Yellow Fin Tuna Landed under full sail

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…Hanging the Tuna…

After 5 years of dragging lines behind the boat, we finally have caught a fish we can keep, a yellow fin tuna. Up till now, we only caught barracuda. Now that streak has been broken and we have landed not one, but two yellow fin tuna on Island Spirit. Our second one was while under full sail in 15-20 knots beam reaching at 6-7 knots. When this tuna hit, it ran out a lot of line until we could slow the boat by furling the jib and sheeting out the main, all while Radeen was holding onto the rod and reel and trying not to let it slip out of her grip. It was everything we could do to just hold onto the rod. Forget reeling it in until slowing the boat down. We were under full main and full jib doing 6-7 knots while dragging this 34″ tuna on the Penn rod and reel, line running out, and me adjusting the drag to slow it down. With the boat slowed to 2 knots and still under autopilot wind vane steering, I began to reel this fish to the boat.

This is a 34″ Yellow Tail Tuna

We were yelling ITS A YELLOW FIN TUNA, again, Yahooooo! Radeen handed me the gaffe, and with the leader in one hand I whacked it with the gaffe and some how I hooked it through the tail area! That was cool, so as I lifted the fish, I had a slip knot ready to lasso the tail like buddy John-Michael (J-M) on IP 420, PURA VIDA told me about. This worked out great because I could hold the fish up with the gaffe and the line to cut the gills and bleed out the fish rinsing it with saltwater rushing by. I could lower the head and gills into the water and then lift it out again. We also poured some old rum into the gills but that really seemed to not be needed. I will not be doing that again, as this JM trick was a great way to deal with all the blood.

Under full sail doing 6-7 knots

This fishing adventure was while under full main sail and full jib in 15-20 knots of beam winds. We were sailing from Cat Island back to George Town along with good friends Jim and Cynthia of NEVERLAND.  We estimate the seas were running at 3-4 feet on the beam. The boat was rolling side to side and our bow wave ran from bow to the midship cleat like it does when pushing at hull speed of 7.2 knots. Sometimes we would be surfing down a wave and the boat would hit 8 knots. It was under these conditions that the reel sang out and the rod nearly went overboard. This landing went better than our last landing as we got lucky with the gaffe and we used the slip knot trick over the tail. Landing the fish is only half the challenge, the next challenge is butchering the fish while in these conditions.

My filet work, now time to cut in half and skin

With the fish now dead and onboard, we returned to full sail and back to 6-7 knots of boat speed all the while rocking and rolling as we continued the remaining 10 nautical miles to George Town. This gave us an hour plus to filet out this 34″ tuna. I am a rookie at all of this fish work and especially at the filet work. I try not to waste any fish although I see I am wasting a lot in the head of the fish. I need to work on that area. Once I have the filet off the fish, then I work on cleaning up the meat and removing the skin. I follow the Scott Bannerot book given to me by Chuck and Lynn of sv CYAN who sailed around the world. This book (The Cruisers Handbook of Fishing by Scott Bannerot ) covers every aspect of fishing for cruisers. Thank you, Chuck and Lynn, and thank you for the gear and your gaffe! With the filets dried off, we then packed them into ziplocks and moved them into the icebox ASAP for chilling down. For dinner, it was seared tuna steaks. OMG, what a treat that is. We also share this bounty with others as it is really a lot of meals for two people. The last tuna served 14 meals, this one will serve about 20 meals. Tuna is my favorite fish, I am really glad we caught a yellow fin tuna again. Next, we need to catch a Mahi Mahi…..

Here are some more photos….Tuna Hunters….Island Spirit 🙂

My happy Tuna #2 photo

Look no blood in the boat, nice idea J-M
Close up, these are beautiful fish

Yellow Tail Tuna

Radeen wants to get a tattoo of this 🙂

Tuna steaks, seared 1.5 minutes in olive oil

Perfection, cool in the center

We tossed out a message in a bottle with cash inside 🙂 $1

Teak work at sea, look, the blue tape is the color of the water! Yes, it really IS!

The view from the helm, notice the fishing rod tied to the jib winch
I need a new rod holder, our last big hit broke the rod holder

Selfie at the helm

Making lunch, protein shakes, looking out the galley window
Hayden with his Yellow Tail Tuna #2
Is this not a crazy way to gaffe a tuna? I was going for the body and hit the tail, hey, it all worked out. We are learning…..
Crazy gaffe of the tail….oh well, it worked.
Notice jib furling line slip knot around the tail.

Now we are back in George Town for a few Cruising Regatta events
and to start our preparations for sailing to Long Island and beyond!

This is where we caught our Tuna #1 northbound and Tuna #2 southbound
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0 Replies to “Yellow Fin Tuna Landed under full sail”

  1. Doing bright work,landing a yellow fin and finding time for some dinner wine…..ALL under sail!!!!When do you find time for work???Congrats on your tuna landing technique.

  2. Loved the video. Looked like it was a beautiful day to be on the water. Meanwhile, here in Pine Grove we had a snow squall that covered the ground this afternoon. Jealous?

  3. LOVE the video, especially as we were crossing with you and experienced the same wind and waves – what a sail!! Your post on the tuna makes me apprehensive about putting a line out. I don't think we could manage to land and clean one. Maybe in calmer conditions? — Cynthia and Jim, s/v Neverland

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