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Fishing Report by Kevin McKie
on Size Matters (Plymouth, Devon)
Oct 2017 by Kevin McKie
Here is the first ever Bluefin Tuna caught from Plymouth on rod and line. Back in July while we were fishing for Sharks we caught a 300lb+ Blue Fin Tuna, the fight lasted just on two hours. What happened during that time I could write a book about, it was truly a dream come true for all five of us onboard that day. The bite was just insane no warning, the reel drag went from 0 to 100 mph in a split second. On the first run it stripped over 350 yards of braid off the reel in seconds, then it went deep down and stayed close to them sea bed. It made three more long runs and at one point I had to chase it in the boat just to keep up. After the first hour with only a butt pad on Barry’s arms give up and he passed the rod to me, as I got the Tuna closer to the boat it started to try and go under the boat making big pin wheels. There was a chance we could lose it so I passed the rod to Tony while I got back in control of the boat.View Boats Page
As we started to win the fight the Tuna kept hanging under the boat about 50ft down so I asked Bernie take control of the boat, bearing in mind he had never took control of Size Matters before he did a cracking job. I was now the wire man as none of the lads onboard had ever wired a big fish before so I had to be on that wire if we had any chance of catching this Tuna. Four or five times I had the wire in my hand and each time with a kick of its tail it shot off and hung under the boat. Finally we got him boat side I got Barry to hold the wire while I put a gaff in the bridge of its lower jaw then I got a second gaff and carefully placed it next to the first gaff. Gaffing a tuna in this part of its jaw results in no blood loss, the welfare of the Tuna was paramount. It took three of us to slide it through the stern door, as soon as it was on the deck we put the deck wash hose in its mouth to keep it oxygenated and kept pouring buckets of water over it to ensure it’s survival. We removed the wire trace and circle hook from its jaw, took some photos and measurements then released it. As the Tuna slipped back into the sea it give two kicks of its tail and was away. The five of us onboard where screaming with joy it was like we had won the World Cup, we all decided to stop fishing and go the pub to celebrate.
Even weeks after, the lads where calling me to say that was one of the best experiences of their lives catching the first ever Blue Fin Tuna from Plymouth and the team work that took place from all five onboard that day.
The Tuna measurements where length 79 inch x 54 inch girth, I have checked all different Tuna length to weight calculations and most are different. The Tuna was easy 300lb+, I have been lucky enough to catch them in Canada to 850lb and I have seen them to 950lb.
(PLEASE NOTE I DO NOT OFFER BLUE FIN TUNA FISHING CHARTERS AND THIS TUNA WAS CAUGHT BEFORE THE BAN WAS PUT IN PLACE BY THE GOVERNMENT).
If you are lucky enough to hook a Tuna while fishing for Sharks onboard Size Matters, we will not bring the fish onboard and it will be released at the side of the boat.
The only reason we are making this public now, is because we are at the end of our summer season at Plymouth and I did want this catch to affect my charters in the middle of a very busy season. Truth of the matter is I have seen Tuna feeding near the surface most days from July to October last year and again this year. I hope one day we will be able to target Bluefin Tuna in the UK on a very strict catch and realise system just like they have in Canada and Ireland. If this was to happen it would be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds to the UK charter fleet. The sad thing about this is commercial fishing boats from EU countries that have quota for Bluefin Tuna can come to the UK and catch thousands of tonnes, while our own commercial boats are not allowed to catch them because they have no quota. What a joke but that’s the UK government all over, look after everyone apart from it’s own people.
Size Matters (Plymouth)