The Yellowfins from HELL!
Hi Lee Palm/Red Rooster crew(San Diego - California).. Keep my rail spot cool for me - won't you?
Fishing Report from Nassau Bahamas (8-10-2000)(Thursday)(Air Temperature 92 degrees. Water temp. - mid 80's degrees). Clear skies, no wind and burning hot sun. Caught two Yellowfins in the 60-pound range that almost sent me to the hospital.
Caught 2 YFY on Thursday - fishing "solo" aboard my WellCraft Scarab that had just been repowered with two 225 Evinrude fichts (cost was $28,000 including the installation).
Both YFT went about 70#s each (83 pounds of filet). Drift fished with fresh/frozen squid to start. Began fishing at 9:30AM and quit at 2PM.
As I arrived at the US Navy's AUTEC buoy 10 miles offshore (a practice area for the US Navy's nuclear subs - which show up on the surface now and then)(the AUTEC buoy is in 6,000 feet of water) Capt. Robbie New (from Trinidad) of the "Little Trick" was just starting to fish.
For the first hour all I managed was a 2 pound jack - that I later used for bait.
Robbie was having no luck either, but we saw several 50# YFTs come high out of the water several times, so that kept us anticipating.
At around 11:00 AM my bow rod with 80 pound test line and 80# green Berkley trilene leader, with a small Mustard circle hook on the end (with a 100# test Sampo swivel in between) went off.
I had just seen a big YFT fly through the area minutes before, and I was thinking I had him or his cousin - for sure. The line screamed out, and the fish ran deep. Everything pointed to a YFT, but after about 10 minutes I saw a 25 pound foot shark on my line, hooked right in the mouth with the circle hook.
Leaving the shark on the line in the rodholder, I sat down for a drink of water - out of a gallon plastic jug in my cooler.
Cut him loose, I thought to myself. But, then I remembered how many YFT's I'd caught using shark as bait, and went to take another look at him. He was a good 4 feet long. Normally too big to bother with, but the fishing was slow, and I decided to take him.
Even though I knew he would thrash about crazy-like when I gaffed him, I decided to go for it, but I missed my 5-foot long fishbox, and watched him go bonkers on my deck, as I hustled to slide him into the Scarab's 2-1/2 foot deep fishbox.
By 12 noon I switched from "squid" to the fresh jack for bait on all three of my poles. By now, the shark was dead, so I dragged him to the stern and started to filet him - throwing bits and pieces of shark meat overboard - with plenty of blood being washed overboard with my saltwater thru-hull washdown pump.
I filleted one side of the shark, took the skin and cut it into 5 pieces, and through it over the side. All the time - washing the blood and guts overboard. I cut the shark's giant liver into small pieces, and watched them float on the surface - as I slowly drifted along towards to AUTEC Buoy.
Within 5 minutes of cutting into this shark, the bow line went off - "screaming". This time I knew it was probably a YFT. The fish had hit the 80# test trilene line on a 5-1/2 foot Palm Beach tuna rod, held in a Perko side mount rodholder.
I immediately scrambled about for my harness and playmate belt. Several times the YFT would stop his run deep, and I'd reel the line in fast to make sure there was no slack in the line, and smiled when I felt his weight again on my pole.
But, it was 95 degrees in the sun, and I was about to expedience something in 8 years of YFT fishing (and over 350 caught and landed), that was going to make this no ordinary day on the water.
After picking up the rod and snapping into the harness, I began the slow process of bringing him to color. I was grateful he had picked the rod with the 80# test line, as the other two reels (Shimano graphite a Penn 30W) had 50# test Trilene (Big Game) line, and fighting a YFT on 50# test line is a completely different ball game.
Fifteen minutes into the struggle, my thumb (on the reel) got an awful cramp, and actually stuck to my palm. I couldn't understand why this was happening, but kept going - attempting to shake off the cramp.
A few minutes later the cramps spread to my forearm - then up to my biceps. I'm 220 pounds, a former HS All American swimmer, and 4 time NY State gold medallist, so I'd been through tough workouts, but this was something I never dealt with.
Even my legs were cramping up. There was no wind, no cover from my bimini top, and it was 95 degrees in the shade. It all added up to one thing - "Heat Exhaustion".
To cool off I tried stepped into a 5-gallon bucket of saltwater, but this didn't help one iota. My feet were also too big for the bucket.
In addition, I was getting unusually tired - FAST. HEAT EXHAUSTION had set in, and was challenging me like "The old man and the sea".
It took me 55 minutes to land this 70-pound YFT, but I finally got him in the boat. Boy, was I relieved.
Usually I wash all the blood off my boat immediately upon landing a fish, but this time I went to the stern, turned on the saltwater pump, sat on my cooler, and just let that saltwater run over my head for 5 minutes. I finished off about 3/4 of that gallon jug of water too.
As I slowly headed back in the direction of Capt. Robbie's "Little Trick", the cool air hitting my Toronto Raptor NBA Jersey (#14 worn by Vince Carter) made me feel much better, but I still wasn't 100%.
By the way, you might want to purchase one of these NBA "Jersey's sometime. You'll know why the NBA uses them. They are 1000 times cooler than anything cotton or other material. I have a Laker's #34 too. My favorite.
I waved at Capt. Robbie, as I passed slowly off his stern, and he shouted - "I thought you were fighting 2 YFT, you were gone so long."
Anyway, I set up again to try for another (YFT).
Now I'm using white shark chunks on all my hooks, and chunking with the fresh shark - as the lines are let out.
About 45 minutes later, the stern line goes off - screaming. This is my Penn 30 International with no leader and 50# Trilene line - no swivel. Christ, I said to myself, why did this fish do this to me?
The hook on this line was only a #4 Mustard live bait hook - that you can buy 50 to a package for under $10 at Wal-Mart or K-Mart.
This was going to be a whole new "ballgame". I'm going to have to be "gentle" on the drag - or he'll bite through the trilene, or pull the hook.
As it turned out, I eventually got this YFT to color after over one hour. I experienced the same cramps as before, and at one point - on this fish - I thought about "giving up".
It wasn't the fact that I get $6 a pound for the fillet (from my restaurant friends) that kept me at the rail, but the thought of cutting a YFT off was out of the question.
After gaffing this 70# YFT and pulling him over the gunwale, I trolled by Robbie (who stayed until 7PM and caught not a one) and waved - saying I'm going home.
Capt. Solo - aka Tom Azzara
Tom's Fishing Gallery.
Take a break, and check out these pictures from the 6th annual Billabong's fishing tournament held in Nassau, in the sunny, tax free Bahamas.
click onto (or browser it) below....
From: Lee Palm Long Range Sportfishers
TRIP #14; August 6th to August 11th 5-Day Trip:
The second of the three back-to-back 5-dayers in the Red Rooster III's summer schedule once again provided outstanding fishing for her passengers. Chuck Melber of Agoura CA led the way with a 84.1 lb. bluefin tuna to take the jackpot, followed by a 79.8 lb. bigeye for Justin Christensen of Newbury Park CA and a 73 lb. bluefin for Joe
The trip fished as far down as Guadalupe Island for some excellent grade yellowfin, but the albacore grounds closer to home yeilded limits of the longfins and a good take on the bigger bluefin as well. "We had some really exceptional moments," noted co-captain Jeff DeBuys, "but none
FISH COUNT: LIMITS OF ALBACORE, 52 BLUEFIN TUNA, 49 YELLOWFIN TUNA, 45
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