Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An angler’s perspective on trench warfare

George Shillinger provides an angler’s perspective on tuna tagging research.

I thought that it might be exciting for our readers to provide an angler’s perspective on the fishing and tag deployment experience off Greymouth, New Zealand. I received the following email from angler, Tom Thomson, who is featured within my birthday bluefin blog in this series, regarding our trip on Aug 27-28, 2008.

Christchurch, New Zealand Angler Tom Thomson reports to George Shillinger about his experiences on the Cerveza 2:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hi George,

Great to hear from you….

We all arrived back very tired on the Thursday night and I found it really tough trying to keep my eyes open for the 3 hour trip back to Christchurch whilst the other drifted in and out of sleep. We had probably one of the most memorable fishing trips we will ever experience and they are still raving about it.

We had some of the fish in a raw state but most of it has been smoked and vacuum packed and it is amazing how many friends you have at times like this. The general impression is that is the best smoked fish we have ever had.

The guys who I brought with me were Craig Tapling, Murray Knight, and Steve Muldoon. In the photo below, Murray is on my left, Craig is beside me and Steve is crouched down beside the fish.

Figure 1: Anglers Murray Knight (left), Tom Thomson (center), Craig Tapling (right), and Steve Muldoon (kneeling) crouch alongside their giant bluefin. (Image: Deckie Redz)

We fished in the order, Craig (broke off after 10 mins when the reel parted company with the rod under the pressure), Murray (about 2.5hrs), Steve (about 2 hrs) and then me(3.25hrs). Murray's was probably the biggest I think and broke off, like Steve's at the leader while trying to get tags in place. We believe that most of them were around the 250kg mark which is fairly average for the area.

Figure 2: A bluefin about to be released from the trace. (Image: Tom Thomson)

Their fight times were around the 2 hour mark but fish were coming in green and full of fight and causing an immense amount of pain to the deckies. I decided to try and tire my fish out a bit more so that we had a better chance of tagging and releasing him, hence the 3.25 fight time.

I've nicknamed mine 'GT' because he was ultra high performance and is derived from our initials (George and Tom). I've assumed that GT survived the next few days as you mentioned the tag would release if he didn't move for 3 days so I guess we now wait for your next birthday and hope the tag pops up and down loads the information as expected.

Figure 3: Heading for home on the Cerveza 2 (Image: Tom Thomson).

Our group is loosely associated through our jobs and this trip was the culmination of a year's planning. We have all been game fishing before but agreed that this is unlike anything we have seen or experienced and is a once in a lifetime adventure for most of us. Craig and Steve came down from Auckland and Murray and I are from Christchurch.

What other information would you like?

I'm interested in any information you may have on GT and his(her?) exploits.

Kind regards


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