As we approached land, it was time for a bit of grooming on board. Skipper’s beard was unsightly and James’ hair needed shearing.
As skipper rinsed off under the deck shower a fish decided to take a bite. After yesterday’s success this was different. The line went out quickly so I tightened the clutch to slow it down. A lot of line was taken on an ever-tightening clutch until it slowed and soon it was time to start reeling in.
Yesterday’s small tuna was fairly easy but this was a very different experience, with the fish on the end determinedly taking line back for the next half hour or so as I tried to reel it in.
After about 45 minutes to an hour it was within 20-30 feet of the boat, with crew identifying it as a big tuna.
It made one last bid for freedom – I’d adjusted the clutch quite high and considered easing it to allow it some line. The rod bent, the line pulled, but then we continued.
I didn’t ease the clutch, with the whole crew impatient for me to bring it in so close to St. Lucia.
Two minutes later it made another last effort. The fluorocarbon snapped just (about 10cm) above the lure. We’ll never know just how big it was.
I suspect it may be a classic beginner’s mistake, because even on the first last big pull I considered letting it take some line – if only to ease the pressure on my left bicep!
I won’t make the same mistake next time, although having stopped the boat for an hour within 50 miles of Saint Lucia, there was some relief around the cockpit when it got away and we got back under way.
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