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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bluefin on Popping tackle? Let me tell you my story!

Life sometimes offers lessons that can change the whole perspective of things. Las Wednesday I learnt a new one, one of those that hurt. It has been my Big Wednesday, without waves or happy ending.

With a 450km trip I reached San Sebastian, in the north of Spain, Tuesday evening. My friend Mikel was waiting for me at home: the week before he and another friend, Jose Angel, landed an 80kg Bluefin Tuna on top water lure (A Roberts Lures Big Shot), probably the biggest ever landed in the north with such tackle and I’m not sure but probably is also a record for the whole of Spain

The following morning we gathered at the Orio Harbour with Iker, Jose Angel and Juanma, ready for another great day of Tuna Popping. After some 20 miles cruise Iker spotted the first school of fish. Mammal, Dolphins was my first thought when I saw them, but eventually it was just huge Tunas. Calm waters and not very aggressive fish don’t make a great mix for a striking bite and the fish slipped away quietly, ignoring out lures.

In the hot spot, few miles further north, we saw few more, sorry, many more and some boats trolling around. Same results, none would care about our top water lures or casting jigs. Major frustration and disappointment, we all had great expectations. Thus, I was sure that a bit of breeze would have changed things, and after a large meal we resumed our fishing.

Eventually, the wind picked up a bit and the Tuna started crashing the bait in large numbers. Every 50 meters there was a pod of giant fish hammering the poor anchovies and yet, in the middle of that humongous feeding frenzy we couldn’t get a bite. Well, we got one, and that’s the beginning of a long and until now painful experience.

After one hour and thirty minutes I knew that the fish was larger than the one Mikel and Jose Angel caught the week before. I could bring the fish to the boat three times and each and every one he would pull enough line back to make me swear and sweat like an animal. My back was aching at the beginning but, it calmed down after a while, not a single time I doubted I could win the fish, I knew it was just a matter of time.

After almost three hours of fight something unexpected happened. The foot of the Saltiga 6000GT broke; the reel flew against the stripping guide, opened up the bail and sunk in the drink. Murphy has a new law for his forthcoming book. With the rod in my hand and the line running freely I gathered all my friends and tried the ultimate rescue. Wearing gloves we made a sort of a human chain and started gaining line. Nothing to be proud of but we all wanted to see the animal. Eventually, when the fish was no further than 15 meters from the boat the braid snapped and a heavy silence swallowed the boat.

The fish won, he owed his freedom to Daiwa Seiko Corporation, I had been beaten but not humiliated and both my body and soul was aching. Eventually at night I had to visit Emergency to get a shot of Voltaren to calm the pain on by back. It was damn strong and hurting me bad. I believe the Tuna was in the 130kg league, a fish close to 300lb, fought in 3000ft of water, on a popping rod, the Lamiglas Tropic Pro TP8650Sp, absolutely a great machine that I’m proud of.

I feel bad for loosing such amazing fish, the trophy of my life, but I will remember this day for the rest of my life: being on that boat with 4 friends suffering every second with you and supporting you all the way is a great thing. Damn! That is cool!


hector200 said...

excelente reseña mi estimado lastima por la falla del Saltiga 6000GT,se supone que eso no debe pasar en un carrete de 700 dlls.

Memo said...

Amazing story Nicola! I heard that problems with Saltiga at few places and there is even a video of it at youtube. Shame that you lost the fish but I'm sure you will be much sharper for the next round.

Fish Whisperer said...

Nicola, what a story. and what a terrible ending for you. Just the other day we had a Shimano T-Curve snap in the middle of a fight with a GT. Still managed to get the fish but what a let down with the gear. Epic battle for you. Congrats.
Tight lines

Tor Ola said...

Hey Guys;
Fellow angler from the far north, Norway :o)
Must be the worst thing to loose such a beautiful fish due to gear that break down.
I have a question about gear. Going to Tanzania this winter to jig for dogtooth tuna and casting popper at big GT. What rods do you recomend for this fishing. I have a Stella 10000, and also a 20000 spool.
I have seen the zenaq rods, but they are so expensive. How are the best Shimano rods, can they do the job? Or do you have other suggestions?

Nicola Zingarelli said...

Tor Ola, drop me an e-mail at and we discuss about rods