Saturday, October 31, 2009
TAG A Giant fishers from Nova Scotia and PEI- teamed up to produce 4 hook- ups and while one fish pulled hook, three giant bluefin made it to the back of the tagging vessel. Angel Brailyn hooked up first- made the transfer and than we lost the fish just at the lip hook point when the leader touched the hull. It's happenned before for sure (ask TAG wiremen CP Perry & Daryl Brower). Neptuna hooked up in the late afternoon. This fish was brought aboard and measured 261 cm and was estimated at about 750 lbs. and received a tag. Next was Angel Brailyn who had hooked up earlier. They passed the rod again and fought for about 1 hour into the night. The fish was brought aboard in excellent condition and measured 268 cm and was girthy- so estimated about 800 lbs. The ocean was very lively today. Birds everywhere diving on bait. Hundreds of dolphins with us all day. Bluefin were mixed in with them and often seen breaking surface in the middle of groups of dolphins. Some were jumping clear of water- 800 lb fish jumping completely out of the water about 100 feet from the boat.
We're so pleased to have put two more long-term satellite tags in true Canadian giants. We've got at least 10 PATs out all in very big fish- some estimated at 1200 to 1300 lbs. The pop up satellite tags will give us the long distance movements (we can estimate position approximately on a daily schedule or at least get positions several times a week) to help better understand the movements and migrations of the giants that visit the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We'll get a window into their breeding schedules in the Gulf of Mexico and potentially teh Mediterranean Sea. We'll be "listening" for the acoustic tagged fish that with their new pinger tags that will deliver a coded data set that says the number of the tag, sort of "here I am tuna 42034". We can track them within about 300-400m of a listening post- or "receiver" line - one is now located in Cabot Straight and potentially they may acoustically hit another Halifax line off the Nova Scotian shelf. These tags have the potential for long-term monitoring. We hope to "hear" them next season come into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Lines are maintained by the Ocean Tracking Network of which Dr. Mike Stokesbury from our team has a leading role. The acoustic tags were supplied for this very first experiment of external tags (Last year we did internal acoustics) from TAG A GIANT- another first!
Special thanks to our super tag team from Nova Scotia (Dennis, Steve, Bernie and Peter and their mates) and PEI (Bruce Kues et al.) led by Dr. Steve Wilson and students Aaron S. and Naiomi P.. We had challenging weather this season over the 18 days we were camped there, but we're very pleased to have put out satellite and acoustic tags on so many big fish. The water temperature is cooling so we know the bluefin will be heading south shortly. Great fishing here in Canada and some fine fishermen helping garner new knowledge on bluefin tuna.
Monday, October 26, 2009
The radio cracks with the voice of Captain Bruce Keus of the ‘S/V North Lake Breeze’ outside of us, “Fish up! Gotta go!”
Other TAG vessels report similar activity. We waited with baited breath, feeding our building excitement with early Halloween treats. Birds began to gather around the ‘S/V Bay Queen’. ‘Were we the startin’ line?’ What little wind there was had us lulled into believin’ we were headed towards what Capers call “a flat-ass cam” day. By noon, the sounder showed two solid green bands of bait, one shallow, one deep. Kites were deployed, dropped and redeployed, desperately trying to take advantage of the light breeze. A lone Sei whale surfaced off our stern.
“On there Dennis?” the radio sounded at 12:13 with Capt’n Bernie Chisholm of the ‘S/V Nicole Brandy’, “We’re hooked up here.”
The game, and our taggin’ day, began. By 13:13, #1 tagged tuna was back in the water with tags attached. An hour later, we marked a fish deep and soon after our ‘Huey’ surface bait screamed off the reel. The fish remained high, makin’ our line chaffer, a soother to shield the leader line from a tuna’s sharp teeth, useless. The line snapped after a 27-minute battle. ‘Catcha later tuna #2.’ With the wind pickin’ up, Capt’n Steve MacInnis of the ‘S/V Carrie Anne’ hooked up tuna #3 at 15:33. After comin’ aboard the ‘Bay Queen’ with his hooked up rod, he fought the fish for 2 hours, bringing the giant to the surface only once before it dove deep beside the boat doubling over the rod like it had been kicked in the groin. With a sharp crack, it snapped off at the base of shaft. The reel with a baseball bat thick stub left became the TAG team’s only weapon against this monster. With Capt’n Steve MacInnis and Dennis Cameron hand-linin’, Dr. Steve Wilson reelin’ in slack and PhD student Aaron Spares protecting the monofilament from sharp edges of the gunwale with a mat, the monster was brought to the surface once more. Its powerful tail, as thick as a Husky sled dog’s shoulders are wide, still pumped water over the crew fighting it from the stern. The line tightened and released. The fish swam away. The crew was left with two more fish hooked up by other vessels. In the increasing wind, gusting to 20 knots, with waves floodin’ the back deck of the ‘Bay Queen’ through the transom door, the TAG team tagged tuna #4 in the gathering dark and stomached the message tuna #5 broke off. TUNA = 3. TAG = 2. May these giants bite again when the wind lets the TAG team out another day.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Steve Wilson tags a 950 pound tuna
Steve Wilson reports:
Like Tuesday, the day started off slow and then exploded in the late afternoon. Bait was on the surface with birds and white-sided dolphins foraging. Lots of tuna being marked deep (beneath the bait). Dolphins were right alongside our boat eating bait that was trying hide beneath the boat. Bruce handed us the rod with fish #3 on it, and had hooked up again within 5 minutes. Broke off half an hour after sunset.
Awesome out there today.
Here's a 1,200 lb. giant getting tagged.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
TAG Angler Chris Mihm
Capt Bernie aboard the F/V Nicole Brandy before transfer to the tagging vessel, F/V Bay Queen IV in the background
Chris vs. Fish
Friday, October 16, 2009
The weather has been challenging, but on Tuesday Steve was able to get out for a few hours of fishing, while Robbie collected samples from fish coming in to Port Hood. Although they didn't catch any fish, they observed some feeding activity late in the day.
They are on the water again this morning, hoping to get some tags out before the wind picks up. I'll keep you posted as I hear more from them!