Why Do You Cut A slice Out Of A Tuna Tail And Why Cut Out The Gill Plate?

bigThe two most asked questions on the internet. After tail wrapping the tuna, fishermen will tow it behind the boat and the fish is bled by making two deep cuts in the tail to sever the arteries, then raking inside the gills with a  harpoon shaft  allows the blood to flow out. After bringing the fish aboard it is gutted either by removing the head or if no saw is handy using a knife to cut off the gill plate to remove the entrails. The slice of meat that is removed is done at the dock during processing for the buyers to look at to inspect for color, fat and oil content to determine the quality of the fish for purchase.



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Our editor and chief at Hawkeye recently sent all his writers an email and in it he asked with milder temperatures on the way if we would be grabbing our golf clubs or fishing poles. Well Bill it’s like this. I don’t know about anybody else but I have been chomping at the bit to get out to the New England trout streams since January, and as the warm weather gets closer the urge is building into an anticipation equal to that of a 10 year old at Christmas time.  I spent most of my adult life floating around the ocean in pursuit of haddock and cod which left little time for freshwater fishing so here in my approaching “golden years” I plan on making up for lost time.

I will be up at Winnipesaukee for the first part of April after salmon season opens, then the streams and rivers provided NHFG is able to stock, and after the dust settles from the Exeter Reservoir opening I most likely round out April there. I’m sure there will be many side trips along the way. Around mid-May I have obligations over in Vermont for the summer which doesn’t break my heart as the trout and bass fishing there is most excellent. I actually have wanted to fish the Moose River just East of ST. Johnsbury for a long time and I think this is the year.

I love to fish with spinning gear, mostly using artificial lures, preferably spoons. My favorite one that I have been using since the 60’s is a 1/4 ounce Thomas Buoyant minnow. They actually come in 4 sizes ranging from 1/6 ounce up to 5/8. I find that the ¼ covers all bases being able to use it on both my ultra-light and medium weight rods. They also come in a wide assortment of colors and designs however I have always stuck with the gold spotted offering. A new discovery I found from Thomas is their “Rough Rider” spoon. It is compact and thick weighing 1/5 ounce and I find on windy days you can still huck it out there due to its small size and heavy weight. I like the gold and silver offering and the trout seem to as well having landed many fat brookies and rainbows on this spoon.

Spinners are my second choice with the old favorite “Mepps” leading the pack. I use a 0, 1, or #2 for all my trout fishing, no bucktail or other added teaser, just plain old hooks have always been a brook trout killer. The larger sizes in red and black colors have worked well in the past on Northern Pike and pickerel. If the artificial baits aren’t working I go to the real thing, grasshoppers, meal worms, grubs are great but I prefer the good ‘ole “garden hackle”, that’s worms in case you didn’t know. I fish them with ultra-light tackle with no sinker if possible. I just hook them once through the “collar” and cast them upstream and let the bait float naturally through wherever I think the trout are laying. Pond fishing is a little different; I use a small egg sinker above a swivel snap and an 18 inch leader. Before I hook the worm I inflate it with a devise that is simply a plastic bottle with a hollow needle on it. This floats the bait above the bottom.

Fishing lures is an art form of its own. It takes a lot of practice to be able to cast the bait just where you want it. Judging from the lines I see hanging off tree limbs and logs there are some out there that are in training or haven’t figured this talent out. Even the best will mess up a cast now and then and find a overhanging branch, but that’s part of the game thus the many backup lures I carry in my creel. Fishing streams with lures I almost always fish from the top of the pools or rapids casting my line to the bottom of the water where trout lie and work the bait up through it. Casting a spoon or spinner upstream doesn’t always work well if the current is too swift. It requires a rapid retrieve or you will get hung up on the bottom. In ponds I give my spoon plenty of time to sink once I have cast out and it hits the water, usually at least a 5 count, then a slow retrieve will insure the bait stays close to the bottom where the fish are.

I love to use my 5 foot graphite ultra-light rods for stream fishing. This year I have a new Shimano rod with a medium tip, Shimano open face reel loaded with 2 pound test monofilament line. For larger rivers and ponds I have the same set-up except I am using a 6 foot rod and 8 pound test powerPro line with a 10 foot 6 pound test mono leader. I like the braid because it has no stretch and sets the hook well on long casts. I use a leader to give it just a little shock absorber action so as not to rip the fishes face off and also to act as a break point on hang-ups. For those tiny brooks with the tastiest native brook trout I break out my little ice fishing rod. It works well with un-weighted worm baits and tiny jigs, and is easy to carry when tramping through the brush to get to that next pool.

I love to eat freshwater fish and I make an effort to care for them after they are landed. I immediately bleed them for several minutes with a slash to the throat, then gut and take the gills out and either get them on ice or on a stringer and hung in the water. When pond fishing I always keep a cooler at hand not only because the water is still and usually warmer than in a stream, but also critters sometimes try to steal them if given the chance. You don’t want to see a large snapping turtle or otter/weasel swimming away with your 20 inch brown trout in its mouth!

Good Luck and Tight Lines,

Capt. Don


Early Morning Beach Run With A Tasty Reward

We won’t see this on ABC NEWS with Diane Sawyer.