Photo courtesy One Cool Tuna

I’ve known John Jordan for almost 5 years now.  I went on my very first tuna trip aboard the Eclipse on a charter where John and his buddy Jeff were the chartermasters.  Clearly, I got “hooked” on both tuna fishing and the boat.  Since then, as SoCal Salty has taken off, John has been a big supporter of the effort as the West Coast distributor of Get Some products.  John and Get Some have been a sponsor on some of the SCS charter trips and it’s been a pleasure working with him in that capacity too.

Recently, John traveled down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to ride with Maximus Sportfishing.  During this last trip, John caught his personal best tuna, a 335 lb. super cow!

This is a trip I’ve had my eye on for some time now.  As opposed to going on a long range boat out of San Diego, you fly down to PV, and go out from there to step up to this class of fishing.

I was able to catch up with John to ask him about his trip during Fred Hall – Long Beach.  While hanging out with him at the Maximus booth, I asked him 5 questions about cow tuna fishing…

This kind of fishing is far removed from that first tuna trip I went on with you.  How did you get started?

I really have only been specifically targeting cows (200 lbs. +) for 4 or 5 years.  I fished a lot with Fred and Erika Brandt on local trips, up to five days.  They always said I really needed to give the big fish thing a try.  So after talking to a buddy, Mike Reese, we decided to check it out.  That was a mistake.  The first time won’t be your last. I was very lucky to get a cow pretty quick (third trip).

Erika with a cow of her own

The story on my first cow is that it was a gift. These fish don’t get big by being stupid. They don’t always grab the bait and start rippin line.  I have learned to listen to those who have the skill.  Erika was fishing next to me and said here take this rod.  I was like ok.  She grabbed my rod and I handed her mine.  Next thing she says is, “I think its getting bit.”  Now I know how to fish a pinner anchovy and feel my bait (I remember now Fred saying sometimes you won’t even feel it).  Erika finally had enough…she reached over, slammed the reel in gear and yelled.  Wind wind wind!!!”

During the fight, that fish seemed liked it would jump. The rod would be bent over, then go totally slack.  This happened 3 times on the straight up and down.  Deckhand Jesus (who is now on the Intrepid) was with me the whole time saying he is still there keep it up.  The whole experience was new and a little scary.  “Listen to skill” I told myself.  I listened and kept turning the handle.  Thanks E!  It was the first cow on the boat…225 🙂
Erika told me that now I had a responsibility to pay it forward.  I asked her if she knew there was a 225 on the line, would she still have handed it off?  Her reply…”Without a doubt!”

How is it different (or the same) than regular tuna fishing?  What kind of gear did you use? 

20150228_063950_resizedThe thing that is most different about this style of fishing is the gear you need…or don’t need.  You can literally take 2 rods, 2 reels (30 and 50), some wind-ons (130 and 150), a couple packs of hooks (6/0, 7/0 and 8/0), a few sinkers and rubber bands for the plunker rig and your gear is set.  Maximus Sportfishing has all the gear you need (Seeker rods and Accurate reels) you can buy terminal tackle on the boat, so really, you don’t even need that.  You can just literally come with the clothes on your back (maybe a change of clothes too 😉 ) and show up.

Why did you choose to do the PV trip vs. a long range trip? 

PV is my choice of destination because of time spent and cost.  I don’t have the time to spend 12 to 15 days away from work or home.  You can get three full days of fishing being gone 5 days.  I typically fly down Thursday morning, hop on the boat and I’m on the fishing grounds Friday morning.  We fish ’til Sunday night.  The boat is at the dock Monday morning and we fly home.

Aside from time, cost is a major factor too.  You can do a 3.5 day for about $2500 which includes tip and airfare.  Maybe someday “the boss” wouldn’t mind me being gone longer.  For now though, I am blessed to have a wife that lets me go on a 5 day fishing adventure.

OK, enough prelim…how did you catch this monster fish?

John with his PB 335# YFT

John with his PB 335# YFT

This fish was literally the fish of a lifetime.  There are  many things that go into putting a fish like this on the deck.  Your gear must be up to the task and in top working condition.  Get Some lubricant makes this part easy.  A little goes a long way and keeps all my gear in optimal working order.  I know…a shameless plug, but it’s the truth! (I agree)  The outfit of choice was a custom, acid-wrapped Phenix Axis HAX 720X4H paired with a Avet 50w T-Rex.  Jim Racela had just finished it and this was the rod’s maiden voyage.  The reel was spooled with 150# John Brown spectra, to a 200# Double Trouble mono leader.  The fish never had a chance.

I had been stuck in balloon jail since the day before at around 11am. I remember thinking about giving it up around 1pm, but stuck with it. Keeping the belly out of the line, baits dancing on the water gets to be a pain.  It really sucks when fishing is off or non-existent.  (Note – fishing the balloon rig is part of the overall boat deployment of rigs.  When it’s your turn, you have to fish it until you get a bite.)  I talked to the other balloon boy, Mike Reese, who was also in jail.  We were getting concerned.  It was the 9th inning, 2 out, with the last batter at the plate…and down to a 3 and 2 count.  We only had 2 real fish on the boat.  It was looking grim.  I really wanted the guys to experience what it is like when it all comes together.
Captain Keith found some action and it was game on for the next 4 or 5 hours.  A smaller fish (130?) blew up on my cabbies (caballito, a baitfish similar to a Spanish jack), but it missed.  I let out a little more line and BOOM!  A huge explosion happened.  The 3 foot balloon floated back to the surface and I reeled furiously to take up the slack in the line.  The line comes tight and the reel starts screaming.  I was getting worried.  I was down to a quarter of the spool, and it was still taking line.  I did my best to high stick it (put more pressure on the fish by raising up the rod), but the power of the this fish was awesome.  With the drag almost at the 38# strike mark, it finally started to slow down.  I would discover it was only just the beginning.  For the next hour, the fight continued.  It took me around the boat 4 times!  Finally after a lot of coaching from Capt. Keith and the crew, the fish and I settle in at midship for the final death spiral.
At this point in the fight, the initial adrenaline rush had worn off…leaving time to worry about knots and connections.  Thankfully, the rod never bottomed out, and the reel and knots performed flawlessly.  Four gaffs and it was in the boat…my new personal best fish, 335 lbs!
I really want to thank Captain Keith and the entire Maximus crew for the awesome trip.  Seven of the 10 people on the trip caught their personal best tuna on this trip!  Once again a special thanks to Fred and Erika for the introduction to cow fishing  It’s my turn to share this awesome experience with others.  If you apply what you have been taught, all you need to do is turn the handle.  On a side note I was able to complete my duty and handed off a 220# after I had mine on the boat.
Awesome stuff John.  Congrats on the fish.  I hope to join you soon!

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