First of all you need to know that fish in the Bahamas/Caribbean can be poisonous with a kind of algae (Ciguatera). There is no way to determine or destroy that poison before you eat your catch. But thanks god some fish are known to have it and some not. A general rule is as well, to avoid very big reef fish which feed on smaller fish. You actually would prefer to catch Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Wahoo as they are known not to get this poison. I guess they know that myriads of cruisers are hanging around some reefs and try to catch them - that's why they stay mostly in deeper, offshore water. And that's as well the point where the whole story becomes silly: If you fish from the dinghy you would really like to get big boys, but if it's not a tuna or so, please be it a bit smaller so it's edible. Being picky while fishing?
I had the luck to go fishing a few times with a fellow IP cruiser from Canada, Mark, and we had a lot of fun being out there. How is the saying? Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will go out everyday in a boat and drink beer....Besides the beers we had some really nice catches for a few dinners. But I have to admit, mostly they have been rather small, or simply too big: A few minutes nice bending of the rod before snapping the 30 pound line with an ease...! And carrying the bigger gear in a shaky dinghy is rather unpractical.
Important: Don't ever try to take your wife fishing in the dinghy: This good for eating little reef fishes are amazingly cute, I mean fancy colors and real big eyes. Believe me I saw it: If they recognize a woman on board, this creatures can use this big wet eyes to beg for their life! No way you can keep your hard fighted meal as it is much to cute to kill or eat! You will have to throw them back...
Dinghy fishing in Summary: 1:0 for the fish.
If I'm really lazy I fish from the boat while on anchor. I mean that's great, it's like fishing from your balcony. All the stuff (yeah, mostly the fridge) is in reach. And you still could ask your wife to make you a sandwich while holding the rod....but I guess that's another blog. As usual I go with the big hooks in case one of this Mahi Mahi would check out shallow water... and when the reel went off recently I knew I had a damn big thing on it. It took me almost a half an hour just to bring it in sight, it was a really nice fight. Just to realize that a shark had taken my bait! I mean a shark is a real bad thing! First of all I do not eat shark, finning is against my belief so I had to unhook that beast...at the end I even had to cut the line, it was simply too big to bring on board (and the Admiral was strictly opposing to even try...).
In Summary 3:0 for the shark (This damn shark gets extra points for scaring Rahel off the water)
For trolling (towing a big lure behind the boat) while sailing I have some really big gear with nice artificial lures for Tuna, Mahi Mahi...you know. All I got so far was some big barracudas. This is bad too. First they do not fight, so no fun at all, and secondly, if it is a big barracuda there is a high risk it has Ciguatera. So the only thing you get are some ugly bite marks in your shiny, expensive lures and the pleasure of reeling 100 meter or more line in. After you unhooked Mr. Lucky he goes right back into the water and you start at zero... Again 1:0 for this slimy creatures...
And this one is hard to admit: Whenever possible I clean my catch on the beach to avoid the mess on board. Since the closest beach was Pig Beach I was thinking I could clean my fish there. In short: Really stupid idea, this pig beasts are used to get fed from humans: A few hungry and complete nuts 200 pounds pigs running towards you makes you really escape like a chicken...I swear that was the fastest dinghy launch in the Bahamas ever - I still can hear the poor outboard screaming! I later learned nobody ever dares to land on that beach, particularly not with any kind of food.....this are no pigs, this are man eaters!
1:0 for the pigs - and that's harsh in a blog about fishing! But I could live with it, if not the whole Staniel Cay cruising community would still be laughing about me
After all, fishing is still fun. I had some decent fights and some real nice meals. Much better fishing than in Dubai. But by now another issue is raising: We had our last steaks out of the freezer a few days ago. And getting decent meat seems impossible, and a man cannot life from fish alone right? ... I'm starting now to think if I should trade my fishing gear against a hunting rifle and take bloody revenge on one of this damn pigs...