Friday, April 30, 2010

Fish, fish!

A quiet day aboard, since the winds were their usual snippy state, blowing too hard for comfortable diving. We did some cruise route planning and small boat chores in the morning, and watched a movie in the early afternoon out of sheer boredom. Finally unable to sit still, we took Tingum out for some late afternoon fishing. While seas were a bit rough, they were just tolerable, so out we went! Plus, overcast conditions are supposed to be great for fishing, so that was another factor in our favor. It was just after the stand of high tide, so the tide was ebbing as we meandered up the east side of Highborne Cay trolling some ballyhoo. Ron was insistent that today was the day we would catch something off Tingum; it had yet to happen! While we’ve always caught something off Equinox whenever we fished while underway, Tingum was still unlucky in that regard. We spent a good hour or so rocking and trolling, and getting drenched in the spray from the occasional awkward wave.
Yet...Ron was right!! Just off the northern tip of the cay, something bit hard on the port line. I grabbed the rod, reeling it in to set the hook and then something long and thin jumped, flashing momentarily in the air. Ron immediately thought it was a barracuda, but I wasn’t so sure. We then switched spots, with Ron reeling in the line while I got the gloves on and the gaff ready, scrambling madly. Once the fish came close to the boat, we saw it wasn’t a barracuda at all, but a mahi-mahi! Unfortunately, never having tried to land anything aboard Tingum before, my gaff attempt was rather lame, serving only to cause the fish to thrash harder, and quickly threw the hook. Fish one, Tingum zero. Ugh!
Knowing there would be more mahi around, we doubled back to troll through the same area, hoping, hoping...! And...before even 10 minutes passed, we had another mahi-mahi on the line! This one appeared a bit bigger, so I was very determined to handle the gaff more adroitly, now having a better idea of how to approach the fish over the gunnel with the gaff. Ron brought it alongside, and yes! One swoop up with the gaff and the mahi was over the side and in the boat! Success!! We subdued it as quickly as we could, getting it into the fish well with ice right away. Yes, fresh mahi was on the menu for dinner!!
Finally!! Tingum now has the "good luck fish stink" upon her! 
We decided to head back inshore, after some discussion. Ron was intent on getting more fish, but mid-tide was approaching, and I had no desire to buck our way in against the ripping ebb current in the winds that were already tossing us about. We returned through the cut easily enough and spent the next hour cleaning and filleting our catch. While we’re not experienced pros at processing fish by any means, every time we do it, we get better at it! I vacuum-sealed a good 5 bags of fish, not counting what we kept out for dinner. Need I say it was delicious?!

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