When I was in grade 9 or so, I had the great opportunity to be taken deep-sea fishing for a day. Some of my immediate family had gathered with the rest of my extended-step-family in a beach house at Outer Banks, NC, and a bunch of the adults decided, 'What the hell! Let's go fishing!'
We had to wake up dark and early the next morning, pile into a car, and drive 30 or so miles with the sun just beginning to rise over the tops of the huge local houses. Eventually we got to the marina, boarded a big trolling boat, and introduced ourselves to the captain and his two man crew. It wasn't light out yet, and certainly still earlier than my usual wake time, so I pulled out my tunes and watched the sun rise over the receding shore line until I fell asleep.
I woke back up when we were out in the open sea. I live in Seattle; ocean swells were something that I'd never seen before. The boat pitched and rolled violently, but I noticed that nobody else was concerned. My step grandfather, a professor of CS in Colorado, apparently was terminally seasick. I wandered out of the cab into the sunshine in the back of the boat where another step-uncle, a security and multimedia ninja for the US DoD was checking the lines.
I sat on the cooler and began to gradually feel nauseous as the boat pitched and wheeled around in the swells.
But to cut a long story short...
We eventually began catching yellow fin tuna! Nobody ever told me that tuna are huge freaking fish. I thought they'd be like ... trout sized. The tuna we were reeling in were upwards of 55 pounds. One by one we brought them in -- when the tuna got close enough to see, another person would lean over with one of several huge gaffing hooks and yank it through the fish really quick, spearing and landing it into a container where it would flap and spray blood until it finally suffocated.
Eventually it was my turn. I was totally unprepared for the physical exertion it was going to take to reel it in. "Have you ever caught a fish this large?" somebody asked. I think it was the job hopping uncle who lived in silicon valley and drove a sports car.
"No," I replied.
"Tuna are almost the fastest fish in the water around here; they can swim up to 60 miles per hour..." It took two other people to help me reel it in! It took forever! The strategy you use when manually reeling in a fish is to pull on the line really hard -- so hard you feel like you're going to break it -- and then lunge forward and reel up the slack.
Fifteen minutes later we landed the fish. Even with the help of my step-relatives, my scrawny geek arms were so totally spent that I couldn't even get the celebratory fresca to my mouth.
Everybody wound up catching a fish but my step-grandfather. He was nearly incapacitated by the motion of the boat. I do remember him telling me though, as we were returning for the day, to "relax and bask in your 15 minutes of fame." I didn't know what he was talking about until we arrived and a whole crowd of people rushed out to see what we had caught.
We wound up giving the two biggest fish to the captain and crew, and taking the rest to the beach house. The multimedia ninja wound up carving and preparing the fish... there's absolutely nothing like a fresh, properly prepared tuna steak. It's more akin to, say, pork, than fish.
Anyway, that's how it went. I've got this picture on my fridge of me holding my fish on the dock inside the marina. It's almost 2/3rds as tall as me, and practically as wide. Though I felt a little touristy
coming along on a charter boat fishing trip, I wound up rather enjoying the scenery and the one-of-a-kind experience. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody else should the opportunity arise.