Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GT Fishing 100.15: Rods, Lures, Reels etc etc

Few excellent articles was written regarding GT fishing 101.
1) Written by Sifu Brandon Khoo - Carpenter Rod tester
2) Written by GT Fisher

Mine is just mumbling 100.15.....

GT aka Giant Trevally aka Caranx ignobilis, ((also known as the giant kingfish, lowly trevally, barrier trevally, ulua, kuwe gerong) is the most sought after fish for top water angler.

I started GT popping fishing in 2006 with my 1st trip to Maldives using Mas Hibaru boat.  Kinda new to popping, the only leader knot i knew then is modified Albright knot and bimini twist.  Armed with Shino GT Pop PE8 rod and Custom Extreme Graphite 86 PE 4-6 rods.  Reels are  TiCA Taurus TP6000H and Daiwa FreamJ 4500.  Lures introduced to me by tackle shop is all time favorite Yozuri Surface Bull GT 100g + Surface Cruiser 100g.  That was 10 years ago.

Examples of Yozuri Surface GT Bull poppers

In 10 years, with the advancement of internet and smartphone, i gather a lot of knowledge regarding GT popping.

Let’s starts with offshore casting GT rods.  I was told that GT casting fishing was established in its current form in Japan nearly two decades ago. Need to check the history of GT popping.  I also was told that it started from the invention of the Pili popper from a guy named Dr.Peter Dunn-Rankin in Hawaii.

Popular Japanese brands dominated this section since year 1996.  Brands such as Carpenter, Hammerhead, Fisherman, Sevenseas, Smith, Ripple Fisher, Hots, Shimano, Daiwa, Palms, Daiko, Patriot Design, Tenryu, Valley Hills, Yamaga Blank and Zenaq are some that we are familiar with. Each brand claims that they have the best GT popping rods.  These rods are normally between 7 feet to 9 feet long of Medium Heavy to Extra Heavy actions.  Now days average of 8 feet long rods are the favorites. "Old day’s technologies" will give the weight for each rod between 450g to 550g.  With the current tech, new version or models are sub-400 grams.

For the past 5 years (2011-16), few brands came up as the sought after brand in GT popping, namely Carpenter, Hammerhead, Ripplefisher, FCLlabo and Hots. Just like other things, buying rods and collect them is very addictive.  It will empty your wallet in no time.

For a beginner, it is hard to choose which brand to start with. Also bear in mind that, GT fishing is a niche art of fishing.  Few questions need to be answered first before decided to buy which model and brand of popping rods. Examples:-

1) Any health problems i.e. backache or slip-disc problems?
2) Do you have strong arms and legs?
3) Where do you want to use the rods?  Boat? Reef? Drop-off? LBG?
4) From what you gather, how big is the biggest GT and what is the average size in your targeted area?
5) Can you cast 60-80 meter 150gram big mouth chugger and chug it whole day?

Why do i ask questions? Because from my experience there is NO ALL PURPOSE GT popping rod!!!!  GT popping is very niche market.

Any backache or slip-disc problems?
(Pics courtesy of Carpenter and other friends)

GT rods come with rating and characteristic such as its purpose e.g. popper or stickbait rod, length, weight, line poundage, max lure size and max drag.  Beginner need to choose wisely as GT rods doesn't come cheap.  Price ranges from JPY40,000 to JPY250,000!!!!  Note that i used JPY coz most of them are made in Japan.  Note there is also other very good brand that is NOT made in Japan.

Asked every GT anglers out there, if they have RESOURCES and opportunity, which brand they will buy first?  Probably more than 50% population will answer one brand.  Carpenter.  Currently Carpenter is leading in term of the most expensive rod in auction site.  Actually i have no idea why. Is it about high quality? Or durability? Usability? 2nd hand value? Low production? Legendary? Marketing? Each angler has he's own reason.

Next question. Is rod dictated lure size or the other way? Each GT rod has been design with max lure size, specific tip action and characteristic. Generally, either popper rod or stick-bait rod. Remember niche market?  I think the ultimate goal for angler is to find the ONE GT rod that cast and play popper and stickbait. I don't think manufacture will give that to you. It doesn't serve their business model and marketing strategies. Anyway, search around in forum or FB, regarding this question:  If you allowed bringing only ONE rod for GT fishing, what is the model/brand?

Back to normal GT popping excursion, say targeting GT between 15-60kg at drop-off and on the reef, average GT angler tend to bring at least 4 rods that cover from PE6~8 to PE12, from large mouth popper to stickbait rod.  We can put easily 6 rods in Carmate rodcase or Natureboys rodcase.  For those to owned Series 2 or 3 Sporttube case, easily they will bring 6-12 rods.

For me, i will bring at least 6 rods due to JIC virus. JIC = Just In Case. Due to my physical factor and age, i skipped PE12.  So 3 popping and 3 stickbait rod, ranging from PE6, PE8 and PE10. Some part of the world, it was suggested that we need PE12-15 class rod their big and strong GTs.  I still haven't got chances to go.

"Go Big or Go Home" will always ring a bell in GT anglers mind.  You traveled far. Be well prepared and don't let equipment spoiled your trip to catch your dream size GT.  Some part of the world where average GT ranging from 10-30kg, i think we can survive with PE4-PE8 rods.  Do search and ask around regarding your targeted area of GT fishing.

Carpenter Monster Hunter series

Personally, i love if my excursion is 100% GT popping. Kinda downhearted if there is also jigging event.  This doesn't mean i hate jigging, i love them. Only that jigging rods will also occupy spaces in rod case, and reduce the quantity of my popping rods.

So many lure manufactures and brand out there.  Some manufactures produced GT rods and GT lures and paired them.  Each of us will have favoritism on brands i.e. which lure works best for them.  Ten years ago, my favorite lure is Yozuri GT Surfacebull 120g and Adhek Bali Mini Gecko 120.  Today, i don't think i have favoritism anymore. Hehehe.  i bought lures mainly to use them.  Yeah..probably bought 3 sets i.e. 1 for use, 1 for backup and 1 for display (only if i have RESOURSES and OPPORTUNITY).

Few question been asked on what lure to bring, what color, what size. Ahhh color!!!!  Luckily we got only 7 color in the rainbow!!!  Do GT sees color? i don't know the answer.   I have seen GT took black lure, white lure, orange colored lure, pink lure, blue, green, red, brown, magenta, purple, yellow, and psychedelic art lure. Even, i have seen GT took a raw wood lure in front of my eyes. My opinion, lure action and bubble trails is more important than color.  For me, i can work with the lure well if i can see them clearly. Also for me the finishing and the durability of paint and coating is more important. So, what do i bring, say for 5 days big GT excursion.  I will bring at least 10-15 popper, 10-15 stickbait, 5-10 sinking stickbait, plus just-in-case back-up lures!!!!!Hmmm mobile tackleshop!!! JIC!!! Most of the time i only used 1/4 of them.  Too many back-ups!!!

Brands in the house includes Adhek Bali, Carpenter, Crafbait, FCLlabo, Fish Tripper Village, Fisherman, Fullscale, Hammerhead, Mangrove Studio, Native Works, Orion, Patriot Design, Sevenseas, Shell Shaping etc.  Do i bring all? No!!!  Depends on the target location, area, GT size, boat size, how many anglers, etc etc.

Currently, for chugger, i will bring D & E cup of Hammerheads, Craftbait GT2 150, and GT3 150, Carpenter Twinhooks 120 and Anthias 120, Fullscale Kong 180 and 200 and PD Masterbomb 150. Most of the time 3 rods will be tied with one Seafrog Twinhook 120, one D-cup and one diving chugger of Nativeworks Napalm 220.

Example of 2011 Carpenter Seafrog 120 Twin Hook

As for swimbait, Orion Bigfoot 100 and 140 is a must in every trip. I am also heavily bias to Carpenter Gamma 120-140-160 and Bluefish 140.
Example for lures that i brought to Sambit Island, Indonesia
Do learn on how to play all your lures, to get maximum action and entice GT to bite your lures. Splashes, sound, bubble trails and S swim-like-fish will gave you maximum effectiveness.  From my experience,  80% big GT bites from the 1st four chugs.  So practice!!!  For me, the hardest practice is making the "blop" sound from E & G-cups and bubble trails from gammas.  Easiest lure to work with is Nativeworks Napalm 220.

Lures are not cheap, do take care after each trip by cleaned and rinsed. After dried, I normally stored them in air tight container filled with silica gel, to absorb more moisture from the wood.

Example of Nativework Napalm lures

Example of keeping lures with silica gel

Examples of Carpenter GammaLures

What do i used for Reels, Lines, Knots and Terminal Tackles
Few years back, i owned both Daiwa Saltiga and Shimano Stella popping reels. As for today, i sold all Daiwas and just keep Stellas. Why? I prefer not to answer.

As for lines, i used to like Varivas Avani GT, Varivas Avani SMP and Tufline. In 2015, i have been taught on how to properly tie "Okubo-knot" to replace FG knot.  This to avoid wind-knot formation during casting.  Kinda hard to twist doubles using Avani GT and SMP, so change to the more cheaper but proven 100lb PowerPro Red Braided Line. Also by holding to the twisted double during casting, line frays is very minimal.  So far i have been casting for full 10 days (2 trips) with out having a single windknot!!!  For me it's proven and working.

Basically, Okubo knot is a combination of bimini twist, twisted double and Uni knot. You can learn them in DVD Kozo Okubo - Legend 5 or Youtube search for "ironman gt knot".  I optionally do not do the crimping of twisted 300lb bite leader, thou.

Note there so many knots to connect line to leader to lures.  Do learn them very hard. When i tied knots to others, i always say, "this knot is proven, but not guaranteed".

How do i tie my terminal tackles

Twisted leader

There many brand for terminal tackle out there.  As for swivels. i used NT Power swivels. As for split rings, my favorites which readily available in market is Owner HyperWire #9 and #10.  Probably luck on my side as i still haven't faced with opened split ring failure.  There are other good quality GT splitring eg. DECOY Heavy Class, VARIVAS Heavy Duty Split Ring, etc etc. Some GT fisherman swears that the brand they used is the ultimate-no-failure-brand. Asked around and up to you to decide.

As for treble hooks, currently i am using 4 brands i.e. Katsuichi Decoy, Gamakatsu GT Recorder, Vanfook Blue Takumi treble hook and Cultiva Owner.  During old days the only hooks that made available to me is only Cultiva Owner which landed me a lot of fish. Nowdays rarely i use Cultiva Owner for big game popping.  From my experience, Katsuichi Decoy's hook points and gap gave less hook mark on those "hard-to-get" lures.

Note also, GT lures are "sensitive" to hooks size.  Some manufacture suggested brand and size to use on their lure. Some will stated only hook weight.

I used 1 litre 3 compartment rectangular Lock&Lock Food Container for my hook storage.  All hooks, i marked with Sharpie marker i,.e red for 6/0, blue for 5/0, black for 4/0.  Easy for me to sort and picked.  Hooks are not cheap. After each trip, i cleaned and take care of the rust.

Hmmm what else? What do i used for GT popping?
As for pliers i bought few split ring pliers but only two that i will never leave home without them i.e. Daiwa 125H and Owner GP60 pliers. Owner GP60 pliers comes with two needles which very usefull to untie windknots.  With 125H, i easily used Owner splitring #9 and #10 to Decoy 6/0 hooks.

Gloves are essential for GT popping. Nowdays i only use what is proven to me i.e. comfortable, easy to dry, easy to get replacement, good grip and rotate between Fisherman gloves, Carpenter gloves and Shout gloves. Please wash and dry gloves after you hold the fish for pics. Use new or dried gloves for the next popping session.  Beware slippery gloves will emptied your wallet.  Friend of mine lost his set to a big GT due to slippery gloves.  Gloves are not cheap.  Don't sacrifice your rod, reel, popper due to saving and buying cheap gloves.

My first GT fighting belt is SevenSeas GT Tuna Belt #Yellow.  I found that very useful during jigging.  Kinda disliked of the middle shallow for butt section.  Currently my favorite is Hot's LT Metal Light Belt Type ll.  There are other brands that looks and works great eg. MC Works and Carpenter fighting gimbal.

Lure bags?  Nope i just used normal waterproof dry bags for lure such as MC Works drybag and Hypergear bags...etc.

Anymore to write? I did covered all rite?

I am not claim to be an authority in the field of rod, lure and equipment testing and the use of any information on this site is at the user’s and buyer's own risk.  All above writing is just my feedback and opinion.  Please browse official sites for more accurate explanation and description. While I make every effort to provide accurate and complete information, i provide no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of any information on this site. I welcome suggestions on how to improve this site’s content and correct errors. 
Lure MAX and line MAX and notation of drag value are reference level. Please consider casting methods and fighting methods etc. as it changes with the person who uses it.
Those who are expert the basics of loading method properly can use bigger lures and even use thicker lines.
Rod weight is a numerical value when measuring the prototype rod. Please acknowledge that there are some errors at the time of product.
Rod Specifications Parts are subject to change without prior notice for improvement. Please note that.


Anonymous said...

this was very precise. thank u so much for taking the time to write it down for newbies like myself. u have single handedly helped me out in regards of my hunt for gt`s. great article.extremely helpful.

Boy R said...

Hi there! Can u help me to order carpenter rod as i couldn't find any agent in Singapore to order the rod as well as accesseries. It will be convenient if i just liase with 1 party. Pls get back ASAP thanks...

Wan Izhan said...

Daer Boy R, please liase with

Telephone number +65-63960982
E-mail address

Unknown said...

Gt popping did not start from Japan.It started from the invention of the Pili popper from a guy named Dr.Peter Dunn-Rankin in Hawaii.Japanese individuals are great copiers though.

Badiuzzaman Mohmad Nor said...

Very good writing bro...