The Coast Guard has called off a long search for a private fisherman who was yanked out of a friend’s boat in Hawaii last weekend. There were few details in news releases, but it appears the fisherman was using a handline. He had just exclaimed that he had hooked a “huge” fish when what’s assumed to be an ahi (yellowfin tuna) carried him over the side.
Those tuna grow to over 200 pounds in Hawaii, and will generally dive when hooked. With a loop of line around a foot there was little hope of getting back to the surface unless he had a knife with which to cut the line.
Even the most experienced fishermen can get in trouble when dealing with a large fish. This incident brought bake memories of professional mate Chris Bowie being shot out of a boat while wiring a blue marlin off N.C. in 1994. His body was never found. Much closer to me was the loss of the great Delaware shark skipper Capt. Billy Verbanas, who took the rod from a customer who couldn’t finish off a big mako in 2002 and was yanked overboard while secured in a harness. I had fished with him a couple of times and noted now careful he had been while assigning everyone to a task – including holding onto the angler’s belt. Billy did get back up, but it was too late to save his life.
Carrying a release knife on your belt is a good move as cutting the line may be your only option while being dragged underwater while strapped in a harness.
A small craft advisory is up from Monday morning to late night. The morning forecast is for north winds at 10-15 knots before going northwest at 15-20 in the afternoon.
Chuck Many did a solo trip on his boat at Hilton Head, S.C. to find this large red drum.