Bill Roecker and Paul Sweeney are going fishing on the Red Rooster III with chartermaster Jack Nilsen of Accurate and Brandon Hayward of WON. We asked Brandon for his thoughts on tackle for the trip, and what follows are some of his thoughts. For more, look at his column ďTackle Room.Ē
In less than 24 hours (23 hours, 57 minutes to be exact) Iíll be on the Red Rooster III for a 1 p.m. departure. As of right now ó less than 23 hours and 56 minutes from check in time ó I havenít packed a stitch of gear.
Which is kind of funny seeing how my good old buddy Bill Roecker asked me to write up a little something on tackle for this Accurate sponsored 13/10-day trip on the Red Rooster III. Write about what Iím packing even though I havenít packed? Okay.
My last long range trip was a 7-day on the Independence in September. Essentially, if I never unpacked from that trip Iíd just grab the same gear and add the cow gear: Seeker 2x4, Seeker 3x5, Calstar 770 XXH, Calstar 770 XXXH and Calstar 7465XH.
This 13/10-day was designed around big fish on the Lower Banks. If the trip only goes in one direction and fishes banks like the Lusitania and Finger, you can get in an incredible 7 days of fishing, soaking lines right up until dark on the 19th before getting dropped off in Cabo on the 20th.
But Andy Cates has taken this group all over before. Clarion is a solid option. Even the Hurricane. Last year we put a trip together off Puerto Vallarta on 90 to 180-pound yellowfin. But this is long range fishing in the fall, so you need plenty of gear. Even more than a 15-day thatís going to just fish for the big two. It could be yellows and dorado and wahoo on the Ridge for a day or two just as easy as we could have our backs up against the wall on the 250 to 300-plus-pound cows that have to show up at some point at a Lower Bank.
So what do I need to feel like I have all the bases covered? Lets start with the light stuff. I love to fish the surface iron, especially for wahoo (Iíd rather work at it and get one on the plug than three on the yoyo). So I always bring a few surface iron rods. When I did June Heat on the Rooster three years ago Iíll never forget Roecker going ďWhoa, kind of a lot of long rods?Ē And five (two Harnells, a CUI, Ulua 93H, the mystery Conlon/Fenwick whatever it is) is overkill. So now I usually bring three on long trips (Harnell 724, Ulua 93H and whatever jumps off the long rod rack in the tackle room).
Iíve been fishing the braid to wire rig that Bruce Smith on the Shogun came up with more and moreóboth locally and long rangeóand a Seeker 93H with a Trinidad 20 loaded with the new Seaguar Kanzen will probably get used the most.
Aside from the long rods, a little 30-pound bait stick, a 50-pound bomb/yo-yo reel and Alijos style ďscratch fishingĒ outfit (Iíll probably bring the Seeker 6475 I got from Fishermanís Landing Tackle to go with a Spectra loaded Accurate BX-2 600N with the lower 4:1 gears for fishing 40 to 60 pound Seaguar topshots for tuna to just over 100 pounds). Beside those outfits, itíll be all cow gear filling in the ranks.
Iíve yet to fish the new Seeker 3x5, and as of right now, (23 hours, 38 minutes from departure) the one I was hoping to have by now has not got off the drying rack. If it comes, I plan on making it my 130-pound outfit with an ATD 30.
My biggest tuna to date, a 252 from the Lower Banks, was caught on a ďlittleĒ Accurate ATD 12 with a Seeker 2x4. Iíve fished both 100 and 130-pound topshots on the 2x4 with both a 12 and a 30 ATD, and like it just fine for both applications. But then again in a perfect world Iíd never have to use the lighter 100-pound gear; Iíd like to be able to fish ó and get bit ó on the heaviest outfit Iíll bring: a 6 1/2-foot Calstar 7465XH with an Accurate ATD 50 that can fish 150 and 130-pound topshots.
Bottom line: with 12, 30, and 50-sized reels for fishing 100- to 150-pound topshots I feel like Iím ready for whatever the trip might bring. An ATD 12 with 100-pound Jerry Brown to 12 to 15 feet of 100-pound Seaguar is at the bottom end of my ďI-think-I-can-get-bit-and-still-land-the majority-of-cows-I-hookĒ range of cow tackle. A 50 with a boat length piece of 200-pound mono is at the top end of the range, and what I wish I could get bit on every time.
Iíll pack pretty light compared to most. Maybe even the lightest of the group. It will take 10 minutes to grab a handful of bombs, yo-yo jigs and surface irons for my lures for the trip. Toss in a bunch of wheels of 100- and 130-pound Seaguar to go with a pouch of 150 and little bit of 40- to 60-pound stuff and line is set. For hooks, I go back and forth between J hooks and circles for fishing cows. I like the 5/0 Owner Gorilla when itís scratch, and the biggest circle hook I can get away with (usually a 6/0 Super Mutu) on 130-pound if itís biting. Steve Tagami at Mustad threw me some of the companyís 4x circles at the WON Tuna Tourney, so maybe those will get some use.
In the end, you just pack the bag and gear and adapt to what the trip throws. Itís hard not to think ďWonder where Andy is going to take usĒ ó after all he loves fishing the Clarion Buffer Zone and the Lower Banks have been scratchy, at best, since the first big hits ó but in the end you donít know until you go.
Ok, so thatís it. Wish us luck! Iíll let you know what worked the next time around.