Monster tuna that didn't get away
FRED BRAID, of Ballina, just could not let this tale go untold - his son catches monsters.
Dennis Braid, who grew up on the Northern Rivers and now lives in the US city of Los Angeles, has caught a bluefin tuna estimated to weigh 550kg off the east coast of Canada during a film shoot for his cable TV show, Monster Fish.
Now, you can forget the usual pictures of big-game fishing where the fisher is strapped into a fighting chair.
Dennis catches these giants using a stand-up technique - it was just 69kg Dennis standing on the deck of a 14-metre tuna boat with a purpose-built rod holder around his waist, a custom-built 1.5-metre rod with 130 pound (59kg) line, 60 pounds (27kg) of drag pressure on the reel, a 17/0 hook and a freshly-killed herring as bait.
At any time during his battle with the giant, Dennis could have been dragged overboard or had his hands ripped apart by the line if he wasn't wearing the right gloves.
“It's the things that go through your head after you've hooked up - things can go wrong, and you can get severely hurt,” the 63-year-old dad said. “Big tuna are down and out brawlers.”
Dennis said that during another big tuna catch, the fish made a move, but the boat didn't go the right way and he tore the muscles from the calf to his thigh in his right leg.
Dennis said if Aussie fishing television personality Rex Hunt had tried to kiss his latest monster catch, it would have 'bit Rex in half, chewed him up and spat him out'.
Now this might sound like a fishy tale, as the tuna was released and not weighed. But Dennis regularly fishes the waters off Canada's Prince Edward Island, as well as other game-fishing spots around the world for his television program, which is in its second season in the US on the Outdoor Channel.
He said he and the experienced boat crew were pretty accurate in their assessment of the latest monster catch, which was caught on film and will be aired in January on his TV show, as it was at least 50 per cent bigger than the 363kg tuna he caught last year, which was weighed and photographed.
Dennis said a fish around the 350-360kg mark takes about four hours to bring in. But the 550kg one was brought to the side of the boat in just 90 minutes.
Dennis has been living in the US since 1971, moving there for work. Fishing is his hobby and he learnt his craft in the waters around Lismore and Ballina.