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Saturday, 10 July 2010 09:21

wahoo_as

 

Kayak fishing in the Bahamas is definitely a dream come true for me. When I go there every year to spend my vacations, I always try to go as often as I can.  Unlike last year when it rained all the time, this June it has been extremely hot.  We didn’t see one drop. During the first half of the month there wasn’t much wind and all of this created the best conditions possible to be out on a kayak. The ocean was so calm and the wind so still, that I didn’t need to use my drift chute to linger on a good areas when I was on one.  “As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean”, quoting Coleridge.  After a few days of fishing I felt my strength increasing and when the seasonal winds did pick up, they blew incessantly for most of the time, but I was ready.

I found it is very challenging physically to troll against the wind for hours, while trying to keep the kayak from flipping over the high rolling waves. This required my constant attention and I had to keep my focus on the surrounding sea.  I had to make sure I was properly aligned with the incoming waves so the bow could cut through them.  On my very first landing in June, I had the nasty experience of flipping over.  It happened while I was coming back from many hours out at sea. My shoulders had turned into mush, so I had the foolish idea of cutting through an area where the tide was breaking over some shallow reefs. A double wave literally pulled my kayak from under my butt and tossed me into knee deep water. I got cut very bad on my left shin and under my feet, and hit my right knee hard on a rock. Luckily the water was shallow and I didn’t lose any of my equipment. That’s quite a hard way to learn a lesson never to exceed one’s limits.  My wife bandaged me up and I was soon fishing again.

During my stay, I had some good and some bad days.  Last year, I was very successful while vertical jigging.  My hopes were the same technique would again enable me to catch tuna jigging in the ocean.  Unfortunately, this time luck wasn’t on my side, and the ocean is so vast that I really couldn’t chase tuna on my kayak.  I really tried hard

mackerel Mackerel were schooling and so were yellow tail snappers. They were very cooperative and it was easy to catch these fishes, literally hundreds in a day.  I would only take a few for my daughter, since she loves mackerel sushi and that’s the only way I can get her to eat fish, as she won’t eat it cooked.

As my time was running out and I still hadn’t caught a fish to brag about, I was rather discouraged. Also the nasty wind was keeping me down, so I decided to try one spot where the ocean comes much closer to the shore line. This spot is called Deal’s Point. On the way to Cape Eleuthera, there is a 4 mile dirt road that cuts through some very thick tropical forest. The road itself is worth the trip, as it is so untainted and lush, that it almost feels like the jungle. My small Subaru Forester made it through this road quite easily, but a lower car might not make it. The ruins of an old church and slave houses announced that I’d soon be on the beach.  Deal’s Point doesn’t have much of a beach, but just a small patch of sand surrounded by rocks. The place has tremendous reefs right near and blue water is so close that one can see it from shore. This is the place where I had caught a Mahi dolphin casting from the rocks some years ago.

The sea was quite rough but not as bad as previous times, but it didn’t really matter as my need to get out there was so intense, that I would have gone in the midst of a hurricane.  It only took a few strokes of the paddle to be right on top of some gorgeous reefs.

I’ve dove these reefs many times. I knew big tiger groupers lurked in the holes. Those big ones would bite live bait, but in that crystal clear water they can tell the difference when they see a lure.  Soon the water underneath me turned deep blue and I realize I reached the deep ocean.  That’s the spot I wanted to try jigging.  I jigged many times, until my muscles were on fire, but it was in vain.  As the wind pushed me back to shallower water, I felt a fish on my line, but not a big one. It was a yellow tail snapper weighing about 4 pounds. Nothing to brag about, but at least it was a fish.  As the day unfolded I caught a variety of minor fishes: mackerel, trigger fish, jacks; all excellent eating fishes, but not the trophy I was hoping for.

So I decided to troll near a buoy that some local fisherman trigger_fish had placed to mark a spot.  I snagged the rope with my sinking lure.  I wasn’t going to cut the line, so I put on my fins and goggles and dove about 15 ft deep and removed it. I didn’t know at the time I was going to be very glad I had done so. As my day was almost finished and I was heading back on shore, I noticed ‘bird action’ in front of me and mackerel jumping out the water. After a few seconds, I heard the drag on my reel scream. Turning, I saw my small spinning rod bent to the limit.  I grabbed the rod it felt like the fish had let go, but then it started pulling towards the bottom, emptying half the spool of my reel.  At that moment, I was very glad I had just re-spooled it with some brand new braided line.  After a fight that I was afraid I was not going to win, I finally was able to see the fish appear by the side of my kayak. I hollered “Wahoo Wahoo”.  I had  a new tool that I was eager to use: the Kage. It’s a special spear of Hawaiian tradition that I think every concerned kayak fisherman should have.  It definitely helped me finalize my catch.

With my fish on my lap, I went back on shore…the happiest man in the world.

 

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