So, Dad has a tackle box that weighs probably 50 pounds. And packs 8 rods on average. Always he prepared, is his motto, and it’s a good one. For those of you who ever wish to attempt a tuna trip here’s tip one..use a bait caster not spinning reels. If you don’t have one, rent one! All of the gear is good, and my bear friend, the famous Danny Wade makes sure that gear is ready for you. I bring 3 to 5 rods with different pound test (line strenght essentially) each with a specific purpose, but I relied on Dad this day!
We started loading all our gear on the boat around 9pm, signed in on the Coadt Guard manifest which must be filed before the trip, went below and chose our bunks, began setting up our gear, and settled in for the next 20 hours.
More chaos was rampant, but now the dancers were contained on board. Very little comraderie happens. All of us are excited, ready to pull away from the docks, and get this show on the road. At approximately 10 pm, the engines roar to life, lines are thrown, and we head to the bait receivers.
As we head out of the harbor into San Diego bay, the Captain comes over the loudspeaker, welcoming us aboard, telling us where the life vests are, telling us to throw our illegal drugs overboard, and instructing us all to meet in the galley for a seminar when we tie up to the recievers.
After pulling up to what looks like giant wood docks floating out in San Diego bay, close to the naval base at the end of Rosecrans street, we watch the deckhands tie up an begin hoisting the dock slats open looking for the best bait. In this decade, the only bait available was the sardine. I would learn a lot about the history of bait and it’s importance for years to come, but on this trip I crammed in the galley much like the bait, to listen to fishing instructions from the great Capt. Harris.
Next to him was Bear, the jolly cook, who I instantly loved, and would wrap my arms almost around for many years, and Butch pulled out a trolling rod for the seminar. He gave basic instructions on fishing for the next day, trolling rotations, what size hook to use (You might want to ask a deckhand before departure, because there aren’t any stores in the Pacific Ocean.), how to pin a bait on, fish with the wind in your face, move your feet, and other things that when it happens and you’re new, will completely fly out of your brain.
After, eveyone becomes more familiar, do a check on the bait quality, finish rigging up their gear, play a game of cards, drink, and head down to sleep in our bunks. I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up, this is before cell phone alarm clocks, but Dad assured me that I would jump up with the first yell of, “Hook UP,” I would scramble on deck.
I didn’t sleep a wink!