Friday, September 5, 2008
Got my ass kicked today by a very large tuna while fishing the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. I got there late and figured I would just poke around for a while. I caught a bunch of big, 14 pound blues and was rerigging a damaged butterfly jig around 11:15 a.m.. I was drifting down on a bunch of birds that I figured were only over more nasty bluefish when I looked up from my task and noticed a few tuna slashing under the birds. They may have been eating the bluefish and I should have known that I would be undergunned if that was the case. I ran to the stern and grabbed a spinning rod rigged with a popper. I tossed it out and popped it twice and got a big boil. Two more pops and a hole opened under it. The fish didn't appear to even know it was hooked and continued to swim with the school for quite a while while I fired up the motor and began chasing. This fish was clearly too big to handle on my spinning gear, especially alone on the boat. I was mostly interested in gaining back as much line as I could before breaking off so the fish would not have to swim around trailing a half mile of braid. I steamed down hard on the fish which was still swimming with the school. The next thing I knew the fish had gone deep and doubled back around on me. I could not manage the rod and get the boat in reverse fast enough and the fish went deep under the boat and started dumping the spool again. Now, I had the rod on the starboard side of the boat while the fish was swimming away to the port side. The line eventually chafed off on the bottom of the boat and the fish was gone with 90% of my spool of 65 pound braid trailing behind it. I can only hope the fish went to the bottom and was able to rub the popper out of it jaw. Not a good feeling you left a fish in that condition, but I did try to prevent it from happening and lost.