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Bluefin Tuna, Balearic Sea, June 25 2018

We left Xàbia in the morning and motored out to first catch some bait, mackerel, on sabiki rigs.  That was pretty fun in its own right.  There's something delightful about pulling in a couple fish at a time that never ceases to amuse me.  Once we had a few in the bucket, Captain Maestre went out to look for some tuna.  At the time it seemed to take forever, but now it feels like we hooked up right away.  The fish was down pretty deep when it took the bait, but once it felt the hook it dived straight down.  It felt like I was just attached to the seafloor for a long time.  Then I'd be able to crank a few inches of line and hold it for a bit.  The fish would take out line, I'd bring it in a bit, tiny amounts at a time. 
When I booked the boat I had imagined more people from our group of friends would have jumped at the chance for some world-class tuna fishing, but other than my girlfriend holding the cameras, and our seasick friend manning the head, I was the only one fishing.  It would have been nice to be able to hand the pole off to someone during the fight.  But it was just me, tied by a rope to the boat, standing just at the edge of the back platform, straining against a very large and strong fish for a long time in the Mediterranean Summer sun.  It was exhausting.  The crew were very helpful of course, giving me water and lots of instructions.  I got it up close enough to the surface that leader material was winding onto the spool, then it dived down again.  This happened several times, every time I thought it might be almost done fighting, it proved not to be.  After some time, I got a good amount of leader back in the spool and thought it might actually be over, and my legs just gave out under me.  I fell to the deck and thought I'd lost the fight and the fish.  Luckily Dani Maestre was there to grab the pole and drag the fish the final distance to the boat.  It took all four of us to gaff and drag it aboard.  The captain guessed it was around 350 to 400 lbs, a big female bluefin.   It looked massive, strong, and delicious.  We had to board a plane to San Sebastian the next day, so we gave the bulk of the meat to the crew who were happy to have it.  The roe sac the size of a rugby ball that they removed from it seemed to make them very happy too.  We brought a big slab of of it home to eat with our friends that night.  

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