By, Michael Daubenberger
Much time has passed and many fish have been eaten since we checked in last. Our story continues at Cat Island with the arrival of Kevin and Emy. The first of our catch was a hauled in by Kevin as we made our way on a snorkeling excursion to Little San Salvador Island. It was a good-sized Almaco Jack of excellent food value. Unfortunately as I grabbed the fish to unhook it, the fish slithered into sea before it could be photographed. Our next fish struck as we headed down the inside of Cat Island. It was a fighter, didn’t have as much enough fight to outlast Emy. When we finally got it to the boat we were disappointed to find it was a three-foot barracuda. Two fish landed and nothing for the table.
Time to try our luck on the high seas!! We headed out of the Hawksnest on the south end of Cat Island at 6 am sharp awoken by the buzz and stinging bites of the mosquitoes. Our minds were on the Tuna we would encounter at the Tartar bank. Schools were everywhere, but in five hours of trolling under the motor we were able to hook into only one and it quickly broke our 40-pound test line.
|Mike with speared grouper off south Cat Island|
|Grouper speared in head|
Well that’s what happened with this one. I dropped down to the bottom, gave it a shot and rushed in to the catch the fish. It didn’t flinch; just fell to the ground dead. A lucky shoot indeed. On our trip back as we left the reef and entered the deep blue ocean, we hooked into a monster. Kevin grabbed the pole just in time to keep it from stripping clean. Sara manned the helm and backed down on her. I grabbed the camera and ran play by play. The fight lasted a good fifteen minutes before the beast stripped free. There was much speculation on the fish type and size, but we were sure it would have been a record catch.
The next day we had not intended to fish, but the wind was blowing just right to send us down to the fishing grounds on a beam reach, so we set off in the morning with a couple of hours to blow. No sooner had we reached the Tartar Bank than the first fish struck. A Blackfin Tuna. Kevin grabbed the pole, braced himself against the roll of the boat and reeled her in. Sushi for dinner tonight. Ten minutes later the second fish hit. This time a small Barracuda.
Sara and I said our goodbyes to Kevin and Emy in Cat Island as they barely made it to their flight in time.
We sailed back to the Exumas the following day
to pick up the Sundborg girls. Two of
Sara’s sisters and her cousin. As we
left the banks of Cat Island with the sun rising behind us, we hooked into a
nice Blackfin, and again as we approached the cut of Staniel Cay we were
rewarded with yet another Blackfin.
|Mike with tuna hook-up from Cat Island crossing|
|The girls with another cero|
|Stacy with speared lionfish|
|Susy & Stacy with Susy's cero catch|
|Stacy with filleted cero|
On our last leg of the trip as we raced into Georgetown we spotted a flock of turns and a school of tuna. Actually, Little Tunny. Our first pass was for naught. Not even a bite so we turned the ship around. On the second pass we heard the reel zing.
grabbed the pole and started fighting.
From the onset we could tell it would be a real battle. The fish was landed and she was a real
beauty. A nice Little Tunny. Once again sashimi for dinner!!!
|Mackenzie with tuna catch|
Our tale continues with the arrival of our guests Tommy and Nicole. Our first fish arrived as we neared the cut to Farmers Cay. Tommy grabbed the pole and reeled her in. A Cero Mackerel, similar to a Spanish Mackerel and good eating. The lines were tossed out in hopes of another. The next fish struck hard in the shallow waters as we entered the cut and it was likely to be one thing, a Barracuda. It was and it was a big one, 4 feet at least! Tommy wrestled it up to the boat and I went to grab the pliers. I reached for the leader, the fish shook its gnarled head, and away it went taking the lure with it.
We entered Pipe Creek with the hopes of hooking into some bonefish, spearing a few Grouper, and collecting some conch. The evening we arrived, Tommy and I went out on the bonefish flats with poor light and lots of wind. Fortunately, the flats were only 100 feet from the stern of the boat. Within minutes we spotted a huge school of fish finning. As we approached, they moved like a wave through the water. It was something to see!!! We worked our way to windward and got a couple good casts out in front of the mass of fish, but we had no luck hooking in.
|Tommy & Mike trying their luck at bonefishing|
Big it was, a fish it was not!! I was clearing my goggles and holding my spear in my left hand. The spear slipped through the handle and the barb lodged itself a ½ inch into webbing between my thumb and pointer finger. I had hooked into something, myself!! The big fishing trip was cancelled. Some medical attention was needed.