Travels of SV Far Niente

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A real fish story.

We were sailing in the southern Bahamas this past spring, having left the Jumentos headed for Long Island, Bahamas. Our charts showed that the water was several thousand feet deep and I had two rods rigged and fishing. I heard one reel start screaming as line was running out and I jumped up and began to increase the drag. Of course the fish hit on the rod with the smaller of my two reels. I tightened the drag as tight as it would go and finally slowed the outrun of line and began to work the fish. I didn't know what it was, but I knew it was big! We slowed the boat down and I began to slowly work the fish back towards the boat. Then, surprisingly, it started trying to circle behind the boat! I never had a fish do that before. Diane was at the helm and I told her "give me 90 degrees to port". As she turned the boat, the fish continued trying to circle the stern. For the next hour and a half, I fought the fish and Diane drove the boat in circles! I finally got it along side and grabbed the gaff. The fish, a Mahi Mahi, was on it's side and I was not aware of the girth of this monster. I have a medium sized gaff and when I gaffed him and got him on the foredeck, the first thing I noticed was the gaff did not go all the way thru. About the time that Diane was handing me the rubbing alcohol to squirt in his gills, he literally exploded! Violently thrashing on the deck, I mean 3 or 4 feet off the deck! The power he had amazed me. I jumped up on the cabin top to escape his trashing and in a flash he was free of the gaff and escaped under the lifelines. He then broke my 100# steel leader and was gone (along with my cedar plug). Diane estimated that he was at least 5 foot long and I figured he went a good 75#. What an adventure! I realized, afterwards, that I was totally unprepared to land a fish of that size and strength. The good news is he probably lived. I hope so. He left not one drop off blood on the deck, so the gaff had not done any major damage. I'm going back this winter and will attempt to make his aquaintence again.


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