Tony's 200+ lb Yellowfin tuna
100 lb Yellowfin
Caught by son, Kealan, Dec.9, 2009
Tony, rowing to shore, having just unloaded the tuna from his boat. He tied up at his normal mooring location about 200 feet from the beach.
After the fish were cleaned and taken care of, he swam back out and proceeded to move the boat 9 miles south to the Layou River (the largest river on the island) where he more safely tied "Millie" upriver a short ways in the shelter of the river bank, to weather the storm... which eventfully produced 5+ inches of rain but little wind over the next 24 hours.
Better to be safe than sorry with one's means of livelihood when confronting tropical storms.
Roasting small tuna over a cocoa nut husk fire and embers... cooked rare or well-done... a delicacy found at any fisherman's beach after nearly every catch.
This large haul of 11 yellow-fin tuna, caught by my friends, Tony & Monason, came into shore about 4pm. Just about the same time as tropical storm Erika was beginning to move across the island (2009). Knowing that the fishermen were due back and that the storm was arriving, many friends gathered and waited on the shore to help out as needed with unloading and cleaning fish. Then, by hand, boats were brought ashore and lugged well away from the shoreline. When very rough seas and high winds are expected, the guys all rally to lift and pull their boats to higher ground... in this case, 75-100 feet away from shore.
For unloading the catch this day, because of the rough waves, the boat was tied about 40 feet from shore. Several of us then waded out waist to stomach deep, hefted a tuna to shoulder and walked a balancing act back to shore over the rocks, through the waves and up the beach to the cleaning table.
Cleaning the catch is a friend-help-friend shared chore, that occurs rather quickly. But, before the process begins, a fire has already been started, with small "bonitio" tuna cut in half, dipped in sea water for seasoning and placed over the open flames for quick cooking and ongoing snacking. It doesn't get any fresher than this!
Once the tuna are rough cleaned they are quickly loaded into the back of a truck and taken to coolers for chilling / freezing and later cutting. These tuna, between 75-125 lbs, produce round slabs of meat a little larger than a dinner plate.