Fighting formula

Like a coach chalk-talking in the locker room, Reid McKinstry used his Venice yellowfin experience to outline a simple, yet profoundly effective method for defeating these brutal fish.

“When fighting a big fish, pretty much the only thing running through my head is how to get this battle over as soon as possible,” McKinstry said. “The key I have found is to break their will early.

“Fight hard right from the beginning. Always keep good pressure and constantly try to gain line, even if it’s an inch at a time. I try to remember three things: Smooth is fast, find the rhythm, and legs not back.”

Here’s McKinstry’s explanation:

Smooth is fast: A steady cadence of short, smooth rod pumps will wear the fish down the fastest without completely wearing down the angler. Make a strong, steady upward pull with the rod until the tip is eye level and then quickly reel down with a controlled motion that puts the rod tip as close to the water as you can. Avoid jerky motions.

Find the rhythm: When a yellowfin goes down deep and you’re pulling vertically, the fish is doing a big circle under the boat. You have to find the rhythm or spot in the rotation where it’s most efficient to apply pressure. Don’t let the rod get too high and always keep the fish’s head coming.

Legs not back: This one’s self-explanatory, but McKinstry said it’s hard to actually do in the heat of the battle.

“Use the harness; don’t try and be a hero,” McKinstry said. “The captain and your buddies will only give you grief when you are hooked up but I promise they will harness up or wish they had when it’s their turn on the rod.

“Every yellowfin I have caught, I would consider a trophy because everyone will put you and your tackle to the test. Spend the time and take good photos when the fish is fresh you will want to remember that victory later and there aren’t many fish that look as good in photos — or on a dinner plate!”

About David A. Brown 323 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications