Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fish On!

On December 14th (I know, my posts are not very chronological or timely, but give me a break, I'm on "cruiser's time") it was a quiet afternoon watch with not much happening.  I had rigged a cedar plug with a vibrant yellow squiggly jig and added a piece of the skipjack I had caught a few days back for added measure.  The skipjack had a very strong taste and Richard and I decided that it would make better bait than meals for us.  I had tried making fish tacos one day for lunch with a bit of the fish but the fish was too strong flavored and not necessarily in a good way so into the bait box it went.  When I was cutting a strip off of the fillet to add to the hook, Richard commented on how nasty it smelled and reminded me that I was fishing and not trying to catch crabs (I frequently use rotting fish refuse as bait for crabs, Dungeness crabs love that stuff).

One for the Bournival Fishing Album.
About two hours later as I was sitting under a cloudy sky listening to my iPod at the helm with Richard below on his off-watch, I noticed the line start to peel out of my reel.  “Richard, I think I got something on my rod!” I yelled down below to rouse Richard.  I put the boat on autopilot and got the rod out of the rod holder on the aft-port rail.  I immediately felt something fighting back and knew that I had something a little more substantial than the puny little skipjack I had hooked into the other day.  As I reeled the line in, and subsequently the fish peeled more out, I told Richard that if the fish was too big for the net, we might have to use the gaff hook so Richard went below to get it, just in case.

A 37 inch, 22+ pound Wahoo.
The closer the fish got to the boat the better I was able to see what was on the business end of my line.  It looked huge!  It wasn’t until I had the fish alongside the boat that I realized what I had hooked into…a wahoo!  It took us a bit of time to actually get the fish into the cockpit; the net proved to be pretty much useless as the boat kept bouncing up and down in the swell and the gaff hook has too short of a handle.  In a final effort to get this fish in the boat, I lifted the rod and the fish out of the water (I know, Gregg, a major no-no!) and Richard grabbed the line, lifted and swung the monster into the cockpit.  As he stood there holding the line allowing the fish to hang its full length, I got my first glimpse of what a real fish looked like.  Long and slender, with beautiful blue-green stripes; it was the most aerodynamic fish I think I’ve ever seen.

Neatly packaged, labeled, and ready for freezing...
couldn't be easier!
I got the mallet out and quickly gave the fish a couple of blows to the head to knock him out as he was thrashing about the cockpit spewing blood and whatnot everywhere.  Once he was quieted, Richard took pictures and I began the task of filleting this guy as quickly as I could.  It didn’t take too long before I had eight nice-sized wahoo steaks cut out and two tail fillets.  I then began looking at the scraps I had produced and decided that I could carve out some nice fish chunks that might make a great fish fry or some awesome wahoo tacos.  The cleanup done, I returned to the helm and finished my watch plus took an hour of Richard’s watch as he had taken over for me as I brought the fish in and filleted it.  All in all, not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon.

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