Tuna fish, tuna fish, sing a song of tuna fish
Tuna fish, tuna fish, it’s a favorite dish
Everybody loves it so, from New York to Kokomo
Tuna fish, tuna fish, it’s a favorite dish

(From my first piano lesson songbook)

Tomorrow we will find ourselves a seasickeningly 45 miles out in a thousand-foot-deep ocean, looking for tuna.

Somebody explain to me why I’m doing this? Oh, yeah. I’m learning to love The Great Outdoors. Right.

The trip’s been in the works since May and we were supposed to go tuna-whacking in early July. Unfortunately, about a week before departure, the charter service called: The tuna weren’t hitting, so they were cancelling our boat. We were welcome to reschedule.

Apparently, tuna fish are fickle beasts who only deign to put in an appearance when they feel REALLY peckish. The tuna off the Oregon coast seemed to be on a diet, even 60 miles out to sea, so until they craved donuts or something there wasn’t much point in fishing for them.

After all kinds of scrambling (this is the high-season for the coast, we’d already paid in full for the hotel, and they were more than a little reluctant to change the reservation), we rescheduled the trip for this week.

Tuna tackling is a bit hardcore even for hardened fisherpersons like The Resident Carpenter–this would be a 12-hour trip, 3 hours getting to the fish, 3 hours getting home, with a 6-hour bloodbath in the middle. Tuna don’t like waters close to shore, they much prefer the deep water more than 30 miles out. Translation: This is gonna take a long, long time.

Moreover, these are fast-moving, elusive pelargics (AKA “big honkin’ finbuddies that move about a gazillion miles per hour), so they can disappear even faster than they arrive. Just because they were there yesterday doesn’t mean they’ll stick around till tomorrow.

Worse, tunas seem to be the hemophiliacs of the undersea world and when caught will amply illustrate the concept, “awash with blood.” Every fisherperson we’ve talked with so far, including the charter service, advised us to become tuna blood-proof. We will wear old clothes we can throw out, topped with rubber boots, rubber pants, and a rubber apron or coat.

“Tuna blood really stinks, and once it’s in your clothes or skin,” a friend of Mom’s warned, “It won’t come out ever, not even with bleach.”

Forever doomed to walk the earth wearing stinky fish blood. Maybe they should name the boat The Freddy Krueger…

“I think that if YOU go tuna fishing,” said my mother, “You will probably slip in all that blood, fall overboard, and be eaten by a shark. Nathan is a grown man and perfectly able to go fishing by himself.”

Mom’s faith in my relationship with The God of Adventure is touching, but after the last three years of Saving Elmo, can I really blame her? I stubborny refused to consider sending Nathan off for tuna alone; we’d already paid for the trip, and the whole point was to get me in touch with my inner wildernessnessness.

So, with one cancelled trip under our belts already, we anxiously monitored the charter company’s fishing reports: If you’re risking your life for sushi, you need some sushi to show for it. The latest reports looked good: Last week the boats were catching 1.5 tuna per fisherperson.

“I’m sure we’ll catch a lot more than that!” Nathan predicted happily.

Me–being me–I nervously applied some math: Google says the average weight of our target fish, the albacore tuna, is 73 pounds. (Yup. POUNDS)

Some tunas can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds (and how the HELL do you get one of those in the boat without something at least as convincing as a crane?), but let’s be conservative here and stick with 73 pounds.

So that’s TWO fisherpeople (me and The Resident Carpenter) catching THREE 73-pound fish (1.5 each).

“Natha, that would be TWO HUNDRED AND NINETEEN POUNDS OF TUNA FISH,” I noted, “So exactly how much tuna fish can you eat?”

“Well,” he said seriously, “I’ve promised tuna steaks to a lot of people.”

I hope they’re hungry. The new fishing report promises THREE tuna per fisherperson. 438 POUNDS of fish?

Do we even have a cooler that big?

More on this post-trip.