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November 23, 2009 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Dave Lamoureux’s kayak, named Fortitude, must be the only one in Massachusetts registered as a motor vessel. That’s because a powerboat registration is required to get a permit to fish for tuna here.... His most recent catch, on Nov. 5, was a 157-pound bluefin, a record tuna for an unassisted kayak fisherman, and a near record over all, topped only by a 183-pound halibut caught by Howard McKim, an Alaskan, in 2004.
posted by caddis (49 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Fortitude," indeed. I guess "Polyethylene Badass" was already taken.
posted by exogenous at 8:20 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Heh. If you're in a kayak and you have hooked a 157-pound fish, it is the motor amirite?

I am not a fisherman, but I would like to understand how one guy can keep his kayak upright while reeling in fish as big as he is, but the Japanese are overturning trawlers trying to bring jellyfish in.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:20 AM on November 23, 2009


Tuna Diplomacy: "There is a strong likelihood that someone in this generation will be the last human to eat a bluefin tuna."
posted by kliuless at 8:22 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


It’s a recreational kayak he found in the family garage and modified with additional equipment, the exact nature of which he will not disclose.

10:1 he has outriggers on it, which even with the feat is badass, but at least not suicidal.
posted by edgeways at 8:37 AM on November 23, 2009


topped only by a 183-pound halibut caught by Howard McKim, an Alaskan, in 2004.

They don't even mention the 300lbs of chips and 20 gallons of ketchup.
posted by srboisvert at 8:57 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The kayak is visible in the first few moments of the video on top of Lamoureux's car, no outriggers. I can't imagine he'd use them anyway. I fish for stripers and blues out of a very similar kayak, outriggers would just get in the way when fighting a fish and limit the maneuverability of the kayak.

Catching a 157 lb. tuna in a 12 foot boat two miles off Race Point in November is unbelievable. This guy has enormous balls. Still, he's taking a lot of grief on a fishing board I frequent.
posted by ArgentineBlonde at 8:59 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought about the picture irt outriggers, they do make removable sets for kayaks. As to maneuverability it kinda sounds like he hooks the fish, the fish then runs (pretty much straight ahead) until it is too pooped to resist anymore, doesn't sound like it need a lot of maneuverability, but a lot of stability. Can you imagine trying to use your paddle at all with a fish pulling you 15 miles an hour? Sounds like a sure fire recipe for leaving your boat in a hurry and with his cheat harness I would think he'd get pulled a ways before being able to disengage from the fish.

Anyways, I'm not wholly committed to the idea of outriggers, but that was my thought process for the suggestion.
posted by edgeways at 9:23 AM on November 23, 2009


After that you have to fight the fish until it dies of exhaustion.

This is the part that really makes me think less of him. Tuna have a very high metabolism, and when they run in warm water their body becomes actually exothermic. So the dude hauls up a dead, hot 100lb bluefin and paddles back to shore in ambient July temperatures of 70+˚F. Let's give hime the benefit of the doubt and say that he can exhaust the fish and get it onto his kayak and in to shore and under ice in 2 hrs (that's a BIG benefit of doubt). It's already too late, the fish has gone from a bright red A grade sushi fish to a chocolate brown C or D grade fish that is still edible, but only suitable for cooking. Ok, so it's edible.

But, this is an Atlantic Bluefin. This is a valuable and increasingly rare fish that has a great deal of economic value to fishing communities in the Northeast. And Mr. Chicago Futures Trader just fucking wasted one. What a total dick.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:31 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


What a total dick.

Yep, beyond his Man and the Sea wet dream he's doing a disservice by encouraging this sort of ridiculous machismo. Professional fishermen ice these fish down immediately after pulling them from the water. That said, I'm pretty fond of the zero catch-limit idea for Bluefin for a decade.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:42 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see someone with sense said something similar in ArgentineBlonde's other forum. That's good to see.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:43 AM on November 23, 2009


I have an idea for a thing where you bait a barbed gaff hook with bamboo, run about 100' of nylon rope from it, and tie the other end to a wheelchair. Then you just sit back in the chair and wait for the giant panda to strike! What a rush!
posted by haricotvert at 9:56 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty fond of the zero catch-limit idea for Bluefin for a decade.

Honestly, I know a few people who make much of their living from those fish, and would be seriously impacted by that kind of closure. This includes fisherman, and many of the on-shore infrastructure guys, the icehouses, bait dealers, shippers, etc. too.

But I also know many that are the gentleman-fisher kind of person like this guy that only fish Bluefin for adventure. These are the guys in the big white well-equipped boats with the tuna towers, outriggers and radar/sonar that are only out late-spring to mid-fall, and don't have to carry several different species permits or go out on rough days because it is not how they make their living. The fish that they catch are gravy and boat payments. These dudes made me crazy and I'm sort of glad to be away from them for a few years.

It would be nice if the permitting process had some sort of means test and you could only get one if that was how you made your living, but unfortunately that sort of thing does not fly in the US.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:57 AM on November 23, 2009


He might have those big weights you dangle over the side of your kayak to make it more stable. You can keep them in the boat when you don't need them.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:58 AM on November 23, 2009


"This guy has enormous balls. Still, he's taking a lot of grief on a fishing board I frequent."

I read all the posts over there, and it took me almost five pages to figure out that "BFT" means "blue fin tuna". Before that, I thought it was "big fucking tuna".
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:23 AM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


kuujjuarapik - maybe I'm just being naive but I doubt recreational bluefin fishing even remotely approaches commerical fishing in the number of fish landed. I don't disagree with limiting catches for recreational guys, but they are not the problem. Its unfortunate, but to save the bluefin the guys you know will have to find another way to make money. I've seen what happens when a fishery is destroyed and it isn't pretty so I'm filled with compassion, but yeah - you are barking up the wrong tree.
posted by JPD at 10:30 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


And as stupid as this is I'm not sure it ranks as the dumbest "Extreme Fishing" thing going on in the northeast. For that my winner is the dudes who float out at night in wetsuits into the waters off Montauk to surf cast for stripers. At night. In a relatively busy channel. Think about that.
posted by JPD at 10:33 AM on November 23, 2009


Aren't there only a few tens of thousands of tuna left? I think I read the number "30 000", which is fewer tuna than there are people in my town. I'm pretty sure that even a means test is inappropriate: these fish may be nearing extinction.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:43 AM on November 23, 2009


Honestly, I know a few people who make much of their living from those fish, and would be seriously impacted by that kind of closure.

I think 'tough shit' is the best response to that one.

You don't get passes from environmental responsibility just because you'd have to find a new job. Besides, it's not even as that bad; they're fishermen - it's not like their boats and equipment is utterly useless for any other style of fishing with less drastic consequences.
posted by Brockles at 10:50 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


But, this is an Atlantic Bluefin. This is a valuable and increasingly rare fish that has a great deal of economic value to fishing communities in the Northeast. And Mr. Chicago Futures Trader just fucking wasted one. What a total dick...Honestly, I know a few people who make much of their living from those fish, and would be seriously impacted by that kind of closure. This includes fisherman, and many of the on-shore infrastructure guys, the icehouses, bait dealers, shippers, etc. too

and it is all those commercial longline fishermen and the on-shore infrastructure guys who are responsible for the incredible population decline, not Mr. Chicago Futures Trader.
posted by caddis at 10:50 AM on November 23, 2009


You wanna talk about good fishing from a Kayak? The Pensacola Fishing Forum hosts an annual event called "Kayak Wars", where points are awarded for different fish, etc. The rules are that you MUST land the fish alone, from within your kayak. You can take a motored boat out the spot, but you must fish for and catch the fish by yourself. I personally know a couple fellas who take pedal hobie's out several miles off shore for to fish wrecks and rubble piles.

But then there's shark fishing.

See, you catch your bonita, or your 'cuda, or your mullet, or whatever you want to use for bait (large rays work well too), and you put your 2 or 3 12/0 or larger hooks through it strategically, and then you attach those to 150lb+ 7 strand leaders, and then you tie that leader onto your 80+lb line. And then you sand spike that rod (often 12/0 or 14/0 reel, thousands of feet of line). Now you throw that bloody fish in the back of your kayak, push it into the surf, hop in and paddle like mad. Once your out past the second break (or in between the first and second, depending on the time of year), you chuck mister fishie overboard, and then you paddle back in, hopefully within a few hundred yards of where you pushed out.

Did I mention you do this IN THE DARK?

And did I mention that 650+lb mako's aren't at all uncommon? There's a great thread on the forum about a lady who hooked something that spooled a 12/0 and a 14/0 a few months back. Crazy, crazy times.
posted by TomMelee at 10:53 AM on November 23, 2009


Howard McKim is a friend of mine from Ketchikan, Alaska. He runs a kayak fishing operation there in the summer for fishers with a range of experience, so you too can kayak fish for the big ones. He also travels around kayak fishing in other places than AK, he has even been featured in a movie about the sport. I really don't know enough about it, so I sent him the link. I'm hoping he'll show up here and give you all the inside story.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 10:55 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


maybe I'm just being naive but I doubt recreational bluefin fishing even remotely approaches commerical fishing in the number of fish landed.

State waters (shoreline out to 3 mi) have different rules for landings than federal waters (3-200 mi), so the number of recreational permits would vary up and down the seaboard. But I do know that the international regulatory council (ICCAT) has been dropping recommended catch limits year by year. This total includes both recreational and commercial. And many "commercial" tuna permit holders are these same weekend warrior otherwise recreational guys. I don't think the line is so clear between the two.

I guess my real point was: because Bluefin numbers are low and declining, any waste of a fish is a shame. Doesn't matter if it's recreation or commercial. I'd prefer that the person that was doing the catching was also handling the resource in a way that had some downstream economic value other than just some dude's private adrenal rush.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:02 AM on November 23, 2009


This guy ain't no Iron Mike Everin! It don't count if you caught it innna boat, even a little one.

At night. Onna rocks. Inna rain. In Novemba. Widda plug or a tin. Anythin' else ain't fishin, just grocery shopping.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:03 AM on November 23, 2009


I say if you go out in a human-powered boat, all alone, and pull a fish out of the ocean with a rod and reel, you get to keep it, and I say well done.

I can't believe some of you are seriously trying to knock this down because he wasn't a big diesel-guzzling commercial boat that could harpoon it and put it on ice instantly. Fuck that noise. Have some sense of proportion.
posted by rusty at 11:05 AM on November 23, 2009


I'd prefer that the person that was doing the catching was also handling the resource in a way that had some downstream economic value...

Downstream economic value is what has pushed the species to the brink of extinction. And you know who did that? Not this guy.
posted by rusty at 11:08 AM on November 23, 2009


Brockles: "18I think 'tough shit' is the best response to that one. You don't get passes from environmental responsibility just because you'd have to find a new job."

I don't disagree with this. It is exactly why I quit my job and am 475 miles away from home working on a biology degree to study- you guessed it- fish and fisheries.


caddis: "19and it is all those commercial longline fishermen and the on-shore infrastructure guys who are responsible for the incredible population decline, not Mr. Chicago Futures Trader."

You must be a supply sider. Markets determine demand, not fishermen. Mr Chicago is only contributing to the problem in an extremely selfish manner.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:08 AM on November 23, 2009


Have some sense of proportion.

Uh, the fish was warm and well on its way to decomposition by the time he weighed it. These fish are extremely endangered. What is to be gained by his man vs. nature stunt other than shits and giggles?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:10 AM on November 23, 2009


the person that was doing the catching was also handling the resource in a way that had some downstream economic value other than just some dude's private adrenal rush.

But the reason the fish are so scarce in the first place is exactly that downstream economic value. The fisheries are collapsing, and (lots of) the infrastructure will be going with it. There's no way to put a better face on that by stretching out a single fishery's last days.
posted by Miko at 11:11 AM on November 23, 2009


Miko, you're right of course.

I don't want continue the endless fight between recreational and commercial fishermen. Really, depending on the fishery the numbers go both ways.

I'm just going to say that whatever the reason, I hope the person that shoots the last elephant eats it.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:19 AM on November 23, 2009


and it is all those commercial longline fishermen and the on-shore infrastructure guys who are responsible for the incredible population decline, not Mr. Chicago Futures Trader.

Well, yes and no. Commercial fishing brought the species to collapse through overfishing in the 1970's- 1990's, but today recreational fishing in the western Atlantic accounts for about 70% of harvest tonnage, 90% of mortality in number of fish killed.

I'm an unapologetic recreational fisherman, but I do not fish for BFT and cannot understand why there is any recreational season for a species that everyone agrees is on the brink of extinction.

This page is a good illustration of the problem. This is one recreational charter captain, and a part-timer at that. Multiply what you see on that page by hundreds of charter operations up and down the east coast of the US and you start to understand the problem.
posted by ArgentineBlonde at 11:27 AM on November 23, 2009


What next? Bicycle-mounted panda hunts? That would make about as much sense.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:29 AM on November 23, 2009


cannot understand why there is any recreational season for a species that everyone agrees is on the brink of extinction.

I went to the Badlands. Completely unlike most national parks, on a ranger-led tour, we were encouraged to break off bits of sandstone and examine it, walk wherever we wanted on it. The group looked at the ranger, dumbfounded. She said "It's eroding so fast we're not even making a dent."
posted by Miko at 11:36 AM on November 23, 2009


What next? Bicycle-mounted panda hunts? That would make about as much sense.

Won't the bamboo get in the spokes?
posted by JPD at 11:40 AM on November 23, 2009


Uh, the fish was warm and well on its way to decomposition by the time he weighed it.

Uh, it's November? The water temp today at the nearest buoy to where he caught this fish is 50.5 degrees. I don't get where everyone is getting the idea that it's some sort of ruined fish here. Might not be Japanese sushi grade, from the struggle, but it's bound to be perfectly edible. Also, no way did he paddle back with the fish anywhere but trailing behind him in the water, in case there's some doubt about that.

He even provided the timeline. It took him, what, two hours to paddle back? Two hours is nothing. The fish is fine.
posted by rusty at 11:51 AM on November 23, 2009


The water temp today at the nearest buoy to where he caught this fish is 50.5 degrees. I don't get where everyone is getting the idea that it's some sort of ruined fish here.

The FDA regulation for scombroid (tuna, bluefish, mackerel, etc.) fish allows for no more than 4 hours over 40 degrees F, because scombroids build up toxic levels of heat-stable histamines. On top of that, a 157lb sllightly homeothermic fish has a lot of thermal mass that will need rapid cooling. So there's that.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:00 PM on November 23, 2009


TomMelee: There's a great thread on the forum about a lady who hooked something that spooled a 12/0 and a 14/0 a few months back. Crazy, crazy times.

I thoroughly appreciated not understanding most of your lingo, Tom. Still grasped the larger picture, but hey, new terms to learn! Neat!

(note, my fishing experience is limited to a pier some twenty years ago and a few pieces of ex shrimp on my line).
posted by cavalier at 12:39 PM on November 23, 2009


today recreational fishing in the western Atlantic accounts for about 70% of harvest tonnage, 90% of mortality in number of fish killed.

Cite?

As near as I can tell the US sport fishing limit is about 20% of the total US allocation. Granted, these are limits not actual tonnage taken, but I don't see how to get to your numbers.
posted by caddis at 1:02 PM on November 23, 2009


I don't understand what's sporting about letting a hooked animal tow you as it tried to flee until it drops from exhaustion. Perhaps someone could explain that bit to me.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:29 PM on November 23, 2009


Cite?

2007 NMFS Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation, Chapter 4.

Several tables to review to gather US data (to which I was originally referring, I should have been more specific). Here's the 2007 harvest summary, weights in metric tons.

Recreational rod and reel - 400 mt
Commercial rod and reel - 120 mt
Harpoon - 20 mt
Purse seine - 30 mt
posted by ArgentineBlonde at 1:47 PM on November 23, 2009


From ICCAT's most recent report for 2008 (PDF, p 77). ICCAT does not break down along recreational or commercial lines but by gear. For the west Atlantic, the total catch was 2016 tons. This is considered an underreported number. Of this:

longlines: 606 tons, 30%
sport (handline and rod/reel): 1130 tons, 56%
traps: 23 tons, 1.1%
other: 83 tons, 4.1%
longline discards: 174 tons, 8.6%

Of this total tonnage, the US share was 764 tons, or 38%.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:05 PM on November 23, 2009


Correction to my post.

I missed the US longline harvest total, which was 164 mt. So US recreational harvest is 55% of harvest tonnage, not 70%. Apologies, that's a big oversight.
posted by ArgentineBlonde at 2:20 PM on November 23, 2009


"I don't understand what's sporting about letting a hooked animal tow you as it tried to flee until it drops from exhaustion. Perhaps someone could explain that bit to me."

This is basically what happens in any kind of sport fishing... you fight that fish for hours until it cant fight anymore and you can pull it into the boat... this guy just has a smaller boat, and a permit to catch the fish. I dont see what the hub bub is about.
posted by outsider at 5:42 PM on November 23, 2009


If there's a hubbub, it should be about allowing fishing of endangered species. Once you decide to allow the fish to be killed, it really doesn't matter how that killing is accomplished: it's a species one fish closer to extinction. 97% decline in stock this past few decades. extinct in three years?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:22 PM on November 23, 2009


Hence my snark about the pandas. There's just nothing to be proud of here, and if the tuna was something pretty and furry and inedible, there'd be howls of outrage.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:59 PM on November 23, 2009


This is basically what happens in any kind of sport fishing... you fight that fish for hours until it cant fight anymore and you can pull it into the boat.

Again, really not seeing the "sporting" aspect of this.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:27 PM on November 23, 2009


So what is with the high percentage of recreational take? Is this all about the size limits or is their some other dynamic at work here?
posted by caddis at 3:52 AM on November 24, 2009


There are a few factors going on. One is that many fishermen have taken the first half of Brockles' advice and used their boats and gear for other purposes, in many cases turning to the charter or head boat business. Coincidentally, 2010 migratory tuna licenses were just announced today, charter boat licenses a steal at $20 (PDF here). I believe this switches their reported catch into the recreational column.

More importantly, like most West Atlantic tuna, Bluefin spend their juvenile years in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and near to the Bahamas. As adults they move northward along the Gulf Stream into East Cast US waters, some moving all the way to Norway. In the fall they return to spend the winters down around the Bahamas. This puts the tuna in exactly the right place at the right time for heavy fishing pressure by charter boat captains in the tropics and the tourists that make it worth doing.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:29 PM on November 24, 2009




I wonder what this guy thinks.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:11 PM on December 17, 2009


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