Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Anyway, for this tournament we are going to be doing things slightly differently because it's not a marlin tournament and we are using Xtreme.
Xtreme's depth recorder has been malfunctioning and to catch wahoo and tuna properly you need to know where the 100 fathom curve is accurately. Yesterday we installed one we borrowed from the Scarab and went out to test it. It was a practice day as well too since we were using gear that we don't normally use on Xtreme like planers. When we fish for marlin we run all the lines on the surface but when you target wahoo you need to run some lines deeper and the planer carries lines as deep as 40 feet below. Guilli, Tony and I left port with the idea that we would test our gear out on the drop off and make sure that we were going to be ok on Xtreme. Captain JD stayed behind to clean the bottom of the eco boat, and in exchange for that nasty job i am letting him use it in the tournament. Team Adventure Antigua will dominate :)
As we pulled out of port we knew that whatever happened it would be lovely out there. Montserrat looked like it was just off Jolly Beach and we could easily see St. Kitts, Redonda, Nevis and Guadeloupe. The dust had gone and the crisp clear skies were so beautiful and uplifting to behold. What was even better for us was that the seas were mirror calm making everything look almost unreal as glass calm seas usually do here. Guilli took the helm and cruised due west towards the edge while tony and i rigged the lures with tiny ballyhoo we just purchased from Aquasports. Tony joked that they looked more like sprat! We had a little work to do on the planer while we ran down to the edge and by the time we had everything ready we were at the starting point just off Ariadne Shoals. It was so incredibly calm....
We carefully let out the planer as it has great potential to make a mess of all the lines. The planer we have is a stainless steel plate with a small lead weight that keeps the plate at a downward facing angle. As soon as it hits the water it dives deep and pulls hard. We attach a clip to it and send our fishing line down to it so that one lure can be fished way below the boat. There are loads of things that can go wrong so doing it right is imperative. Most people use other techniques to get their lines deep and most common is monel line which is where people use stainless steel wire instead of nylon. The steel line sinks as you troll it keeping your lure deep. The reels are very heavy and the line breaks if it gets old or gets kinked. I have lost many fish and many good lures on that type of line so i don't use it. Also, i like using the same set of rods for all my deep sea fishing. Our system is a bit tricky and you have to practice with it before you can feel comfortable using it. Hence the trip on Xtreme. Before long we had a strike on the "stumpy" (line closest to the boat) and the planer line down below. Guilli took one and i took the other. My one which was on the planer was a small black fin tuna and the other would have been a much larger one, but it was attacked by something big. All we got was half of the fish by the time Guilli got it to the boat. We trolled north as the winds picked up slightly and had several big bites on the famous Yozuri bonito lure. As famous as it is for getting wahoos to come after it, it's as famous for fishing being able to get off of it. I cant understand why so many fish are lost with the blasted lure, but the bites are frequent. We did get another huge strike on the stumpy again, but this time Guilli managed to get a nice wahoo to the boat. As so many boats including my Dad's had been out recently without catching anything we were happy to have gotten some action, and being out there in the lovely calm conditions was just gravy. After we decided to call it a day, both Tony and Guilli begged me to try a little bottom fishing. They both wanted some snapper to take home. We didn't have much luck at first and then just before we were going to reel in tony got a nice strike. We pulled up from about 4oo feet below to find two rock hinds like the one seen in this image. It was now time to cruise home and have some fish for dinner.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Of the two common fishing sayings i hear often, i am not sure which one i like better. The first is "Every day is a fishing day, but every day isn't a catching day", and the second is "Some men go fishing all their lives not realizing that it's not fish that they are after".
Friday, September 12, 2008
If anything is drifting free anywhere near Western Africa within that huge circular current it will end up passing or drifting up here in the Caribbean. We have the garbage on our windward beaches to prove it. That blog i mentioned speaks in detail all about that current.
One of the first books apart from Old Man and the Sea that I really enjoyed was "Adrift" which tells a story of a yacht race gone wrong where single racers compete sailing their boats by themselves across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. The author's boat hit something at night and went down very quickly off western Africa. He only has time to throw over his inflatable life raft and grab his small emergency abandon ship bag. He drifts for 76 days and ends up just off Guadeloupe. It's an amazing story of a man's will to survive and the way he succeeded by using his knowledge of the ocean. He was lucky enough to have that grab bag which was prepared for such a disaster. The Africans who possibly piled into the 40 footer after sunset one fateful evening didn't take much with them as I am sure they had expected to be in Fuerteventura before sunrise. The trip from point to point is just 60 miles as seen in the google earth photo i took seen here. Even with 8000 pounds of people (50 people) on board as is possible according to the specs of the boat they could make the trip from the closest bit of Morocco with just under 10 gallons of gasoline in about six hours. The last thing they expected was to be adrift and floating for months across the great ocean which is why it is so easy to see why they would have perished without water or food. In the boat found off Barbados they found a note: “I would like to send to my family in Bassada (Senegal) a sum of money. Please excuse me and goodbye,......This is the end of my life in this big Moroccan sea”.
Someone called in to the Daily Observer Radio yesterday and said that we should all be thankful of how lucky we are here on this little island. I tend to agree with him.
For more info you can read this report on this type of migrant issue.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
This one shows a "fair to partly cloudy day":
I am not sure what a "sunny day" would look like as i have never heard anyone giving a forecast here in Antigua say it would be a sunny day. That would have the country dazed and confused I think. Not to mention scorched off the face of the earth probably too. The reason i have been so frustrated about this is that I know for a fact that people take one look at the UK/US interpretation of the "fair to partly cloudy" (seen here today):
and pick a different place to visit for their much needed vacation. I have had people tell me that they would have cancelled their trip here after seeing the 10 day forecasts but couldn't get any money back from cancelling flights. One day the forecasters here will figure it out i guess but for now you will just have to trust me: We don't get rain 365 days a year like yahoo weather says and we are sunny as hell most of the time. I have the skin cancers to prove it! A great place to see how much rain we are actually getting in Antigua is from a radar which shows in real time time where the rain is falling. This link: shows rainfall measured by Radars in Guadeloupe and in Martinique. If you are worried that this Yahoo weather and others with those silly forecasts may be right... just keep an eye on this link to see how badly they do at forecasting rain in Antigua and Barbuda. By the way, you kind of have to know where Antigua is on the map. It's the one just above Guadeloupe which is the one looking like a butterfly. You can also animate this link which will give you the motion of the rainfall showing you where it's going. If you are looking for a lush tropical jungle feel on your island holiday do not come to Antigua. I can recommend many islands in the Caribbean to go and find your little piece of Jurassic Park but Antigua is far to dry to be placed into that category.