A-Fishing We Will Go

Ambler Isle
V and S
Thu 14 Apr 2011 11:44
April 13, 2011
The Exuma Sound was calm because of the southerly winds.  After an hour of loading the dinghy with diving gear, fishing spears, snacks, portable electronics, sun protection, dry clothing and fuel, we drove down to where Pirate  had moved south near Elizabeth Island.  From there we took both dinghies through the shallow and narrow cut.  First destination was an open cave on the coastline said to shelter queen triggerfish.  Although the wind waves were minimal, the tide was going out and a 4' NE swell was coming in creating a crash of water onshore.  Janie dove in to scout the bottom.  It was so rough near shore I feared she'd be slammed against the rocks.  She climbed back on her dinghy and we tried another site.  It, too, was rough.  Several times she swam around looking for sea floor with coral or rocky bottom.  But even when she spotted these conditions, she saw no fish.  We rode out to some big rocks sticking out of the water about a mile offshore.  She spotted some Nassau Grouper but they were too deep for a free dive.  Valt marked the spot on our GPS chartplotter. Finally we gave up.  Jim went back to his boat and fetched drift-fishing rods and conch scraps.  The conch was so slimy and sticky it was impossible to wash off.  Valt had to use our console towel, and Jim had to take off his sock to wipe his hands. Armed with these we anchored over the grouper reef.  Not a nibble.  We have a technique of drifting over a drop off in 70-100' or water.  Our first pass yielded a nice queen trigger fish.  At least we had an appetizer for four.  Valt turned the dinghy back to the spot.  Wham!  A mutton snapper.  Each pass brought up a fish, mostly smaller, bait fish.  We cut some up for bait and found the fish preferred the fresh bait over the conch.  Red hinds, strawberry grouper, grunts, we soon had dinner for four. We even kept a large sand tile fish.  A dark cloud on the horizon threatened rain.  Back aboard the Amber Isle, we unloaded the dinghy, rinsed salt water off everything, and washed the little boat.  Then we filleted the fish and prepared to cook them just as the rain hit.  The grunts and the trigger fish were brushed with olive oil and grilled.  The Snapper and tile fish were dredged in breadcrumbs and pan fried in olive oil and garlic with capers.  Janie brought beans and rice, and I added a fresh salad.  I arranged the fish on each plate so I could tell each diner which fish was which.  Valt treated us to one of his gourmet desserts with ice cream and cookies.  It turned out to be a very delicious meal.  Better yet, we had a fun day at sea.