Chasing pelagics is one of my favourite styles of fishing, seeing fish break the surface and chase bait can really get the adrenaline pumping and put excitement levels through the roof! In South East Queensland, we are lucky to have a number of different Tuna and Mackerel species that come within Moreton Bay and the close offshore reefs. I was recently given the opportunity to put the Daiwa Catalina 3500H to the test against some demons and I was pleasantly surprised at how it made fishing for these fish so much easier.
The Catalina was spooled up with PE 3 Tournament 8 Braid and matched with a Daiwa Saltist X rated to 2-4PE. What I really liked about this setup is that it wasn’t overly heavy in the hand. I have been looking for some time at different options and its tricky finding something that is light and comfortable in the hand. When you can spend hours on end casting as far as humanly possible and then cranking your lure back in as fast as you can, a comfortable outfit is a must!
Taking this combo out for its maiden run, we had planned to look for some Mack Tuna that had been around. Not a favourite species amongst many offshore anglers, but they can pull some serious line and I thought it would be a good way to test the rod out. Having spotted some surface activity, we headed straight over to the fish, only to find that they weren’t Tuna, instead they were Spanish Mackerel, big ones too! On my second cast with a sinking stickbait I connected and landed my first fish on the Catalina, the faster gear ratio of the reel made it easier to wind up the slack line during the lure retrieve and most importantly, catch up to the fish when they ran towards the boat. I have lost a number of fish in the past where they have swum towards the boat, created slack in the line and then thrown the hooks. Having a reel that can really crank the line in, made it a lot easier to stay connected.
We had a red hot session on a whole array of species that day and the Catalina performed flawlessly, especially under load, it didn’t feel as if the reel was struggling, a big help when chasing Tuna that can really slug it out under the boat.
Since then I have been able to land some 20kg+ Longtail Tuna on the same combo and it does it with ease! For a lightweight combo it packs some punch and can cast small stickbaits a long way. I have found 35-40gram lures to be the ideal casting weight as you can really rip them out a far distance.
On a recent trip out, my good friend Danh had just lost a monster of a Longtail Tuna to a shark after a 20min battle. Only having lighter gear, I gave him my combo to use, in the hope that he would be able to give the next fish a bit more hurt and land it before the sharks got to make a meal out of it! Sure enough the next fish hit the deck within 10minutes of the hook up, high fives all round as it was a new personal best for Danh.
It’s only early days but to say I’m impressed with the 3500H Catalina is an understatement. I can’t wait to put it through its paces over the coming months as the pelagic action hots up!