Sunday, November 20, 2011

No Billfish but a small Tuna.

Hi there,

So during the week I had a message from my good mate Double Haul from the FFF forum, asking if I wanted to go and try to get something very big over the weekend.
The plan was to hit Fenton patch and North Gutter to hopefully raise some Black Marlin and some Sailfish.
Him and Brooksy set up for the Marlins and I for the Sailfishes...
Guess what I would answer to that?
I am sure that you know by now that I replied: YES!

You see I am yet to boat any billfish. Three times already I had one on the line but every time I lost them before we could tag them.
Billfish is on my fishing bucket list, since a very long time, and even more since I first tried for them onboard Double Haul's boat; about a year ago.

So early we left and we took Brooksy's boat, which is nearly the same as Double Haul's one, but with a centre console instead of a side one.
Also, it is a bright red boat, made me feel a bit like if I was getting in the fire truck...
Another kid's dream.

On my way to work on the Friday morning, I had stopped near the boat ramp from the Ski Club, and the ocean looked beautiful, flat and invinting.
I spend half of the night of Friday not sleeping and hoping for the same condition, and on Saturday morning the weather was just perfect.

We launched from the Night Cliff boat ramp, with not much water, and no wind.
Very quickly we zoomed to the first mark, with the three of us commenting on how the condition seemed perfect. We even saw a booby which is usually a good sign.
Even if we were surprised by the very small amount of Tuna school that we saw on the way.
I was most impressed by the auto-pilot which enabled Brooksy to just type in where we wanted to go, and then we were able to have a chat while the boat took us to our destination, nice and easy.

And soon enough we started to deploy the lines, teaser and outrigger.
They both had these large overhead reel with a swimming queenfish at the end of their lines, while I had and eggbeater with a skipping garfish on the line.
They explained to me that the plan was that my skipping garfish was to distract these pesky Sailfish from the Marlin baits, that they both had at the end of their lines.
Now when they told me that, I started to be pretty confident that we would see some serious billfish action during this trip.
Well as any seasoned angler would know, over confidence is the mother of all deception...
We didn't raise a single billfish for the day, not even a Mac.
Yet I still had a great day, yes as far as fishing goes, I am an easy date...
And unlike a lot of people, I actually enjoy keeping an eye on the baits during the long trolls.

Double Haul and Brooksy.

The long troll started, under a build up sky, hot weather and big clouds in the distance.
We would at time pass a school of Tuna feeding on the surface and would circle around them a few times to see if by any chance a billfish would be with them.
Every time I looked at them Tuna splashing around, and I would think that it would be very cool to throw a chrome slice in the mist of them all... But every time I would as bravely as I could try to remind me that we were not here for the Tunas, but for these fishes with a stick in front of them, the billfish.

I was impressed by the coral spawn that we saw on the surface, it seemed to be immense and in the middle of nowhere. and some little jelly fish like creature swimming in there.

Then out of nowhere, like a bunch of torpedoes some big things came around us, overtook the the boat, and started swimming just in front of it...

They were Dolphins.

Playing in front of the boat.

They did not stay with us for very long, but this was really enjoyable. It is interesting how something as simple as a pod of Dolphin swimming around the boat can bring a smile to everybody on board.

Not long after that we spotted a sea snake on the surface, he was big but dived back before I could take a photo.
A bit further away we spotted a sea turtle that was so big that for a second we were wondering if that was a billfish. 
And no, no one had drank any alcohol on the boat...

When it started to be hot on our head, we put the canopy on, and used the shower/hose to refresh ourself, and we felt renewed and ready for some action. 
Alas, not much was going to happen on the billies front.
Yet the trolling condition were perfect, we could see the storm brewing faraway but the sea was glass.

Some dreams are made of this.

And this glassy sea was about 40 km (24.854848 miles) from the boat ramp.
But with the storm starting to head our way, and the afternoon winds picking up, we decided to turn back and go home.

As we were zipping back we saw some birds diving and sure enough under them was a school of Tuna in feeding mode. 
Brooksy turned to me and said: "Do you want to have a go at them?"
I tried to stay composed and detached, and to give a very calm, posed and intelligent reply: Ho Yes!, in less than half a second.
Didn't even need to think about it.

I was with my spin stick in hands on the front deck before we were even close enough to cast.
First cast: I was thinking that this was a blind cast as nothing seemed to happen but when the lure was close enough to be seen, I could see a few Tunas swimming behind it.
But none were hooked.
Second cast: A few Tunas swiped at the lure on the surface and that was very exciting to see, till one actually got hooked! But I lost it at the boat...
Third cast: a little Tuna hit the lure and got hooked far from the boat, and a few times I believed that I had lost it, because he would regularly swim straight at the boat, and then blot away from it.
In the end it was close enough for Double Haul to grab the leader, and drag the fish in the boat. Where he was quickly put in the esky, and of we went back on our way to shore.
In fact all of this happened so fast, that I realised only once I was cooking this Tuna that I had totally forgotten to make a photo of it....
So here is what it looked like in our plate in the evening, after going through the magic wok.

Yummy fresh Tuna.

And we were in fact right in doing all this fast, as the wind was picking up and we didn't want the storm to catch up with us.

Once back on Terra firma I was once again surprised that the time had flew by us so fast, it felt like we had just left the ramp heading for the horizon a few minutes earlier. In fact we had just spend most of the day on the water.
And even without billfish, this in my book, was still a great day, and I am very grateful For Double Haul and Brooksy to have invited me.

So yes, there is still some serious blank on my fishing bucket list, and Billfish is one of them...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,


cathy@home said...

Dreams are dfinatly made with a sky and sea like that.

Anonymous said...

Chouettes photos d'une chouette journée ! De l'aube au Wok, ca fait rêver comme souvent... Enjoy, bise à vous 3, Cyril

Rambling Expat said...

Hi Cathy,

Yes, it is alway great when a sky is like that in a dream.

Salut Cyril!
Alors quoi de neuf de votre cotes?
Happy to make you dream, that's what friends are for...

Have a good day,