I get asked this question all of the time. What’s the secret to landing a trophy fish? The answer is very simple–pay attention to the details on your gear. On a simple day trip, always check your rigging. Your bands’ wishbones should be solid and the rubber free of dry-rot. Your shaft should be straight. Make sure your slip tip is sitting properly on the base. The cable should not be kinked or the Spectra frayed. If you forget to check these details when hunting the common small fish (sheepshead, calico bass, hogfish or mangrove snapper), you may have no problems landing them. However, if you forget any of these when the 50+ pound white sea bass or monster cobia makes an appearance, your prize may swim away with a trophy of its own!
If it’s a big blue-water trip, check everything–then check it all again. If your shooting line is cable, it should be new and double crimped. If it’s Dyneema/Spectra, it needs to be free of abrasions, tears and UV exposure. Slip tips with Spectra/cable need to be in new condition, just like the shooting line. Check your tuna clips, as they are a moving part and can wear out. Swivels should be corrosion-free as well. The monster fish in blue water are so powerful that it is hard to believe until you witness it. The difference in landing these less common big fish (wahoo, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, dogtooth tuna or marlin) is that your gear will be tested to the limit. These fish take off with lighting speed and the battle can last for two hours or more. If there is a weak spot in your gear, these big fish will find it. You will regret not paying attention to those details and forever tell the story about the one that got away!
Your trophy fish can be speared on a simple day trip or a big blue-water trip. So, be prepared on every adventure by checking the details on your gear.