I got in on a cancellation, to what would be an epic birthday trip for our friend Matt Ritze. The spot opened up on Thursday Aug 3rd and I committed even though I knew I was at the time without a passport. I filled out the paperwork, got a photo and expedited the packet later in the morning.
Tuesday, Aug 8th, my check to the State Department was deposited, and I know I had a better than 50% chance of getting my passport before the Saturday departure time.
Saturday, Aug 12th, I went home to pack up my clothes and check the mail at noon - nothing. Ugh. At 2 I went back to check again. BINGO, got it, then headed down to H&M Landing.
The few hours before getting onto the Constitution, we all had fun telling stories and Dock-Cart Gating, then it was time to load up.
The plan was to go for big tuna and have fun celebrating Matt's birthday. The Constitution was the perfect boat and crew for the trip, as they had been on the same trip one year ago. Sheila Ritze is a fantastic Chartermaster. Every meal service, activity, empty drink hand, or fish hanging on the rail, had Sheila's undevided attention and huge personality to make sure everyone had a great time.
Liam caught his 130 lb tuna on a Williamson South African style lure about 20 minutes after we fathomed our line to 50 fathoms. I got my 133 pounder hooked up shortly after that on my LP lure.
My fish went crazy on the deck and woke up everyone still sleeping. For 20 seconds it slapped and hammered my lure into the deck and made some nice hook and lure impressions in its face, like someone who fell asleep on a tweed pillow. (You can see it in the picure above).
Manny caught his 130 lb fish next then Nate brought in a 202 pounder that got hit by a 10 foot Mako at the rail. That was in front of everyone, and quite amazing. The Tuna tried to do the lizard thing to get away, but the crew gaffed it and brought it aboard. It would have probably weighed 208.
During the day, the kite came out and a few more coctails, beach chairs and a ton of funny stories. We saw a few big cows swing and miss on the yummies. Matt came out and had some funny hair, which I didn't take a picture of sadly. Mica Ritze got hammered on the yummy and got to grinding. He landed his 130 pounder in a dizzying 13 minutes.
We had a daytime butterfly hit and an amazing meal by Chef Jeff.
Captain Keith gave us a one hour countdown at 8PM. Everyone fished hard to finish up with one more chance at a trophy tuna. at 8:20 Nate hooked up again and passed it to his buddy Sebastian. Renewed effort at the rail, and 20 minutes later we had our 7th big tuna on board. This time, it was a second place weight finish at 139 pounds.
This trip had a ton of fond memories, a few heartbreaks, great company, gourmet food, and refreshing beverages. John Beaman Jr. is an amazing soul who used half of his fishing time to video all the excitement and shenanigans. His effort definately needs recognition, and we all can't wait to relive our time on the Constitution over and over.
Thanks again Captian Kieth, Hunter, Seth, Chase and Jeff. Thanks Sheila and Alex for putting this together, remember, next year it becomes an annual event. Thanks Matt for having another birthday, and providing a true event atmosphere.
I went and followed the fish to Five Star Fish Processing. Drew Card met me and gave me a quick tour. Pat and the team were finishing up an order, cleaned up and dove right in to our fish.
Tale of the Tape:
8/16/17 update. Sheila sent in a picture of Matt's 'Visor Hair'. Nice work Sheila!
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