Deckhand “Tuna” Tasks

A deckhand is that extra eye that is always looking out for the skipper. The extra ear when a pump turns off unexpectedly. As the captain takes responsibility for the safety of the passengers of the vessel. The deckhand is that extra hand who knows where all the tools are.

Some tasks Before a Tuna Trip:

Pre-Trip Checks

  • Water Tanks
    • Filling Fresh water tanks for drinking use while out to sea.
  • Fuel
    • Taking the Vessel over to the fuel dock to top the old girl off.
  • Bait Tank
    • This is vital to our Tuna trip.
    • No chemicals in or around the tank.
    • Never flash lights in the tank.
    • Scooping out deadloss often to prevent more loss.
    • Ensure pumps are running AT ALL TIMES when carrying bait.
    • When not storing bait, keep tank well flushed. No stinkin bait.
  • Managing tackle
    • Proper amount of spare stackle aboard to accommodate the needs of the anglers.
    • Managing Assigned rods and Spare rods maintenance.
    • Ensure all rods are rigged and ready to fish
    • Drags are set to 8lbs of pressure. (able to pull out line by hand)
  • Untying and ShorePower
    • When Docking a boat, your top priority is securing that boat.
    • Ensure dock Power station is off prior to unplugging or plugging shorepower cord.
  • Trash
    • While underway, deckhands will manage trash collection process.
    • Changing out full bags and storing them for proper disposal when we return to port.
    • Secure bags with Rope.
    • No Plastic overboard.

During a Bite

  • Baiting Hooks
    • The Anchovy is difficult to grab sometimes and we are expected to be fast.
    • So Get fast…
  • Tying hooks
    • Many will learn the knot and fly fast this small obstacle during a bite. But the deckhand is usually a lot faster and can share tricks to trying faster.
  • Gaffing Fish
    • Ensuring to gaff in the head and no loin shots.
    • Responding to Gaff Requests
    • Ensure you have accountability and awareness for the gaff’s
  • Chumming
    • Throw intial scoop of bait when we first hookup a jig fish.
    • Pending inflow of hookups steadily throwing 2’s and 3’s
    • This takes a lot of practice/experience  to understand fully or even to explain.
    • Look for weak bait or damaged bait on the deck to chum first.
    • Don’t Put bait back into tank after it’s hit the deck. Chum it!

After The Bite

  • Instructing Anglers to get jigs in the water.
    • Yell Jigs out to the skipper.
  • Prepping the boat for the Next bite
    • Tying hooks, prepping gear
  • Stacking Fish in Ice Storage/When time Permits/Within Guidelines
  • Washing the Boat
    • This is a never-ending task for the deckhand. During the trip we will wash all the blood off each stop we encounter.
    • Trying to keep the deck moist to help eliminate blood from drying upon impact.
    • Ensuring handrails are kept clean and towels available.
    • Washing the outside of the boat often.

Processing The Tuna

  • Bleeding Tuna
    • We will hand bleed each tuna we bring aboard immediately and placed aside for bleeding. A cut across the chin strap.
  • UnHooking Tuna
    • Most Bites will be in the lip and easy to retrieve.
    • Some will be swallowed and the fastest option is to cut the line and retie the hook.
    • Looking for Frays in the line that might create a weak spot and lose a fish.
  • Filleting Tuna
    • Now this is no simple task to have to fillet 200 fish with a 20lb average.
    • Storing the Tuna and separating the portions up for the anglers in salmon bags
    • 20lb average can get 5 fish in one Salmon bag.
    • 30lb average can get 3 fish in one Salmon bag.
    • Anymore damages the fillets due to pressure.
  • Allowing Anglers pictures
    • Allow Anglers to get pictures at the end of the trip with the Largest Tuna caught. Prior to Filleting.
    • Find out what the fishing Derby weight is prior to filleting the largest Tuna.
    • Sometimes even a smaller tuna will win the daily.
  • Ice Storage
    • The fish will be stored layered with Ice.
    • First create a bed of Ice and lay your fish. Layer of Ice… Repeat
    • Belly in and backs to walls.
    • Monitor Internal Temperature

Odd moments:

Sometimes we will have to fix something in the middle of the night that just stops working. Being able to work efficiently as a team and assist each other with tasks to increase speed of repair. Some things you should learn;

  • Where the tools are and how to keep them organized.
  • Be on the look out for Special Gimmie rigged tools for special tasks? Maybe a metal bar that is used to plunge a clogged peacock valve that has sucked in seaweed. But you never know until your told.
  • Learn the Boat and take note to wear and tear you notice.
  • Be prepared to be a leader in a life saver situation.
  • Learn the emergency procedures unquie to the boat.

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