Sailors do not live by canvas alone ... or something like that. And so
in our never ending quest to bring you new and fun things to do we
headed down to the New Jersey shore to try our hand at Tuna fishing.
We chartered a boat out of Longport and headed for the deep Atlantic
with captain Frank Kurek and his son. What a great day! This was the
flattest I have ever seen the waters off of New Jersey. Even so, a
few of us were
a little sea sick, but only a little. The first mate set up the
fishing rods and out riggers and we were trolling for tuna just a
few miles out.
Mark was sitting next to the first line to hook into a fish and
with help from the first mate got to the fighting chair and landed
a small tuna just big enough to keep. A while later I got my chance!
This fish was either running toward the boat or already off the hook.
As he came up to the stern I could see that he was only a foot long,
way too small to keep. So I dropped the rod tip and let him spit out
The next few hours were quiet. We took turns sitting in the chair
which was the only soft thing to sit on. Time went by, the boat went
east, then west, then east. Bill was next, fighting his fish up to
boat, but it got off before the first mate could gaff it.
Back and forth, we kept looking for
another fish. With only an hour or so of daylight left we started
talking about heading to the captains favorite night fishing spot.
When a reel sang out. Fish on!
Brian, lucky Brian, was in the chair and got first shot at this
fish. This was his first tuna ever and it was a BIG one. He pumped the
rod and tried to reel in line, everyone else was shouting advice.
Brian pumping, people shouting, the fish just kept taking line. The
first mate said something like, "Oh shit", when he caught a glimpse
of the fish. After about an hour of fighting this monster Brian was
completely spent and Mikey took over. Brian was exhausted but the
fish was tired also and Mikey finally started getting line in. It
took almost another hour to get this fish to the boat and four of us
to bring it on board. Both Brian and Mikey were limp from their
battle. Unfortunately there was no scale in Longport, but we figured
this monster went around 200 pounds.
It was well after dark by the time this fish was landed and we headed
for captain Kurek's favorite night spot. Once again the first mate
set the rods and then started cutting chum. This was a good time for
me to catch some sleep. It would take an hour or so to attract any
fish. After a short nap I came out and took the chair. A couple of
times a reel would buzz for a few seconds, but no fish. It just
wasn't my day, or night, or something.
All through the night we took turns. Mikey hooked into a shark, but
that was it. At dawn the first mate set up the outriggers again and
we started trolling our way back to shore.
Twin 454's humming away for four hours turned into twin 454's pounding
on my brain so I gave up and went to sleep. I guess this sailor
doesn't do well with engine noise.
Just as well, nothing else happened on the way in.
It was late afternoon when we left the captain and the rest
of our party at the dock, happily chopping
up tuna to rush back for another engagement.
If you're looking for
a once in a lifetime thrill ... and fight, you should trade in your
Dacron for a day and try tuna fishing. Even those of us who didn't
catch a fish have a memory to cherish for life. Our thanks to Frank
and his son for a great day on the water.