The conditions were good yesterday out off of the reef, and Hank headed out to do some bottom fishing. He invited Craig and I along, so we jumped in his boat at about 11:30 AM and headed out to sea. Within 2 – 3 minutes of tossing our first line in the water, we began catching fish, with Hank teaching us about the different varieties we were catching, and making sure that we kept all of the good eating fish.
After a while we saw Al trolling around where we were fishing, so I decided to jump in with him and troll in some shallower water. We trolled for a bit and had one big hit, but weren’t able to get the fish in. We later realized the fish had broke off our lure, and we had trolled for about 25 minutes without any lure on the line, whoops!
We stopped and threw anchor near a coral head, and had good luck bottom fishing, catching one mutton snapper (Al’s favorite to eat), and a bunch of bait fish. Then, out of nowhere, the fishing just shut off. Al was suspicious that there was maybe a barracuda in the area, messing with our fishing. So he tied on the biggest hook he could find in his boat, threw the remnants of a whole bait fish on the hook, and tossed it in. Within 5 seconds it got eaten! We were hoping it was a huge mutton snapper, but knew better with
how hard it was fighting. Al got it close enough to the boat to see, and we realized it was a four foot barracuda. I asked Al, “What in the hell do we do now?”. He pointed me towards the gaff hook and instructed me to wait until it was on the surface and close to the boat, and stab it as hard as I could. I have seen fish gaffed, but never had to do it myself. Well after another 5-6 minutes of fighting, he got it right next to the boat and I under the fish with the gaff pole and dug in. I was able to get it on the second stab and pulled him into the boat. After the big fight, Al’s arms were wore out!
Later on we were bottom fishing, just before dusk, and I had a huge hit. I fought whatever it was, for about 5 minutes, and finally got it close. We looked in the water, and realized I had hooked onto a 5 foot nurse shark! Unfortunately our GoPro skills are lacking, and the video we took of it didn’t work. More later, its cocktail time
Sunset from Hank’s Place