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Louisiana Sportsman

Beat line-shy tuna with fluorocarbon leader

Chris Ginn
April 01, 2012 at 7:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

When heís after tuna, Howard looks for single fish away from the rigs marking on his sounder as one big red blob.
When heís after tuna, Howard looks for single fish away from the rigs marking on his sounder as one big red blob.
Courtesy Josh Howard
Tuna are notoriously line shy, and Josh Howard says thatís why he uses fluorocarbon leader all year long, but this time of year especially.

"Some guys donít use it. They use mono or braid, and thatís all good," Howard said, "but I aways use a 10- to 15-foot 80-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. Itís a visibility thing. Tuna are very leader- and hook-shy, so I just donít put huge tackle out there for tuna. They just laugh at you if you do that."

But why fluorocarbon leader and not plain old mono? According to HI-SEAS VP of Sales and Marketing Mike Shields, itís all about having your line disappear underwater.

"Take our Quattro Fluorocarbon line for example," Shields said. "We took our 100-percent fluorocarbon and added the Quattro coloring process that adds a new level of invisibility to your line. Alternating lengths of scientifically selected colors mask the last remnants of the lineís visual footprint."

For Howard, all that means is that he can use a line that blends in with the water enough that he can fish with a 60- or 80-pound-test leader that line-shy tuna just canít see as well.

"I mainly use 80-pound-test fluorocarbon Ande leader this time of year, but I will drop down to 60-pound-test on those days when I just canít seem to make the fish bite," Howard said. "Some days you might see fish and do everything right and you put out 80-pound but they wonít eat. Drop to 60-pound-test, though, and ó ≠BOOM ó fish on!"

Howard isnít saying that tuna canít be caught on heavier tackle because it has happened, but overall he tries to scale down and doesnít want to fight fish with a heavy drag. With the smaller leaders, he sets his drag at 15 pounds.

"I might change through the fight once the fish isnít so green," Howard saidd. "I might come up a little more then, but you donít have to fight these tuna like youíre trying to get them in two minutes. Let the fish do what itís going to do, and land the fish on its terms rather than yours."

View other articles written Chris Ginn