40 pounds of Albacore

tuna

T did a good job on our fishing trip.  He caught 3 albacore tuna (although, no yellowtail), his last one being the largest one caught on the whole trip!  The boat’s scale maxed out at 35 pounds, so who knows how big that sucker really was!  I figure between the 3 fish, we ended up with at least 40 pounds of meat.  I caught no fish.  I did have one on a line, but just as I was getting him close enough he managed to get off the hook.  After all that fighting, he got away!  It’s really okay, though, because what would we have done with even more fish?  Thankfully, T had the guys at the dock seal it all up into small vacuum packed packages.  Last year, we were up past midnight portioning, wrapping, and sealing the fish.  Much easier to give the guys $20 and then just toss it all in the freezer.

Yellowfin tuna is what is usually marketed as ahi – the stuff people sear and slice and charge $12 a plate for the privelege of eating the 6 slices and lettuce garnish.  Last year, we had a lot of that and we definitely enjoyed it.  I think albacore is what is typically cooked and flaked – tuna noodle casseroles and tuna salad and whatnot.  We’ll probably try searing some albacore and seeing how it is and then cooking leftovers for pasta and salads.  A little at a time, of course, as albacore tends to have the most mercury of all the tunas.  With 16 packages, I figure we have enough to give some to friends and still be able to eat one package a month until the trip next year.

Some other things I learned on the fishing trip:

  • Bananas on the boat are bad luck – while the rest of us were sleeping, someone tossed all the bananas overboard.  I heard that guy didn’t catch any fish.  The boat staff was unhappy, as they really enjoy their bananas.

  • Halibut is one of the most polluted fish in the ocean.  Apparently, the reason you buy halibut already skinned and filleted is because if you were to buy it with the skin on, you’d see parasites coming out of it as you threw it in the pan.  I think, though, that since most fish has been frozen before you get it, this would kill the parasites.  Helen at Beyond Salmon has written some good posts on parasites, serving raw fish, and tuna.  And on freezing fish.  I love Beyond Salmon – it’s the best site for fish advice and recipes.

  • You can either have your fish filleted on the boat or do it at home, but Fish and Game doesn’t allow any dock people to fillet fish. 

  • Last year, the deck hands sliced some yellowtail up for us to enjoy, but they put it in the freezer first before they would let us touch it.  We all survived and no one got sick and it was mighty tasty sashimi.

  • Women on board a fishing boat are also bad luck.  I’m glad the banana-guy didn’t try to toss us overboard, too!  There were 4 gals on this trip – I’m the only one who didn’t manage to snag a fish.

Catching fish is extremely exhausting (at least for me).  Those fish put up such a fight and it seems to take forever to “pull up, wind down” to bring the fish close enough to gaff.  Oddly enough, I have no problem baiting the hooks and sticking the hook through the sardine nose.  Maybe because it’s like a nose piercing and it doesn’t kill them right away?  But, I do not like anchovies because we were using pretty big hooks and I kept either squishing the poor thing trying to force the hook through, or I’d pop an eye out (eww, sorry!) aiming for the nose.  Either way, the thing didn’t swim very vigorously (who can blame him?) and I just used sardines whenever I could.  It was a very fun trip, I only got mildly seasick in the morning, and I’m very happy to be home with my super comfy bed to sleep in.

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