I built up a couple handline rigs this fall for some friends and customers who were heading south to Mexico and points beyond. In contrast to a rod with a reel and lightweight line, the handline is a dead simple setup that allows you to land a fish quickly and easily. With a handline, you don't have to stop the boat to land the fish which is a major benefit.
Seattle Marine and Fishing Supply (www.seamar.com) is THE spot in Seattle to get your gear. The ingredients are:
Mustad 78925 hook
Mono crimp sleeve
300lb test monofilament
Heavy duty swivels
Crimper (You can buy your own crimper tool from SeaMar, or just see if you can wheeze theirs while you're in the store)
Predator Grim Reaper skirt (I call it the Purple Midnight)
150lb test tuna leader
First step is attaching the hook with a crimp to a 6 foot section of mono "leader" and threading the skirt over the line.
Next step is attaching a swivel to the other end of the 6 foot leader.
Next, measure out about 200 feet of tuna leader and attach the end to the swivel on the leader. A figure eight knot works well, although I'm sure a tuna fisherman has a better solution!
Leaving 3-4 feet of slack at the boat end of the tuna leader, terminate the line with a bowline at the snubber. Leave some slack in the leader and tie another bowline at the other end of the snubber. The snubber will absorb the shock when a big fish hits! Tie a loop in the end of the line for attachment to a mooring cleat, stanchion base or other fixed point on the boat.
Be prepared for the big one! Normally a decent sized fish will pop up on the surface and drag behind the boat, putting up very little fight. Just pull it in! If the leader is vertical to the surface, you have a big fish on! A gaff is an excellent tool if your boat doesn't have a good swimstep!