Q: What’s the next big thing in offshore tackle?
The Daiwa MP 3000 has a 24-volt motor and is a good alternative to the Lindgren-Pitman 1200, which is still a popular reel for dredge fishing. The MP 3000 has tons of power, and it’s $1,000 cheaper. The Live Ocean Swim Bait is a new segmented dredge bait. The baits come in 7- and 10-inch sizes in black, pink, flying fish and mullet colors. They’re incredibly durable and hold up much better than soft shads. You actually have an audible aspect to the dredge with this one. Sailfish and marlin will come into them and won’t leave the dredge alone, almost like they’re captivated by the sound it makes.
We’ve had a run of really large bluefin tuna recently here on the West Coast. The average weight of our fish is usually 30 to 50 pounds, but for the past two years now, we’ve caught bluefins from 100 to 300 pounds, and that stock of fish doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. We’re using custom-rigged rubber flying fish that are trolled from under a kite. The lure is trolled at 9 to 13 knots way behind the boat, so you need kites that are able to handle that trolling speed. We sell a lot of Lewis kites and Boston Big Game kites. We’re fishing almost all braid with a top shot of 25 feet of monofilament on 50-wides and even 80s for these fish.
One thing that’s gaining a lot more traction here in the upper Gulf is swordfishing. It’s become some of the most reliable billfishing in our area. The tournaments along the northern Gulf Coast have even been adding swordfish divisions. Most of us are using manual reels; the main reels we sell are the Shimano Talica 50 two-speed and the Penn International 70. I think the 70 is the perfect size for daytime swordfishing because it has the general weight and width of a 50-wide, but it’s a little faster with a slower, more-gradual drag curve that reduces pulled hooks. We use 80-pound braid with 130- or 150-pound monofilament wind-on leaders around 150 feet in length.
The Ilander from Iland Lures has been around for a long time, and they catch everything from wahoo and dolphin to sailfish and marlin. The company is innovative in always coming up with better products. In the past year, it has listened to the fishermen and designed some new, better-quality skirts and heads. At the ICAST Show in Orlando, Florida, this past July, I bought four or five new colors I’d never seen before, and they flew off the shelf very quickly. All fishing customers, in general, want something they don’t have and have never seen before. There are scant few people being creative and innovative.