A Papa George Set-up
Some evenings as we listened to the fishing reports I would make up new leaders out of 220 lb. test Jinkai monofilament. This weight was just right for pulling albacore over the rail. This leader attached to the trolling line, usually of 400 lb monofilament, which slid through a plastic doughnut and spooled on to the hydraulic gurdies. The leader was 2 to 3 fathoms long and was crimped to the trolling line along with a Sampo ball bearing swivel to prevent line kinks. The other end of the leader threaded through the jig, bent around a bronze ring holding the double barbless hook, and was crimped by an aluminum sleeve.
Usually the choice of lures was left up to me. Now that leaves a lot of room for theory vs. practice. Basically I chose the jigs which matched the weather conditions and area. We were not experienced tuna trollers in the South Pacific fleet, therefore we listened to advice, and applied it if the advice worked. One of our early mentors was Darrell Potter from Seaview, WA. He was running the Lady Debbie and preffered the "sablefish"(#100 above) extra-heavy clone in the morning on some of the lines. It did work, and especially when rough weather caused the jigs to be jerky. The extra weight kept these babies in the water fishing. The tuna clones made by 7strand were economical and effective. Our favorites were the Mexican Flag, Zuccini, Sablefish, and the White clone with lots of sparkles. Another type of lure made by Yozuri used a hexhead with various color plastic skirts. We also had bought hundreds of old fashioned feather jigs with lead-heads from Kolstrand Marine in Seattle. I tried all the varieties of jigs and found that they all worked very well if the skipper put the boat on fish. The key always was locating a school of albacore hungry enough to be lured into biting.
I wanted to show pictures of the crimping tools, hooks, sleeves, and monofilament, but am having trouble adding photos to this blog. Instead I will provide a link which may or may not be interesting to all of you readers.
7strand jigs, tuna clones, jinkai crimpers, bronze ring & grommets, Sampo ball bearing swivels, and double stainless steel hooks ( you have to scroll past the salmon flashers to the middle of the page to see all of these) : seamar seattle
My favorite jig for the North Pacific was the Yozuri hex head with both feathers or plastic skirts. In the area of skirts, the all white with glitter, and the all white with blue-grey streaks and glitter worked the best for us. The hex-head jig at the top was not available when we fished across the South Pacific. One virtue of this jig is the ability to unscrew the head and change the skirt color, or replace it. Albacore have sharp teeth which eventually chew up the skirts and scrape off the chrome on the head. The red eyes fall off and new ones can be applied with crazy glue.
As a deckhand, I checked the gear continually chafing and wear. The hooks often were dull so the bastard file put an edge on the blade hook or a point on the pigtail hooks. In the South Pacific, the fishing was spotty, oftentimes many hours between bites. A good day for us on this trip was 100 fish. Normally a good day was 500 fish or a "unit". Some years just aren't very good and the South Pacific is a very big ocean.