it was a little bit windy that day. i would say around 15 gusting to maybe 25 knots. usually we head in if its a sustained 25-30 knot wind. this is a trolling boat with 4 lines on the port and 4 lines on the starboard. the jigs are called zukers that look like a squid and run across the surface of the water. the tuna will come up and strike at the jigs. when that happens a bell will ring and you pull in the filament line that is about the size of an e string on an acoustic guitar in by hand. these lines reach out 45-30-20-10 feet out from the boat. when you catch some big fish 20 pounds and over, their instinct is to dive straight down to get away from the boat which sometimes get the lines crossed, so you have to learn fast about which line goes over and under what when you get the fish in.
you could get a school following your boat and you could be pulling
fish non stop for an hour, or there could be no fish and you're keeping
your eyes on the horizon looking for birds which often mean there is a
jumper school feeding on anchovies. you can see jumper schools from
quite a distance because it looks like the sea is boiling.
you are up at the point the sun just starts to crest over the horizon
and you're done when the sun dips below, which means you're in your
boots 16 hours a day always ready for fish. if you are eating dinner
and the bell rings you stop eating and go get it. sometimes you won't
be able to go back to your dinner for half and hour and when you get
back your food is cold. thats just the way it is though. to me there
was nothing better than going to sleep after the waves have been
beating you up all day and waking up to see the ocean is flat and the
sky looks like fire. i find myself always thinking about the ocean,
because after spending two weeks out there with nothing to see the
horizon and the sky becomes your landscape. you are often 200kms from the beach so it really is another world.
no its not as crazy as the guys on the deadliest catch, but you can still fall overboard during the day, the worst would be when you are running the boat at night and the captain is sleeping. they find a lot of deckhands with their flies open because they fell in at night and all they could do is resign themsevles as they watched the boat run away. you also have to worry about getting run over by a freighter at night. so thats on your mind when you go to sleep. if you have a lot of boats around you which you sometimes did (40 boats sometimes, the horizon looked like a city) the freighters will steer clear. strength in numbers.
you can see where i was in the ocean by going here. I used the SPOT satellite messenger to record where i was at that moment. ignore the whistler marks, HAHA.
in that video had to be careful because its easy to slip over the side
when you get the fish in, especially for the more heavy ones. you're
the only one back there and if you fall over and the skipper doesn't
check on your regularly you can easily drown, unless you're so
fortunate to scream loud enough.
this video is from my last day. we got some nice slugs, but only 80 fish. the checks are 34 inches lengthwise to give you an idea of the scale of fish. i would say there were all around 25 pounds. huge fish considering the average is usually around 12 pounds. tuna also make a mess, and have this uncanny ability to flick blood into your eye. and yes the ocean can be this calm. even calmer. calm enough to paddle a canoe around.
sometimes you're fortunate enough to see dolphins. this was about 40 km out of newport oregon. dolphins are funny because they like to show off and know when people are watching them. after i left the bow they left because i guess they figured they no longer had an audience. as they are swimming you can see them tilt their bodies so their eye can have a good look at you. in that short time i could tell they have intelligence.
the boat wood boat from '79 48.5 feet. wood boats ride the ocean better than 'glass or steel. absorb the waves like a luxury car does bumps.
weather is better so the fleet is heading out. all tuna boats. westport, WA
even the birds knew it was a slow day. deadhead log in the middle of the ocean. we use these birds to help us find the fish, when they sittin around like that we called them welfare birds. quite often they had no idea wtf was going on so they would follow the boat hoping we knew where the fish were
tuna are a beautiful fish. great coloring. they almost look fake. this one was 36 pounds 36 inches
and like i said, its another world
if you have any questions about how the fishing industry works or don't
like what fisherman do, post it and maybe i can confirm this or fix
some misconceptions. and