by Jon Waldstein

It was pitch black out when the boat left the dock in East Matunuk, RI.  Our destination was deep water – around 25 miles past Block Island.  The 2 hour boat ride prepped us for rough water to say the least.  Captain Tony was a bit skeptical about going for tuna that day since the conditions were so choppy, but we were out there for a reason, so we pushed through.

When we finally got to the Tuna grounds first mate, John, spotted a whale splash in the distance.  After searching for another we saw the body of a finback whale about 100 feet from the boat.  That gave us the reassurance there were bait around, so we dropped the trolling lines in the water and started our adventure.

John Fimian set the age rules as youngest to oldest for catch rotation. Soon after we started trolling, we heard a screaming reel.  The first fish was on!  Nick stepped up as youngest and reeled in the first albie.  It definitely got the adrenaline flowing.

There was no action for a while after that, but we did run into a massive school of dolphin.  They were swimming and jumping along side the boat.  It was awesome!

Some time later, another screaming reel!  This one was taking much more line than before, and by the look of the rod bend, we could tell this was a big fish.  Since I was next up in age, I ran to the rod and locked it in to my belt.  This thing practically pulled me to the edge of the boat, where I stayed to fight her in.  Every turn felt like doing a pushup.  On top of that everyone was saying not to stop reeling and keep the rod tip high.  You could lose these tuna pretty easily so the pressure was on.  The fight was like nothing I had done before.  There was a point where I felt my muscles starting to give out, but I stayed determined and got her close enough to the boat for the crew to gaff her in.  A sigh of relief came out when I saw the fish landed safely in the boat.  I was winded and a bit in shock, but had to pick her up and get a photo shot.  At that point my arms felt like jello, but somehow was able to lift up my catch.

With the exception of one more keeper tuna, the rest of the day was spent catching non-stop albies.  Some of them did put up a nice fight and were still fun to catch.

It was definitely a day for the books.  Thanks to booked off charters for putting me on my first tuna!