Another First

With Tyler home and attending to his father, I had my son fly down to fill in for a week while out of school. It’s been neat to have my son on board. Both of my kids have grown up around boats and it comes to them naturally. Patrick has visited many times during my travels, but has never actually worked for me. It makes me proud to see him work alongside me and take pride in the boat.

Yesterday, we fished the North drop here in the Virgin Islands. We invited two crew members from the "Lala" to join us for the day. After departing the dock, we ran 25 miles NW to the drop from Spanish town, Virgin Gorda, where we are staying for the weekend. Patrick has fished with me many times, but it always seems like it is when we are traveling before or after a season in a location. He has never caught a blue marlin. Around 11 am we hooked our first Blue. The boss harnessed up and had a good fight in store. The fish never jumped. Instead, it went straight down and stayed down. After a lengthy duel, the fish finally came to the surface. It was one of those fights that reminded me of why I prefer to drive the boat rather than turn the handle. After the fight there was a long lull, but at around 2 we had a fish come into the spread and knock down bait. It failed to get hooked, but a few seconds later it piled on the right short and took off jumping. It was a good 300+ lb. Blue. Patrick and the guys started clearing lines. But the Boss looked at Patrick and said, "This one is yours.” The fish steadily pealed the line off the reel and as Patrick harnessed up, the fish headed for the horizon. We chased that fish backwards for about a mile as Patrick sweated and grinded the reel to gain line back. He did a great job and after twenty-four minutes, we got the release. But then, the fish pulled away as we tried getting it alongside to get the lure out. The ensuing battle lasted another thirty-five minutes with the entire crew at the siting. Sometimes, those fish just don't want to give up. We ended up 2-2 on Blues. Patrick was glowing with pride. You could just hear it in his voice the rest of the afternoon. Steve (Boss) was happy as well. He always says he enjoys watching someone get their first Blue as much as catching one himself. (Thank you, Boss, for letting Patrick get his first)

We were ten minutes away from the dock and running at 28 knots when I heard Patrick call up from the back deck. He was holding the release flags already attached to the halyard on the out rigger. He wanted to know if he could raise the blue marlin release flags. I grinned at seeing his excitement and pride, but told him to hold on till we slowed down. As with anyone’s first Blue, there are two things that happen back at the dock: First, the word spreads that someone caught their first and everyone congratulates that person after they repeat the story of their epic battle. Second, that person gets thrown in the water at the dock.

Patrick must have forgotten about that in his excitement because after tying up, he went to the bow to start washing the boat. I called to him from the dock and said, "Come check this out!" as I pointed at the water under the dock. Steve joined me by also pointing under the dock and added, "Have you ever seen that?"…SUCKER!!!!!!! I gave him a big shove and he flew off the dock into the water. While he was in mid-air, I heard him yelling, “Aw man!” He knew he had been had.

As I said, we are down in Virgin Gorda, BVIs right now at a marina called Yacht Harbor in Spanish town. It’s a sleepy little marina but well appointed. It’s not all about fishing with us, however. Since we have been here we have also spent time snorkeling and cruising around. I love the snorkeling and exploring days. Two days ago, we went down to Bitter End and the Boss tried his hand at kite boarding. Tough sport! But the boss impressed us all with his ability to handle the kite in the gusty winds. Today, we are headed back to St Thomas. It’s always tough to leave the BVI's, but we will be back.

Originally Published By: Capt Ed Thompson

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