The captain wound the line around the blue plastic spool, fighting the fish in. I had never seen such basic fishing set-up before crewing on Mareva. In my limited fishing experience, I preferred actual rods, reels, and the full set-up myself, but Captain Nemo was an expert fisherman and he was in home waters. It seemed like all he needed was the little spool and the fish just jumped in his boat. We hadn’t gone more than a few days without catching something.
This fish really didn’t want to be caught. The captain had to fight it in inch by inch. I couldn’t believe the thing hadn’t tired-out and given up after fighting through the water all that way. But it held strong until at last it was almost at the side of the boat.
As the silver shape came into sight, the captain groaned.
“ Let’s get it up so I can take the hook out of its mouth and throw it back.”
“Why on earth would you want to throw it back?” I asked, perplexed. I didn’t know much about fish but It looked like a good one to me, several feet long and meaty.
“It’s a tuna,” the captain said, rolling his eyes. “ If you want it then you can clean it but I’m a bit of a fish snob – I don’t eat tuna.”
I gaped at the captain. He didn’t like tuna!? I would definitely eat it, I assured him. Tuna was one of my favorite fish. Of course you couldn’t overcook it but tuna was my favorite sashimi, and seared after soaking in a soy, ginger, honey, garlic marinade it was delectable.
The captain shrugged gaffing our victim, I felt a tinge of guilt as blood ran down the fish’s side. I put an end to it though, spraying hard alcohol in its mouth as soon as I could reach its gaping mouth. In an instant its thrashing ceased. In one deft move the captain threw the heavily bleeding corpse on the deck for me to clean.
For some reason many Australians prefer white meat fish like mahi mahi, or mackerel to red meat like tuna or salmon. To my unrefined palate, mahi mahi doesn’t have much flavor at all. If it isn’t smothered in curry or hidden in a stirfry for protein then I won’t touch the stuff. We all have our preferences.
I feasted on tuna for days, savoring every mouthful.