Sandro Maniaci | Outdoor Channel
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Sandro Maniaci

Sandro Maniaci

Deck Hand – Tuna.com

Maniaci grew up in Gloucester and has a father and an uncle in what he calls “the fish business,” so it’s not a surprise that he started fishing pretty much as soon as he could walk. By grade school, he was catching sunfish in a local pond, and by adolescence, his mother was taking him to the docks and watching dutifully as he cast lines for striped bass. By high school, he was going out on boats in search of various saltwater fish. When he wasn’t fishing, he was watching TV fishing programs. His fascination with bluefin started around that time, when he saw the big tuna boats coming in with their heavy gear and unloading gigantic streamlined creatures on the dock. “I wanted to catch them too,” he recalls. “It was something I always wanted to do, from the moment I saw them.” About six years ago, he got an opportunity to fulfill his dream as a crew member on a tuna boat. The job, in many ways, was pretty much like I imagined,” he explains. “You’re out there, battling those big fish.” He also discovered there were less glamorous parts of the work that weren’t seen on the sport fishing shows: “getting up early, lugging the gear onto the boat, cutting up bait, being out on the water in cold weather.” Maniaci says that those who haven’t fished for bluefin probably don’t appreciate the daunting difficulty of catching them. “These are tough fish,” he says. “The big ones that we want somehow have managed to avoid being caught all these years, so they obviously aren’t easy to haul in. You can have days when you’ve got 25 or 30 of them under the boat, and none of them will bite.” While an ordinary sport fisherman may have the good fortune to get a big bluefin, Maniaci says that what separates the civilians from the professionals is consistency. “The average guy might be able to go out and get lucky, like hitting a scratch ticket,” he says. “But to catch them consistently, that takes a special set of skills.”

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