We had a group on board to celebrate of one members 60th birthday and did they have the opportunity to fight some super-sized big fish. We started the trip much like all our recent canyon overnighters with quick work on a couple of nice and fat Big Eyes but the best was yet to come. Shortly after getting our spread back in the water the center rigger goes off and we could not slow the tuna down even with 30 lbs. of drag on the pins. This was the first time we ever had to back down on a Big Eye to keep from getting spooled and we have caught a bunch with at least half coming on 30 class tackle. This one was on an 80 bent butt loaded with 200 lb. Jerry Brown hollow core and a fairly long top top shot of heavy mono plus short leader. I do not know exactly much line was on the 80 as it was put on a few years ago when I fished for Giant Bluefin Tuna down in Morehead City, NC but never thought in a million years a local Big Eye could some close to spooling us with that much drag. First time this ever happened especially when there is probably double the drag pressure when the fish with is stretched out that far. This was a nasty one without question but a challenge to everyone on board which is why we love Big Eye fishing.
In the end, the story did not turn out well for us when the angler could not get his harness straps to the reel unhooked in time to follow the tuna and it ran under the boat into one our large props and that was the end to this story. No big deal as we already had two nice butterballs in the fish box in our ice salt water slurry.
We all saw it and it had to be over 70 inches or bigger and the strongest one we have fought on the Hooked Up II to date. That was the first Big Eye we have ever lost and it had to happen sooner than later and it did last night. We had at least 6-8 bites last night that never came tight so the action was there throughout the night and there was quite a few Big Eyes caught or lost among the 20 or so boats in the local canyon we fished. We then played around with a few sword rods for a few hours while most on board rested in preparation to marlin fish in the morning. With no reports of early am Big Eyes we thought our best chances for some good action would be billfish and we were not disappointed. We got one nice White first thing and then hooked the big Blue Marlin on 30 class tackle which was a thrill for our charters as none of them as every seen one pushing 500 lbs. or better. Just ended up being a great 24 hour trip for everyone on board.