Its the south island east coast salmon fisher here.
I spoke to you and said I was keen to trailer my boat to Tutukaka , Northland, NZ.
Well after 24hrs of driving we made it to Toots. I was there for just under a month but only had 9 or so days on the water due to big seas and terrible weather. I followed exactly what you told me to in your chat session and in your videos. For the 9 days we had 2 hook ups and caught and released 2 striped marlin. For a rank beginner I was stoked. many thanks.
Please make sure Peter reads this. Took my witch doctor and the rest of the lures I purchased from you and ran them as recommended. I was very critical about their exact position. My wife and I along with my captain fished no more than 30 miles from La Paz, BCS. We fished very hard and steady and in 8 days had recorded these results which can be verified by photos. We raised 20+ stripe marlin. Coming into the spread in 1-4 at a time with several double hookups. We eventually were able to catch and release 17. More importantly in an area that has not been friendly over the past 5 years. In addition we raised about 12-15 blue marlin. We hooked and brought to the boat 8. Smallest estimated weight of 125 lbs and the largest was a measured weight of 441 lbs., which was tail wrapped and died prior to betting it in. All others were successfully releases with no injuries to them or us. Most were in about 250 lbs with two others being big at an estimated of over 350 and the other slightly larger at possibly 400. We ran all of the lures, colors and position as you recommended. We did include the Mexican Patrolero out of respect for my captain who was in the state of shock when after 3 days it did not get a hit. It was being run in the shotgun position and even I was surprised. My wife didn't care...she was reading her book and only responded when summoned to clear lines and the witchdoctor. We also won a small tournament that included 8 pangas and had a blast. Never have we done this good. I just wanted to let you know that the lures worked flawlessly and out performed everything else. I have no less than 100 lures on the boat and only used 7. I will be ordering the shredder today if for no other reason than I don't have one. This is not a fishing story and if you would like some photos of the lumo sprocket on the big blue send me your email address. People were actually following us around and I even have photos of that. Thanks so much. Take care. 3MJ
Whoever receives this please forward it to Peter.
I have been fishing the Sea of Cortez between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas for the past 15-20 years. I currently own a 58 Donzi sports fisher. I don’t claim to be an expert like yourself but have caught my share of marlin. I have good fishing equipment, wear good sun glasses and cheap clothing.
For the past 6 years I have taken my two youngest grandsons fishing to Mexico. Just grandpa and two grandsons…no one else allowed. It’s obviously a highlight I love, as do they. Now that they are 12 and 13 years old they are able to help with the fishing.
I have never written to anyone regarding their product either pro or con. I am sending you this letter in hopes it puts a smile on your face knowing that you contributed to a grandpa and two grandkids having a very successful annual fishing trip using your lures and suggestions.
My boat is loaded down with the standard fishing equipment i.e. rods, reels, fishing line, lures, teasers, dredges, and other must have necessary equipment. (My wife of 45 years just doesn’t understand…but has given up)
I’m not sure how, but one day while using the internet I came across a film of you explaining the “Witch Doctor”. (I am a huge fan of teasers). I also liked the way you made up your hooks. Simple, yet very practical. Not sure I fully understand the 60 degree offset of the hooks but I’ll figure it out. I of course ordered the Witch Doctor directly from you rather than a copycat version, along with a host of other much needed equipment. My wife had to help me as I have never placed an on line order in my life.
About a week or so later your stuff arrived and I packed it up and headed south to my boat with both grandsons. Hurricane Blanca was passing through and so the ports were closed and we kept busy with preparation until they opened on Tuesday.
Overall fishing was slow so we headed south. On June 11, while fishing near the south end of Island Cerralvo, with the Witch Doctor and other lures of yours, along with two proven teasers and the infamous Mexican Petrolero lure that is probably number one in our collection. My Captain and I witnessed two stripe Marlin come into the pattern and come between the witch Doctor and the rear of the boat. They circled the Witch Doctor as if trying to figure it out! Reminded me of curious porpoise. It was obvious to anyone and everyone that they were checking out the Witch Doctor!!! One of the marlin eventually hit on your famous green lumo sprokett. My Mexican Captain was in complete shock and his feelings were hurt as the marlin had bypassed his Mexican Petrolero. On June 12 this exact same thing happened once again! The marlin did not appear to be attacking the Witch Doctor but only curious…..again they passed up the infamous Mexican Petrolero for the green lumo sprokett. ( side note…not the same two marlin). Obviously the witch doctor drew them into the pattern. Fortunately for them we are a catch and release gang.
In all my years, I have never seen marlin so curious about anything. Thank you.
Since I have purchased the Witch Doctor and other stuff from you I have noticed similar products being sold elsewhere. Before passing away my Dad told me the best form of flattery is to be copied. However, It does become upsetting at times to see others make a profit from something you have developed and sincerely believe in. Some people will buy the copied version and maybe it is good. I don’t know and I don’t care…I’ll pay the extra to support the right people.
Just thought I would let you know.
Pakula lure wow and wow again. Love using these skirt. The take the reel spinning. The fight wow
Hey mate I'm Michael Lassen from the SCGFC and I joined half way through the season and I have a pakula addiction. There the only skirts I run in my spread. The quality and results are incredible. My total for this season finished on total from when i joined last season: blacks: 21 sails: 6 Dolly's: 12 spainards: 11 yellow fin : 8 wahoo; 4 and 90% of that was on your skirts. The boys are teaching me a bit of live baiting these days and I'm really keen to keep improving my fishing. But just letting you know how great your skirts are and really impressed with your product. I got first billfish for the club this season and I'm going to enter my first tournament in October. If around you should come up.
Adam Voss - Fiji
Bula to the Pakula team. I think you have done a great job with the new web site. I have just made another on line order and it is a much improved experience. Again well done and keep up the great tackle and service.
Kevin Harrison - Texas
I'm new to fishing the Gulf of Mexico, been a bay fisherman. A friend of mine asked a friend of his, who has won tournaments all over the world, what kind of lures I should use. He said the only lure I need is the Lumo Sprocket head. Sure enough the first time I went out, I muddled around trying to figure out what I was doing and they worked great. Thanks again, Kevin
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07: Tagging and Gaffing
by Peter Pakula
For the purpose of this article we are assuming that we only have two men on board a relatively small boat, say a sub eight metre craft. Everything becomes much simpler with a third set of hands in the cockpit to handle the gaff or tag chores.
When we concluded the last article "Boat Handling and Tactics" we had the boat downwind of the fish and the boat running close, and parallel to the fish. The skipper had eased back to have the fish alongside the steering position, then brought the boat over so he could leave the wheel and take the trace.
To begin this part of the exercise, we need to take a few steps back to the beginning of the fight.
GET THE COCKPIT READY
Early in the fight, when the fish has powered away after the strike, the boat may be left idling forward, or out of gear if the wind is strong enough, as long as the boat is moving away from the fish. At this point the skipper has to leave the wheel and clear the other rods.
If there is no wind, he is going to have to get into some fancy footwork between wheel and cockpit to keep the boat idling away from the fish. Certainly hydraulic steering and autopilots make this much easier.
When lures with razor sharp hooks are retrieved they must be removed from the cockpit or stored somewhere right out of the way. Securing lures does not include sticking a hook through a guide frame, winding trace around a reel or anything else of that nature. It means getting it right out of the way. As each lure is retrieved then, the trace should be un-snapped and the lure and trace either put in the cabin or in some other enclosed storage space. The rods are left in the holders for the moment.
With all the lures secured, the rods are then removed and located right out of the way. This definitely does not mean having them leaning on the gunwales. Put them in a cabin or up in a rocket launcher.
If you store gaffs in side pockets or side racks, it is ideal to have gaffs either side of the cockpit. If you only have a single set of gaffs, wait until you get towards the end of the fight, and depending on the way the boat is facing at that point, locate the gaff you want on the upwind side of the cockpit.
A handy spot to locate a short handled gaff is to hang it over the back of the helm or passenger seat. This keeps it close handy and the point of the hook right out of the way.
TRACE & GAFF
Now we come back to the point where the skipper has left the wheel and has donned gloves. He takes the quick release double wrap (shown at bottom of article) and holds the fish in place or simply grab the leader in the gloved hand and pinch the leader with the thumb and lift hand over hand.
Now you see the advantage of the angler wearing a harness. If he is, he backs the drag off about one quarter, just leaving enough drag on to avoid an overrun if the fish bolts, and takes over the gaff duties with the rod still attached to him by gimbal belt and harness.
A point to note is if the fish is being caught under IGFA rules for points, tourney or record, is that if you put the rod in a rod holder to do the gaffing or tagging the fish is then an illegal capture, plus in case the fish bolts and has to be played back to the boat again.
If, on the other hand, you are tagging the fish then as soon as the tag is placed, the tag is considered to be legal. So the harness allows the angler to take part in the gaffing/tagging, and he is ready to roll if the fish breaks away.
If the angler is not wearing a harness, the nature and duration of the fight become very important. The last thing you want is a wild, green fish at the side of the boat. This can happen when a macho angler using heavy tackle for the size of fish drags it to boat side prematurely, or when too much boat has been used to get alongside the fish when he is still hot.
Generally speaking, fish that have been played out under decent pressure for some time will be relatively docile at the side of the boat, with the exception of sharks. Most sharks seem to save their best for last, and rolling tactics are not only difficult to deal with, they can also do a lot of damage to the boat.
For the boat where the angler is not in harness then, two alternatives are available to keep the capture or tagging legal. The first is that the skipper can handle both the trace and gaff, and the second is that the angler takes a one handed gaff shot, which is relatively simple with anything other than a very large fish or shark.
If the understanding is that the angler will place the gaff, the skipper should have a second gaff handy to go straight to as soon as the first gaff is in place. The idea being that he can quickly take the pressure off the angler who can then get rid of the rod and help boat the fish. When a flying gaff is to be used, the skipper should do the gaffing. Those who chase big fish short handed should make a point of fitting the angler up in a harness as soon as possible to free up their hands to assist when necessary
THE ART OF THE GAFF
You can substitute tag for the word gaff here, depending on the situation. First, be aware I of an element of danger in all of I this. That element of danger increases or decreases according the relationship of the fish to the boat. Given a small enough boat, and a big enough fish, there is a very real possibility for disaster. Boats have had serious damage done when big fish have been tied off on badly fitted undersized cleats and bollards. Other boats have had sterns dragged right under when big sharks have been stuck with a flying gaff secured to an aft cleat.
It is also well worth noting that many serious accidents occur when a wild fish is brought inboard with lure and hooks being swung all over the place in the struggle. Being pinned with a large stainless game hook is a serious business and something to be avoided at all costs especially if using two hooks rigs and one of is still in the fish.
If you want to be good with the gaff, remember this; the art of good gaffing is to learn that gaffs are placed, not swung at the target. You line the point of the gaff up exactly where you want it to go, close to the mark, then you pull it into the fish, using the fish's weight to set the hook.
Never lunge at fish with a gaff, or stick the gaff under water and try to chase the fish around with it. If you can't place the gaff where you want it, you are not ready to gaff the fish. The same thing goes for tagging.
The very best place to go for your gaff shot is in the shoulder of the fish or in the case of a tag just below the dorsal, as this allows a large open area of target, the bulkiest part of the fish to offer resistance to the hook, and the bone structure running right down the fish's back under the dorsel fins also helps hold the gaff in place. In the case of smaller fish for the table a head shot with the gaff will save damaging the flesh.
Allowing for the fact that you are going to rely on the bulk and resistance of the fish to sink the point of the gaff, it is important to keep the size of the gaff in keeping with the size of the fish. If you use too big a gaff, the diameter of the hook will require considerable resistance in the target to be successfully driven home, and you will probably just move a light fish sideways through the water.
If you want a rule of thumb, a gaff with a hook gape that is roughly around a third the depth of the fish would be fairly ideal. A 10cm gaff, for example, would be about right for fish from say 15kg to 30kg. Looking at this selection of gaff heads, it is obvious that it will take a whole lot more effort to drive in the point of the largest flyer than it will to sink the smallest hook. Only use big gaffs when you really need them.
Flying gaffs are not required on billfish under around 90kg, yellowfin don't really require flying gaffs at all, though you'd better be ready to hang on! and nearly all sharks are best handled with a flying gaff due to their habit of rolling once gaffed.
Think carefully before tying a fling gaff off on your cleat and sinking the hook into a big shark. If weight and power goes in favour of the shark, he can very easily get a stern quarter under the water, and at that point the ocean rushing in will continue to tip the odds in his favour. You could find yourself on the losing end of the struggle in a big way.
Going back to that trace, it makes very little sense to skilfully play a fish on a carefully set drag for a couple of hours, then have Rambo grab the trace, dig in and lock up. All manner of things could have happened to your terminal gear during the fight, and the hook might be just sitting in a big hole worn around the point of entry. When Rambo locks up, for the first time in the encounter your terminal gear will be over-worked, and with a quick, powerful jerk against a fixed point, seemingly unbreakable gear will come apart like cotton.
The trace is there to lead the fish, not to be used to overpower it. If it can't be controlled with reasonable pressure, let it go on swimming for awhile.
If you use leather gloves, soak them in water before you use them to make them pliable and to get a better grip. For extra protection and grip you can use leather under silicon covered gloves over them
Pictures 1 to 3 show the steps for a single wrap, which is all you need for most fish. Pic 4 shows the extra wrap for more serious situations, then 5 is the lockup when the hand is closed on the trace. The last picture 6 where simply by opening the hand the trace will spring away from the glove. If it doesn't and you go overboard, you know you hung on just a tad too long.