The monster!

Sun 17 Jan 2010 20:30
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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