1st rig run for tuna- please provide a 101 tutorial - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 12-03-2017, 09:32 PM   #1
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Default 1st rig run for tuna- please provide a 101 tutorial

Hoping to head out this coming Sunday afternoon, fish rigs Sunday night and head back Monday if weather cooperates. For us rig tuna fishing newbies- anyone care to school us with some basics????

Thanks!

David (Panhandlephinsphan)
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Old 12-04-2017, 09:42 AM   #2
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From one newbie to other, first off, make sure you have your safety gear up to par. Fuel is a big concern, we carry a bladder to extend our range. Our tuna success hasn't been all that great, just can't seem to find the YFT. BFT are always present around the rigs, zoom your bottom machine depth down to 400 ft and you should find them easily. Jigging is the easiest way to catch them, ounce you had your fun and can't jig anymore, cut up a few BF and start chunkin. Oh, just before arriving we normally troll a few lures a few laps just to see whats around. Of course be prepared for surface action with a rigged popper.
Have fun and be safe, weather can change quickly!

Log from our last trip:
Launched from NAS PCola at noon, back home by 11 am the next day.
237.4 miles
161.5 gals burned
19.4 hrs on the motors
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Last edited by bcahn; 12-04-2017 at 09:46 AM. Reason: text
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcahn View Post
Log from our last trip:
Launched from NAS PCola at noon, back home by 11 am the next day.
237.4 miles
161.5 gals burned
19.4 hrs on the motors
What rig(s) did you visit on this trip? Those numbers look like similar economy that we get, and 160 gallons is at the upper extreme limit of our range.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:51 AM   #4
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Wed better be good on fuel. 170 gallon tank and ive Got another 40 that I bring along whenever we go on long runs. If the seas are reasonable I get around 2 MPG so I am hopeful to not even tap into the 40 gallons of reserve fuel.

Great advice on the fish finder depth adjustment. I dont need it set to 2 thousand feet.

Is there a legal distance we need to stay away from the rigs?
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panhandlephinsphan View Post
Wed better be good on fuel. 170 gallon tank and ive Got another 40 that I bring along whenever we go on long runs. If the seas are reasonable I get around 2 MPG so I am hopeful to not even tap into the 40 gallons of reserve fuel.

Great advice on the fish finder depth adjustment. I dont need it set to 2 thousand feet.

Is there a legal distance we need to stay away from the rigs?
I guess you didn't go, but... No, you can touch the rig if you want to... but there isn't much that close to the structure worth catching anyways.... I don't recommend getting that close anyways... saw a fella drop some tools Saturday evening.... see our report on the blue water section.... the sea state turned to crap about 24 hours before it was supposed to....
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:13 PM   #6
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Wirelessly posted

I did some rig diving in LA.

Realtor advice about stuff falling off rigs is spot on.
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iJabo View Post
What rig(s) did you visit on this trip? Those numbers look like similar economy that we get, and 160 gallons is at the upper extreme limit of our range.
Ram Powell, DS West Neptune, Beer Can, Marlin and P town.

I have twin 88 gallon tanks and 50 gal bladder on the bow.
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Old 12-04-2017, 07:58 PM   #8
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Like what's already been said....safety equipment! Handheld VHF, liferaft, ditch bag, rain gear and Let someone know voyage plan.

Make sure to leave earlier than you think is sufficient as it never fails the weather is worse than they predicted.

Make it to the rigs with plenty of time to troll before the sun goes down. Once the sun goes down live bait, jigging, and top water fishing starts.

Typically the fish will be up current side of the rig/ship. Drillships typically have their bow into the environment.

Things that worked best for us when jigging were 6 and 8oz diamond jigs.

When chunking have fluorocarbon leaders approx 10-15ft. 50-80lb with size 5 to 7 demon circle hooks is what I use.

I know there is so much more than I said but hope this helps get you started!

Last edited by jwmd2010; 12-05-2017 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:54 PM   #9
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Late but might help in the future.

I havent gone to the rigs too many times, but when I have they have been extremely successful trips in regards to yellowfin.

Some things Ive learned:

Its easy to focus on blackfin, dont if you want yellowfin, youre just wasting time when you could be targeting yellows.

Go light. Yellows can be picky. On our last trip we were living baiting with 50lb and 80lb fluro leaders. The 80lb NEVER got hit until we dropped it down to 50lb while the 50lb was getting smashed every few minutes.

Speaking of leaders, I go long. At least 15 yards.

Use youre electronics and MOVE if you dont see anything. Last trip out, we stopped at P town and did a few laps just looking at the bottom machine, I didnt see anything that looked good to me so we left after just a few minutes. Dont waste what limited time you have.

Live baits are good baits. Get baits of different sizes but youll find those tuna really do like those smaller 4" hardtails. Fish the baits at different depths.

ALWAYS have at least a popper or two at the ready, never know when a 30 second feeding frenzy erupts right next to the boat! My favorite are the frenzy poppers.

As for how close you can get to the rigs, you can get close but like said earlier the closer you are the more trash fish like cudas you will run in to.

When chunking, make sure you are feeding the line out with the current. However, if the fish are deep put a little lead to get the chunk down. Just make sure that lead is at least 20 or 30ft away from the hook. Rubber bands and bank sinkers have caught me several tunas.

Man, now Im itching to get out there! I dont have a boat that will make the trip so Im always accepting a ride!!
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Old 12-18-2017, 09:38 AM   #10
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Well the wind and weather did not cooperate as planned so we never made it out for the tuna trip.

Lots of great information. Thank you!

We will get a weather window one of these days and head out. When that happens I will report back.

Until then- Merry Christmas and Tight Lines
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