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Dr. Cliff had his turn and scored, so I found myself up on the kite.  At this point in the trip, 1 fish had come on bait, so I was very excited to take my turn on the kite rotation.  All of the fish at this point in the trip had been much bigger than I had ever encountered on a trip…80-120 lbs. maybe?  Going into this trip, my personal best was a 60-ish BFT scored aboard the Eclipse the previous May.  So the fish I was seeing was pretty impressive from my reference point, but far short of the “cows” we had set out to find.

I faced my turn on the kite with both anticipation and apprehension.  Looking back at that 60 lb. fish, I was about 35 minutes into it fighting it stand up style and my lower back started to spasm.  What would a 100 lb. fish, much less a cow do to me?

It wouldn’t be long before I found out.  Minutes into my rotation, I see the balloon go down to the water and pop off the line.  “You’re bit, you’re bit!  REEL!!!” Capt. Keith yelled.  I was on the bow when it happened.  I wound and lifted the pole to keep the line tight.  “Don’t set, just wind!”  In my mind I’m thinking, “I didn’t set.  I just lifted the pole.”  (Hold that thought, we’ll come back to it.)

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             First 100 lb. tuna

The fish took me down the side of the boat toward the stern.  I got to the corner and settled into the spot for awhile.  I tried to go to a knee, but the gravelly deck coating wasn’t comfortable.  The fish was more or less up and down, but I was struggling to make any line on it.  The line was heading dangerously close to the prop and Capt. Keith grabbed the pole out of my hands.

He took it around the stern and gave it back to me by the bait tank on the starboard side.  When I got the pole back, I discovered that if I spread my stance further apart, I could get down low enough to set the rail on the pole and get leverage on this fish.  It was still a struggle though.  Eventually, I managed to get it to color and we could see that it was foul hooked under one of it’s fins…explaining why it was so hard to reel it in.  A few more winds and it was gaffed and on the deck.  It was around a 100 lbs.  Crap!  If a 100 lb. fish worked me like that, what would a cow do?  Oh well, at least I got it.  A new personal best.

I’d never eaten the heart on my first tuna trip.  We were in a frenzy at the time and the crew told me to keep fishing.  I took advantage of the moment and ate it.

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I took a break to finish my beer and regroup.  Darren Binkley was up next on the kite and it wasn’t long before he got bit.  I watched the fish rise out of the water and take the bait on the way down.  Similar to me, Darren lifted the pole and it came unpinned.  It was a smaller fish and almost as if he did it on purpose?

He didn’t have to wait long though to get bit again.  This time it was the right kind…

 

Wow!  That was amazing.  It was the last action of the day.

 

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