Blood in the boat! The bad news for you, I’m not selling. The good news for me is I’m not selling the Paula J! Two years ago, I got infected with a flesh eating bacteria. It literally brought my whole life style into question.
While getting ready for tuna season three years ago (the whole point of the Paula J) I stubbed my toe in the yard wearing flip flops. I was in the ER late that night in excruciating pain, the infection having attacked my arthritic right shoulder.
Long story short, I spent several days in the hospital and another several months on an IV pump followed by a daily regimen of horse sized antibiotic pills. Once off the pills, the infection came back in force, eating away the bone from my left hip prosthesis.
Every time I took the Paula J out, I got seriously sea sick, spending every trip puking over the side. I began to consider selling my beloved boat, thinking the infection had modified my body such that I couldn’t go offshore and enjoy my hobby.
I spent the latter three months of last year in agony as my hip prosthesis had come loose. When the surgeon finally opened me up he found the bacteria alive and thriving eating away at my bone structure. That was when I seriously started thinking of selling.
Well, after several more months on an IV pump cocktail followed by daily doses of another oral antibiotic cocktail I started feeling better than I had since I was originally infected. So, this last Friday I took the boat out with an old friend, his son and one of my customers.
We ran across the Newport bar before daylight on a fairly choppy ocean Towards a spot where the Chlorophyll indicators promised a good opportunity. We would be fishing between 30 and 40 miles offshore, which if you have ever been infected with the tuna bug, is close in to shore.
We were on the fish straight away, 60 degree blue water, dropped our lines in and had fish in the boat within ten minutes. First a single then a double and the day went on like that till I called it and headed back in to port. Blood in the boat! Not a stellar day by any means fish wise, but a great day to be alive!
Didn’t get sick once! I didn’t even get queasy tying up lines and untangling which happened more than a few times, having a boat full of tuna newbies. The good news was, everyone got their tuna cherry popped and the accompanying tuna blood bath.
We headed in on an amazingly flat ocean at twenty eight knots! We ended the day with everyone having had a great day on the big pond! My butt was kicked, but I spent the evening tying up hoochies for the next day.
Saturday morning came early, but a little stressful, my hydraulic motor trim decided to go out, but with the help of one of my crew for the day, we were able to get the outboard down. She fired right up and purred like a kitten. Due to the trim issue, I hadn’t gotten the tackle rigged like I normally do.
Due to the outboard issue we crossed the bar at 7:30 AM headed out to my numbers from the day before on a flat ocean at an unreal 28 knots. We hit some sixty degree water and dropped in.
Trolled about twenty minutes and I had the guys reel up, moving out about ten more miles to some blue water. We dropped back in and within ten minutes had two drive by’s with no hookups.
Reeled in to check the baits…no hooks on any of the lines! I felt like a reel dill rod, missed setting up the rods due to the trim issue then wanting to get the lines out had spaced out putting the hooks on…total rookie move! No blood in the boat yet 🙁
Needless to say, the guys really gave me a hard time, but not nearly the hard time I gave myself! If you can’t laugh at yourself, you shouldn’t run a tuna boat!
We finished the day having lost an unusually high number of fish, some due to Fisherman’s error some due to captain error and some due to equipment failure.
Once again, I had two tuna virgins get the traditional tuna blood bath with everyone going home with some fresh tuna and once more we had blood in the boat!
One of the guys went out in a guide boat much smaller than mine. They only caught two fish and there were six guys each of which spent $250.00 each for the day. Two of the guys caught fish.
When you go out fishing on my boat, the crew splits the expense and the catch and I still provide the tackle. Split $250 four ways, and that will usually cover the trip depending upon how far out we run. I get my share of the catch and I run the boat and act as the mate.