Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Fishing Tale - A Fisherman's Delight

By, Michael Daubenberger

Out of commission.  That’s what happens when you spear yourself in the hand.  No need to worry with Sara on board to step in as the head spearfisherwoman.  Our first trip out since the accident, we were in search of lunch.  Within 10 minutes Sara had spotted it, a Strawberry Grouper.  I watched from the surface while Sara dove down and made a perfect shot.  Not bad for her first grouper. 

Four days later we went out again.  Sara with the pole spear and myself with the Hawaiian sling.  Time to get back on the horse.  After a number of tries, I had my first success, a Marget from the Grunt family of fish.  Sara followed it up with a Nassau Grouper just to show me up.  Dinner was served. 


For our last fish in the Exumas, Sara and I decided to get some small pan fryers.  Porgies of course.  Again we got one fish each.  

From the Exumas we moved on to Cat Island.  A fifty-mile crossing and a great chance to hook into a pelagic fish.  We were hoping for a Mahi Mahi and that’s what we got.  A nice one too!  Sara fought the fish, Otto got the helm and I grabbed the gaffe hook.  It was our first Mahi Mahi since Matt and Cindy were onboard in May.  A long time coming!  

Blood bath from the mahi mahi
Our trip up Cat Island took us to the Devils Backbone located on the north end of the Island.  The Devils Backbone is an intricate passage littered with coral heads.  What better place to stop, snorkel, and spearfish?  We made the stop indeed and it was worth it.  The snorkeling was world class and the fish were prolific.  During the stop I speared a small bar jack and a white grunt. 

Onward to the Abacos!!  We didn’t know what to expect.  We anticipated seeing less fish and less big fish due to the population on the islands and proximity to Florida.  We couldn’t have been more wrong!!  Our first snorkeling session was at the northwest end of Great Guana Cay.  It was a protected land and sea park so no fishing.  The reef was amazing and so was the abundance of fish.  Huge schools of iridescent tiny fish filled the seas and groupers could be seen poking their heads out from under the coral heads.  Three days later we made our first entry into the water with spears in hand.  The location, No Name Cay, the reefs, just as vibrant.  Sara and I snorkeled for two hours, chased out of the water only by the time of day.  Our loot, two Spanish Hogfish, and a Schoolmaster Snapper.    


Ty arrived and we headed to the west end of Manjack Cay.  We arrived under the threat of tropical storm (Debbie).  She keep us off of the outer reefs but not out of the water.  Upon arrival we jumped in the dinghy to find some dinner.  Not much fish, and not much reef but we were able to find a Strawberry Grouper.  Grouper Fingers!! 


The next day we headed out and gave Ty the reins to the three-pronged spear to kill a lionfish.  The lionfish was small, real small.  Not an easy target, so Ty swam down for a practice shot 2 inches from the fish’s head.  The fish did not flinch.  His next shot was a dead bulls-eye.  The fish was trapped between the three prongs of the spear.   Not a single one of them puncturing its delicate flesh.  We could have sold it to and aquarium unharmed.  Nice shot Ty!!  We continued to snorkel and I found a school of porgies.  Pan fryers for lunch.  I speared three nice ones on three shots.  

With my ego soaring as I trained my eyes on a Nassau Grouper.  Again, a direct shot and another fish in the boat.  We drifted off shore and Sara caught my attention pointing to a monster fish.  My first though was a shark!  No it was a fish, a Cero.  The Cero is a fish that is constantly on the move, fast, agile, and not often speared.  This one I was able to get within range expecting my 6-foot spear to swim away with the fish.  The fish I did spear, but swim away, he did not.  He made it about twenty feet before I was able to grab the spear and haul him back to the boat.  Our day of fishing was done. 



Our next stop was Moraine Cay.  A wonderland for snorkelers and spearfisherman alike.  The coral heads rose from 15 feet up to the surface with channels, caves, and tunnels throughout.  To say the least, we spent days exploring and still just scratched the surface.  The fish were everywhere but they were also a little shifty.  Our first trip out we came home empty handed.  The next trip out was more rewarding.  I spotted a grouper and headed down.  As I approached, the fish spooked so I poked my head in a cave nearby and spotted a nice Schoolmaster.  


The shot, right behind the gills and the fish took off with the spear.  The fight was on.  He drug the spear deep under a rock ledge were I could just reach the end of the spear.    The fish was stuck, real stuck.  I tugged and rotated and tugged and finally as I was just nearing the end of my breath, I got him out.  Sara and I jumped in the dinghy and ditched the giant Barracuda that had is eye on our prize. 


Our next fish, a hogfish speared for our neighbors on the Kopy Kat.  Their favorite type of fish.   


Again in the afternoon we headed out and Sara took her turn with the Hawaiian sling.  On her first attempt ever she swam down twenty feet to approach a good-sized porgy.  She got there and waited, waited for the fish to turn allowing for the perfect shot and the perfect shot it was.  On Sara’s first attempt with a Hawaiian sling she had speared a fish.  Not many people can say that about their wife.  But I can. 

It was time for us to get our favorite type of fish.  The Nassau Grouper.  Sara and I went out to find it.  Sara spotted the fish and I went down to get it.  A nice Nassau Grouper!!


Our next stop was a reef behind Allens Pensicola Cay.  We watched the thunderclouds in the distance and decided we were not in danger so we jumped in the dinghy and headed out to the reef.  Again we got a Nassau Grouper. 


In Foxtown after dropping off Tyler we met a couple in the bar with a suggestion for our next stop.  Carter Cay, the land of Black Grouper and Mutton Snapper.  We arrived, anchored and hopped in the dinghy for a drift dive down the cut.  We drifted down and got a Yellowfin Grouper.  That evening I followed it up with a hogfish. 




In the morning we went out on slack tide.  I dove down after a big Mutton Snapper and gave it a shot.  Right behind the gills.  The fish swam off and I followed as he snuck into a hole.  I reached for the spear, it shook, and the fish swam out the other end.  A 6 foot nurse shark joined in on the excitement and bit the tip of the spear then drifted up towards the Sara and the dinghy.  Sara jumped in and I followed.  Unfortunately I still needed to go back down and get the spear.  We were told later that by a couple of Bahamian fisherman not to spearfish in the cut because the sharks swim in packs in there.  Luckily we didn’t see any shark packs.  Later in the day we went out with our friend Bruce from Johnny Wasabi and got two Nassau Grouper. 

Our final stop in the Abacos was Double Breasted Cay.  One last chance to fill up the freezer and fill it up we did.  In total, we netted four Hogfish, two Mutton Snapper, one lionfish, one Strawberry Grouper, one Schoolmaster and one huge Margat.               









          

6 comments:

  1. I can't believe the size of those last two mutton snapper and that Margate, Holy Moly!!

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  2. You are going to need to share these stories and pictures with the world!!!! You two are amazing.

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  3. gosh, at first I thought you caught all of those in one day, but looks like youc hanged outfits a couple times! craziness! can't believe all of those crazy lookin' fish out there.

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  5. It was our first Mahi Mahi since Matt and Cindy were onboard in May.Sherrill

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  6. I really impressed after read this because of some quality work and informative thoughts . I just wanna say thanks for the writer and wish you all the best for coming!. Best spinning reel

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