By Mark Bargenquast.
Well Easter has been and gone, we finally have the internet back on and weather was perfect in SE Queensland with light winds and over the full moon period the fishing was red hot! The annual run of longtail tuna has well and truly arrived with thousands of fish in the bay, big baitballs full of 8 – 12 kg longtails made fishing easy, the number of big bull sharks however made landing anything on prolonged fights near impossible.
This is where a bit of ‘grunt’ is required in the tackle department, until recently it was hard to find a tough powerful casting rod that could throw a light metal slug or jighead the required distance, however I have found the perfect weapon, enter the DAIWA SALTIST ST-EX 762s rod, it’s a 7 foot 6 inch spin rod, rated for PE 2/4 lines and feels reasonably light in hand, I teamed this with a new 2015 DAIWA SALTIGA 4500, the perfect match for big longtails, small blacks and moderate GT popping. Now for a trial run!
We spooled the rig up with the new Daiwa multi coloured J-Braid in 40 pound, again the perfect match, rigged up with some 50 pound leader and went fishing. After landing and losing quite a few tunas fishing light tackle it was time to try it out and I was amazed how well the Saltist/Saltiga combo cast, long casts were required and the outfit never failed to impress, the longtails were never in the game, fishing a near locked drag the shortest fight time was 63 seconds from hookup to landing the 10kg fish, beating sharks was getting easy!
My 13 year old son then had a cast and he too landed fish in under 2 minutes, the only problem was ‘green’ tuna at boatside which took a bit of man handling on the leader (and I had trouble getting my rod back) After fishing ourselves nearly to a standstill on the Saltiga I rigged up the new black label V2, model 762 MHFS, again a 7 ½ foot rod, six inches longer than the normal spin rods but that bit extra length makes longer casts easy, mounted was a new ballistic 4000 H, high speed retrieve (5.7-1) made retrieves easy, more tuna landed, lost and I managed to lose all but 2 of my new stickbaits, the high speed retrieves made stickbaiting a breeze.
The Black Label V2 has an impressive working curve, plenty of grunt being rated 4 – 9 kg I fished it hard with 20 pound and never had a drama, one of the best medium casting spin rods I have used for mid range pelagic casting. I’m off to Weipa for a 2 week guiding stint next week and just can’t wait to get back to throw this outfit at some big Hervey Bay snapper!