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Big Game Fishing

I spent many years staring at the lines behind the boat. For every hour we spent on exciting fishing we spent 4 times that amount staring at the lines and lures. Anyway, Safety is the subject. There is a lot to consider. Boat handling in itself involves an insane amount of safety to consider without fishing at all. I will try to categorize the safety issues. We have boat handling, fishing equipment, and landing the fish.

There is so much to learn I couldn't teach it in simply a short message on Big Game Fishing. Boat Handling depends a lot on the size of the vessel. Since we're talking Big Game Fishing, we'll go with the passenger size ocean boats. Even passenger size ocean boats can be very small so I'll primarily be referring to vessels from around 18 ft. to 50 ft.

It is vital you know your boats running condition very well before going out to open ocean. Engine or engines should run perfect, if not, don't go. Next, all necessary safety equipment is on board. First-aid, fire extinguishers (legally current), legal life preservers for all adults and the legal preserves for children. Should have a VHF radio to contact another vessel or the Coast Guard. Cell phones are great but do not think you can get by without the radio. I think lastly, try to learn everything you can about the weather including tide changes. Maintain a tight ship. There is years of experience and knowledge that goes into running a safe fishing trip out into open ocean. People should be trained with lots of experience before they captain a nice big vessel into the open seas with passengers. The Fishing Equipment you have onboard can vary but once again there are safety issues with some of this equipment. Obviously the giant hooks used to catch these large fish can catch a person as well. A gaff is a must on board but be sure it is stored safely and only handled by an experienced fisherman. As far as landing the fish with Mahi you have to be careful not to keep the line stiff once he's in the boat. You preferably would like a nice large fish box with a lid but if you don't have that we found a nice large towel or a small blanket thrown over them quiets them quickly so they can be handled. Once he's tossed inside the boat let the line go very slack and concentrate on getting the fish covered so he doesn't stab someone with the huge hook in his lip.My good friend was hooked completely through his forearm because the Mahi was thrashing on a tight line.

Tuna are pretty easy. They don't flop much at all. Still be careful when retrieving your lure. Wahoo (King Fish) and barracuda have large teeth and they'll use them as they take their last breath. With marlin you have to tire him out in the water. It's easy to want to horse them in quickly but when they arrive that way they are ready to fight for their lives. I've been scraped a couple times by the bill which is like a file. They sank a boat with two guys onboard during a tournament I was in. Only one of them survived. It's best to fight them away from the boat until they are so tired they let you gaff them easily and with a glove, grab their bill. I could really go on and on about catching these fish. If you'd like to share some big fish stories I'm all in. Please go to

I am Christopher Bassler and I spent 40 years living on Guam. Guam is a part of the Marianas Islands. I am a Dive Master and had my 100 ton captain's license for 20 years. I was the Chairman of the Dive Safety Control Board at the University of Guam for several years. My field is water safety. Please visit my site and help me spread the word and save lives through education.

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