Arrival in the Abacos

We departed Royal Island 0730 under sunny skies and winds about 10 kts, great conditions for our crossing of the big water between Royal Island and the Abacos, a cruise of about 60 miles. We enjoyed a very smooth ride with seas around 2-3 ft but long period waves, making for a very comfortable cruise. We dropped lines into the water as soon as we cleared the dropoff, and hoped for some action. Our first hit came an hour or so later, and we landed a nice mahi, about 42″. Conditions were calm enough to clean and filet the fish right away, and the filets went right into the cooler to chill. Another hit came a bit later, a bigger fish, but just as I went to pull the fish up over the swim deck, it flipped, levering its tail against my pull on the leader. The lure popped out and the fish flopped off the swim deck and back into the water. CRAP!! Should have had a gaff! Another hit, and a lot of horsing to get the next one up to the boat, and again, as I pulled him up over the stern, same thing, and GONE!! Now, I’m peeved. Mostly at myself for not heeding my big sister’s sage advice- “Where’s your gaff? You oughta have a gaff!” Well, in my own paltry defense, most of the fish we have landed have been of the size that a firm grip on the leader followed by a smooth lift over the swim deck, easily puts the writhing mahi securely in the cockpit, where they can flop around until they settle. We lost two nice ones a few weeks ago, now two in a row. Necessity is the mother of invention, so in true cruiser form, I broke out the 5″ side grinder, a piece of stainless rod from my miscellaneous parts stores, a few stainless hose clamps, an old boat hook, and, voila. We now have a gaff! No more lost fish!! Of course I’ve just stacked the odds against hooking a big fish in the first place now, but with the losses over the stern, our odds weren’t too great anyway!

Our cruising companions on Celebrate were also fishing, and during the afternoon we received a panicked VHF call of “FISH ON- GOTTA GO!!” Generally these quick VHF calls are just an indication of why the boat suddenly heads off course or stops. We received another call that they had what they thought may be a swordfish, a most unusual hookup considering the rigs that were in use. After watching Celebrate do the hokey-pokey for a half hour about 3/4 of a mile ahead of us, we finally received confirmation that they had landed a long billed spearfish after a hard fight to bring it to the boat. Quite a chore considering the fish was seven feet, and probably weighed in around 50 pounds! Quite a monster to land on 25 pound test tackle! They were understandably excited! Unfortunately, we learned later that this particular species has about zero rating on food value in the fish guide. A well-deserved rating, it was inedible, usually caught and released.

The rest of our run was uneventful with the exception of our loss of the two mahi, most aggravating! We arrived at Lynyrd Cay and joined a few other boats anchored there, with plans to stay a day and visit Little Harbor the following day.

5 Responses to “Arrival in the Abacos”

  1. Lisa on 14 May 2012 at 10:07 PM #

    Fish On
    I wanta see a picture of that one
    More than that I wanta hear Chris tell the fish story
    Was anyone on the videp camera fro that adventure
    I would love to see that
    50 lbs
    you will have to stay in the Bahamas another month to eat that before going thru customs!

  2. Steve on 15 May 2012 at 12:19 AM #

    Picture should be forthcoming!

  3. Lisa on 18 May 2012 at 9:59 PM #

    A testament to the sportswoman that brought in the beauty
    Please forward my extreme admiration for the team work this beauty
    must have required,
    Who cleaned this one?
    which surgeon?
    Was it eaten?
    Or are they having it mounted
    It would make a beautiful wall ornament
    Life adventures what a treat!

  4. Linda Bialecki on 21 May 2012 at 10:44 AM #

    How about teaching me to fish in the Chesapeake in a couple of months? Love the fish stories. Want the fish. I even have the de scalers already, and a rod and a bunch of lures that most probably are wrong. But love to sort it all out.

    best, Linda

  5. maerin on 22 May 2012 at 2:45 PM #

    I think you may fare better asking the ladies who caught that big one! Me, just luck of the draw! Skill?? Ha!