Dom, Caroline and
Charlie know all too well that I have spent A LOT on fishing gear....Jennifer
has banned me from going to another fishing shop and I seem to get rather
closely chaperoned when in a port with a fishing shop. This has so far proven to
be thoroughly fruitless, although a couple of takes coming across the Atlantic
proved that I was running along the right lines, but I have to admit that I had
become very despondent. So, unbeknown to Jennifer, when we were in Marin, I
managed to sneak into a fishing shop and get the guy to put 80lb line onto my
reel rather than the 40lb that seems to break on a regular basis (baaaddd
Miles). I had a very good chat with the shop owner, and his summary was that if
you are averaging 8-10 knots, which is what we usually do when sailing off the
wind, that you are only going to get really big fish. I had thought that it was
all about the size of the lure, but no, as the shop owner said (in a very French
accent) "even ze elephant eates ze peanooot".
So, with renewed
vigor, I stuck out the line. On the very first trip out from Marin I hooked what
felt like a monster, but it got away (no, really, I promise I did...ask
Jennifer!). So the following day, I left the line out, and just as we were
taking the sails down (its always the case isn't it - fortunately we have
Jennifer aka "boat girl" on board who was able to manage
getting the sails down herself), we hooked a biggy.
Stand back Earnest
Hemmingway...and tell the old man that it does not take a whole day to wrestle
in a monster.
20 minutes of
wrestling to be exact...and when it popped up to the surface, well, it was
slightly smaller than the beast that I had imagined and I sort of see why
the old man may have taken a while - but I still reckon that it was not far off
5 feet long. I thought that it was a Barracuda, but having looked at a book, I
think that it is nearer to a hog fish.
Now, the major
problem was - what do we do with it now? One of the issues is that large reef
predators like the barracuda have a problem of poisoning from Ciguatera. This is
particularly prevalent in these parts. More practically, there was enough fish
to feed at least 10 people on this fish, and added to all of this, the fish was
actually a beautiful fish. So, reluctantly, we decided to let it go.
Unfortunately we were not able to extract the hook, but understand that fish can
shake a hook free, and so we cut the wire, let it go and hope that is
survives...and I still feel rather guilty for putting it through such
trauma...maybe I am not cut out to be a deep sea fisherman. Have no fear though,
I wont be joining up with the "fish have feelings too" club.
So...despite lots of
money being spent on fishing, I still have not eaten a fish that I have caught!
The one issue that I have now is that we are probably going to catch larger
fish, and with only 2 of us on board and no freezer, we really don't want to
catch a large fish. All very tricky!
Just to prove it was
me....oh, and yes, I do need a shave and a haircut!
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