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Outboards and Billfishing

Old 06-10-2020, 05:41 AM
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Default Outboards and Billfishing

Someone raised an interesting question on the Big Rock 2020 thread over in the Carolina Forum. After it was noted that the percentage of inboard boats that have caught marlin so far way outpaces the percentage of outboards that have caught, root causes were discussed. Anyone have thoughts? I wonder if it has more to do with the typical outboard guy being a less-experienced weekend warrior or if it is more structural, i.e., cleaner water behind an inboard, wider beam, wider trolling spread, more and bigger dredges/teasers, etc.

And to avoid any arguments, no one is saying you can't catch billfish with outboards.

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06-10-2020, 08:38 AM
offshore3144
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I fish out of Oregon Inlet NC and there is no doubt that the larger diesel boats have a advantage when it comes to Billfishing. Most outboard boats don't run the type of spread that is needed to catch Billfish. Most weekend warriors run a combination of baits for mostly meat fish. You cant do that when Billfishing. You have to have a crew and spread dedicated to Billfishing. You also must have your boat rigged to run the type of spread needed. (Teasers, Dredges etc) The most important thing is the crew. You have to have a crew and captain that pays attention to the spread 24/7. Most Billfish are caught because you react to a Billfish that is seen in the spread. The crew that Billfish's with me are hardcore billfishing guys that will elbow to elbow fight to get that drop back bite . That is what is needed to consistently catch numbers.
Another thing I did was add a tower to my CC. Without it your chances drop dramatically doing this type of fishing. I can work the teasers from the top positioning the fish for a good drop back. I can also work the shotgun rod. But the real benefit is to be able to see the entire spread and what and where the fish is doing in the spread. That is a huge benefit. Can we catch as many as the big boys probably not but we have had days where we have been on par with them. 72 Billfish and counting......
Old 06-10-2020, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by cregan13 View Post
Someone raised an interesting question on the Big Rock 2020 thread over in the Carolina Forum. After it was noted that the percentage of inboard boats that have caught marlin so far way outpaces the percentage of outboards that have caught, root causes were discussed. Anyone have thoughts? I wonder if it has more to do with the typical outboard guy being a less-experienced weekend warrior or if it is more structural, i.e., cleaner water behind an inboard, wider beam, wider trolling spread, more and bigger dredges/teasers, etc.

And to avoid any arguments, no one is saying you can't catch billfish with outboards.
I think you have pretty much answered you own question and with what you wonder about hit it on the head.

Most of the Captains running the big sporties have a ton of experience. That knowledge is hard to be replaced by any equipment.

Pulling dredges that cost hundreds just to bait, and great equipment doesn't hurt either.
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Old 06-10-2020, 06:43 AM
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Okay, let's make it a better question. Two captains of identical skill are given identical equipment. They both head out to the same spot on the same day. One is running a 30' center console with twin outboards, and the other is in a 45' sporty. Any reason to think the captain in the sporty will raise more marlin than the captain on the center console? And, if so, why?
Old 06-10-2020, 07:22 AM
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These are the reasons once you take out bigger budgets and level the captain's playing field.

1. Cleaner wake in a diesel boat
2. Captain can see fish easier elevated
3. Able to maintain a more consistent trolling speed
4. Wider spread
5. Anglers/captain are more comfortable
Old 06-10-2020, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by cregan13 View Post
Okay, let's make it a better question. Two captains of identical skill are given identical equipment. They both head out to the same spot on the same day. One is running a 30' center console with twin outboards, and the other is in a 45' sporty. Any reason to think the captain in the sporty will raise more marlin than the captain on the center console? And, if so, why?
The biggest fish attractor is the boat itself. So the larger boat is likely to attract fish better, or more than the smaller boat.
That, and the humm of diesel inboard engines.

I have read numerous times the captains in Central American really want/prefer cold molder hull boats. Doesn't mean a fiberglass hull doesn't raise fish, but something about the hum and vibration of diesel engines in a wooden cold molded hull seems to attract the fish (of all species).
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:24 AM
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I definitely think that diesel drone has something to do with it also. Some noises just simply raise fish. Anyone who has ever striper fished can attest to a technique called "thumping".
But I mentioned on the other thread about the creature comfort advantages to the big sporty. Being able to go into the salon to cool off and refresh does wonders for the body and mental acuity.
But the biggest advantage would be experience. Fishing all over the world meeting folks who are aware of all the new innovations definitely pays dividends.
Old 06-10-2020, 07:42 AM
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Default Yes - Right on Target

Originally Posted by hamma job View Post
These are the reasons once you take out bigger budgets and level the captain's playing field.

1. Cleaner wake in a diesel boat
2. Captain can see fish easier elevated
3. Able to maintain a more consistent trolling speed
4. Wider spread
5. Anglers/captain are more comfortable
All of the above are correct, and, from years of experience, I would add that a well-designed, maintained, propped, and captained diesel sportfisherman will raise more big billfish and tuna than any outboard, center-console styled boat. I believe that a big sportfish is, itself, a FAD. Also, as I look around the boat now, I see 27 offshore outfits (from 30's to 130's) stowed in a tackle room, lots of lures, gear, supplies, parts, and tools, and an engine room you can access underway. (I can't see, but know that there's also 2,600 gallons of diesel.) Maybe it's the difference between an aircraft carrier and a PT boat, but the ability to stay on station is sometimes more important than running and gunning.

I admire the outboard guys (and even the one sportfish I've seen with Arneson surface drives). My hat's off to them, but I'd rather not have my kidneys hanging from my ears, enjoy air conditioning, comfortable beds, real heads, sat tv and wifi internet, and a full galley, and taking hot showers afloat.
Old 06-10-2020, 08:38 AM
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I fish out of Oregon Inlet NC and there is no doubt that the larger diesel boats have a advantage when it comes to Billfishing. Most outboard boats don't run the type of spread that is needed to catch Billfish. Most weekend warriors run a combination of baits for mostly meat fish. You cant do that when Billfishing. You have to have a crew and spread dedicated to Billfishing. You also must have your boat rigged to run the type of spread needed. (Teasers, Dredges etc) The most important thing is the crew. You have to have a crew and captain that pays attention to the spread 24/7. Most Billfish are caught because you react to a Billfish that is seen in the spread. The crew that Billfish's with me are hardcore billfishing guys that will elbow to elbow fight to get that drop back bite . That is what is needed to consistently catch numbers.
Another thing I did was add a tower to my CC. Without it your chances drop dramatically doing this type of fishing. I can work the teasers from the top positioning the fish for a good drop back. I can also work the shotgun rod. But the real benefit is to be able to see the entire spread and what and where the fish is doing in the spread. That is a huge benefit. Can we catch as many as the big boys probably not but we have had days where we have been on par with them. 72 Billfish and counting......
Old 06-10-2020, 10:06 AM
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I'm not a billfisherman I pull a meat fish spread along with pink squid chain teasers & 2 big chuggers from rod tip corner position. & marlin come to my boat cought 3 blues & maybe 10-12 whites last season. And 15-18 whites & 2 blues the previous season which is no great feat when compared to boats fishing for them. But not bad considering I'm not trying to catch them. My boat is an old formula f233 with a single 300 Suzuki
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:21 AM
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Also, in those tourneys you must run circle hooks for bait so it is a completely different game on hookup...those big boats back down on those fish extremely fast to get to the leader...not going to do that with a CC...

Fights do not really last too long most of the time..

r
Old 06-10-2020, 10:34 AM
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Running and seeing a dredge is virtually impossible from my cc and unless we get a surface confirmation we have no opportunity to drop back. Pretty obvious reasons. I’m sure the spread and dredges help on a big sporty as well. The sound, who knows but it would make sense. The sound of diesels and machinery certainly don’t scare tuna that often feed among trawlers and draggers.

Only took a detour for marlin twice on my boat. Once when the water was perfect and we gave up on the YFT and move into marlin water and caught one (thanks to captain Betts). The other time the seas sucked, the water sucked but we had a monster blow up a mile away and worked the area to no avail. Did see it blow up a couple more times always another mile away and it was friggin massive.
Old 06-10-2020, 10:41 AM
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IMO the ability to pull bigger spreads closer to the boat is what makes an inboard a better billfishing option. Pulling 2-3 dredges and a bunch of mainlines allows a boat to actually present a "meal" worth checking out. The clean water allows the spread to be pulled closer in, which in turn allows the anglers to react to the fish because they can actually see them.
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Old 06-10-2020, 11:24 AM
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I know my lures run like shit when I'm fishing from a center console. The larger riggers and higher angle is definitely an advantage when fishing from a sportfish
Old 06-10-2020, 03:00 PM
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Lots of very good information above, which I agree with. Age old debate on whether the inboard catches more than the outboard, and the "wood" boats catch more than the fiberglass hulls. Personally I truly believe there is something to the theories. Having gone from an outboard 28'CC to a 36' diesel express, I can attest to the fact that the big diesel sport fish will catch more bill-fish on most days. Always exceptions, but for the most part if the personnel are the same on both boats, the large diesel sport fish will raise more fish. I concur 100% with Offshore3144. Spent many days trolling alongside the big sport fishing boats out of Cape May and Ocean City Maryland, (often within yards of each other in the same fleet) in the outboard CC. And it was frustrating that on most days we would see a fraction of the fish they did. My crew is very experienced, and my bait is rigged by someone who can match some of the best. But the simple fact that on the CC, my spread covered a much smaller area, and I could only pull dredges that were much smaller meant I just didn't get as many shots. Think about it. If you were a White Marlin, what spread are you going to attack? Along with the previously mentioned lack of visibility, clean wake, and hum of the diesels, there are many advantages the large boats have over the CC, (no matter how big). We've had double digit release days on the diesel express, vs. a boat best 6 releases on a single trip on the CC.
Old 06-10-2020, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by hamma job View Post
These are the reasons once you take out bigger budgets and level the captain's playing field.

1. Cleaner wake in a diesel boat
2. Captain can see fish easier elevated
3. Able to maintain a more consistent trolling speed
4. Wider spread
5. Anglers/captain are more comfortable
Added: Some diesel engines make a sound that bring Billfish into the exhaust pipe. In Kona, they run lures up to 16" or more on the first wake. Big girls jump all over it. Kona skippers love the wood Merrits.
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:09 PM
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No doubt that diesels are better than any outboard.
Old 06-11-2020, 03:07 PM
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I ran a 64 ft sportfish in the wmo and midatlantic last year. As said above, cleaner was is key and height plays a huge role. I spend most of my time in the tuna tower during a tournament. That extra height even above the wheel house is an advantage, spotting birds or whales or marlin. Also The owner didn’t want to run dredges, only teasers. When in the fleet competing with everyone pulling dredges we had a very very hard time raising whites when boats all around us are hooking up. Left the fleet we raised whites and blues no problem. The fish look up and go for the best/ most realistic meal. We are pulling two dredges this year.
Old 06-11-2020, 10:46 PM
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I spent years bill fishing from outboard powered boats, then bought a 44ft wood twin diesel sporty. Visibility from high is a huge thing. Caught plenty of fish that I wouldn't have even known about without the fly bridge. I am a believer in diesel noise over outboard noise. Repowered the boat from mech to common rail diesels. They have a slightly harsher (but nicer) sound and we started raising more fish. Could be coincidence, but I could see the difference after the repower. Some older skippers with more experience than me swear by the noise of 2 stroke Detroit's for raising fish.

I am not so sure that the increase in lure spread does much. Maybe, but when you get that close to a fish I think they are going to either have a look or not regardless of spread. The wake and noise pulls them in. I still only run 4 or 5 lures which is what I ran on the smaller boats anyway. Results are the Sporty outfishes the outboard boats at least 2 or 3 to 1 on billfish. Less of a difference on tuna.
Old 06-12-2020, 06:47 PM
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Who make the best diesel inboard these days up to 300hp?
Old 06-12-2020, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by friendlyfish View Post
Who make the best diesel inboard these days up to 300hp?
Too many variables. Can you fit a detuned 5.9l or do you need less weight and size? Looking for longevity, fuel burn, performance? Pushing a light boat or a heavy boat? Need to narrow it down a bit.

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