Friday, October 19, 2007
Blackness was ended with some grey accented by tiny shreds of pink off to our right. Finally we could see how rough it actually was, but it was the end of our trip out to the fishing grounds. We slowed to put the lines into the water and the guys were happy to finally get the baits in the water instead of fouling the air. Unlike the past few Nevis tournaments the action started off slowly. We fished for over an hour without a strike and we were starting to get a little anxious when we saw some frigate birds feeding off ahead. As soon as we got close to the feeding birds, we had 3 good strikes. Two held and the boys sprang into action clearing the lines and bringing in the others. The first dolphin (mahi-mahi) came to the boat quickly while Acare's one fought extremely hard. We realised that it was a bull dolphin when it got close enough. It looked big and once on board we were all in a good mood. Surely nobody would get a dolphin larger than that one. Two fish in the box, but this was a wahoo tournament and we were still without the target fish. We found the birds again and went up on top of the shallow bank trying to see if we could catch more dolphin. Suddenly the ratchet from one of the top lines started screaming an i knew we had something good on the end. One of the boys had on the fighting belt and was locked into the fish in no time. As it got closer, Big John confirmed it was a nice wahoo which he gaffed and put in the box. We were on our way! It was a strange stike as wahoo usually hung out on the steep edge of the continental shelf. This was in about 400 feet of water way up on the bank away from the edge which made it difficult to locate the right spot. We fished and fished and didn't locate any more. We travelled for miles along the edge of the bank without any more action. IT was slow and the boys were getting sleepy. We had a few small strikes landing a few little tuna and barracuda which we released alive. No more wahoo though which sucked because this time last year we had about 8 good fish on board. There was a little sea mount 2 miles off where the water went from about 5 thousand feet deep up to a pinnacle of about 250 feet. We fished for a while there without any action and then had a tripple strike. All the crew jumped into gear, but unfortunately we only managed to save one fish. This was another nice wahoo. I marked the spot on my GPS plotter and retraced back over the exact area a few times. On our fourth pass Roddy's rod started making a hellish noise as line was stripped off at an amazing rate. Wahoos have to be the fastest animals in the world. They are the speed deamons of the deep and try to destroy your fishing gear when they make their first run. Roddy was strapped into the belt and was ready to fight this big wahoo. It slowed for just a second before changing gears for an even faster run. Line vanished from the reel and then.... it went slack.... We were all distraught as if our prize fighter had been beaten in the first round. I told the gang to get back into gear as there was another big one out there with our name on it. IT took another two hours before we had another strike. The fishing wasn't just slow for us. I was speaking with my Dad who wasn't catching much either. The other boats were having similar luck too and the VHF radio communication wasn't that active. In order to be back in port by 3:30 we had t leave the bank at about 2 pm to be safe. At 1:50 pm i told the crew we had 10 minutes left. A second later our 30 lb test rod (our weakest link) got a nice strike. Line was violently stripped and we knew we had a wahoo on the line. This was exciting as i knew the other boats didn't have much fish. This could put us in the winning circle. Big John had the gaff in his hand as the wahoo came to the back of the boat without much of a struggle. He reached out with his right hand to gaff it, his left hand holding the thin 30 lb test double line. As if the wahoo knew what was about to happen, it made a final sharp turn and darted away from the boat. The thin line in Johns hand broke before he had a chance to let it go, and we watched the happy wahoo vanish into the dark blue. This time next year it could be 40 lbs heavier as they are some of the fastest growing fish in the ocean. John was the most upset and sat alone at the back of the boat as the crew prepared the boat for the run back to Nevis for the weigh in. I powered up and took the RPMs up towards 3000 which is our typical cruise speed. I glanced back at John to give him a smile. "%^it happens". He was gonna be ok, but hold on a second.... what was that behind him? Black smoke! Something else wasn't going to be alright.