Saturday, January 24, 2015

How do you bring in a big fish with no Gaff Hook?

So here we are 90 nautical miles north of the Dominican Republic, 180 miles west of the Puerto Rico, two days out from Turks and Caicos, well pretty much deep in the North Atlantic Ocean plowing the seas. 
Last night when we were wrestling a fish aboard, our gaff hook (big hook on a stick, which you use to pull big fish out of the water) disappeared overboard. 
No problem. We devised a plan that we would pull the fish on the bottom steps with the line and then someone would scoop it up with a dip net. The plan kind of works but still needs to be perfected.
So I am about to fillet a Wahoo that we caught earlier when two lines get a hit. Anthony is reeling in one rod, I am “reeling” in the other rod, and by “reeling in” I mean I am holding the rod watching how my line is being completely reeled out  by a fish that decided to go somewhere deep into the ocean. A few last turns on the reel, the fish decided it was deep enough and just stops. I pumped the rod each time cranking in a few turns just to watch the fish take all  those turns back. 
So we played this game of "Who can get exhausted quicker” for about 40 minutes - one fish on the bottom vs Anthony, Phyllis and I switching the rod between us since we were all exhausted and the fish seemed to completely ignoring that it was hooked. 
The whole time we were guessing as what it could be - A Shark!, or a big Grouper! Or (I wish) - a yellow fin tuna!

Then the fish decided to just swim up to the surface, and like a nice doggy came right up to the boat and swam next to the boat with us.

Suddenly we saw it - a large Mahi Mahi! Really large!
It decided to swim on the other side of the boat and no matter what we tried to do we could not get it to come closer. We knew that our plan of “Just pull up the fish on the bottom step and someone will scoop it up with a dip net is not going to work with this one”. 

We started brainstorming ideas how to get the fish to come closer to the boat. In the end we decided to use a spear gun, and 2 pole spears to try to kill the fish in the water and drag it onto steps.
I fired the spear gun (direct hit) with which we were able to bring the fish closer to the boat, and then tried and spear the fish with pole spears. I fired a spear point blank straight into it’s head just to see the spear bounce off the head and permanently bend like a bow. (We have aluminum spears). That really got the fish mad, but I was able to get the second spear into it and with a line, the speargun and pole spear we were finally able to wrestle it into the cockpit.

Big MahiMahi - 5 ft long,  weighing 36 pounds (16.5 kg)

I guess getting a new gaff hook is going to be high on our priority list when we get to Puerto Rico!

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