Da' Big Fish

The fat little neon-yellow bucktail with a red spot and some green feathers caught my eye. My experience in the Caribbean said “This is the lure you want,” so I bought three. I should have bought more.I first wet this magic lure while sailing Famous Potatoes, our Admiral 38 catamaran, from Grenada to Los Testigos, Venezuela, and kicked ass. I caught a yahoo, two fat black-fin tuna,
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

The fat little neon-yellow bucktail with a red spot and some green feathers caught my eye. My experience in the Caribbean said “This is the lure you want,” so I bought three. I should have bought more.

I first wet this magic lure while sailing Famous Potatoes, our Admiral 38 catamaran, from Grenada to Los Testigos, Venezuela, and kicked ass. I caught a yahoo, two fat black-fin tuna, and two cow dolphin (mahi). A decent day of fishing for some professional charter boats trailing six baits at a time. Since my special lure still had most of its feathers and the wire leader was only slightly bent I thought the rig had at least another day of fishing in it, so I set it soon after weighing anchor in Los Testigos on our way to Margarita, a nice 45-mile daysail.

cruising_bigfish_3

It was a quiet morning of motorsailing: no bites. The winds were light and the seas flat, so by noon we were motoring at 7.5 knots, too fast for many fish but a fine speed for catching a lightning fast wahoo.

Soon after, I was doing what most great wahoo fishermen are doing when the big one hits; I was in the galley mixing up a batch of oatmeal cookies. Suddenly my reel screeched like I had hooked a nuclear submarine in full attack mode. I flew out of the kitchen in a flash with Lady Pitkeathly, my Jack Russell terrier, under my feet yelping with glee. She knows and loves that beautiful sound and all that it implies. I quickly had the engines in neutral and the boat headed up into the wind to slow our momentum. Even then, the line kept burning off the reel. I had the drag set fairly lightly so I began to carefully increase the pressure. The fish didn't notice. By now two-thirds of my line had flown into the sea as this unknown beast churned across the slightly dusty blue ocean.

I know better than to tighten the drag too much, I still had 75 yards of line left, too soon to panic. The boat had stopped its forward momentum and the fish was beginning to slow just a bit. He ripped off another 25 yards and then the momentous run stopped, just in time, my reel was about to smoke.

I began to reel him in slowly, and retrieved three precious yards of line at a time. My wife, Desir, had Lady P. harnessed in the cockpit and she was howling and yipping with glee. “Go Dad go” she seemed to be encouraging as she bounced up and down on the end of her bright red tether.

Fifteen minutes later I had retrieved half of the line and the great fish broke again. He was only able to strip off 25 yards. The pumping began all over again, smooth and easy, hoping the hook would not pull loose after all this work. My arms were tired and every once in a while I had to rest and shake each one to ease my tired muscles.

The sun was burning down on me, but I hardly noticed. I was focused on the fish. Finally it broke the surface briefly about 50 yards away. Lady P. saw it too and tried to lunge over the cockpit to join me down on the sugar scoop but the tether jerked her harshly back in place. I have learned the hard way that this crazy little fishing dog will launch right into the water on top of a fish I’m trying to land. In her precious little heart I know she thinks she's helping. She continued dancing, yelping, and growling as the fish came closer. Finally I could see the stripes flaring across its wide blue back and by its shape I knew it was indeed a whopper of a wahoo, the biggest I’ve ever seen. What could he have been thinking when he hit my tiny little lure?

Related

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more

North_new

Gear: North Sails Waterproof Pack

A few years ago, North Sails made a big push into the apparel business with all kinds of sharp-looking button-down shirts, shorts and fleeces. That doesn’t mean, though, that the North Sails Collection isn’t still plenty practical, as is evident in its new roll-over waterproof ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Sort the charts  Lying here on the cockpit seat is my iPad, loaded with Navionics charts. It’s a classic example of the benefits of GPS-assisted paper chart navigation and the wonderful electronics ...read more