Part of why the trip to Puerto Vallarta was so fun is because I already knew most of the people on the boat. Gary chartered the Apollo for our trip, so he was the one getting the group together. We ended up with 12 people total. Two our our kids came (Mitch & Colby), three yacht club members (David, Harry, Mark) & Mark’s cousin (Randy), a friend Gary knew from one of his fishing groups (Melissa) and commercial crabber that we met while out on the water at Santa Rosa Island (Ron). In addition to those, we had two people that the owner of the boat got to join us after some of the people that Gary had found to go had to back out.
If you’ve read some of my previous posts you know that I’ve been on a positive thinking Pollyanna kind of kick for the last several years. I believe that our thoughts help create our reality and so I try to stay positive. I was a little nervous about going after the big tunas. My first tuna ever was about 25 lbs. and it took about 25 minutes to get into the boat. In January we went to St. Thomas and I caught a 38 lb. tuna. On that tuna we used one of those bent poles like they show on Wicked Tuna. The pole swivels in the pole holder and you just have to reel. With this last tuna you have a deck hand at your side helping and coaching you. They will lift the front of the pole if you have to move around the boat, they coach you, and if the tuna goes under the boat they’ll take over and get to a better fighting position. I was happy to see someone else catch the first tuna, because it gave me some idea as to what to expect.
Most of the tunas took 45 minutes to an hour to bring in. There was one that took almost two hours. That fish had so much heart and soul. It froze up one reel and they had to tie the line to a new reel and cut the other line. It took three guys passing it off to each other, because it was just exhausting; and when they went to gaff it, the gaff broke off.
The tuna I got was caught on a kite (I’ll write about that later). It took about 20 minutes to get it in, and I was huffing and puffing. I’ve been working out on the stationary bike, and I’ve been lifting weights, but your bicep on the arm that’s reeling, really starts to hurt. Gary trained for it last year when he had just had shoulder surgery by taking a stubby pole that we had and a reel and he would reel for 30 minutes at a time while watching tv. The deck hand that was helping me said that the fish was making mistakes and he thought it was tail wrapped. Turns out that being tail wrapped and dragged through the water backwards helps to drown the fish. So I really feel like I got lucky. I was saying how lucky I was on the boat, and Gary was saying “don’t say that, it sounds like you’re bragging.” Then on the other hand he says “don’t tell people it got tail wrapped.” Thing is that I wanted to get a big fish, and I did. It really doesn’t matter that I got lucky, but I did! In fact I got lucky enough to get two more hits on my line, and I handed them off to others in our group.
In the end we all caught a fish. One of the guys got a marlin and everyone else got tuna. The guy that caught a marlin shared in reeling in the tuna that had so much heart. Our group decided that it was more important for everyone to get the opportunity to catch a fish than for one or two people to catch several fish. Being with friends makes the outing so much better, and as yacht club members and family we have so many experiences together.
At the end of the trip, the captain thanked everyone for putting in time at the rail. The crew he took out just prior to us got 5 tuna and we caught 11 tuna and 1 marlin. He said that some people will fish for 30 minutes and then go sit inside. We were up before daylight and didn’t stop until after dark. You can get a daylight nap while the captain is changing positions. You just listen for the boat to stop and get out there again. When you believe that good things are going to happen to you, put your time in on the rail, because you know that if keep trying, you will get what you want. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Hope your life has joy, just keep trying!