Big Fish for Little Fischman

-By Juliana Castro and Faith Danglo-

This week, Panel dove into the world of striped bass and tuna and interviewed Hallie Fischman ’15. From Chatham in Cape Cod to the warm waters of Florida, Hallie has been fishing for nearly all her life, with her biggest catch weighing over 300 pounds! Although that big catch may seem like it is never going to come, Hallie says, “Fishing takes a lot of patience and determination. As long as you keep trying, you will eventually catch that big fish.” Read the interview below to find out more about fishing as well as some tips and tricks on finding that big catch!

How long have you been fishing for?
I have been fishing for more or less my entire life. We got our boat in 2008, so that’s when the offshore fishing for bigger fish began, but I have been fishing on the Cape for as long as I can remember.

How heavy is the largest fish you’ve caught?
We don’t have a scale that can weigh 5-foot long fish, but there is an equation to guess the weight. The biggest fish I have ever caught was a bluefin tuna, about 81 inches, 300+ pounds.

What kind of fish do you usually catch?
We usually catch two kinds of fish, bluefin tuna and striped bass. Bluefin tuna are huge, starting at about 50 pounds, and require waking up before sunrise and traveling almost 30 miles out to the middle of the ocean. But once you are out in the middle of nowhere fishing, the sights are amazing. You see 30 foot whales jumping out of the water three feet away from the boat. Fishing for striped bass is very different. You don’t need to wake up early and you stay closer to shore, but the fish are smaller so you catch more of them. Both fish are good to eat.

What do you use for bait?
Mostly lures (plastic fish with hooks), but sometimes we use live eels. For tuna, the lures are schools of plastic squid in pretty colors.

Does your family like fishing?
Fishing is a family adventure. We all wake up early and head out 30 miles into the middle of the ocean just as the sun is rising. Sometimes we even bring the dog (but she doesn’t like the boat!).

Why do you like fishing?
Fishing is like no other sport. It involves waking up early, waiting for hours, and often coming home with nothing to show for your efforts. So when you catch that huge fish, all the hard work seems worth it.

The first tuna I ever caught was in 2009. The four of us (my brother Jason, my parents, and I) were out 30 miles from shore early in the morning. We had gone tuna fishing many times but had never caught anything, so we weren’t expecting anything to happen. Suddenly, we heard the characteristic buzz of a fish hitting and pulling line from the rod. Because these fish weigh over 200 pounds, my dad had to reel it in. I had to drive the boat and keep the line out of the boat’s engines so we didn’t lose the fish. It was chaotic, but eventually we got the fish the the boat. The next challenge was getting a 200-pound, 68-inch fish over the 2.5 foot wall of the boat without dropping it or falling in. It was a group effort but eventually we got it in and ate tuna for weeks!