Please
|

About the Author
Default Group
Location:Texas, USA Naturalized US Citizen of Irish extract -   Fixed Wing and Helo trucker.Interests: "The Absurdity of Man". I am a proud supporter of Blarney, Nonsense, and Hooey. I enjoy being a chopper jockey, and trying to figure the world, people and belief systems out. I'm just not very good at it, so it keeps me real busy. I scribble, blog, run this website, mess with rental houses, ride motorbikes, and read as much as I can. I went solo 44 years ago, and I like to say I'm gonna get me a real job one day. When I grow up. ("but not just yet, Lord, not just yet") For my aviation scribbles see www.chopperstories.com.... enjoy! I wish you Peace in your Life. May you always walk with the sun on your face, and a breeze ruffling your hair. And may you cherish a quiet wonder for our awesome Universe. Life isn't always good. But it is always fascinating. Never quit.
Rating
0%
 (0 votes)

Click on an image below to link to other sections...
Visitor Number:
3,212,613
  • Chopper Stories
  • Writers Harbor
  • Writers Harbor
  • God-in-a-Box
  • Steps On My Road
Follow us on:
View Work
Be the first person to like this story !!
An Interesting Letter ref MTM - #001 - Jon Wagner
AN INTERESTING LETTER REF MOGGY'S TUNA MANUAL - #001

from retired Dentist, current philosopher, and former tuna fisherman Jon Wagner


Feb 9, 2010

Hello Francis,

I was reading your Moggy's Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.1-E. Again.

You have some great video clips in that Chapter

1- "The Iron Men of Tuna Fishing" is an outstanding portrayal of bait fishing aboard the old San Diego Tuna Clippers of the 50s



That particular clip is excerpted from a feature film, "The Naked Sea" which made the rounds of the movie theaters around 1954 or 55, at least in Southern California.
The film was shot aboard a trip on the 125' vessel "Navigator" which as I recall was a wood boat but one of the" high liners" of the San Diego fleet.

I have been looking for years for a VHS tape or CD of the feature film but apparently it was never recorded.  At least the video clip is on Youtube.

The guitar music was performed by the famous Brazilian classical guitarist Laurindo Almeida who in the early 50s played with several U.S. jazz groups, Stan Kenton, Stan Getz and others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurindo_Almeida

I guess the they chose his music since he was of Portuguese  as were the skipper/owner.  And most of the crew. I think, but don't remember for sure, the skipper was either Joe or Manuel Madruga.  Most, but not all, of the San Diego tuna fleet were Portuguese.
I had a good friend, a strapping big kid, Tommy Allen, that made two three month trips to the Galapagos Islands  as a 1/4 share rookie fisherman aboard the Navigator. Tommy had a lot of fascinating tales of his experiences. Tommy is now a lawyer in Newport Beach, CA.

Tommy said it was feast or famine, sometimes weeks of boredom  alternating with just a few days of wide open bites. On his second trip they were gone for eight weeks before they even "made" bait. They filled up ,180 ton in ten days at Galopagos, fishing one, two and three pole Yellowfin and a lot of Skipjack. With twelve guys in the racks they would put on a ton per minute. Skipjack bites would be so intense they would have to stop and rest, and stow fish in the brine tanks from over-flowing decks while the chummer kept the school at the boat until they resumed fishing, on occasion over night.

As I recall it was around 1955 when the power block and large nylon nets came along and most of the San Diego fleet began converting their boats from bait fishing to purse seineing. That began the end of the era of the correctly dubbed "Iron Men of Tuna Fishing"

2- There is another video in there of a smaller purse seiner, maybe  a 125' boat, with a full net alongside to braile out the tuna. I assume the school went down and pulled the boat over to a very severe list and it capsized. I had heard of this happening with some tuna but had never seen it., usually  with albacore and  also with sardines. I was told by some of the old timers that's why they didn't normally net albacore  and netted sardines at night with a bright light flashing to attract the fish to the surface so they didn't all dive at once and pull the boat under. Have you ever heard of this?

I couldn't conceive this occurring with the huge modern vessels now fishing.


Photo:  Richard Gillis


I loved the excitement of albacore fishing; so I quit my factory job and worked at fishing for about three seasons,  the first year on sport boats then commercial. I worked as an apprentice painter in the off season. The skipper on the sport boat I worked on was a painter  and painted in the off season too and got me in the union.

I made quite a few 3 to 4 week trips on commercial albacore boats fishing from  as far south as Magdalena Bay in Baja, a lot around Cedros and Guadalupe Islands on up the coast to  Monterrey in the late part of the season. It was a lot of fun and the money was really good at the time. I would make around $500 per trip which was twice what my factory job paid and much more adventuresome.

The movie "Naked Sea" was a huge motivational factor for me, making me pursue the adventure of commercial tuna fishing

Most of my trips were on 50'-60'  15- 18 ton jig boats, all were old "ice boats". We trolled 12 lines. I made three bait fishing trips where we fished with jack poles, I was a little skinny kid and worked as a chummer. Working in the racks takes big guys. I made one trip way south near Cabo fishing Yellowfin and Skipjack on an all steel 70', 60 ton vessel, the "Native Sun". My sport boat skipper and friend, Jim Schaefer, that I painted with, got me on with him; a high school pal of his owned the boat. The "Native Sun" was what they called a baby tuna clipper, with eight guys in the racks, a smaller version of the big San Diego Tuna Clippers with brine tanks. Very exciting fishing, we would put on as much as twenty tons in a really good bite. My last commercial trip was north of Point Argeullo on up to Monterrey, always windy and rough up that way, absolutely miserable to work in, always hanging on.

So, that about did it for me and my fishing career.  I enrolled in college and became a dentist. I retired in 2006 after forty years in private practice. As I look back I'm really glad I did it, going to sea was a great  adventure and experience.

Keep up the good work, Moggy's Tunaboat Helicopter Manual is outstanding

Regards,

Jon Wagner
Pensacola








Last edited by Francis Meyrick on February 12, 2010, 9:19 am
We little humans, hurtling through the Universe on our tiny, pale blue dot, will find few answers to Life's great mysteries. But we should at least find many of the questions. To write is to ask. To seek. To grope. With humility, and humor. Peace.
 
Francis Meyrick

Great letter. Thanks, Jon.

Smile


We little humans, hurtling through the Universe on our tiny, pale blue dot, will find few answers to Life's great mysteries. But we should at least find many of the questions. To write is to ask. To seek. To grope. With humility, and humor. Peace.
Posted on Friday, February 12, 2010 at 09:20:05

comments powered by Disqus
Copyright © 2007-2015 Writers Harbor
Visitor Number:
3,212,613