Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Back in the game!

Well, after a brief hiatus, the TAG team geared up and headed back to the coast of North Carolina for another bout of bluefin tagging. Charles Perry and Andre Boustany headed out to Hatteras where we heard of a good bluefin bite occurring. On Thursday the 22nd we joined Rom Whitaker and his charter aboard the Release. We didn't get any tags out but we had a nice day on the water, which gave us a chance to get our sea legs back.

Friday, the 23rd was the type of day you dream about if you are a bluefin tagger, the type of day on which legends are made, the type of day that brings weaker souls to their knees, begging for mercy, they type of day that old men relive as they share pints in dimly lit pubs. With only a skeleton crew of captain, mate and two scientists, we headed out of Oregon Inlet to try our luck. We encountered large schools of smaller (approximately 40 lbs) bluefin. At times we could see fish busting at the surface in all directions around the boat. The large swell also gave us several glimpses of lines of bluefin surfing in the waves as they moved towards the boat. Truly a sight to behold. The action was fast and furious with multiple hookups throughout the day. The captain's foresight to bring along his electric reels saved the day as it freed up hands to accomplish all the other tasks required for bluefin tagging. Charles Perry took over the jobs of three scientists as he held and irrigated the fish, collected DNA samples, measured the fish and wrote notes. Of course, anyone who has ever met CP knows that he is equal to at least three normal men. CP's superhuman effort freed up Andre to focus on performing surgeries. By the end of the day we had 21 tagged with archival tags. It was a welcome change of pace from earlier in the season when the fishing was significantly slower. Unfortunately, the fast pace of tagging kept us from getting any pictures, but I have included an image of where the fish were caught in relation to SST.

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