Come Full Circle When the moment of truth comes and a marlin is in the mix, the circle hook will serve you well. Use the circle-hook Ilander-and-ballyhoo combo to your advantage to drive the hook home. Set the drag at about ten percent of the rated breaking strength of the fishing line, and crank it up to nearly 25 percent at full strike. For example: With 50-pound line, set the trolling drag at five pounds once your lines are in position, and 12 pounds at full strike. Leave the reel clicker on. Here's how the hit-and the hookset-break down. - G.P.
1) A marlin hits the bait, either piling on a flat-line bait or popping the fishing line from the outrigger clip. Allow the line to be pulled off the reel as necessary. Preventing a catastrophic backlash, the light drag setting lets the marlin take the bait without sensing much resistance-it feels natural. The fish should manipulate the bait in its mouth-crushing it, turning it and swallowing it headfirst-without feeling the distracting pressure of the hook point.
2) When you feel the marlin has really got a good handle on the bait-usually when the marlin turns and swims away with it, pulling line off the reel at a fast clip-advance the drag to "strike." With the heavier drag, the rod will bend over and the line will be pulled through the corner of the marlin's jaw as it swims, allowing the circle hook to set.
3) Now the marlin will feel the hook and know something is up. It will race off, taking line at an incredible pace. Now, with the hook set properly, you can put the heat to the marlin. Let the fight begin.