Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Great weather for fishing

On Sunday the sky was clear and the sea very calm so we had to go fishing even though none of the full time fishermen had been catching fish. This time we went out with my cousin David on his Boston Whaler. The first challenge was catching "sprat" which are a type of pilchard that school up pretty tight at this time of the year. It all happens at the time when pelicans are feeding their young chicks and you will usually find sprat and other small schooling fish where the pelicans are diving. We found some after searching for longer than we had anticipated. Anyway, i had to catch them using a cast net. I am not very good at casting a net, but luckily the fish were schooling so tight that it was easy to get enough bait before long. They were stored alive in the bait well at the back of the boat where we could easily get them later once we had arrived at "the bank". The bank is a spot which isn't on the charts for some strange reason and happens to have great tuna fishing. Tuna love live bait so that's the spot we were speeding off to with rods, hooks and baits. The sea was slightly choppy but without white caps and it was an extreme dark but clear blue. We arrived at the bank at about 10 am and saw the flocks of birds that always are a signal that you are in the right spot. Noddies fly around the bank looking for feeding tuna that chase small fish up to the surface and provide the fast birds with a fresh catch of their own. As soon as we dropped what we call a "french man" over the side we were hooked up onto a black fun tuna. These guys usually don't get much bigger than about 10 pounds but do occasionally get twice as big. As we got the fish to the boat we used a long needle and some dental floss to rig the small tuna to a larger hook in a way that it would stay alive and healthy until a much bigger fish took it. We were hoping to catch a very large tuna with this live bait method. The other rods were quickly hooked and baited with the small live sprat from the live well and scoops of small sprat were thrown over to attract predators. Before long we had a bite on the live tuna, but it didn't hook up. When we got all the line to the boat we saw that it had been cut off by a large fish that had big teeth. When fishing for tuna we don't normally use wire leaders before the hook and prefer to use a short "leader" of heavy nylon which tuna can't bite through easily. The clear leader works well for tuna but doesn't work well when there are sharks or wahoo around. Anyway, we caught more small tuna but never found the big yellowfin tuna that we were trying to target. The current was very strong despite the sea being so calm. It was hot too, and we spoke quite a bit about the poor people who had floated across the Atlantic to their deaths recently. After some lunch we moved over to a different spot where we anchored to do some more live baiting with sprat again hoping to find where the yellowfin were hanging out. Very quickly Mahi Mahi (aka dolphin fish) arrived and started attacking our live sprat. These were very small mahi and I wasn't that interested in them. David was as he said he hadn't had fresh fish in a while. The little dolphin fish would be delicious later and they managed to catch four or five of them before the school figured out something was not right. Again the current at this spot was very strong and was taking the chum and the live bait into the shallows which was not where we wanted them to be going... the tuna would be in the deep. After catching a few other small black fin tuna we decided to call it a day and powered up the engines bound for home. The day before i had seen a small school of sprat at the entrance of Jolly Harbour so when we arrived there we let the remaining sprat in our live bait well go at that spot. It had been a fun day out but we didn't end up with the big yellowfin that i had hoped to catch as we did last year. (seen in this vid):

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".

2 comments:

Jodi said...

Okay, more language lessons - "Ghetto Fab?"

Loved the sound track!

AdventureAntigua.com said...

taken from the urban dictionary:

ghetto fabulous: When a poor dude gets rich yet he still fries boloney on the stove.
"That ghetto fabulous mofo is wearing a folex with his fosacci."