Sunday 26 May 2019

Tintin Angling Society Update

Rejoining TinTin in Bora Bora consumed a not insignificant portion
of my baggage allowance due to the extensive array of fishing gear that
we brought with us. Having installed new rod holder and shiny two speed
Shimano reel we had high expectations of filling the fridge with a
surfeit of fish.
Day 1 had the reel screaming and a dramatic display from a Black
Marlin as it went airborne in a a highly successful display of how to
throw a hook. Day 2 started with another reel screamer this time a
Blue Marlin which had studied at the same school of hook throwing as
the Black marlin and after yet another aerial display we retrieved
the lure - we hooked three further fish on Day 2 with one hook
straightened out and the others also managing to free themselves.
Some murmurings about lack of fishing prowess and when were we going to
have fish for dinner started to surface.
Day 3 and another screaming reel, another Blue Marlin, the biggest yet,
but due to some lure rearrangement and additional hook attachments this
one was unable to free itself - game on!
We managed to retrieve a couple of hundred metres of line and put some
tension back on the fish when it decided that it wasn't here to play,
changed into top gear and with the reel smoking and me hanging on for
dear life, with the drag on the reel set at max, we watched helplessly
as the Marlin stripped every last turn of line from the reel ending in a
loud twang as the line parted from the reel.
We resorted to the backup rod, a smaller Penn reel loaded with 25kg
line and just on sunset the line took off on a big run heading deep, no
aerial displays, suggesting this time it wasn't a Marlin even though it
was pulling like one. After about 10 minutes of line retrieval and runs
from the fish I was starting to feel uncomfortable in my newly repaired
right arm and discretion took over from valour as I called to Pim to
come and take over what looked like might be an extended battle as the
fish wasn't giving in and felt quite sizeable. For a long time it was
stalemate with neither fish nor Pim seeming to gain the upper hand.
Eventually Pim started to manage to get a couple of turns on the reel
with each working of the rod, after 50 minutes and a fantastic effort
from Pim who said he couldn't feel his arms anymore, we finally had our
first sight of the fish as it came to the surface - totally spent.
A huge Yellow Fin tuna rolled over beside the boat, I grabbed the gaff
and drove it into the fish - Pim handed the rod to Nicki and he and I
hauled on the gaff to try and get the fish on-board but it was too
heavy and then disaster struck as the gaff hook parted from the
handle..... but the fish was still hooked. It was pitch dark by this
stage and raining heavily, but how to get the fish on-board? Clipped
onto the boat with my lifeline and lifejacket, I leant over the side of
the boat and forced a line in the the gills of the tuna and out through
its mouth - at last we could relax a little. Rob rigged a pulley from
the bottom of the boom and we used a winch to haul the fish on-board
with Pim and I arm in either side of the gill to haul the fish over the
toe rail.
Our weigh scales only go to 50kg, we estimated conservatively that
the fish was around 60kg and we started to work on filleting - it
wasn't pretty but then we didn't really have a knife of suitable
dimensions for the duty! Dinner was supplemented with pan fired tuna
steaks and sashimi - next port we'll be looking for the gallon sized
containers of soy sauce and wasabi....

Pim has sore arms this morning and I've got a few bruises but very
pleased with ourselves on this great catch - we should arrive in
Suwarrow in time to share with the rest of the fleet.
No fishing today - no space to store any more.

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