some monster geets. I've got my eye on a 40KG plus but secretly really want a 50 although that's not so likely...

Hammerhead I Cups, Smith Komodo Dragon, Stella 18K and PE10 locked and loaded!
 

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Oh Dave - don't do that to me.

A GT smashing a popper is like someone's just thrown a VW beetle in the water :-D
 
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