The Atlantic Tuna
The Atlantic tuna or Canadian tuna, is sometimes called horse mackerel, in fact it is more often known by that name than by the name tuna. They grow to an immense size, 1200 pounds or even more, and it seems that they are the same as those found in the Pacific as regards fighting qualities, except that the largest fish of any kind are not the fiercest fighters. They are found very rarely as far south as New Jersey, and are most abundant off the coast of Nova Scotia and especially in St. Anne's Bay and Mira Bay, Cape Breton. These fish are seldom taken with rod and line but are harpooned. A few years ago Mr. J. K. L. Ross, writing for a certain sporting magazine said that he never knew of an Atlantic tuna being landed with rod and line, but since that time he has been fortunate enough to capture the world's record tuna taken in this way.
This great fish weighed 680 pounds. I understand that he used a tuna rod of one piece and butt; a special Vom Hofe reel holding 300 yards of line, and a No. 39 linen line of that length. Mr. Ross is probably the most enthusiastic Canadian tuna fisherman living and has hooked large numbers of these fish but invariably loses them by the tackle giving way or the line being cut by the other tuna. Some of his earliest trouble of this kind was caused by the bait slipping up over the wire leader to the line, after the fish was hooked, and the other fish in their efforts to get the bait bit the line. He put an end to this trouble by .fastening a short piece of wire crosswise of the leader to keep the bait from traveling off the leader and onto the unprotected line. A twelve foot leader is used and it is made of piano wire. The hook is the largest tuna hook with a six inch chain attached. If the fish is finally brought to gaff, a harpoon style gaff which has a rope attached and detaches from the handle after hooking the fish, is the kind that must be used. As such a large fish could not be taken into a boat he must be towed ashore.
Think of capturing a 680 pound fish with a line that probably would not stand a strain of more than eighty pounds! What fine handling of rod and reel must be necessary to check the rushes of such a fish on 300 yards of line! The fish will tow a boat many miles, and if allowed to have their own way will do so for days. At the very best it would take hours of work to land such a fish and the catch would not dare be allowed a minute's rest until brought to gaff. The Pacific tuna tackle would be useless here.
Brooks, Lake. The Science of Fishing. Columbus, OH: A.R. Harding, 1912. Print.
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