Back in March I received an email from my buddy Dave Fender letting me know he had just booked a boat in Prince Edward Island in September to fish for giant bluefin tuna. I wasn't sure where PEI was but knew that Fendo always did his research. With that it took me about a nano second to reply "I'm in!"
Before I knew it September was upon us. I still wasn't sure where PEI was but had read some reports that fishing had been very good. After a little research I ordered some AFTCO foul weather gear and was good to go.
My hopes for this trip was to see an 800 pound plus Bluefin. Catching one was not that important. I just wanted to see a tuna that big. There were 3 of us and Andrew Hughes and my self decided Fender was first up. After all he put the trip together. Andrew and I argued but I finally persuaded him to go second. We booked 4 days fishing but to be truthful I never dreamed we would get to my up.
First morning the Bruce Brothers were over booked and asked us to go with Terry on the boat Boo Boo. Not knowing any different we agreed and off we went. Less than a mile out of the harbor Terry started metering bait so we stopped and easily made a tank of mackerel in short order. From there we motored another mile and started fishing. It didn't take long drifting a bait and kazam! Fendo was on. The excitement was unreal. Watching the 200 pound test zing off the reel with 60 pounds of drag was a sight. After an hour plus battle a magnifisent 750 pound bluefin came to leader and released. We went back to the marina for lunch and then out again for the afternoon bite. Andrew didn't get bit right away so Terry put out a kite. That did the trick as we watched a monster inhale the bait. After another epic battle Andrew's fish was brought to leader and released.
Second day we fished with Jamie Bruce on the Tuna Clipper. I have to tell you from a charter operator myself, these guys are a class act. My expectations had already been met and now I'm at bat. Same routine, we made bait and then didn't motor far. My bait wasn't in the water long and bendo! The line was singing off my Accurate 130. I had never fished from a chair before and was not really comfortable with it. I did battle the beast to leader estimated 500 pounds.
It was now 9am and we had our morning fish. Jamie said let's go have some fun. He anchored up on his herring net and started to chum. It didn't take long and we had monster bluefin blowing up on the chum. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. We put bait on the kite without hooks and watched the show. After 30 or 40 minutes a cow swam by and Jaime could't take it any more. He pinned a bait on stand up gear and pitched it to the fish. It was inhaled and Fendo was on his second fish. This one was a toad. After an hour and a half battle it was brought leader and measured a whopping 1050 pounds. Done for the day at 1PM we headed in.
Day 3 Andrew was first up. The bite was so good it was just silly. Electing to try stand up mid morning another grander was released. Just after the release Jamie got a call from the marina. Ken Fraser was there and wanted to ride along for the afternoon. He asked if we would mind. He had to be kidding. Fraser holds the world record with a 1496 pound bluefin. He is older now and was really happy to get out on the water. It was an unexpected treat for us to have him.
The afternoon I'm up with Ken Fraser watching. Jamie put up the kite and within minutes I was bent on the stand up gear. I pushed the lever to 50 pounds of drag and hung on while the fish went ballistic. When it finally settled down I bumped it up to 60 pounds and hung on. It felt like something was going to come apart and I just prayed it wouldn't be me. When the fish came to leader everyone was amazed when it taped out to be 1,100 pounds. As it turned out Ken Fraser had never witnessed a crazy fool fight a grander standing up. When we returned to the dock he autographed a copy of his book "Possessed" noting that he was impressed watching me catch a "grander" with stand up gear.
By the end of our trip we had caught and released 7 giant bluefin 3 of which were over a 1,000 pounds. It is an understatement to say this was a trip of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations.
Mean while back on the East Cape my crew was operating our Jen Wren boats. Not to be out done Skipper Chuy Cota Managed to land the largest tuna of the season weighing in at 277 pounds. Diego skippering the Jen Wren also got his anglers in the 100 pound club with a 140 pound yellowfin.
Special thanks to Accurate Jack Nilsen for putting together this great video of our trip. It is 10 minutes and worth the watch.
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