I have always wanted to catch giant Northern Bluefin Tuna. I have tried once before in Green Harbour Massacheusetts USA unsuccessfully except for some smaller ones. After reading Tim Simpson in Blue Water magazine I did some research and Nova Scotia certainly fitted the bill. One of my fishing buddies Jim Williams volunteered to go with me. For a short time it was a “toss up” between going for the Hatchets Marlin also known as the Round Scale Spearfish on the Eastern USA coast and being the first angler to have caught 3 different types of Spearfish but the skippers in the USA were not very forthcoming with their answers, whereas Nova Scotia was, especially Scott Bruce at Bruce’s Tuna Charters. A price was agreed, dates arranged and we left Devon 5am on Thursday 16th August, arriving safely in Halifax midday
We were only there for 5 days and I was desperate to catch a Grandeur Tuna.
quickly into a hire car to drive over 200 miles to Prince Edward Island, taking the bridge instead of the ferry. As soon as we started the heavens opened and it literally “PISSED “down, worse than being in England (you have to remember that it never rains in Devon). We arrived about midnight at the cottage (Scotts directions i.e. round the corner meant 5 miles to go)
When I woke the next day the sun was shining and the sea looked calm from the window and I just wanted to go. I knew from previous trips that the weather could change anytime and we could get ”stormed off”.
Our Jim as usual was known as the Mackerel and bait catcher and he was the first one to catch and in about 30 minutes we had enough and went to join the other boats. Scott already had a fish on and we set up close by. Some of the other boats caught and were fighting fish. We would fish 3, 130lb class rods with live Mackerel, all at various depths. If the wind was right we could use a kite but on the first day we did not use a kite. As soon as the rods were out I did my song in my special goblet and special fishing wine:-
About 6ish I decided to try my lucky Watchdog T Shirt from Cairns Australia which had worked many times (the change of t shirts happens several times until I find one that works), within a short time after on to the sea and one to Zyggy the line shot off like an express train,. I grabbed the rod, went to the fighting chair, put the rod into the gimbal and the fight began.
These Tuna have more power than anything else I have fought so far. Scott had finished his charter and came out to join us, the Tuna came up to the surface and the boil I saw indicated a very big fish. I thought I had it but it went down again, after another heart stopping, arm wrenching fight with me a quivering wreck Scott finally got the leader and started pulling the Tuna in. As it is catch and release, once the leader is touched the fish counts. Suddenly the Tuna dives under the boat and breaks the leader. I was disappointed we did not measure the Tuna but it counts. It was my biggest Tuna ever and probably my hardest fight. From the big swirl on top it could have gone over one thousand pounds.
On Saturday we had one fish , Sunday we had two fish but only one counted as we lost one fish before the leader was touched, time was wasted going back to harbour. Monday, two fish and I discovered a new lucky T shirt, one of the new ones I had made for Nova Scotia, Monday was an interesting day, it was to be the last day of fishing, it was slow, Jim was excellent at catching bait fish, loads of Mackerel and Herring.
Keeping a close eye on the rods. I saw the line tightening on one so I grabbed it and moved to the fighting chair before the line screamed off, pain forgotten – fish on. The fight went on and on, every time I gained line and it got to the leader it would shoot off again. The way it fought and and the few swirls, I knew this was the one. Finally as soon as the leader was touched it went off again and surfaced behind the boat, it was about 40 feet behind and the swirl was well over 10 feet closer to 15 feet at least. In all my years of fishing, it was the biggest fish I had ever seen, I was elated. “This was the one”. I said, as I was winding it in the hook pulled. It was a bit of a quandary, everybody agreed it was massive and would have gone well over 1000lbs maybe up to 1500lbs and by touching the leader the fish counted but I still wanted measurement and photos. I value my honour and am a believer in Shakespeare’s saying” to thine own self be true” and because of this I believe that Tuna to be over 1000lbs.
And what a trip it turned out to be!!!.
In 5 days fishing I had 6 monster Bluefin Tuna of which the leader was touched in all 6, on three of the fish the hook pulled and the line broke on three fish, the law of averages, probably at least two if not three were over the 1000lb mark but I am prepared to stake my honour that the one caught with my bloody finger (see the larger story enclosed) was a proper thousand pound plus.
The fish that we were most able to gauge length and girth was lost to a broken leader but only after the leader was first touched by the skipper. My fishing buddy Jim was able to gauge the length from the distance between two rod holders on the boat at 10 feet 6inches with a girth estimated by Walter a veteran Tuna angler of 7 feet.