THE FIRST CATCH

April 6th, 2010, posted by Max Jourdan Tags: Food, Jo Royle, Max Jourdan, Oceans

1.4 billion hooks are deployed annually on long lines. Some of these can be? as long as 75 miles, allowing a fishing vessel to gather 50 tons of fish in? one haul.?? We were trawling one fluorescent, feathered lure garish like the Mexican flag? on the end of a line and rod. I was the first to get to it after we became? aware of the whine of reel. By the time I’d cut the rope holding the rod to ?the stanchion, worked out which way to turn the brake mechanism and put my? weight behind the strain the line was nearly all out. Olav said, ‘Gosh the ?line’s nearly all out’ (or words to that effect!). The rod was bent in half and it felt like I was? dragging an oil drum in the boat’s wake. ‘Make sure the line doesn’t snap!’? someone advised. But I was confident in the gear.

The lady at the Sausalito fish-and-tackle store told me we needed 50 lbs of test line. ‘There’s some big fish out there,’ she had warned. ?‘Maybe we need something tougher then,’ I said. ?‘Let me tell you something…’ she replied and paused. ‘Anything bigger you just don’t want to be pulling up on your boat.’

?I was inching monofilament back onto the reel – an old-school, 50‘s looking, ?rust red Penn Senator. It felt the business. Olav said, ‘If you get tired, I? can take over.’ I wasn’t sure if I could sustain the effort, but in a macho-?Hemingway kind of way there was no way I wasn’t going to pull this blighter in.?

I pressed the rod into the leather of my belt and pumped back against the ?strain. It took a while, but the fish tired. I knew he’d given up the fight. My ?initial rush and buzz had waned. ‘I hope we haven’t caught a shark,’ I ?thought aloud. ‘Yeah. That would be bad,’ said Olav in my ear holding the wooden truncheon ?he’d been carving all week. I wanted to pull the fish out and get it over? and done with. Finally, it surfaced by the boat.

Flashing silver, blue and? yellow. ‘Jeeze. That’s the biggest tuna I’ve ever caught,’ mumbled Olav who’d? spent two and a half months floating across the Pacific on a replica of the ?Kontiki. Olav lent over the side and hooked the gaff into the tuna’s gill.? ‘Must weigh nearly 25 or 30 kilos’, he strained.?

Thanks to Max for that great description of the crew’s first catch! Everyone was pretty excited to eat some fresh South Pacific fish but it wasn’t without some upset, as this amazing fish lay on deck the crew couldn’t help but think of the dwindling stocks in our oceans and the dire situation in our empty seas. With this in mind there was no way the crew could let any of this magnificent tuna go to waste, so after 3 days of fishy meals Jo got out the pressure cooker and got some of the remaining meat canned up so that it could be enjoyed throughout the 3 month journey.

4 comments  | Comments are closed

 

 

  1. Catherine Jourda says:

    Verrry proud mother, fish will make a great birthday cake.
    Love to all

  2. Andrea Corradini says:

    i luz me a tuna! congrats, gang! love staying connected to all that you post! xo.

  3. bernice richardson says:

    clap clap well done guys at last the first fish bet it tasted a treat uh? well done jo and the pressure cooker would liked to have joined you for supper have a great day all bernicex

  4. dbhindin says:

    Thanks for describing your “fish-on” drill with a fish on.
    Two small points:
    You wrote: 
”I was inching monofilament back onto the reel – an old-school, 50‘s looking, rust red Penn Senator”
    The accompanying photograph suggests that you caught the fish with the previously pictured black-sided Penn 330 GTI.
    You also wrote: “Everyone was pretty excited to eat some fresh South Pacific fish…”
    In the spirit of the geopolitical thrust of your voyage, at 22 N latitude, you have a long way to go before the South Pacific