My fishing success to date has been somewhat disappointing, so when we went to Bridgetown, I was allowed to go to Carter’s - THE fishing tackle shop. A patient older man listened to my story about “the one that got away” and I explained in detail my lures, troll length, poundage of line etc. He looked me in the eye, said little and started to gather tools, wires and clips. He told me later "Off Barbados you are likely to catch Barracuda, Tuna, Wahoo, Dorado, Blue and White Marlin. Fishing is particularly good between January and April when all of the game fish are in season" and carried on constructing. We do have to listen VERY CAREFULLY, although it is English it is so rounded and some words clipped, as to sound pseudo- African. If they giggle and get quicker we say pardon a lot.
My lure - top, started life with all his legs, so you can see he has been 'had a go at'. On the white of his eye you can clearly see a tooth mark. This was the rig that Bear bought me at the last Southampton boat show, "guaranteed to catch", was what the chap said, he has since gone out of business - wonder why ??? Looking at the skanky bit of plastic holding my hook on; I now realise I was battling against success. There is nothing more frustrating than checking your lure to find no hook AT ALL. My new one, called Dorado Blue (below) with his steel beak, wire trace and steel hook. I also have lures called Blue, Pink Silver (top) and the sexily titled Bleeding Dorado, all orangey, green and yellow (middle).
My old Bird (below) - initial attracter to the fish, just below the eyes USED to have a set of flimsy PLASTIC wings. My new Bird is wooden coated with plastic, heavy and ready to do the job. The chap has set this up on a free line attached to the main line, so he doesn't take the strain of the fish. My old rig had the bird attached to the troll and the lure attached behind. Near the reel I had some bike elastic to take pull strain. Now I have so much more breaking strain, plus this is all wire, not plastic line. My new tool - A mini hand swager. Bear has also replaced my scrawny plastic planes, I have this one with a 300 gram weight and a bigger 450 gram. ALL STEEL, for my now heavy gauge long trolls.
Bear has agreed that I have been attempting to land a ten pounder on a bent nail on hairy string and get it into a jam jar. Each time he has bought me new gear it puts the price of his 'caught' lunch up to the point that he may as well go eat it served in a swanky Mayfair hotel. But I wouldn't see your gleeful face when you land a fish and then present it beautifully prepared to eat fifteen minutes later.
So what AM I now going for:
The Tuna Mentioned before on blogs AND experienced the catch. OK so they were only small / luncheon - box size. Alasdair take note.
There are many species of tuna, I would (if I'm entirely honest) prefer to catch more plate sized chaps. My cockpit is just not as big as the fella in the middles and I don't see me having this much room to do a bit of filleting. Oh well.
The marlin Istiophoridae (Billfishes) Genus: Makaira nigricans are THE true giants of the sport fish world. The Blue Marlin is at the top of the food chain. They lurk in the waters waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting tuna or a lure bubbling and splashing behind a boat. They are generally loners and put on a spectacular battle when hooked, (gulp) jumping all over the surface while also staying under and fighting down and dirty (do you blame him). Battles with these monsters can last three hours or more. Blue Marlin are caught trolling artificial lures, and live baiting. Any blue marlin is a true trophy regardless of size, and an angler should be very proud to catch one of these giants of the deep. The blue marlin average 200 lbs. But that number is skewed because the male fish rarely exceed that. All the larger fish are generally females. The largest Blue marlin ever caught was off Hawaii - 1,805 lbs! NO - DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. The upper jaw is elongated in the form of a spear, dorsal fin pointed at front end with no spots, and pectoral fin and anal fin are pointed. The lateral line is reticulated (interwoven like a net), making it difficult to see in large specimens. The body of the blue marlin is covered with imbedded scales ending in one or two sharp points and marlin can reach 11 feet in length.
Range: Blue marlin are the most tropical of all marlins but are distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the Indian and Pacific Oceans; a single stock is assumed for each ocean. In the Atlantic, blue marlin range from New England to The Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Uruguay; in the Pacific, they are seen from southern California (rarely) to Chile and Hawaii. In common with striped marlin, they are rarely encountered in shallow, near shore waters, preferring blue, oceanic waters.Fishing Information: Like the other billfish, blue marlin are highly migratory, surface water fishes which are closely tied to warm waters. Though they may be found on the high seas thousands of miles from the continents, they also approach within a few miles of coastal regions with adjacent deep water. A free-roamer, the blue marlin is best fished where bait is most plentiful - along weed lines, around schools of small tuna and other pelagic baitfishes, in areas where seamounts or other subsurface structure creates up wellings and currents, along sharp bottom contours and near water temperature changes. The blue's enormous size and legendary fighting ability make it one of the most highly-targeted gamefish in the world. Anglers commonly troll natural baits such as mackerel, tuna, bonito and ballyhoo in hopes of enticing one of these giants. Brightly colored lures and teasers are also commonly used. I hope he likes my new Bleeding Dorado ???
The amazing beast jumping, can I picture him angry with my little lure in his gob ??? The centre photo is of Graham Manning, a local chap who caught this 910 pound blue marlin. It remains the top catch in the Southern Caribbean and visitors can see a replica of this amazing catch at the Grantley Adams Airport, Barbados. The last photo show a little fello at 100 pounds, who am I kidding, angry he could pull Beez Neez backwards.
The barracuda is a ray-finned fish known for its large size (up to 6 ft in length and up to a foot in width, for some species) and fearsome appearance. Its body is long, fairly compressed, and covered with small, smooth scales. It is found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. It is of the genus Sphyraena, the only genus in the family Sphyraenidae. It is found only in salt water. Barracudas occur both singly and in schools around reefs, but also appear in open seas. They are voracious predators and hunt using a classic example of lie-in-wait or ambush. They rely on surprise and short bursts of speed (up to 27mph (43 km/hour) to overrun their prey, sacrificing manoeuvrability. The larger barracudas are more or less solitary in their habits. Barracudas do not stick around to care for their young. Young and half-grown fish frequently congregate in schools. Their food is composed of fish of all types. Large barracudas, when gorged, may attempt to herd a shoal of prey fish in shallow water, where they guard over them until they are ready for another meal. Large barracudas have been known to eat young barracudas.
Barracudas and humans
Like sharks, barracudas have long had a bad reputation as being dangerous to humans. As barracudas are also scavengers, they may mistake snorkelers for large predators and follow them to scavenge the remains of any prey left after an attack. Being formidable hunters, they should be respected, as barracudas are perfectly capable of defending themselves against humans that harass them. Hand feeding or trying to touch them is strongly discouraged. Spear fishing around barracudas can also be quite dangerous, as they are strongly attracted by the wounded fish. There have been isolated cases where barracudas have bitten a human, but these incidents are rare and are believed to be caused by bad visibility. Barracudas will stop after the first bite as humans are not their normal food source. Wearing jewellery and other shiny objects is discouraged as barracudas are quite attracted to things that glint and shine. This will NOT be a problem for me, if I see one I will be removing myself from the water at speed.
Barracudas are caught as both food and game fish. They are most often eaten as fillet or steak and have a strong taste like tuna or salmon. Larger species, like the great barracuda, have in some areas been implicated in cases of ciguatera food poisoning. In southern Nigeria, they are smoked and used in the preparation of different soups. The reason for smoking is because when cooked fresh, the fish is quite soft and disintegrates in the soup.
Barracuda are prize fish and can be caught either by conventional gear or fly fishing. They are extremely powerful and require appropriately scaled tackle. There are 26 known species.
The barracuda looks like I don't want to mess with it, then I look at its teeth. I don't know if I want to land anything that ugly, she says gulping. I did catch a small one when we were all in Cuba and I now remember how the staff on board hopped around when a small one 'got angry' - AND what it took to "settle" it in to the fish locker. Must buy more cheap gin. NOT your Gordon's Jump Jet.
The Atlantic Sailfish
The Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, is a species of marine fish in the family Istiophoridae of the order Perciformes. It is found in the Atlantic Oceans and the Caribbean Sea, except for large areas of the central North Atlantic and the central South Atlantic, from the surface to depths of 200 metres. The Atlantic Sailfish is related to the Marlin. Length is up to 3.15 metres, and the maximum published weight is 58.1 kg.
I can already feel the tension on board of trying not to stab each other with the sailfish beak.
The wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) is a dark blue
scombrid fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. Its speed and
high-quality flesh make it a prize game fish. In Hawaii, the fish is known as
Ono. Hispanic areas of the Caribbean and Central America call it
Peto. The body is elongated and covered with small, scarcely visible
scales; the back is an iridescent blue-green, while the sides are silvery, with
a pattern of vertical blue bars. These colours fade rapidly at death. The mouth
is large, and both the upper and lower jaws have a somewhat sharper appearance
than those of king or Spanish mackerel. Specimens have been recorded at up to
2.5 metres (8 ft) in length, and weighing up to 83 kg (180 lb). Growth can be
rapid. One specimen tagged at 5 kg (11 lb) grew to 15 kg (33 lb) in one year.
Wahoo can swim up to 80 km/hour (50 mph), Firestein and Walters, 1969. They are
one of the fastest fish in the sea.
The flesh of the wahoo is delicate and white and regarded as very good in quality. This has created some demand for the wahoo as a premium priced commercial food fish. However, because of its solitary lifestyle, it is caught commercially only in the process with long-line fishery for tuna and mahi-mahi or dorado. Wherever found, it is a prized catch in sport fishing.
Most wahoo taken have a trematode parasite (Hirudinella ventrcosa) living in their stomach. It appears to do no harm to the fish
The Wahoo in the centre is a world-record, awaiting clarification, he weighed in at 184 pounds and was caught by a 16 year old Junior Angler off Cabo San Lucas, Pacific side. Yeah but the lad was big for his age !!!!
The mahi-mahi, also known as common dolphin-fish, dorado, calitos, maverikos, or in Maltese the lampuki are surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. They are one of only two members of the Coryphaenidae family, the other being the Pompano dolphinfish. Called by the common name, dolphinfish, the mahi-mahi is a fish, and is not closely related to the Delphinidae family of mammals correctly referred to by the common name, dolphin. Although technically incorrect, it is also common to refer to the mahi-mahi simply as dolphin, rather than dolphinfish. Confusion over the spelling of this name derives from the Hawaiian word, mahi-mahi, being adopted into the English language in a variety of forms. The American Heritage Dictionary, fourth edition, cites the preferred spelling (occurring “more frequently”) as the hyphenated mahi-mahi. The secondary spelling is the single word, mahimahi, with the identical Hawaiian word given as the derivational source. But the Random House Webster’s Unabridged, second edition, offers the reverse of this preference order, with the single word being preferred to the hyphenated version, as does the OED (2000 draft entry). I KNOW I’ve got to start getting out more.
Mahi-mahi have a lifespan of 4 to 5 years. Catches average 7 to 13 kg (15 to 28 pounds). They seldom exceed 15 kg (33 pounds), and any mahi-mahi over 18 kg (39 pounds) is exceptional. Mahi-mahi lives at a little under 1,000 feet. I must put out a wee bit more line !!!!! Mahi-mahi have compressed bodies and long dorsal fins extending almost the entire length of their bodies. Their anal fins are sharply concave. They are distinguished by dazzling colours: golden on the sides, bright blues and greens on the sides and back. Males and female have similar shaped bodies except for their heads. Mature males have prominent foreheads protruding well above the body proper. Females have a rounded head. Females are also usually smaller than males. When they are removed from the water, the fish often change colour among several hues (this being the reason for their Spanish name, Dorado Maverikos), finally fading to a muted yellow-grey upon death. Mahi-mahi are among the fastest-growing fish. They are fast swimmers as well, with a top swimming speed of 50 knots. Mahi-mahi spawn in warm ocean currents throughout much of the year, and its young are commonly found in seaweed. Mahi-mahi are carnivorous, feeding on flying fish, crabs, squid, mackerel, and other small fish. They have also been known to eat zooplankton and crustaceans. As food, mahi-mahi have a chicken-like taste and texture. Mahi-mahi have become popular as a dish in many restaurants, but some restaurants will substitute a soft flaky white fish instead of real mahi-mahi because it is cheaper.
Mahi-mahi are highly sought for game fishing and commercial purposes. Game fishery is popular due to their beauty. Malaysia uses the mahi-mahi as a source of entertainment, as it has been scientifically proven that the fish has an above average brain mass than other fish, as such, the mahi-mahi can be taught very simple tricks, such as recognition of coloured balls, following the finger of the trainer and twisting 180 degrees inside their tank. Such behaviour can be exhibited in some other fish, however the mahi-mahi is the only such fish known in the Caribbean.
This first Mahi-mahi is 52" long. Can I see us peering over the side of Beez down into this face? The size I fancy.
Right now I have the griff all that remains for me do do is ‘raise my game’, ‘step up to the plate’, ‘ get my head straight’, 'get big', 'tight lines' etc
All in allI feel I have now got a better chance of being a bit more useful as a game fisherwoman - bring it on