Wrestling with a 50 kg tuna, marlin, swordfish, or shark requires strength, skill, and high-quality equipment. Basic big-game fishing gear includes rods and reels that can handle a lot of tension or weight, as well as specialised sea-fishing lures. Learning about the necessary sea-fishing gear is often the difference between a trophy catch and a tall tale about the one that got away.
Big-Game Fishing Rods
As big game rods handle more weight than regular fishing rods, they are longer and stronger. The best materials for sea-fishing rods include graphite, fiberglass, and a composite made of both. Graphite is more expensive, more fragile, but very light and sensitive. On the other hand, fiberglass rods are more affordable and durable, but less sensitive. Composite rods are a good choice for the intermediate angler. Besides the rod material, the quality of parts such as the roller guides and grip are also important. Stainless steel is a common and high-quality material for the roller guides.
Big Game Reels
Big game reels are a type of multiplier reel where gearing allows the line to wind around the spool quickly for a fast retrieve. Since trolling rather than casting is the usual method of fishing big game, these reels do not have the complex casting mechanisms of surf fishing reels. Instead, sea fishing reels have star drags or lever drags to adjust the tension of the line and prevent line breakage when reeling in a big fish. Elaborate mechanisms allow a skilled angler to land a fish larger than the breaking strength of the line would normally permit. Drag reels often have preset settings that are useful in the middle of a fight. Common preset settings include freespool, a strike setting for a partially set big game hook, and a full setting for a fully set hook. They should be able to hold around 900 m of quality monofilament line.
Big Game Lures for Sea Fishing
Big game lures for tuna, marlin, and other big game most often resemble squid or octopus, which are a favourite among big fish. The design of the head and the shape and length of the skirt determine how the lure moves in the water. Handmade lures are traditionally the highest quality and consist of resin heads with a soft colourful skirt tied to them. Three of the best head shapes include the straight runner, which has the least action in the water; pushers or "inverts", which create bubbles or "smoke" that billfish often like; and slant-faced designs that make the skirt move in different directions depending on the angle. Other lures for big game include poppers and minnows, which attract tuna and kingfish.