Yellow Fin Tuna

It was hot and calm in the early afternoon on Sunday. We were 120 miles off the coast of Vanuatu and counting down the hours until we’d be at anchor. Dominic tossed a large pink squid lure into our wake with the hopes of fresh food and a little amusement. I was down below, catching up via email with some good friends we haven’t seen in years (how the list of friends we haven’t seen in years grows longer!) when I heard the happy, frantic clicking of a fish stripping off line from the reel.

After the fish tired from its initial run, Dominic dropped the rod into low gear, fearing we had an outrageously large fish on the line as he was having to work harder than he did when reeling in the five-foot wahoo we caught a few weeks ago. After much toiling, the fish came into view three feet from our transom. It had the curvy tuna profile, and Dominic spotted its signature yellow fins. It was just over three feet long, but heavy and strong.

We brought the fish forward to our starboard beam; Dominic handed me the rod, after grabbing the leader line by hand, and then gaffed the tuna through the gills. He lifted the fish out of the water as I slid a slipknot around its tail. Dominic used the line to hoist the tuna over the lifelines and back into the cockpit. After some whacking and spiking, the fish was subdued and quick on its way to becoming sashimi.

Yellow fin, also known as ahi, is known for providing some of the highest quality tuna meat on the market. We’ve been hoping to catch one since we first started dropping lines in the water during our Pacific crossing. This beauty was worth the wait; we had two full days of feasting before we even considered cooking it. We put some on the barbecue last night, and I’m happy to report that seared ahi tacos are some of the best fish tacos to be had.

Now, fingers crossed for a blue fin…