Last year on a practice run we went out form Jolly Harbour very early in the morning bound for the “east bank” in search of the blue marlin. We knew that the more we caught the better we would get at it, and we were very serious about making sure that we knew what to do when tournament time came a few weeks later. Some people thought it was funny that we were out on a practice run for a fishing tournament but I knew it was important. It ended up being a bit choppier that we had expected and it took us longer to get to the bank which was 20 miles from Jolly Harbour. The bank is one of the few shallow spots around these parts which isn’t on the marine charts and finding it was super difficult when I was younger. As kids my brother, other friends and I would go up there to fish for tuna and had to use three land marks in order to find the correct place.
We knew for sure we were in the right place because whenever we got there birds would cover the bank giving away both its position and the position of the tuna. Anyway, on this practice day I wasn’t on the old pirogue with my brother using land marks. I showed this pic of the small boat before and she used to catch fish, but i dont think we could catch a grander which is what we were after.
Anyway, we managed to pick them up on the VHF radio and had a nice long chat with them. I guess we were the first people they had seen in about 70 days and seeing Antigua off in the distance filled them with excitement. We told them that we had just got some mahi mahi and that we were really looking for Marlin. To our astonishment they then gave us an interesting story. They said that half way along their trip, mahi mahi started hanging out with them feeding on other fish that would hide and feed under their row boat. Two days before a huge fin appeared behind them as they rowed into the sunset and it approached their boat rapidly before diving below them. They said they panicked for a moment not knowing what it was then saw it surface near them again immediately recognizing that it was a monster blue marlin. The marlin was trying to attack the mahi which were now trying to take refuge under the row boat. This photo by John Ashley shows a marlin hitting and killing a fish.