Banks Angling: Tuna Time
By ROB ALDERMAN
is rapidly approaching and 2011 is almost over, but the tuna fishing
seems to just be getting started.
I had the chance to go offshore over the weekend with some close
friends and my fiancée.
got the call late Wednesday afternoon from my buddy to join him on
board the Big Tahuna out of Teach’s Lair Marina for a day of tuna
The recent reports had included some good blackfin tuna catches and
some scattered yellowfin.
was definitely all for it, as I had not been in a boat all year because
of a double torn Achilles tendon. I’d been worried about my balance and
ability to stand in the offshore seas after such an injury, but with my
last surgery several months behind me, I figured now was a good time to
test out my sea legs.
We got to the docks around the crack of dawn on Saturday, Dec. 17.
The weather was cold, with a cloudy sky and blustery winds. I figured
we would have a rough day on the water.
We headed out of Hatteras Inlet, and it wasn’t long before we saw the
white caps and rolling seas.
The wind was a steady 15-20 mph and the seas were 6 to 8 feet.
had little sleep the night before, so I lay down for a quick nap, being
easily put to sleep by the sound of the dual Caterpillar motors, which
is my favorite sound to fall asleep to.
I awoke to my buddy, Jim, hollering out to me that we had arrived at
our first stop.
The motors geared down, and I knew it was time to get started.
We were going to try and butterfly jig a few marks in the hopes of
catching some blackfin tuna.
I love jigging offshore. It has become one of my most favorite things
was introduced to this style of fishing a few years ago on this very
boat and have since been back to do it more times than I can count.
This potluck style of fishing can produce just about anything that
swims in offshore waters.
On our first drop, the rods instantly bowed up and the fight was on.
Albacore, amberjack, and blackfin tuna were the fish that hit the deck
during our first stop for jigging.
the next couple of hours, while moving around and dropping jigs on
marks, the bite and fish remained consistent. Hoots and hollers rang
out as a steady variety of fish hit the deck.
After a while of jigging, we started trolling in the hopes of finding a
few yellowfin tuna.
It wasn’t long before four rods doubled over and the sound of
screeching reels filled the air.
For the next few hours, trolling produced blackfin and yellowfin tuna
It was truly a good day on the water, given the conditions.
But, this is where my story takes its turn.
If you noticed, I described my trip with sounds.
That’s because I spent my day in the cabin, seasick in a manner which
I’ve never known.
I was so sick I just wanted to go home. Yeah, I was that guy.
Most of you who have fished regularly have either seen this person,
been this person, or heard about this person.
It was not pretty.
am not sure if it was the lack of sleep, that my body was out of whack
from so many serious injuries this year, or the fact that by the next
day I was on antibiotics for a sinus infection.
Was I off my game or was there a deeper cause? I don’t know, and it
doesn’t really matter.
was beyond typical seasick. I could have easily been the guy
gets offshore and after 30 minutes of fishing, begs the captain to take
I looked at my watch and it was 10:15 in the morning,
and after what seemed like four hours, I looked again, only to realize
that it was 10:40 in the morning. It was going to be a long day.
I knew that I would get another chance to fish in the near future,
where my friends would not.
I was going to have to suck this one up and take it like a man.
found myself giving myself pep talks. After tearing my Achilles tendon
twice this year and herniating a disc in my neck, I thought I could
take anything thrown at me, but this was rough.
It was suffering on a whole new level. No matter what I did or how hard
I tried, I couldn’t get myself right.
I just lay there, unable to stand, because every time I did, I wanted
to be sick and thus far I hadn’t been.
After a while my fiancée, Lisa, came and checked on me and let me know
she caught her first yellowfin tuna.
How depressing. I missed my girl’s first tuna. I couldn’t even get a
picture of it, but my buddy Jim did.
was feeling under the weather also, but nothing like me, although she
did use up the remainder of her energy on that tuna and lay down for
the rest of the trip.
Time dragged on, and I continued to fight the urge to ask Capt. Kenny
Koci to take me home.
what seemed like days, the motors finally geared up to cruising speed,
and within minutes, I was standing on the back of the boat with my
All it took was getting rid of the rolling seas, and I was fine again.
friends and the crew were relieved to see me standing and with some
normal color in my face. None of them had ever seen me in such a state,
but I’ve been told it happens to the best watermen.
conversation later that evening, Capt. Ernie Foster and Capt. Patrick
Caton both shared stories of fighting serious seasickness daily as kids.
It made me feel slightly better, but was unable to keep from feeling
down about the first and only boat trip of the year for me.
However, I was happy that Lisa caught her fish and, most importantly,
that I survived the trip.
spent my entire life on the water, whether it was chasing fish in the
Chesapeake Bay, wakeboarding on Lake Gaston, or waterskiing in the
Intercoastal Waterway and have never been that ill.
I am still trying to find excuses for it, but I guess it’s a moot
point, because it will not change that day.
All I can do is wait for the next trip to come around and see what
But, I do plan on taking a little Dramamine next time.
Better safe, than sorry.
Alderman is the owner of the Hatteras Island Fishing Militia website
and is a kayak fishing guide. Rob has 10 years of fishing experience on
the Outer Banks, and is host of the “Outer Banks Angler” television
show. You can follow more of his extreme adventures or contact him at www.FishMilitia.com)