A few tricks have been proven to outsmart or “out-muscle” big fish, providing anglers with the chance to turn the tables. A sterling example occurred in June, when Daniel Delph and I ran 75 miles west of Key West to the Dry Tortugas. A light-tackle specialist, Delph suggested we use gear no heavier than 20-pound. Basically, we were going into Jurassic Park with slingshots.
On our first drop in 250 feet, something huge devoured my pinfish. Using a spinning reel filled with 20-pound braid, a 40-pound fluoro leader and a 4/0 3X-strong hook, I couldn’t stop the fish; it powered straight to the bottom and rocked up. It wasn’t budging either. Enter trick No. 1: free-spool mode.