Short Casts December

Basshole of the Year, Tuna Hooks, and a Blue Wave Pure Bay 2200

Tuna are known for blistering runs, brute strength, and lengthy battles as well as for breaking, straightening, and pulling hooks. So which is the best tuna trolling hook on the ocean? I put three top tuna hooks through a workout. I checked them for initial sharpness, then checked their wear and tear after pulling them through the brine. The next time you start rigging up ballyhoo for tuna fishing, remember how I rated each on a scale of 1 to 10. -Jon Meade**** ****

Jobu Trolling Hook ** **

Finish: Slick anti-rust black Price: $15/2-pack

Point: Super sharp! Patented T-shape sports a needle point.

Claims: The point accelerates upon penetration, creating stronger and deeper hook sets. Super-heavy, XXX-hard, forged shank and welded eye mean broken or straightened hooks are nearly impossible.

Experience: These hooks scream high-quality. The finish kept rust at bay; the points kept their edge; and I could put the heat on tuna with these at the end of the line.

Meade-O-Meter: 8

Contact: www.ownerhooks.com

Eagle Claw Laser Sharp Titan

Finish: Sea Guard Anti Rust

Price: $3.29/2-pack

Point: Sharp out of the box, but I still felt it necessary to hit it with a file.

Claims: Forged Steel is XX strong and has a welded eye.

Experience: Great hook with a good shape. The point curves up a bit more than I like in a trolling hook, but it gave a hook set strong enough to hold a 184-pound yellowfin tuna that won the tuna division of the Mid Atlantic 500,000.

Meade-O-Meter: 8

Contact: www.eagleclaw.com Mustad 7692

Southern Tuna

Finish: Varied Price: $2.09 each

Point: Needed a file out of the box.

Claims: Three-stage, computer-controlled tempering makes it extra strong without making it brittle.

Experience: When it comes to trolling for tuna, I like the shape of this hook the best.

Meade-O-Meter: 9

Contact: www.mustad.com

Siderigger $350 • www.siderigger.com It's rare when a meager four-line spread is good enough. If you can't add outriggers to your boat, a new alternative is the SideRigger. Each SideRigger incorporates two 316-grade stainless-steel rodholders welded to a base that fits in standard gunwale rodholders. Attached to the base is a 7'6" telescoping boom, with a single line for running a release clip.

The SideRigger works equally well when slow trolling live baits for kingfish or high- speed trolling for tuna, or as a means to keep an extra line off the hullside when chunking. I tested the SideRigger extensively this summer while offshore fishing on Boating's McKee Craft Express project boat, which wasn't equipped with outriggers. I was impressed at the SideRiggers performance in allowing us to run extra lines - at a fraction of the cost of a pair of conventional outriggers. - Rocky Calia

Fenwick Inshore Saltwater Rod $200 to $350 • www.fenwickfishing.com The specks were taking the soft plastic baits delicately, but I could feel every tap, slurp, and jiggle with the Fenwick Inshore Saltwater rod I was testing. I was slinging a 7'0" spinning rod, but 6'6" to 9'0" models designed for casting are also available. All models feature Fuji silicon carbide guides (which dissipate heat better than lesser guides) Corkalon grips, and Fuji reel seats.

These rods aren't cheap, but the price is in the pudding - the graphite composite blank transmitted strikes right through to my hand, and sensitivity is at the top of the class. Bottom line? You'll enjoy fishing with the Fenwick Inshore Saltwater rods, and you'll miss fewer strikes. - L.R.

Basshole of the Year

"He dismissed the idea that continued massive catches would endanger the species. His reasoning, however, was far from reassuring: 'There are men fish and woman fish, and we usually catch the men fish. When we do catch woman fish, we don't use their eggs. They go back into the water.'"

This quote comes from commercial longliner Antonio Perez in the book Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish by G. Bruce Knecht ($24.95; Rodale, www.rodalestore.com) when speaking about the Patagonian toothfish - a species that is now severely depleted. The immature, unfertilized eggs he speaks of were flushed over the side of the factory longliner, along with the fish guts and waste.

This engrossing book details the Australian vessel Southern Supporter's month-long chase of the commercial fishing vessel Viarsa, after spotting it in Australian waters. Perez, who had previously been fined $100,000 for illegally poaching toothfish in French waters, was eventually acquitted. -L.R.

Rigging Tip: Is line cutting into your spool? If so, its on too loose. Pull it off, reel it back up, and make sure you add a lot of tension on the line.

Conversation Artist: It was the opportunity of a lifetime. I was talking with john prochnow, product development director at Pure Fishing. This is the guy who developed the "delivery system" (read: soft, biodegradable baits) for its Gulp! Products. Here's what came out when I pumped his brain. -L.R.

You guys claim Gulp! has 400 times more scent dispersion than traditional baits, but how do you know? We measured it with a spectrometer.

When you tested the effectiveness of the baits, how did you account for personal differences in anglers? We used a mechanical fisherman, which went around on rails. And we ran it for days before we put bait on the line, so the fish were used to the motion.

Hmmm, very scientific. Did you discover anything that turns fish off? DEET, the active ingredient in insect repellent. The fish hate it. Surprisingly, they didn't react to gasoline. Turns out their taste receptors are shaped all wrong to register the molecules. Have you ever eaten Gulp!? No.

I have. The taste sticks with you, and it makes your lips sort of numb. Water won't wash it away. Who'd you say gave you my phone number?

Wave of the Future

They Cast

The Blue Wave Pure Bay 2200 is a premium composite bay boat with the performance and looks the pros demand.

We Cast

What's so great about this boat? Choices. Such as the 14 available colors. Or power options to 225 hp. Or the ability to sneak under low bridges, with the removable windshield and grabrail, to hit unfished waters. But sometimes you don't want choices. That's why pop-up cleats, a low-profile bow grabrail, antiglare on the nonslip, tilt steering, and a removable bench seat come standard. Small molded steps leading to the bow platform made it easy to keep my footing as I chased a bull redfish to the stern. After slipping the net under it, I put it on ice in the overboard-draining, 50"-long fishbox. That box, however, begs for more insulation. A locking rodrack in the bow kept two baitcasters and three spinners secure as we hit 52.8 mph with 150 hp on the transom. I wish bilge pump access at the stern was easier, but I loved the 18-gallon forward livewell, 40-gallon aft livewell, and Blue Wave's commitment to quality - the president himself does a 25-point check of each boat. Who Will Fish? It The angler who demands speed, fishability, and quality. Another Choice: The Blackjack 224 is a premium bay boat with eye-catching looks. It goes for $34,995 with a 200-hp Yamaha four-stroke. The Numbers: $33,900. Contact Blue Wave at 800/432-6768 , www.blue-waveboats.com. -J.m.

Test Boat Power Single 150-hp Yamaha F150 four-stroke in-line-four outboard with 163 cid, swinging a 14 1/2" x 17" prop through a 2.0:1 reduction.
rpm knots mph gph naut. mpg stat. mpg n. mi. range s. mi. range run angle sound level
1000 3.6 4.2 0.6 6.1 7.0 328 378 1 75
1500 5.0 5.7 1.2 4.1 4.8 223 257 2 81
2000 6.2 7.1 2.5 2.5 2.8 133 153 4 82
2500 15.6 18.0 3.2 4.9 5.6 264 304 3 89
3000 20.9 24.1 3.8 5.5 6.3 298 342 1 91
3500 26.0 29.9 5.2 5.0 5.8 270 311 1 95
4000 30.7 35.3 6.5 4.7 5.4 255 293 0 97
4500 35.3 40.6 8.5 4.2 4.8 224 258 0 99
5000 38.8 44.7 10.0 3.9 4.5 210 241 0 101
5500 43.8 50.4 12.9 3.4 3.9 183 211 0 102
6000 45.9 52.8 15.5 3.0 3.4 160 184 0 102
Advertised fuel capacity 60 gallons. Range based on 90 percent of that ­figure. Performance measured with two persons aboard, three-quarters fuel. Sound levels taken at helm, in dB-A.

Dude, this is your chance! Cut out this article and show it to your wife - you're sure to get one or more of these fishing fantasy holiday gifts!

A Spy Fish STU J1550 remote-controlled submarine with three thrusters, a light, and two cameras. "Look sweetie, now I can watch the pretty fishies before I kill and eat them!" Price: $16,000. Contact: www.h2eye.com.

The Top Shot Pro Point Flying Gaff, with triangularly ground points polished to a mirror finish. "But honey, cheaper gaffs simply don't look this cool." Price: $699. Contact: www.Meltontackle.com.

Rudow's Guide to Fishing the Mid Atlantic. There are more than 300 hotspots detailed on 38 charts in this book, and ocean hotspots even have GPS coordinates. It covers bay, inlet, and ocean fishing from New York down to North Carolina. "Think of it as a time-saver, dear. Now I'll be able to drive directly to the hotspot, catch dozens of fish in a matter of minutes, and come right back home. Look at Rudow's guarantee. He says, "If this book doesn't help you catch more fish, I'll eat my bait," so it's got to be good." Price: $19.95. Contact: 800/536-4670, www.geareduppublications.com.