“Fish on! Fish on”….
Words hardly ever spoken on our boat…..until this past Friday.
We have gone out trolling for fish several times since moving here. It has been very fruitless to say the least. Time for some more fishing lessons!
The mechanics behind trolling is pretty simple. Put your lure out behind the boat, drive slow and hope a fish jumps on. But one very simple thing we missed was if you don’t get any bites, change your lure. Fishing for snapper has been so straight forward with live bait, we had no idea what we were in for with the artificial lures. So what to buy? Well there are hundreds, if not thousands of lures out there. All of them claim to be the best. Fortunately for us, our guide Charly had several different lures in several different sizes. We may do a blog about lures alone for those of you who want some details on that.
Ronnie is the guy who fishes, and despite all the stereo types of blondes and women and boats, Lisa is the Master of the Vessel. She has the hard job of finding the likely places where the fish are hiding. It is a big blue sea, so this is not easy. But as we are learning, you look for water irregularities, sea grass lines, birds in the sky, flying fish, fish boils, etc… Here is Lisa with her best “looking for irregularities” face.
You also need to pay attention to the depth the water. This is hard because outside the reef it is like this… 50ft, 80ft, 150ft, 400ft, 800 ft…. and it happens a lot faster than you think. When we were first told we had to head out to 500 feet deep water, we imagined it something like the movie “The perfect storm” with no land in site, 30 foot swells, water spouts, and giant krackens.
Within 30 seconds outside the reef we heard zzzzzzzzzzzzziiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnng! Fish on…. What was it? Tuna! Yay! We LOVE tuna. It was small but we were happy to catch it! It would not be a shut out today.
Another 5 minutes goes by and we snagged this barracuda. We welcome these. They make great gifts to the guys that work at Grand Caribe. They are also good for bait. We also enjoy making fish fingers out of the smaller ones. We’re still working up to eating these big ones. People smoke ’em and make dips out of them. Someday….
Driving around in the deep blue water is very Zen like. The waves kinda push you along as you try to keep your balance and look for the signs of fish.
Dooley Bear napping on the boat
Dooley was bit bored. Just when you think it is getting dull, this happens! So fun to see dolphins swimming under our boat.
Then Ronnie pulled up this giant barracuda.
We just aren’t too prepared for fish this big. We have two small coolers and a small live well in our little boat. (Bigger cooler is now added to the list of things we need to buy).
So, what do you do with a fish that’s too big?
Make 2 smaller fish out of him. Charly proceeded to cut this big boy in half. It made quite a mess but Dooley Bear was happy to clean up.
After a few successful trolling catches, we decided to do some bottom drops for some snapper or possibly a grouper.
We had a lot of success pulling up many snapper and one tile fish.
Then…. the big fish tale happened
Fishing in 500 feet of water and a snapper jumped on so Ronnie started reeling. Then all of a sudden a big tug happened. Ronnie almost fell in. He fought and fought for around 10 minutes. Based on how it was fighting, Charly said it was a grouper. Woo hoo! Thanksgiving is right around the corner and a big grouper will be nice. At around 300 feet, the grouper decided it was going to give one last try at survival. So it started diving and diving and diving. Ronnie was able to stop it after a bit, then… SNAP! The line broke! We had 30 pound line on so this must have been a big one close 50 to 70 pounds. So having lost 1/2 of our line, 3 hooks, a light, a big sinker, and one giant grouper we pulled in the line and put that rod away.
Time to do some more trolling! But here comes a storm.
Lisa and her “uh oh, there’s a big storm coming our way!” face…
Lisa made the call to head back in. As we headed back to the dock, we trolled some more. Caught another tuna and saw a mahi mahi jump out of the water trying to hit the lure we had out there. Sadly he missed.
Dooley Bear happy to be back on land!
But happier to have a cooler full of fresh fish.. Now comes the gross part!
Dooley Could not get enough of the blood soup! Our giant barracuda head just barely fit in our cooler.
The booty for the day! 2 barracuda, 2 tuna, 5 yellow eye red snapper and a tile fish.
Dooley was hungry and tried to grab the tile fish off the table!
It took an hour or so to clean all the fish, then clean up all the blood out of the boat. Fishing is hard work!
Side note: Ronnie marked the spot where the giant grouper lives. He intends to go back, catch it, retrieve all the fishing gear lost, and put that big boy in his belly!