Saturday, October 1, 2011

Handline Fishing - I Give Up

Since our only working fishing reel was stolen in Moorea, I have been making valiant attempts to catch fish with a handline. The line on our reel was 60 lb. test, and always seemed to do ok. But on a handline that's much too light - without the drag of a reel to ease the strain, the line broke time after time, even with a bungie cord rigged up to take the load.

Yesterday I rigged a handline with nothing but our 100 lb. monofilament leader material. We're getting short on lures and associated hardware, so Elias and I cobbled something together from an old halibut jig, a silver salmon lure, and some ribbon and frayed cord. For want of a snap, I crimped the new lure directly to a wire leader permanently fixed to the handline. And, you guessed it, the whole setup lasted for one bite, and then was gone.

I am now completely sick and tired of wasting our gear and putting monofilament into the ocean. So all thoughts of eating mahi mahi are on hold until we can get some better gear, hopefully in Pago Pago.

Meanwhile, the sailing is beautiful. I love how gentle the sea can be, so far from land. I started reading Stuart Little to Elias yesterday. Eric spent the day screaming. Galactic continues to sail well in light wind, and we are about half way to Pago Pago. The moon is new, so our view of the stars is undiluted. We haven't seen another vessel since we left Raiatea, eight sailing days ago.


  1. Why don't you use a piece of cloth or leather gloves to grip the line to produce "drag" when the fish bite and run.

  2. hey , there's a technique to it, wear something on your guiding hand and grab the ring caster with your other, when you get the bite make sure its set then proceed to let line run out periodically by turning the face of the caster out towards the fish. Your using your hand as drag, my father has done alot of times on tarpon over 80lbs+ and received *smoked fingers* where the nylon cuts him because he doesn't use gloves but he lands the fish, take care and keep at it.

  3. Hi, there.

    We handline here in the Virgin Islands for a living. Just a suggestion for you. Cut an inner tube from a bicycle tire into two two-inch strips. Put a strip on each of your index fingers. When the fish is caught, haul the line, using your index fingers and thumbs. Works great and no need for gloves!

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  5. My first fish ever was on handline made wood &green line it was flatfish tall as me+- to this day I still use handlines 60+years I'll never forget the first big flatty I caught.thanks dad.