The Bigcat/bugger team launched again yesterday in search of sbt, headed out from Marshfield to some waypoints we had marked last week, immediately found fish....and more fish...and MORE fish!
And sharks, and molas, and whales! But I digress...
We got some good shots into fish in the morning, I lost one after 30 seconds to a bad hookset, and bc lost 3 fish, one after almost an hour...to a @!##!!!$%!! shark that rubbed his line and broke him off....
Well we're sitting there eating lunch, and this blitz comes up like 500 yards away...it continuously built in intensity until we couldn't take it anymore, there was just about an acre of breaking tuna there just absolutely slashing through this bait pod. We motor over and get within 50' of these fish and it was just flippin insane. bc quickly decided that this was the perfect opportunity to get one on the flyrod...with only a 12wt penn rod we knew outright we were undergunned but figured why not, probable chance we'd get a small fish anyways and we'd be able to handle it without a problem. NOT.
Second cast bc yells i'm on...I immediately stow my rod and get on the boat, this fish is takin drag like no tomorrow! bc dumps 3/4 of his reel with 300 yards of backing before we start getting some line back by chasing him with the boat! The next 4 hours brought an incredible afternoon full of highs and lows...the highs being able to see this incredible 100++ pound fish at least a dozen times around the boat, and getting some stupendous runs where he'd dump almost the entire spool only for us to gain it back....wildly backing the boat and reeeling as fast as possible when he made numerous charges straight at the boat...thank GOD for Dairiki 5/0 hooks with good barbs! Lesson #1 learned today...reel reel reel and back back back when the fish charges! We thought we'd lost him numerous times when the line just INSTANTANEOUSLY went completely slack...it happened so fast that it looked like the line broke and there was nothing there. So 4 hours of fighting this fish...and a total of 5 miles this thing towed the boat, we get this fish with 20' of the boat, just so heavy we can't raise him the last few feet....fish is constantly doing the circle....us and him, back the boat, get line, fish takes line even palming the reel, back the boat in the circle...this went on for over an hour...it's now 4:40 and we're 3/4 mile off the southwest corner of Stellwagon bank...fish comes close enough...I got the gaff in hand....he shoots under boat....no opportunity. Keep fighting...think at this point after the extensive battle we had that we started to get a little cocky...realizing that this trip had to end soon or we were going to be making a run in the dark etc, we start horsing the fish a little more....still running circles.....it's now 3' of sinktip and 7' of leader in the water...and the fish is close...gaff in hand again....i'm looking down at the fish just waiting...the moment is near! Excitement!
And SNAP....bigcat now has a 4 piece Penn rod...fastest thing to think of was start handlining in as quick as we could....hand over hand....still very much hopeful we could land this fish....5 hands...10....20.......SNAP...the leader lets go 6" below the sink tip in the middle of the 50' fluoro. ARGH! I don't know what to say or how bc felt but I had a wave of emotion pass over me that felt like I lost my best friend. I almost cried right there. What a day....We worked so hard for this fish, we did it right all the way, we knew we were undergunned from the start....but THAT was a fish of a lifetime on a flyrod and we got soooo close! It was a great team effort, and thanks for being my friend bc! We'll be back and we'll do it again!
Oh and I should also mention that this fish was very special to me as it was taken on a fly that I designed....and one of my first flies I ever tied for saltwater! BC put a standing order for a dozen on the spot