STRIPPED DOWN SAILFISHING
Captain Ray Rosher
One of my craziest experiences was the Miami Raft Invitational charity tournament. You have a truck tire inner tube and 30 days to build a raft. So there I was bobbing around the ocean in this homemade raft, surrounded by 12 rods with PENN Spinfisher 950 and International 16VS reels. I managed to hook four sailfish at once, which was insane. Like getting released out of the gate on a bronco—I even left a wake behind. In the end, I caught three 7' sailfish to win the tournament. Muscling 50lb sailfish onboard using only my body and my PENN gear without puncturing the raft: that's a feeling I won't forget.
EARNING YOUR STRIPES
Captain John Luchka
We were set up in New York Harbor by 5am when I noticed striped bass coming up on top. I cast the new Squadron rods about 40 yards, planting a popper on the outskirts of the school. I still get excited seeing striped bass blow up like that. Let the rod bend, pay out some line. This 45-minute battle was really a dance, knowing when to reel and when to let my Spinfisher reel do the work. Before I knew it we'd caught and released 8 stripers, some up to 37lbs—all before dawn. Not a bad start to the day.
Our PENN Fishing University excursion was fishing for yellowfin near the Alijos Rocks, ancient volcanic chimneys 120 miles from Baja. Nothing fights as much as a tuna so your gear, tackle, knots, and even your mental state has to be set just right. I saw this gigantic boil, I mean huge. I gripped my Bluewater Carnage rod with Torque Leverdrag 2 Speed. I felt the fish take the line and waited. I slid my Torque into gear as he made his first run, at least 500 yards. For every 150 yards I got back, he took 50. After 45 minutes and a few more runs I finally had him - 143lbs. Pretty awesome fish in a spectacular setting.