Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The 41st Annual Fishing Tournament (part 2)

Continued from yesterday…..

We were about two miles north east of the bank and Tony was sitting in front of rod #2 on the port transom, and the rest of the crew all close to the other rods. Rod #2’s marlin lure, a maverick “top gun” was only 25 feet behind the boat in the middle of the wake’s white water. He had just let out a little line and was testing the drag or line tension when we a monster marlin shot across the wake and attacked the lure with its massive bill. Tony let out a yell and we all looked just in time to see the beast. Its huge head and bill came out of the water right at the back of the boat slashing the water as it shook its head back and forth almost like a bit bull. The fish was significantly larger than any we had ever seen before, and the bill’s thickness made the one I still have from last year’s 589 lb marlin look small. As she shook her head and bill looking as if it were in a pre-historic sword fight I knew she could “spit the hook”. Very little line was being taken out and John yelled at me to speed up which was the right thing to do. Without proper tension on the line as she shook so violently the hook could get slack and come out. Unfortunately this is exactly what happened and the line went slack. This all took about 8 seconds to happen and we will remember each of those seconds for years to come. The marlin was probably a grander (thousand pounds or more) and as we had never seen one before all of us were in a kind of daze or state of shock. What would have happened if one of the two 12.0 hooks had sunk in properly? Of our 5 rods, three were filled with 80 lb test line and two used 50 lb. Of course this was one of the 50s and the battle would have been long and hard. It took us over two hours of incredible battle to land our 589 lb marlin last year on the same rod and reel so this one would have tested us like nothing before. We tried to gain composure as we called in the strike on the VHF. We had to make a few more runs over the same spot just in case it hadn’t been too spooked by the event and wanted more. Two other boats including “Wa’apen” came by hoping for the same thing. On our first pass we actually got a strike in exactly the same spot. This time it was on a lure way back in the spread and we didn’t see the fish. It took about 10 feet of line and came off. On our third pass with “Wa’apen” right next to us we saw one of their rods bend. Their crew scrambled to get the other lures in and we screamed and yelled in frustration and anger with the thought that they had hooked our monster. We watched in despair as they fought it, but I could tell pretty quickly that it wasn’t the same fish. Very quickly they were gaining line and I told my boys that there was no way that it was our fish. Line wouldn’t be coming back on that reel so easy if it was a grander. Sure enough 10 minutes later they called in that they had landed a yellowfin tuna. Sushi was gonna be served later at their apartment.
We searched and searched for the rest of the afternoon without finding a marlin and at 4:30 we returned home without a single blue marlin release.

Even with 6 wahoo and 3 big mahi mahi we were all feeling a bit down about not getting a good chance on the marlin. It was Francis’ turn too and I am sure that he would have done a good job of fighting that beast. A fishing story would be a fishing story without the “big one getting away” section and you have just had it. The free rum did help us liven up the mood back at the dock and the party atmosphere was all good fun. Before long team Xtreme Caribbean Real Estate
was ready for more action the next morning, and had made a plan to meet at the boat at 4 am the next morning. Lines were permitted to go in the water at 5:30 and it would take us that long to get to the spot marked “GRANDER” on our GPS map.
(the fishing photos here today were taken by by mom. see her other photos on her flickr site.)