The motorized boat, invented in the late 1800’s, revolutionized the tradition and industry of fishing. Suddenly, instead of a weak man-powered boat, the world had access to a stronger, more efficient form of water travel. In 1898, a man named CF Holder traveled out into the Pacific ocean on one of the first motorboats. Near Santa Catalina Island, he reeled in a 183 lb bluefin tuna. Thus dawned big game fishing.
Popular worldwide, big game fishing is a type of sport fishing which targets the largest fish in the world: tuna, marlin, swordfish, and shark. Where big game fishers once settled with a simple motorized boat, anglers now have larger, faster, more seaworthy vessels that can take them 60-80 miles from shore. The smallest of this new generation of big game fishing boat is approximately 18-22 feet in length. The largest are party boats that are 100 feet in length and can carry up to 30 anglers.
Big game fishing utilizes the most extreme fishing equipment, methods, and tactics to accomplish the biggest catches. Technology, for instance, is a necessity to big game fishing. A typical boat scopes out the area with a fish-finder that uses echolocation, radar, sonar, and water temperature sensors to determine the location of fish. Other equipment for big game fishing may include outriggers, fighting chairs, and helm stations. Fighting chairs, in particular, are very effective in reducing the strain on the angler. Each chair has a rod mount for bracing the pole, leaving the angler free to use most of his effort in smoothly reeling in the big fish. Likewise, a standing harness can assist the angler with a similar notch for bracing the the butt of the pole. However, the harness requires more strength, endurance, and body mass.
Choosing the right rod and reel for the job brings the fisherman more success in big game fishing. As with all types of fishing, rods come in graphite, fiberglass, or a combination of the two materials and can be solid or tubular. Graphite poles are lighter and have better sensitivity, but remain especially fragile to big game fishing. Whereas, fiberglass rods hold up better under strain. An elongated foam grip on the pole of choice maintains better traction and leverage when fighting a fish. Roller guides on the pole reduce stress on your fishing line. And a calibrated drag mechanism on the reel releases the line when the force exerted by the fish would otherwise snap the line.
Whether you are trolling, kite fishing, or using another method to catch big game, the team tactics are crucial to your success. To start, a team may choose to “chum” the water around the boat. Chumming requires dumping smaller tuna or chopped fish into the water to create a scent trail for your target fish. When a fish bites, each boat member has a specific job. One angler reels while the captain keeps the boat aligned so the fish is astern. The other anglers maneuver the rest of the fishing lines out of the way or reel them in so that the main line does not become tangled. The reeling process may take a few minutes or hours, depending on the size and fight of the fish. When it is near enough to the boat, an angler pulls the fish into the boat with a net, his hands, or a gaff (a hooking mechanism).
Because of the specific methods and expensive equipment of big game fishing, it is recommended to plan a fishing excursion with a professional charter or group. Scott Bruce’s Fishing Charters can give you a once-in-a-lifetime big game fishing experience on the beautiful waters near Prince Edward’s Island in Canada. That giant bluefin tuna is calling your name, so organize your trip today!