It looks like our fishing technique is improving, slowly but surely. I’ve recently bought the new Penn Battle ii reel and I think that might be helping! Yesterday afternoon we reeled in 3 Mahi-Mahi. One was a keeper at 20″. Not huge but enough for a meal for us all. To be honest, I have been reading a lot of articles containing fishing tips on websites like CatchandFillet.com so I am not surprised that my technique has got better. Improving your fishing technique is all about learning new skills and putting them into practice after all.
Last night during dinner the breeze camp up and we started moving along at a good clip of 8 knots. After dinner Brady and I went to the stern to pull in the gear for the night. We were delighted to find 2 Yellow Fin Tuna as we reeled the lines in. We must not have heard the strike alarm go off (beer cans tied to the lines). We filleted both on the spot and within minutes were enjoying the freshest Yellow Fin sashimi available on the planet. The flesh was warm and the most incredible tasting treat one could hope for, without even a hint of fishy smell. Looks like we’ll be rolling sushi for lunch today!
Here’s the fire drill we go through when the alarm goes off:
1) Yell FISH ON!
2) Immediately reduce boat speed by furling sails or altering course.
3) Set the hook with increased drag (reel) or a sharp tug on the hand line.
4) Assuming it’s not too big for the gear start playing the fish trying to bring it in little by little without ripping the hook out or breaking the gear. This is where we’ve lost most of our lures.
5) Land the fish (using a gaff hook for larger ones) and immediately douse with a shot of cheap rot-gut vodka directly into the gills. This kills them quickly and cleanly.
6) Cut the gills and bleed by dragging backwards off the stern of the boat for a few minutes.
7) Sharpen your knife and fillet.
All the above steps often happen in adverse conditions with a pitching boat, waves, and wind to contend with. It’s very intense and totally worth it though.
This morning we caught another Mahi but it was too small to be a keeper. We’re not breaking any records for size but our consistency is paying off. The tally so far: 6 Mahi-Mahi (2 keepers), 2 Yellow Fin, and 6 lost lures (sea monsters too big for our gear). I’m really enjoying the challenge of fishing on the ocean, even more than I thought I would. Now I realize why people spend serious money on serious gear. I’m already trying to figure out ways to replace our diminishing lure supply, and pickup up a rod and reel that can handle some of the larger fish that are out here.
We’re just over the 1/2 way mark for the trip. We’ve been at sea for 11 days, 18 days if you count our time at Isla San Benedicto. We have 1,300 NM before reaching Hiva Oa and are about 350 NM north of the equator. We’re motoring south through the doldrums and ITCZ in 2 knots of wind. It’s been oppressively hot for the past few days with cabin temps nearing 100F. Given our current course and speed we’re looking at landfall in 8 or so days!