FYI: This happened to a co-worker last Friday ... I don't think it was a SBFT ... maybe just a little bigger !
The tuna update is that for several days in a row now there have been a lot of them in the deep (400-500 ft.) water on the approach to central Jefferies. Yesterday after they downgraded the forcast waveheights from 3-5 to 2-4 (mainly in swell). I made a last minute decision to go it alone. I cleared Rye harbor by 5am and was on tuna grounds by 6.
In 45 minutes I was into tuna. After 5 hours of run and gun to spooky small schools of big fish I pulled up to a school and on the second cast with a Storm Chug Bug a big tuna decked it and I was on. He ran around in short spurts at high speed for a minute then took off at warp speed. Getting spooled was a certainty the way it was going and I chased like hell. At one time I was doing 20 mph and losing line fast. After what seemed like forever he stopped and I saw that at least 3/4 of the 500 yds of line was gone ... maybe more. I used the boat to shorten the distance and keep high pressure on him.
When I finally had him about 50 yds from the boat he took off with a carbon copy of the first run. I did the same thing and finally got back within about 50 yds. Then he sounded straight down to the bottom at warp speed and sat there. I went into a hard pumping mode with each upstroke resulting only in losing line from the reel. I had about 13# of drag and kept piling the coal to him as hard as I could for 10 minutes or so and could not move him. It was obvious I had to up the ante and I tightened the drag a little and repeated. Then I did it again, and again.
Finally with a ridiuclous amount of stress on him he started to budge. I worked him to the top over a what seemed like forever and he took off heading away again. Maybe an hour had elapsed at this point and I was hurting big time. The drink I had open was long since gone and my mouth was like shoeleather. It was 80+ and I was sweating buckets. I was starting to moan and groan with every move. My hands and arms were getting weak.I kept the high pressure on him and got him back close. Maybe I'll win this thing !? I was breaking his spirit!
Then he broke my heart with another fast dive to the bottom. With a lot of moaning and groaning and pulling I got him back up ! I was breaking him ! But I was getting real weak. He surfaced not 15 feet from the transom and I looked at him and he looked at me. He was laying on his side flopping his tail. He was incredible. He was the same length as me I figured, about 6' in length, and had incredible bright blues and purples and silvers and yellows. Now was the time pull him close enough for the gaff. I pulled as hard as I could and he turned his head the other way. I pulled and pulled and he did too. I had nothing left.
The thought came that if I sunk the gaff in him that there was no way I could lift him into the boat. Then he went down again ... not far ... maybe 40 ft.My spirit was breaking badly. I could barely hang on. He kept going back and forth under the boat and around it. This required me to take the rod out of the belt to extend it in order to keep the line clear of the lower unit and keel. With no belt for suuport this was agony. I must have sounded like a torture chamber out there. Rocky and Apollo both laying on the canvas totally spent, trying to muster yet one more effort to win.
I had to end this thing in the next few minutes for better or worse. He made a good downward lunge and and my arms went down with him. I just couldn't pull up any longer The rod and line touched the rounded part of the gunnel where it turns to come around into the boat and the line snapped in a nanosecond.
It was over
... ! The tuna went staggering off to his corner with his life and I went and layed on the casting deck drenched in sweat. I was the one laying on the canvas at the end. I closed my eyes and just tried to rest and relax for about 10 minutes just shaking my hands and arms trying to get the cramps out of them. I had no anger, no bitterness, and didn't come close to crying. I had given it my all and lost to a stronger creature. In all, it lasted about an hour and 40 minutes. It was now about 2pm and (I set the gps for home 28.5 miles) and took a slow ride in. Now I gotta work out more than ever and get scheduled for a rematch asap!