*** This a is re-post….for those who missed the first try without the video ****
Prior to our Florida departure, Ahab could’ve been called Santiago as he honed his sport fishing skills for nearly a decade. During those long lonely weekends I spent as a boat widow, Ahab was off “working really hard” at these big billfish tournaments. He would drag home “exhausted” after a five day bender, I mean competition, as I chased three (usually naked) little Moseley boys around the house, setting back the clocks early so it would be bedtime even though the sun was still shining. Little did I know that whilst I was cursing his absence, he actually managed to acquire an impressive skill set in the sport fishing category.
WIDAGO left port fully outfitted with the sage guidance of the Lights Out Mates, Raul and Jeffrey. Our thousands of yards of 100# braided line, big barrels, and Mahi-slaying spinners were all safely tucked away, waiting to start landing some monsters. There are however a few big differences between fishing on your friend’s stunning custom, purpose built sport fishing boat and a production sailing catamaran. Most importantly, Ahab is really those only person on board who has any experience sailing and sport fishing. The boys and I are learning quickly, under duress at the best of times. So on Lights Out, there is a seasoned captain, usually two or three expert mates, and four or five competitive anglers. We have Ahab. Additionally, Lights Out is usually not sailing downwind in 10 foot seas, with a parasailor up and engines off. When hooking up a big guy, the proper sport fishing boat can easily maneuver to tire the fish and avoid tangling up the lines. On a sailboat, things get tricky when you try to slow down. Obviously the first thing to do is have the skipper start yelling loudly at anyone (I think this probably happens on Lights Out too). Then we try to dump wind, douse sails, and get twin 11-year olds to reel in whatever is on the end of the line, while the 13 year-old shoots video. (Only counts if you have evidence.)
In the case of catching grocery store fish (mahi, tuna, wahoo), our objective is to get that sucker on board, carve him up, and fire up the rice maker. However, when the larger billfish fall prey to our tasty lures, we are often overcome with mixed emotions. Yeah! Oh No! (I might be paraphrasing here). Our custom is not to land and eat the billfish, but to safely release them back to Neptune, while retrieving the lucky lure. Due to the configuration of our catamaran, we are at significant advantage over monohulls. The twin engines provide some maneuverability, while aft scoops get the angler close to the water to release the fish safely. The video contained herein was our third happy release of a blue marlin from WIDAGO. Ahab has a specific tool used to release the lure, while minimizing any injury to the fish. This fella looked to be a solid 6-7 feet, and a few hundred pounds. After Ahab freed the lure, you can see him hold the fish by the bill for a few seconds to make sure the fish was getting good water flow prior to swimming back to his pals.
Even though they are exciting to catch and release, we would just assume not hook up a Marlin in favor of his tastier Mahi cousin.
Fair Winds & Tight Lines 🙂