21 July 1997 – Part II

(Part of my Gone Fishing story)

Monday, 21 July 1997

Day 3 at Sea (continued)

1300 hours SAMOAN TIME (Pacific Time minus four hours)

Saw the first action this morning. As the helicopter was flying around, the spotter in the crow’s nest saw a school of tuna.

crow's nest

The Auro’s crow’s nest

Schools of tuna look like ripples or foam in the water as the fish feed on the surface. Usually the way it works is the helicopter sees the school and calls the boat over, but this time the boat called the helicopter over.


“Boiler” of tuna

After confirming the school, the helicopter landed and picked up the captain. He prefers to oversee the operation from the air so he can see “the big picture.”

auro fishing

The Auro fishing as viewed from the Auro’s helicopter (notice dye packs in the water and speedboat making noise at the opening in the net)

We laid out the net and circled the fish, but before we could close the net, the fish escaped. They either dove under the net, or went between the boat and the skiff before the circle had been completed.

Quite interesting to watch the whole operation. As soon as the captain gives the signal, the skiff is released off the rear and is used an anchor for the one end of the net. The boat then goes in a large circle around the school to close the circle.


Skiff (one end of the net) meeting up with the Auro (other end of the net)

If the school of tuna looks like it is going to make a run for the opening, the crew bangs on the side of the boat with pipes to make noise and the speed boat circles around in the opening, further creating noise.


Skiff setting the net with one of the speedboats making noise at the net opening

The crew also throws dye marker in the water by the gap between the skiff and the boat so the water turns a fluorescent green, which the fish cannot see through and therefore do not go in that direction.

dye marker

Dye marker in the water

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