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Emily Grossman

A Fish Story

December 12, 2005 at 11:40 AM

"Fish on!"

I barely had time to drop my half eaten vacuum-packed StarKist pouch as my automatic reflex kicked in; I found myself taking the butt of the rod from the fishing guide before I was completely aware of what was happening. Lunch could wait. I'd spent eleven hours on a 40-foot boat, hunting for a most-prized specimen of the sea: yellowfin tuna. After long dry spells, a little success with smaller fish, and countless near misses, we finally had one hooked and fighting. The guide strapped on my belt, and the great battle began.

After all of the 25-40 pound salmon and halibut I've had the honor and pleasure of reeling to shore, I thought my little chunk of experience would prepare me for tuna. I was wrong. That silver torpedo cut away, peeling line as though I never even existed. I held on and laughed, waiting for my next chance to gain some ground. Between long sprints, he'd surrender a couple of yards and I would pump and crank. The boat heaved in all directions over the ten foot waves, and my legs quaked from the strain of keeping upright.

There was no question in my mind that I was completely unable to finish the job alone; my muscles were completely shot. Each turn of the handle now seemed Herculean. The fish must have still been at least several hundred feet down and still fighting! Finally, the battle took a turn in my favor when he made a dash in my direction. Reeling quickly, I began to gain ground.

I felt one last jerk, and then the tuna conceded altogether, as though it just wasn't worth the struggle to him anymore. With the last of my feeble strength, I slowly coiled the line back onto the reel, dying to see what would surface on its end. "Boy, he sure got tired!" the captain kept exclaiming. Him? Tired? I'm tired!

Finally, I saw its shining head emerging from the deep. It was a beautiful head, as big around as a man's thigh. Why, the head alone must have weighed five pounds!

...Which is all that it was: a head, a beautiful yellowfin tuna head, whose severed body now rested in pieces inside a shark's belly, somewhere in the deep.

I guess we both had tuna for lunch.

From Eric Stanfield
Posted on December 12, 2005 at 4:43 PM
From Patty Rutins
Posted on December 12, 2005 at 9:20 PM
Dang! The shark got away!
From Bill _
Posted on December 12, 2005 at 10:30 PM
My ancestors used to go out for bluefin, first with harpoons from a bow pulpit, and later with rod-and reel. Through the 1950's the bluefin used to run the Tusket rip, and then they essentially just disappeared.

My father had good stories-though he personally never came home with a fish. One story was very much like yours--except that it was a600 lb giant tuna that got eaten. In another story, the tuna swallowed the hook and pierced its heart--the easiest fight of all.

Sadly, I've never gone out and fished like that. There's always tomorrow.

Good story!

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on December 13, 2005 at 12:34 AM
This story made me throw my guts up.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on December 13, 2005 at 4:03 AM
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on December 13, 2005 at 9:06 AM
I like to eat canned tuna. I ate it for lunch almost every day when I was in school. Just once, I ate fresh tuna, and I was disappointed. Fresh and canned tuna taste very different, and I didn't like the fresh tuna.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on December 13, 2005 at 10:32 AM
Yes, Pauline, fresh and canned are absolutely nothing alike. I think if you close your eyes and breathe deeply with a mouthful of fresh tuna, you can catch a hint of that flavor which you grew up thinking was tuna. I'm surprised you didn't like it fresh. How was it prepared? It should taste pretty much like a good steak would. And, as any good steak would be prepared, it should be rare.

Raw, preferably.

Canned tuna has improved since they took away the can. My favorite is StarKist albacore, straight from the pouch with crackers or multigrain bread. George makes a pretty mean tuna salad that's 100% kid-friendly (i.e. no celery or small crunchy things).

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on December 13, 2005 at 3:33 PM
I'll try tuna from a pouch. I didn't expect it to taste very different from tuna in a can.
From Bill _
Posted on December 13, 2005 at 6:14 PM
coke in a bottle = good
coke in a can = bad

same goes for tuna except that

tuna fresh from the sea = best

From Sakura Sakurazuka
Posted on December 15, 2005 at 11:25 AM
Sashimi is best but I'm too poor woo hoo!

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