Hook Up

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Hook Up! It was the trip of a lifetime for me. I took a trip to California to visit my father. The night I arrived, we sat on the couch and talked for a while. He told me that he had planned a fishing trip for the two of us. He said that we would be spending two days in the ocean fishing for tuna. We would leave out of a harbor in San Diego and travel down into Mexican waters. He said that we were to leave next Wednesday night.

I was so excited to go on this trip. I had less than a week to get ready to go. Everyday I would do a little something to get ready for our trip. One day I got all of our fishing poles, greased the reels, and put new fishing line on them. The next day I went through all of our tackle and made a list of what we needed.

The day after I went to the store and bought the items of which I had written on my list. Tuesday, before our trip, I was so excited. I went and bought some snacks for us to take and watched fishing shows all day.

Finally, it was Wednesday afternoon. I loaded everything in my father's truck so we could hurry up and leave. We were off to San Diego at about 5:00 p.m. It would take us about two hours to get there with all the traffic. At around 7:30 we found a parking space near the harbor. We unloaded everything and headed down to the boat.

When we arrived at the boat, there was a line to board. In the front of the line was the captain of the boat. He was getting everybody checked in and taking up their money. We finally got our turn to check in. My dad gave him our names and the money. The captain then assigned us our bunk numbers and told us where they were. Bunks are small beds that are stacked above one another. We left our fishing supplies on the deck and took our clothes to the bunks. We were on the bottom bunk under the deck. There was air conditioning in the bunks, which made them very comfortable to sleep in. After we set up our beds, we went back up to the deck to get all our fishing stuff situated.

There were still quite a few people to check in, so we just relaxed, and talked to some of the other guys that were around. The boat finally left around 9:00 p.m. We went to a bait barge and loaded up with sardines and anchovies, which were used for bait. A bait barge is a floating platform that has large square netted holes filled with bait. After that, we were headed down to Mexico. The boat ride was very comfortable, which helped us to sleep all night.

My dad woke me up at sun light on Thursday morning. We walked up stairs to the deck to see if there was anyone else awake. There were a few people eating breakfast. We sat down at an open table and ate.

As we finished, the Captain announced that we would start trolling in a few minutes. We had set turns to take trolling. Trolling is when you place a fishing lure in the water behind a boat when it is moving at a certain speed. Each lure that is placed in the water is put out at a different distance. The fishing poles would then be tied to the rail of the boat and hung over the side. There are clickers on the side of the reels that will make a loud clicking sound when something is pulling the line out. This is so people can hear if a fish was to take the lure. When the clicker would start clicking, someone would yell, "hook up," and the captain would stop the boat. The reason for trolling was to try to find a school of fish. If a fish bit the trolled lure, then there usually was a school of fish that would follow it to the boat as it was reeled in.

We trolled for about a half an hour before we caught anything. The first fish caught was an albacore tuna. Albacore tuna are the tuna in which everybody buys in a can. They are silver on the bottom and black on the top. They have long fins on the side of their bodies, which are used for swimming at great speeds. After the fish was caught, every one would put a baitfish on their lines and try to catch some more tuna that were part of the school. Finally, after several hours of fishing around, I caught my first albacore tuna. It was a smaller one weighing 18 pounds.

It was finally my turn to troll. I put my trolling feather into the water. About two minutes later, I herd my reel clicking. I yelled, "hook up," as loud as I could! The captain stopped the boat so I could reel it in. I reeled the fish in as fast as I could. I could tell that this one was a bigger one. It was a lot bigger. When the fish was at the surface, I could see that it was another albacore. It weighed 35 pounds. I put it into my fish bag, put a baitfish on my hook, and put my line back in the water. Immediately, I hooked up with another fish. This one was also of good size. It was putting up a good fight. It took me about fifteen minutes to reel this one in. It weighed 31 pounds. I was so happy; these were the biggest fish I had ever caught.

I went up to my dad to see if he had caught any fish. He said that he had a few bites, but just couldn't seem to hook one. I felt somewhat bad for him, but he was still happy. He was glad to see me catch my first tuna ever.

We fished for a few more hours. When it got dark, my dad and I put our poles in their holders and went to eat our dinner. After dinner, we sat around and talked for a while. We finally were too tired and headed to our bunks to go to bed.

The next morning my dad woke me up around breakfast time. We went up stairs and ate our breakfast. Then we trolled around for a while. We found a couple of schools of albacore tuna, but they were all small.

After about two hours of fishing around, the Captain spotted some fish jumping out of the water. We headed over there very fast. It turned out to be a huge school of bluefin tuna. Bluefin tuna are a bigger type of tuna. They are white on the bottom and blue on the top. I immediately had bait on my line and had it in the water. I did not catch anything for a while. Finally, my line started peeling out very fast. I set the hook and the fish went crazy. Everybody on the boat saw and yelled, "hook up." This is just a term used to let the crew know that someone else had a fish on their line.

He pulled almost all of my line off my reel. I knew that this was a bigger fish than I had caught yesterday. I fought it for over a half an hour. It swam around the boat several times. At last, I was finally able to see it. It looked pretty big. One of the deck hands grabbed a gaff and stood by my side until I brought the fish to the surface. A gaff is a long poll with a big hook on the end of it. It is used to hook the fish and bring them up on the boat. It takes the place of a net. When the fish came to the surface, the deckhand lowered the gaff into the water and gaffed it. He pulled it up on to the boat. It was the biggest fish I had every caught. It weighed 48 pounds and was longer than my legs. I was so tired after I caught this fish, so I sat down and took a break. My arms were all cramped up and sore.

After a short break, I was back fishing. I did not catch any more fish the rest of the day, but my dad caught two bluefin tuna weighing 40 and 46 pounds. All together, we had six fish that totaled 224 pounds.

The boat arrived back in the harbor late that Friday night. We got off the boat and loaded everything back in my dad's truck. When we got home, it was too late to do anything. We decided to put the fish in some ice chests and keep them frozen until the next day.

On Saturday, we went out side, cleaned and filleted all of our fish. We ended up with a little over a hundred pounds of meat. We gave most of it to our friends and family. The rest of it, we put in our freezer until we would be ready to eat it. This was the best trip I had ever gone on. My father and I will remember this trip for the rest of our lives.