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Chasin' The Blues In The Northeast Canyons



Beamish Leadin

    Growing up on Nantucket Island, chasing marlin always seemed to be a way of life. Every summer we all looked forward to fishing the edge and winning the Nantucket Anglers Club Billfish Tournament. Over the last 20 years I have traveled and fished some of the best blue marlin spots with some of the best captains and mates in the world. The most important lesson I have learned from all in big game fishing is preparation.
    Preparation begins with boat maintenance. I could spend days on this topic; it is crucial due to the long runs to and from the leading edge of an eddy. These eddies are usually 70-130 miles off Nantucket Island. The maintenance list is long, but a good working boat can assure you getting to and from your fishing grounds safely. A proper maintenance schedule should be performed as needed and a good log will help you keep on track. This is the most important piece of the puzzle because without a good working boat you end up on the sidelines hearing the stories instead of creating one.
    Prep work on your gear is another must! Keep your tools clean and your hooks sharp in order to help you pursue your dreams.
    When chasing blue marlin, I like to use a Shimano 80w paired with a Beamish Custom Tackle 80 rod with Winthrop guides and a bent butt. There are many choices for line and Dacron but I use 130-pound Green Spot as my backing with 100-pound Suffix for top shot. Having your line set up like this makes it easy to replace your top shot after a long, hard battle. The guides on the rod should always be free of debris and salt to ensure they roll properly; every off-season take the rollers apart, clean them with degreaser and then re-lube with a reel oil. Another tip to ensure your rollers are good is to take a Q-tip and roll it through each guide to make sure there are no sharp points. If there is a sharp point, you will know it because the Q-tip will get hung up. If this happens replace it right away.
    Lastly, keep your drag washers up to par and know your drag. I hear all too often about how this guy got spooled and that guy got spooled. There is no reason for this! Properly setting your drag and knowing when to use your drag will make fighting a blue marlin much easier. When fishing heavy I typically like to fish my strike at 10-14 pounds, with a little bit lighter pull from the Black’s outrigger clip, and I keep it there depending on what the fish does. After the initial bite I prefer the drag to stay put, if not back off a little, until the fish settles. If the fish puts a big belly in the line, back off a little because the pressure on the other end can result in pulling the hook and/or breaking something. A good, aggressive captain can guide the team to catching the fish; a good angler knows when to reel, increase drag and use the proper techniques to tire out the fish. Knowing where your fish is hooked dramatically helps in positioning your drag in the right place, and don’t be afraid to go to sunset if hooked well!

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