Deep-sea offshore fishing…sounds like an adventure to me. Let’s do this!
Well, maybe I should start with the guy that made this adventure possible. A new friend of mine Anthony Bauer. I met Anthony through some friends and pretty quickly we figured out that we both have the adventure bug. His version of adventure is slightly different than mine. Anthony is an outdoorsman in the classical sense. He loves to hunt and fish more than anything, so much so, that he devotes most of his time to the outdoors and also provides opportunities for others to enjoy the outdoors that may not be as privileged. Anthony’s company is called Live2Die and his goal is to get kids away from the TV and videogames and get them outside. Now that is certainly something I can get behind. Check out his site at www.Live2DieGear.com
Much like a lot of the kids Anthony mentors, I have never been out on a fishing boat in the ocean. I have plenty of experience fishing in lakes, ponds and streams, but that experience doesn’t really help at all when it comes to fishing in the ocean. Everything is different.
The first difference I experienced was the feeling of being on boat in the middle of the ocean. To me rocking around on the boat in the open water was pretty fun, but meanwhile my brain and inner ear were getting confused and they started to rebel against my body. For those of you who have never been sea sick, consider yourself lucky because it sucks! Our trip was definitely for advanced anglers, which I felt confident I was, so it wasn’t just a few hours on the water. We set sail (har har) Friday night around 9pm and we were scheduled to come back Sunday morning at 9am. I wasn’t exactly sure how everything worked, but that was part of the adventure. It turned out that we drove all night for about 12 hours, going out around 130 miles, and fished all day and that night we drove back another 12 hours. For someone that hasn’t been on a boat very often, that’s a long time, especially if you can’t hold any food down!
My seasickness started when I woke up in the morning after a long night of heading out into the middle of the ocean. The first few times a got sick I tried to hide it from the others on the boat by sneaking off to the bathroom, but after awhile I didn’t really care what anyone else thought of me and I just starting chucking off the side of the boat. About two minutes after my last bout of throwing up the captain got on the PA system and announced that we had reached our first fishing spot. So, it was time to man-up, I wiped my mouth, grabbed my pole and a sardine and got to it. Within minutes I pulled in my very first Yellowtail. The excitement and adrenaline of catching my first fish seemed to settle my stomach even after eating the heart of my first kill. I was told it was an ocean fishing tradition, but I’m not so sure about that. Either way, I managed to hold it down and went on to catch two more Yellowtail throughout the day. I stopped barfing and I started to get my “sea legs”.
Anthony went on to catch three Yellowtail and the season’s first Dorado, which is a big deal, and he did it while teaching and helping me all day, pretty impressive.
As the sun started to set on our day of fishing we saw a
group of porpoise surface and swim next to the boat in the last few rays of
sunshine. What a perfect ending to the day. At that point all I could think
about was doing this trip again, pretty funny considering 12 hours before I
convinced myself that I’m a land dweller and I would never fish in the open
ocean again. It’s funny how things change when a little adrenaline is thrown
into the mix.
Our day of fishing was over and we began our long journey back to shore. We were all beat from fighting fish and being in the sun all day, but the deck hands weren’t quite finished yet. These guys were the all-stars of the boat. They ran the bait all day, glassed the ocean searching for fish, untangled everyone’s lines when things got out of hand and tied knots for those of us who had no idea what was going on. So, the deck hands final job of the day was to fillet everyone’s fish. This doesn’t sound that difficult but it was dark, the boat was rocking and we were going 10 knots in the open ocean. I would have cut my hand off for sure, but these guys flew through all the fish in about an hour even with me peeking over their shoulders asking questions the entire time.
A fishing adventure wouldn’t be complete for me without making a trip to the kitchen to experiment with a few yellowtail recipes. You can’t get fish any fresher than right off the boat, and it tastes just a little better when you catch it yourself! Sashimi and ceviche were on the menu as soon as I got home. I invited a few friends over and we collaborated on some other dishes including, seared yellowtail salad, fish tacos, and my favorite cioppino. It was definitely worth starving for a day out on the water to be rewarded with a fresh feast like that when I returned.
Thanks to Anthony, Frank and the crew my first open ocean fishing trip was a memorable adventure. I can’t wait until next time. We’ll be going for the big ones, Bluefin. Until then, in the words of Anthony Bauer and his Live2Die motto: “Get busy living, or get busy dying!”