17 Nov 2006 - Whipping for Big Fish
 Category:  Saltwater
 Author Name:  Stan Wright
 Author E-mail:  stanwright@hawaii.rr.com
Click here to enlarge Report Description: The Pencil Popper was almost to the boat when the water exploded under it. The 40 pound GT ( Giant Trevalle or Ulua as we call them here in Hawaii ) was so close to the boat it splash water on Steve and me. This was the 7th cast Steve made this morning. He missed fish on his 2nd and 3rd cast, but as the 50 pound test line melted from the spinning reel, we knew this was a solid hook up.

Captain Steve Petras, a charter boat skipper from Kona was hooked into his very first GT. He had traveled to Christmas Island for just this kind of action. Big GT and Ahi (yellowfin tuna) on spin casting gear. If the first 5 minutes of fishing was any indication of what we could expect, it was going to be an exciting week.

Steve makes his own rods, and balances his reels, line, and lures to get maximum performance. I ask him what kind of gear one could buy off the shelf if they were visiting Christmas Island and wanted a chance at landing some 40 pound plus fish.

The spinning rods, according to Steve, should be from 6 to 7 feet long with a light tip and plenty of backbone. He mentioned the Ugly Stik, Penn Slammer and rods by Star.

For spinning reels, he suggested the big Shimon's. Stella, Sustain, and Stradic. The 8000 size ones. He was using the Stella. The kid has good (expensive) taste. LOL

Steve was using 50# test Power Pro line and an 80# test fluorocarbon leader (5 ft.) .
He linked it all together with a Bimmini Twist and a Double Uni Knot.

Now for the lures. Anything BIG. We started off with a Gibbs Pencil Popper, and a big black popper made in Hawaii called a Reef Ripper. As the week wore on the lure of choice was the Roberts Ranger in chrome. The Ranger is an East Coast bluefish lure. The 2 1/4 and 3 ounce size. Steve replaced the single hook with a 4-0 treble and one of those big heavy split rings. On my next trip, that's the only lure I'm taking.

After landing the 40 pounder, taking pictures, and releasing the fish, Steve hooked into an identical size fish 3 casts later. I made two cast and caught two Omilu (bluefin GT) weighing in at 8 pounds each. The Ahi were busting bait schools a hundred yards away, so we said... 'Why not!' Steve hooked a 40 pound tuna on his first cast. I quit fishing and picked up the camera. We had been fishing for less than an hour. Yes, the fishing is that good.

So here is Steve..... standing on the outrigger of this big canoe, rod bent almost double, line flying off the reel..... you should have the smile on his face.
We only fished together for two days. (I wanted to try bonefish and queen fish on a light fly rod) He ended up catching over 50 GT and Ahi ranging in size from 40 to 80 pounds. Not a bad weeks fishing. He could have landed a lot more if he hadn't removed the hooks from his lure so he could tease the fish in close to the boat, giving his friend a chance to hook them on a fly rod. (that's a whole nother story)

I first started fishing Christmas Island 25 years ago and I really believe the fishing is better today than it was back then.

Aloha,
Stan