Friday, January 9, 2009

El Tejano


Monday, January 5th the fishing luck at Morehead City was with the TAG-A-Giant team aboard the Tagging Boat Sensation. Our vessel was joined by a new member of the TAG team- the El Tejano (The Texan)- a beautiful Bertram from South Carolina owned By Mr. John Hill. John is board member of the Tag A Giant Foundation and a great champion of bluefin tuna. John’s team had never caught a giant bluefin aboard El Tejano, and came up Sunday after a 9 hour journey to join us in our efforts to place archival and pop up satellite tags on giant bluefin. We went out on a very nice Monday, after a slow Sunday for the TAG team but good bite for Morehead commercial fishers, and in the early morning dark it was clear, with a glance at the radar screen- we were not alone- 50-60 boats were right there, with us, angling to catch a bluefin to sell to Japan. The market prices had hit new highs over the holiday weekend. Fish in Morehead were going for big dollars and the fleet was focused on catching fish. In the pitch black of early am night- we got the call- “fish on” from the El Tejano team. It was almost as if we were hearing things. We were shocked- again- perhaps beginner’s luck or maybe the El Tejano team was just kidding when they said they had never caught a giant. So we quickly took in our gear- we had just put out- and plotted a course for the vessel. It was the still dark as we slowly moved toward the our team mates- I went over all the scenarios in my head of how we would do this- given it was dark and asked our mate Alan, if we had deck lights- we had Bill Hitchcock the camera man aboard too and it would be hard to capture the moment, let alone do surgery, without light- we did not have deck lights! Surgery in the dark is never easy. Luckily, dawn broke, and as we moved the 2 nautical miles or so over- to the vessel we politely nicknamed “El Taco”- finally we could see the action. Once we arrived it was amazing to see John Hill guiding the vessel and Dave his Captain in the chair. We had gone over with Charlie the mate- how to do a transfer less than 12h before and there he was with a wind on leader- trying his first transfer in the early dawn. After a few trying moments Charlie successfully transferred the fish and than it was ours and we were psyched because long time friend of TAG, former leader man- and Merchant Marine- Joey Smith was our angler. Joey brought the fish to leader- a strong fish – and Alan began his campaign to bring the fish in on 220# leader. It took about 15’ but sure enough we put the fish in the boat. The bluefin was lit up- you can see its bars above- as Andre irrigated the gills. I placed an archival tag into the fish- and within minutes we turned the fish around and sent him swimming amongst the fleet- It was a nice fish about 86 inches long. What a moment, all on film, our great supporter- John Hill and his team- Congrads to all for a fine TAG A Giant moment! There were only 3 bites this day- and it was great letting a big fish go- Barb

1 comment:

Dazy said...

I like to hear these sea experiences - more I get from my uncle, who is a sport fisher.