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Chasing Thrills: A Fishing Tale of Triumph and Agony in the Caribbean Waters

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Mocka Jumbies and Rum...

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Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught – unless of course something
bigger decides to take a bite out of it, then the bite, similar to the perpetrator, grow at a phenomenal rate!

Five miles off St Lucia and two hours into a morning’s session, the 36ft Bertram Xiphius
(pronounced zifus) Seeker went about her business. Cruising at 7 knots, the
untouched lures bobbed, splashed and darted under and over the rolling
Caribbean, much to the chagrin of her fare anxious anglers.

Sure, there’d been bait fish, we’d even had a paying guest throwing up/in some groundbait but to no avail, the lures, like the beer remained untouched.

“Time for a change of lure,” said boathand Cleus Joseph. No one really took much notice— the constant throbbing of the twin Perkins has quite a debilitating effect. The game of pointing out cloud formations had reached its natural conclusion, that’s to say end, when Xiphius’ owner, Tony Windsor could make out a nude Mexican dwarf riding a bicycle with a string of onions — no, there was only one winner there. In short, we’re all bored.

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With a splash that no one heard, the rapalla went over the side and a wahoo’s fate was sealed.

“I can see Landan Bridge, and cor, look there’s. . .”

The cloud game was back but London Tony was cut short as the click, click, click, of a reel under pressure escalated into the shrill scream of a fleeing fish—a big one. No-one sat in the fighting chair but we all covetously eyed it — a kind of grown up musical chairs, ensued—when the music (reel) stops it’s the first one to sit in the chair who gets to fight
the fish. You get the picture?

Tony’s no longer looking at the clouds. With his hand shielding his eyes, he stares at a distant point beneath the horizon where he’s expecting the furious fish to vent his spleen skyward. One of the two paying customers is smoking (not literally). He’s got his hands full and the other is still groundbating—the music stops. I’m in!

I’m holding on, and I mean this in the strictest sense, to a tiger by the tail. The rod has a life of its own. Bent almost in half (similar to the groundbaiter) the line flashes out at as the fish puts as much distance as possible between him and his chips–to whit—me!

The Legendary Tony Snell

Pumping furiously for 30 minutes, the runs had slowed, the retrieved line being a welcome indication of who was doing what, and to whom.

“Cam on Milton,” said affable cockney Tony, “blady arry up, it’s getin bleedin’
dark, the only fing gettin clowser is bladdy Martinique.”

Ahh, those cockneys.

And then . . . nothing!

No runs, just a dead weight. What a welcome relief! The fish, knowing his fate was sealed, had decided to come quietly, yep, that was surely it. Isn’t that blood in the water?

“Stone me! Samfink’s had a bleedin’go at it!” said Tony.

Still Crazy after all these Years Tony Snell on Life Love and Living in the BVI

The groundbaiter moved aside as the gaffed wahoo came aboard, or rather some of it did. Almost cleaved in half and with a huge gaping wound in the side, the subdued wahoo looked mortified.

“That would have been a bleedin’ record, mate. ‘Ave you always been so lacky?”

What was left of the wahoo weighed in at just over 60lbs. It’s estimated that its full weight would have been around 120, but to reiterate my opening paragraph ‘nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught’ but by what is the question?

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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