A Fish Story...

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A fish story.....

A week or so ago in Aldabra, I went out with Mick in the Zodiac inflatable to do some fishing. Beautiful clear skies, Frigate birds overhead, light breeze blowing.  Our dinghy, aptly named the “Out of Mind”, has three air compartments / chambers which keep it afloat. One of the compartments has a slow leak, which needs to be filled about every five minute, so we brought the pump with us.

So, we’re blasting along in the dinghy about 2 miles from the boat in over 1000 meters of water. I’m hanging on for dear life, virtually laying down in the bow as we slam over the waves.  We decide we should turn around and give up because of the leak as it was getting progressively worse. As we slow down to reel in the lure, something BIG takes the line.

After fighting this thing for twenty minutes while Mick keeps us afloat with the pump, we get it near the Zodiac to find a HUGE Yellow Fin tuna on the line. I mean HUGE! With our eyes popping out in amazement, we get it close enough to the dingy so Mick can gaff it. He reaches down and hooks it in the gill and I grab the line to get it up to the side of the dinghy. The fish gets really angry! It shakes like crazy and breaks free from the gaff. At the same time, the 80lb line that I’m holding wraps around my pinky and my index finger like a noose and the monster takes off! Next, the gaff comes loose and it shots right up into the side of our boat and blows a one-inch hole in the starboard air compartment!

So as we’re sinking, the fish is basically ripping the fingers off of my hand and I can’t break free as they turn purple and start to bleed. The line went from the fishing rod to my fingers and directly to the fish!  I frantically grab the line with my other hand to try and slack it enough to release me and finally it slips free from my pinky and rips half the skin off of my index finger with it! As we continue to sink, we put the boat in gear and hang onto the rod which still has the fish attached!

 We head for Out of Bounds at full throttle dragging the fish behind us as I sit on the rod! While Mick tries to keep the boat moving, I use my “least ripped apart” hand to pump some air into the bow as we continue to sink and we drag ourselves through the water! After pumping the forward compartment enough to get us close to the boat, I see Alex on deck with a video camera, not knowing what’s going on! I yell “drop the camera, we’re sinking and we have a huge tuna on the line!!!!” Everyone on board freaks out!  Frantically, we pull along side and I hand the rod to Alex as Mick and I flee the sinking dinghy! I reach for the gaff only to realize it was somehow lost overboard in the excitement! So, determined NOT to lose the fish after all this, I run to the bow and grab the boat hook!

 After a few attempts with a VERY angry tuna, I manage to hook it through the gills and Mick and I pull with all we’ve got to lift this 125lb (65 kilo) “football with fins” up over the rail and onto the deck! It was the biggest Yellow Fin tuna we’ve ever seen! My fingers are a mess, but they’ll heal and the fish didn’t get away! Nothing better than tuna steaks…

Bill Van Wyck

Oct 98 Enews

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