Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Oregon Inlet Jigging & Popping Festival 2014 with a 92 inch slob

19 avid anglers from 10 different countries devoted themselves for this little jigging and popping festival that took place in Oregon Inlet. The highlight was having Tosa-san from Moutoukenmaru and Jason Ward from Siren Lures along Luke Wyrsta from GT Popping and Pin (Iron Man) from Malaysia to join us on this unforgettable trip to North Carolina.
We had a slow start on our first day as we couldn’t locate the fish and we get blown away on our second day as we all know what kind of weather to encounter in North Carolina during this period of the year. Kurt from Australia had an amazing hit on a blind cast only to lose the fish after 3 minutes; it was a nice fish that exploded on the lure leaving the Australian kid with a shock on his face. We screamed at him to set the hook and after he woke up from reality he did what he was supposed to do but luck was not on his favor and he lost the fish due to cut off line. The 100LB Jerry Brown Hollow line departed with a question mark on everybody’s face, so again it doesn’t matter what line brands you’re using, get ready to get bashed by the power and the size of those fish in North Carolina.
The weather was on the shaky side on the 4th day and the Captains called if off, the guys spend the day between cooking and shopping and we all had our eyes on our 5th and last day, that was our last chance.
We charter Sea Breeze, Tuna Duck along the Bite Me for our last day and since the weather had changed to bad in the early AM the Captain of the Bite Me decided to cancel the trip as he thought that the condition was not good to run. I right away added another angler on the Tuna duck and handed my cameras to Paul on the Tuna Duck thinking that we are not going to fish. Benjie the Captain of the Sea Note offered to take us at the last minute call so we all jumped in to take advantage and to push our luck on the last day. Upon our arrival to the fishing ground we saw porpoises and bird, the set up was promising and it was what we are looking for. All of a sudden the water irrupted with a different splashes and I screamed it is Tuna. William the mate confirmed it is Tuna as well and the Sea Note headed in that direction but we were late only to see one of the boat getting tight on the front of us, finally a good sign and it proves what we saw is tuna.
The bites start to die down and the porpoises disappeared so we went back again on the hunt trying to locate the fish. Around 2:30PM Captain Benjie put the Sea Note in full power and informed us that the Tuna Duck landed 2 fish 6 miles from us. I was relieved for such good news and I was praying that Tosa-san is one of the lucky anglers. As soon as we made it and from the life that I saw around I was positive that we are going to hit it right. Porpoises were pushing water with birds all over the place. Along us a commercial boat with one tuna tied to the boat and another is about to be hauled to the deck, my heart was pumping like a newbie and with all honesty I was frustrated and worry as we don’t have much time anymore, I kept on telling the guys to cast in different direction to cover water as much as possible.
Due to the slow start and to the lack of action I decided from the third day that if I hook a fish I will pass the rod so every anglers on board will have a chance to fight the fish, I said that to George in the early AM while trying to locate the fish so I was clear about it in my head and I wanted to do it so they all be part of the team, for once I set it in my mind and I did not regret it.
While all the guys are casting towards the Porpoises I casted toward the sun and after 5 to 6 twitches I saw the fish coming after my lure. I set the hook couple of times and I asked Benjie to put the boat in gear. The fish dumped all the spool leaving me with 25 yards and I kept on tightening the drag till there was no more to tighten. I screamed right away at Dorian asking him to put his Belt and I passed the rod to him. I hooked that fish on the Race Point 300 matched with the new 18000 Stella and a prototype Moutoukenmaru lure. The guys enjoyed the fight and each took his turn on it but we had a shot at the gaff after 15 minutes. However, the mate said it is a bigger fish and we need to lip gaff it. After a couple of turns and in about 1 hour and 10 minutes I put up the heat on the fish and I wished for the best , the fish start circling in wide angle but soon the circle start getting narrower  and narrower till we had a chance to lip gaffed and brought it to the deck to take measurement. When we took measurement Captain Benjie gave me the option to claim it as the trophy for this year, I thanked him for his gesture and I took the initiative to claim another record on the Race Point 300 rod. There was a smell of victory in the air and it was nice to have the guys around to be part of this fight. I thank George, Dorian and Tom for their support and for being part of this great catch. On the other hand Paul and his group landed 2 fish and kept 1 and the lucky angler was Tosa-san and Bogdan, an amazing ending with great achievement to the gear.

This is the biggest fish I hooked and landed. The fish measured 92 inches long with 64 inch girth and weighted 445lb and it was brought in to the deck as team effort, I don’t think I would be able to accomplish the task on my own as this was my first fish of the season, I had landed fish for up to 88 inch on my own and I had never passed the rod before but that fish was a demon! Sometimes we take the fight personal and we set the pace differently when we know it is head to head, I will be reporting to you soon, I had a great time and I thank every person that was part of this trip!
Tackle used:
Rod: Race Point 200, 250, 300, Carpenter MH 79XH , OBX-500, OBX-400
Reel: Shimano Stella 18000SWBHG, Maxel  Jigging Reel
Lures: Siren, moutoukenmaru, Bertox, CB One Zorro
Line: Jerry Brown Hollow 100lb & 130lb, Power Pro Hollow 130lb, Varivas SMP
Leader: Saltywater Tackle twisted Leader, Seaguar

   Tight lines

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