For some time now I have been on a quest, a journey to try and find a monster 50+kg GT from my local waters. On this journey I have discovered and learnt a lot of things. Current, tide, bait and structure, what lures to throw and gear to use. But one thing that has been a massive learning curve is the battle itself. Sure, any GT will pull string, but it’s a different story when these fish start to get to 20kg and its another level when they are at 30kg, but when they hit 40+ it’s hard to describe. The brute force from these fish is unbelievable and if you haven’t experience it, be aware that it could leave you broken and licking your wounds if you’re not ready.
One of the issues when fighting these fish is the ever present taxman and usually these big fish hang with sharks, so it’s really important to get these fish to the boat as quick as possible! I’m all for the sport of fishing light, but when it comes to these guys, you need to make the battle as short as possible and this will help the fish not fall victim to the man in the grey suit, and also allow them to be released in a reasonable state, not to say, give you a good chance of landing them in the surrounds they swim in.
The most exciting part about chasing these silver slabs of power is the initial explosive strike and can come out of nowhere. It is important to make sure your always paying attention to your lure, and also your hand ready to wind like hell once the weight is loaded. At this point it is vital to set the hooks and is done by a heavy jerking action of the rod up and down while always keeping the slack wound tight. Once hooks are set and the drag is pealing, jam that rod in you gimble. Now you are in for the fight of your life, time to start drawing on your power. Where is the most power….in your legs. Start squatting and leaning back and really crank down on that drag. It’s here where you can straighten the arm that is gripping the rod and take the weight in your lean. Pump forward and wind like hell, to gain line retrieval, then repeat that process. Keeping the grip arm straight as much as possible will conserve a lot of energy for when you really need it if the fish changes direction or makes unforeseen moves. Squat, Pump and wind is the sequence from here and really put as much into it as you can, don’t leave anything in the tank.
At this stage, if you have been lucky enough to get this beast to the side of the boat it’s time to get the thing over the gunnels. There is a couple of tactics I will only use. The first and main generally require two people. When the fish settles, get your mate to make a grab at the tail with a firm grip with two hands. Once they have a strong hold, flip your bail arm into free spool and wrap your hand around the leader (gloves are definitely recommended), and at the count of three, heave it over the side. The next require a sharp heavy duty gaff and an accurate eye. Carefully slip the gaff into the fishes mouth and slide it into the front of the bottom jaw. Once secure, lift it over the gunnels.
So there it is. Your ABC to landing a fish dreams are made of. I would encourage everyone to practise catch and release plus try to get these majestic Giants back in the drink asap. Use heavy duty gear that is up to the task. My personal favourite is Stella 20000 paired with the Bluewater T Curve GT Special, Ocea EX8 PE 8 braid going to 150lb – 200lb leader. Last thing you want to do is go to all the expense, time and effort to hook the fish of a life time and have gear failure spoil your dreams. Pop, Lock and Stop! Go smash them!