When is a fish too big?
Probably when you start to question who will win the fight to the death. But then, at the back of your mind is always the thought of netting enough mahi-mahi steaks to keep you in fish for a month.
We hooked him on the way across from the Abacos to Eleuthera. In fact we troll a line from each hull and actually hooked two fish at exactly the same time. Fortunately, after a series of spectacular leaps and splashes, the first one broke the hook in two and escaped, so we only had one to contend with.
The second one did not fight as much as the first and I could gradually haul him in, pausing when he fought too hard. As his massive fluorescent body became visible Andrea and I exchanged glances. Only about five feet long, but 100% muscle. A big Dorado is incredibly intimidating with their huge crested forehead.
I pulled him to the foot of the sugar scoop, waited until he stopped struggling for a while, and then pulled his head onto the bottom step. His head pretty much filled the step.
This was the point where Andrea leapt forward, gaff hook and knife in hand, to hook him in the gills and drive the knife through his eye. (You can’t penetrate the skull of a big dorado except through the eye.)
Not quite as planned.
She hooked him in the gills, at which point he decided that playing dead was not going to work. He thrashed his tail, broke the gaff hook in two, ripped the hook from the leader and spat out the hook. Then he paused, just long enough for me to dismiss the idea of trying to grab at him with my bare hands, before he backed off the step and swam away.
Most remarkably, not only did we retain the two parts of the gaff hook, but having ripped the hook completely off the line the fish just spat it out onto the step, so we retained the hook and lure to fish with another day.
I once saw a movie where a guy killed a fish with a revolver - it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea...
The first fish just snapped the hook in two the other snapped the gaff in two
Some cruise ships are just downright ugly (“Oasis of the Seas” passing Eleuthera)