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The Ultimate Challenge

By Capt. Gene Quigley


Ever consider what the ultimate challenge is on a fly rod? I am sure this will change for each individual, depending on their location. However for saltwater anglers here in the Northeast, the challenge of hooking into a one hundred pound locomotion built of pure muscle is one that must be on everyone’s list.

It can swim at speeds of forty miles per hour, pick a bucktail hair out of place on your favorite fly with its insanely acute eye sight, and literally break your back with its awesome power and thrust. Enter the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.

For the past ten years I have been chasing these powerful creatures on fly tackle. With fish hooked and landed up to one hundred and sixty pounds, one thing I have learned is that there is no room for error. To start with, ensure that all of your knots and leaders and in perfect condition. Limit the amount of connections between the fly line and the leader. If you are not fishing IGFA, go with a six to eight foot straight shot of thirty or forty pound monofilament tied from the tip of the fly line to the fly. If I have guests that request to fish IGFA standards, I use RIO’s Tarpon leaders. These come in three packs and are hand tied with twenty two pound class tippet and can be ordered with shock tippets from forty to one hundred pound.