Deep Sea Trolling:
Have you ever seen your spouse fly three quarters of a mile across a 300 foot canyon on nothing more than pulleys and stranded cable? I have. Have you ever seen her or him order raw quail eggs and spam? She has. Have you ever been on a Hawaiian vacation and seen your spouse nearly pulled into the Pacific ocean by schooling sharks? Yeah, He has.
The year was twenty-ten (2010). We were married in 2007 and instead of a honeymoon we put a down payment on a construction loan and built our first house and home. So, for all intents and purposes Hawaii was going to be the honeymoon we never had.
The jetlag on account of getting to Hawaii, and specifically in our case Maui, was real, but bearable. The time-change maladjustment was real, but also bearable. The hangovers, frequent, and understandable. The poke’ was fresh; the poi was poised; and the sightseeing incredibly cathartic.
Set aside for a moment that we both nearly drowned scuba diving. Put in your rearview mirror the Road to Hana and the equally terrific mount Haleakalā sunrise. What we were after was some real deep sea adventure for the elusive yellowfin tuna.
Having already skipped from island to island. From Maui to Okinawa, and now Kaui, our shoeless captain and first mate lamented that fishing had been subpar as of late. The seas were rough and it wasn’t too long after catching the first round of bait fish that most of our companions got sick. The crew set to chumming the waters. Most everyone else aboard started chumming as well, albeit 'belly chum' of different proportions and from their own.
Luck of the draw, luckily for not only yours truly but everyone else, I was the first up when we hear the sweet announcement that is ‘fish on.’ Yellowfin are fast which makes for an amazing fight. It doesn’t take long though once you match your reel down with the ebs and flows of the surging waves and we had successfully landed our first target catch of the day, a beautiful 39”er.
Several other still woozy passengers catch eater-sized yellowfins and Jen was the next in line. As fortune would have it by the time the captain would hand her the reel it would be the largest catch of the day on the line. She rallied and fought that fish for what felt like an eternity. It was a back and forth battle and she was firmly seated in the landing chair.
While her husband was video taping and just about the time the first mate was reaching for the gaff hook terror struck. The rod surged, Jen clamped down on the rod and her backside lifted off the seat with nearly enough momentum to splash her over the starboard side of the vessel.
The captain’s instincts kicked in and he flung his elbow in front of her waist dropping her back down in the seat, hastily buckling her in with a lap belt that was all but retired in it's tired seat, and unleashing a flurry of profanity. Some of our guests were confused as to what was going on, others were still nursing their sea sickness. As for myself, I was happy I didn’t have to dive in after my bride because there’s one thing for certain, although it had no harness she wasn’t letting go of that saltwater rod and reel combo!
Then I heard it. The captain, under his breath, was cursing over a nest of sharks, and one on attack in particular. Jen had reeled that impressive yellowfin all the way to the back of the boat and a huge shark had latched onto the tuna right behind the dorsal fin.
The drag on the reel must have been set just right because the line didn’t snap. That shark did peel off hundreds of yards of line though. I can still hear the humming of the gears as they zipped, and slowed, and ceased. The second predator's teeth had finally sown through the catch and he would have to share his bounty with a couple of Michiganders in their delayed honeymoon adventures.
Soaked from head to foot in saltwater and motion sickness sweat we landed back onshore. We left the docks with fresh tuna steaks on ice and a craving for hangover food. In the post WWII era spam and eggs seemed like the right choice.
Happy fish and tight lines. Welcome to the Evolution,
Article written by Mike (Fish Mitts) Hiller