by Baja Dreamer

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.....for BIG fiiiish. Fa la la la la laaaa la la la la! :

If you want to catch a cow yellowfin, NOW is the time! Ever since the Intrepid brought home the first cow of the season a month ago, the situation at the lower banks has been looking better and better for those who are hoping for their fish of a lifetime. Every boat that has ventured south to the zone has brought back cows and the catches have often been spectacular, not just in numbers, but in individual size. The Royal Polaris, Independance, Royal Star; EVERYONE was catching cows, and there were even a few 300 plus pound "super cows coming to gaff. As a few folks have noticed, these big fish always grab the spotlight and that unfortunately diminishes what has been outstanding fishing for yellowfin weighing from 120 to 190 pounds!

But we know that's just how it is during big fish season, so the rounding up of the cows continues. Only now it seems that some of the cathces are getting even bigger. One of the first big fish of note was brought home by our very own "fyermn" Dan from a 10 day trip on the Qualifier 105. After a hard fought battle lasting 4 hours he brought to gaff a beast taped out to 328 lbs., a very respectable fish to be sure. But at the dock this toad went 345 lbs. on the scale! WOW!

Then the fish got even bigger and some of the recent catches may be destined for the record books! Just a handful of days after the outstanding catch on the Q105, Greg Koonce fishing aboard the Polaris Supreme hooked into a monster that was eventually bested and later weighed in at a huge 379.8 pounds! Could things get any better than that? I guess so since there is a report now of a fish caught on the Vagabond that has taped out at a whopping 390 pounds!!! I have no doubt that there will be a crowd at the dock waiting for the official weight on this behemoth! It's important to mention that the Vagabond also has a few "smaller" tuna that have taped out to between 205 and 310 pounds! ;)

On top of all this, the Excel is out on the annual Braid 16 day trip, and is probably at their destination by now. Included on board are a few nutcases like myself who like to fish jigs and poppers. Among them is our "Jigging and Popping" board moderator, Kil Song. These guys will be testing themselves against giant yellowfin tuna on fairly light tackle. We wish them luck in their quest!

We all know that big tuna are center stage this time of year, but we shouldn't let that overshadow the wonderful wahoo fishing thats been had this fall as well. Several boats have returned with great catches of skinnies including fish from 70 to over 80 ponunds!

I know that this has been discussed at length on several sites and boards recently, but I don't think this can be stressed enough. For fish like this you have to have your tackle in tip top shape. Reels must be serviced and working propperly. Guides on rods must be checked, making certain that all rollers turn freely, or on ring guides there are no corroded, cracked, or chipped rings! Top shots have to be as perfectly made as is humanly possible by whatever method an individual chooses to use. Hooks should be sharp and checked for deffects, and if they are in any way questionable, they should be discarded! (I've actually seen factory ringed hooks right out of the package where the ring wasn't welded at all!) Even an angler's physical condition is a major factor when you're talking fish of this size where the fights can last hours, standing on your own two feet the entire time. 

But in my opinion perhaps one of the most overlooked factors is preparing your "mental attitude". You have to be ready mentally before you even put a bait in the water. If you aren't willing to pull hard on the fish from the time it's first hooked up, the length of time on the fight increases, and for every second that passes there is a greater possibility of losing that catch of a lifetime. With proper tackle and technique, whether you fish in harness, use the rail, or prefer a combination of the two, it is possible for almost everyone to put an incredible amount on his or her fish.

Even so, the problem that often arises is that the angler has hooked up with the biggest, hardest pulling fish of their lives, and they are afraid to put pressure on their fish for fear of losing it. This is a lot of where "mental attitude" comes in. To beat fish like this you have to be willing to lose it! If you try to "baby" it in, you will almost certainly lose it. You have to turn the handle and you have to pull hard! This is why it's called a "fight"! There are any number of other things that can cause a fish to be lost. Getting cut off, losing it to the anchor or the props, pulled hook, tackle failure, etc. But after all the money has been spent on the trip, the gear, and the time was taken for all the prep involed, to lose a fish for no more reason than because you were afraid to pull hard is something that will stick with you for a long time, and possibly ruin your trip. I've seen it happen.

Everyone loses fish at one time or another. There are no exceptions from this, it's a part of the game. This is also a part of mental attitude. If you have truly done all you could do and lost your big fish anyway, take a break, re-rig or grab another rod, and try again. Don't let a lost fish get the better of you, there are more fish waiting to be caught! Trust your tackle, do all that you can possibly do with it, and the victiries will come! :)

To all those heading south in search of cows I wish you tight lines and big fish. And don't forget to.......



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