Sunday, April 10, 2011

Small Fish, Big Fish

I was supposed to attend a baseball tournament today (as a player), but when Yukibo the marlin captain said he was going fishing, I went to the house of the baseball team organizer and asked him if one less guy would be okay.  He said okay, so I was on the boat at 6:30am this morning.

Usually we just troll big squid lures all day in an attempt to coax a marlin up from the depths, but today we went to a payao, which is a Fish Attractant Device.  It's an underwater buoy where small fish and seek protection from the bigger fish that congregate around it for food.  It makes a great offshore fishing location.

We trolled for a bit then started jigging up yellowfin tuna.  Most were in the 2-3lb. range, though I got one that went 10-12lbs.  We were a couple hours into it and I was getting my rhythm down when I hooked a small tuna at about 70m.  I brought him up pretty quickly and just as I was preparing to grab the line and hoist him into the boat, a huge marlin came up from below and tried to eat the tuna on my line.  As you can imagine, having a 3m fish come out of nowhere at full speed and try to eat bait only 2m away from me was a big surprise.  There was a lot of yelling immediately following as we knew we needed to try to catch this marlin.  The captain jumped into motion and started setting up a bait hook on a big game rod and reel (the one I was using had 50lb test line with 100lb test leaders and there's no way I could've managed a marlin).  The other fisherman and I watched as the marlin circled beneath the boat.  One time it appeared he was going to swim off so I threw my live tuna back in the water (still attached to my line) to draw him back in, but I pulled it out when he got close.  At this point Yukibo was ready so I unhooked the little tuna off my hook and then took the giant marlin hook and threaded it through the tuna's upper lip, then immediately threw it overboard.  The marlin was on the opposite side of the boat, but we all watched excitedly as he saw the tuna and darted over to take the bait.  At this point he started swimming off and Yukibo let him go, with the reel on free-spool (no drag, so the marlin is free to take as much line as he wants).  We did this for about 200m, then locked it down and took off in the boat to set the hook:

I had been doing the free spooling until I thought about the video, so I handed the pole off to Naoki.  I'm really glad now that when I came back I asked him if I could take the rod from him and fight this fish.

The marlin started jumping just after I turned off the video, but with only three of us on board I we just couldn't afford to have one of us doing video.

It took about 25 minutes to bring the marlin up alongside the boat, at which point Yukibo manned the pole and operated the boat (a very important part of landing the fish) via a remote control while Naoki handlined the fish up alongside the boat and I speared him.  I got a spear in behind the gills in a good spot, but when we tied off the spear rope to the boat the fish started going nuts and actually ripped the spear point out of his gills, which were bleeding.  Then he swam off.  We all moaned, but then quickly realized the original hook was still in him and he was still attached to the pole (oftentimes once there is slack in the main line the hook will slip out, which is what could have happened after I speared him).  So I had to fight him another 20 minutes before the bleeding from my spear wound caught up and weakened him enough that we could get him up alongside the boat and really bury the second spear and the gaffes.

We fished for tuna for another 2 hours and ended up bringing 42 of them home along with the 85kg blue marlin, my first for the season and sixth(?) in my life.

[We used Yukibo's smaller boat which is on the wrong side of the marina from where we clean fish]


[cleaning and cutting] 



Mom said...

Wowee - that's a big one! I see they paraded it along the "main street" in front of your apartment! Congrats on a good day's catch :-)

Anonymous said...

Yes, your karma is very good!