I have been told numerous times over the past 7 years that giant bluefin tuna are difficult and timely to catch. Giant tunas are humongous, elusive creatures, capable of making grown men cry.
I'm very aware that you can spend an entire lifetime on the water and not get a single bite, but I had never experienced it for myself, until a trip I made with Ryan last season.
So join me as I take you through a nail-biting 10 hour giant bluefin tuna trip I spent with Ryan during the 2017 season, "on the hunt" for giant bluefin tuna.
How It All Began
It all started on a cool but pleasant morning during the first week of October. I got a call from Ryan while he was out on his boat, begging me to come tuna fishing with him the next day. After much debate over what the heck I would do for 10+ hours (and the fear of not being a good fisherman's wife) I said yes.
The next morning, at about 5am, I was awoken by the song "Downeaster Alexa" by Billy Joel (which is Ryan's alarm ringtone). Ryan sprang awake while I was clearly not motivated by Billy's fishing anthem.
I shoved every morsel of food from the fridge into our cooler, because no one wants me to get "hangry" when I go hours without food, and off we went.
The Long Trek Out
It was a gorgeous morning, with very little wind, and on our way out Ryan spotted a giant tuna jump fully out of the water, do a little twist in the air, and dive back down. It was glorious. Ryan must have thought that was the most beautiful sight he'd ever seen-besides me walking down the aisle of course.
I'd like to think that tuna was saying "Hey look at me! You'll never get me!"
Ryan stopped the boat just north of Provincetown after seeing that tuna go airborne, and he quickly had two lines in the water with mackerel on the other end. I situated myself as far away from the bait as possible and was soon happily sunbathing on the deck.
And Then We Waited
At around hour two, I asked Ryan what guys talk about as they wait in vain for a bite, and he told me things often "get weird" as you spend hours together in a confined space waiting on a tuna.
My interest was piqued.
By hour 5 I was coming up with some great article titles for MFCC, including my favorite, "The Difference Between Catching A Striper And Catching A Stripper", because so many times that word gets misspelled.
For example, Ryan is constantly receiving emails such as "Hey where can I find some strippers?" "Are the strippers biting at the canal lately?"
Things Get Weird
As the day went on Ryan continued to jig up mackerel for the livewell. Occasionally a mackerel would die and Ryan would toss the dead mackerel overboard into the ocean.
It was not long until a seagull noticed, and soon we had a gull sitting patiently on the water just a few feet from the port side. We nicknamed the seagull Larry, and he stuck with us for hours on end as we drifted along.
As this all transpired Ryan began willing the tunas to our boat. This included quietly whispering to the reels, singing to the ocean and asking Larry the seagull if he could please fly around and spot tuna for us.
Ryan was right-things do "get weird" when you spend all day waiting on a tuna.
Jay & Matt Catch A Tuna
Next we received a report from our good friends and MFCC members Jay Mazzola and Matt Bach. Apparently an ocean sunfish weighing several hundred pounds had almost jumped into their boat!
Soon after the sunfish incident, Jay and Matt were on with a tuna, and after an hour-long fight, they landed a beautiful 87 incher caught on a live mackerel.
You would think that having our "buddy boat" successfully hook and land a tuna would have helped put Ryan's mind at ease. After all, at least we knew for sure there were some tuna in the area.
However Jay and Matt's catch seemed to have the opposite effect on my husband. Now Ryan was second guessing every decision he had made. He began cleaning the leaders and swapping out the baits with new mackerel from the live well.
Then Ryan began dancing around the boat and looking up towards the sky in vain. He was once again trying to will a tunafish into biting. I couldn't help but feel empathy towards my husband and his hopeless plight.
Bottom Of The 9th
Late in the day Ryan moved the boat to a new spot, put fresh baits and clean leaders in the water, and gave it one more try. Despite everything our spirits were still high.
We saw a few more tuna break water (plus add in the fact that I hadn't complained once the entire trip) and we were feeling pretty good about getting a bite in the bottom of the 9th.
But after giving it a solid try, we knew it wasn't our day. Ryan's hopes and dreams of me catching my first tuna, getting immediately hooked, buying a tuna boat and starting my own tuna charters, quickly diminished.
So after starting the day in LL Bean boots, wool socks and three heavy layers, then laying in the sun in a tank top and sweating to death, then back to three layers and wool socks (welcome to New England), it was time to call it a day.
The sun was going down, and the fleet of boats that were out there with us all started to descend on the marina. Our hunt for giant tuna was over, for now.
The next morning Ryan was back at it, once again waking up at an ungodly hour to Billy Joel's "Downeaster Alexa." If you saw Ryan's post on Facebook then you already know about what happened during that last giant tuna trip of the season.
I'm sure my day will come, and yes I just might one day buy a boat bigger than Ryan's and start my own tuna charters.
For now, I'll happily stay on land and wait for the rare call from Ryan that a giant bluefin tuna just hit his hook.
What do you think?
Let me know by commenting below.
Through the eyes of a fishermans’ wife, I’m excited to share my cooking and photography with you here on MFCC. You can learn more about cooking, and get more recipes by visiting my website Creatively Delish.