My first tuna trip

My first tuna trip
My first tuna trip. It was July, 1968, and I was 14-years old. And, it was old-school tuna fishing.

My first tuna trip

Polaris
The Polaris. Build in the mid-1940’s. 42-feet. Powered by a 4-71 GMC diesel. I worked on this boat all through my high school years. 1968 thru 1972.

(ColPac eNews – July 2021). My first tuna trip was in July of 1968. The boat was the Polaris. In short, this was an old school 42-foot combo salmon, tuna, and crab boat from the mid1940’s. Additionally, it was power by a 4-71 GMC diesel, and had a top speed of 6.5 knots. But, most important, it could carry 5-tons of tuna.

Tuna-fishing strategy

Things were simple in those days. There was no GPS. In fact, we had three navigation tools. Firstly, and most important, a compass. Secondly, a depth-finder. And thirdly, a wristwatch.

Furthermore, our tuna fishing strategy was also just as simple:

  1. Go west until the boat was full.
  2. Turn-around and go east until you find land.
  3. Unload, and repeat.

The tuna gear

I was 14, and neither my dad or I had ever seen a tuna. But, there was some old tuna gear on the boat from the past owner. Like the boat, the gear was old, with rust stains. But, it was already made-up and ready.

This tuna gear consisted of seven hand-lines. Three for each side, and one center line. All seven were feather jigs. Six were red and white jibs, and the seventh was green and yellow. Later, we added two more jigs on lead-lines.

The trip

It was the middle of July. We left Newport at about 1AM and headed due west. Shortly after daylight we tossed the jigs over. And it wasn’t long before the first tuna hit.

Each time two or more tuna hit the jigs, dad would turn the wheel over for a big circle. A good circle might catch us 50 or more tuna. But most circles would catch a dozen or so.

However, by the end of the third day the boat was full. After that, we spend all that night, and most of the next day getting back to port. We unloaded. And, my dad collected a check for $1,500. That was a lot of money back in 1968.

Conclusion

Things have changed since 1968. At that time, no one thought of day-fishing tuna. But, with today’s high-speed boats, day-fishing tuna is a reality. And additionally, tuna is a fun and, popular growing sportfish.

In short, the OUPV 6-pack captain license will allow you to carry six or fewer passenger 100-miles offshore. With this captain license you can share your passion with paying passengers.

I hope you enjoyed this short article. Here is a fun link that you may enjoy: Battlefish tuna trailer >>

By Dennis

Instructor and Director at Columbia Pacific Maritime LLC