Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Ophelia? Nine Fish Tagged!
The impending arrival of Hurricane Ophelia in the Canadian maritimes had prevented team member Robbie Schallert from getting back from his brothers wedding in Texas, so longtime reserve liphooker Aaron Spares was called into action on Monday morning. The day started quietly and few fish were marked on the 4 boat fleets’ echo sounders. As noon approached, Captain Dennis Cameron and I discussed the possibility of sending the boats back to port due to a lack of bluefin and marginal weather. A commercial fisherman a few miles inshore of the fleet then radioed Pete Sutherland aboard Pete’s Pair A’Dice to request help. He had lost his steering while fighting a hooked fish. Peter pulled his gear and moved to lend assistance. That turned out to be a turning point for our tagging efforts today. After helping his colleague, Pete noticed a large area of bird activity and busting bluefin. He summoned the fleet and hooked up within seconds of dropping his line in the water. An epic afternoon ensued. We tagged nine fish ranging from 203 to 276 cm in length, a mixture of pre-spawners and true giants. The tagging boat was fighting fish after fish until well after the sun set. Aaron performed flawlessly on the liphook, despite frigid winds nipping at nether regions beneath his kilt. Pete hooked three while the Carrie Anne, Nicole Brandy and Bay Queen each hooked two. Nine fish tagged matches the record number of fish tagged by our team in Canadian waters last year with a fleet twice as large.