My last post was from the Turks and Caicos. Since then, we fished our way through the southern islands of the Bahamas and back to the States. So much has happened and there were so many cool things along the way, but I have not had the time to catch up on the blog with recovering from strep throat, which I am sure I got while wading through flooded roads in the Turks, having crap internet, and just going hard since the Turks.
Kyle Applefield, one of my old mates, flew to the Turks to make the trip back to the States with me. It was a real pleasure having him along. He arrived during my recovery from that nasty bout of strep and really stepped up to make things happen. We fished our way through some of the southern "Out Islands" of the Bahamas anchoring out at the Plana Cays and fishing along the way. Unfortunately, the fish did not cooperate until we were off of Rum. It was there that we battled for big tunas against the men in the grey suits -the sharks- who were brutal. They ate quite a few of our tuna. The worst part is they did it every time just behind the boat. When we reached San Salvador, the tuna were there, but so were the sharks. I thought we took a good GoPro video of the battle, but the camera never recorded it, so I’ll describe it for you…
The Boss had a big Yellowfin Tuna on his line. Since we had already lost a good number of fish to the toothy critters, the Boss was working his ass off to get this Tuna up as quickly as one can when hooked to an eighty-pound Yellowfin. Kyle and I watched it all unfold from our view on the bridge. First, we saw the gold, silver, blue, and grey of the eighty-pound football-shaped fish. Then, only seconds later, we saw one of the men in the grey suits following our Tuna about twenty-five feet down in a hot pursuit. Kyle reached and grabbed the leader to help the Boss get the fish up quicker. What unfolded next was hysterical and at the same time worthy of a shark week episode. Kyle was grunting to wire the fish within shot of the gaff. The Shark seemed to get bigger and bigger as it raised itself from the depths head long right at us. Just as Kyle took another wrap on the leader and reached for the gaff, the Shark attacked with its jaws open wide attempting to engulf the Tuna from the tail. His eyes rolled back as he chomped his way up the body of our Tuna. We were all screaming and hollering. Kyle could not let go with one hand to reach for the gaff. If he had, the chopping Shark would gain further purchase on our Tuna. The Shark was not phased from the beating he took on the head from the Boss’s fishing pole. The Boss tried his best to gaff the Tuna as the Shark thrashed his head side to side. But then, Kyle lifted up and away on the leader making it tough for Boss to sink the gaff. So, the Boss returned to beating the Shark. Finally, there was a chance to stick the gaff into the Tuna and we ended up getting about sixty five percent of the fish back…. But man, what an epic eighteen seconds.
I know what I described will never do the event justice, but so many things we see and experience are so hard to put into words: Seeing the light house at Landrail Point on Crooked Island encircled by little pink weather washed buildings and surrounded by miles of turquoise water; Running across the Grand Bahama bank with no wind and water so clear that you would think we were going to hit bottom at any second from twenty-five feet in the air. If not for the white water and foam around the boat, it would seem to those onboard that the boat was flying; Surviving a thunderstorm off Cat Island that hammered us for hours; Riding through winds and seas coming up from flat calm to four to five feet in mere seconds with lightening dropping all around us only to die out as quickly as it started and become flat calm again; Approaching Miami after the boat not being stateside for seven months; Walking into a Publix Grocery store in Miami for the first time in a long time. I swear I thought I heard angels singing as I walked through the produce aisle; Watching the sunsets. Man, did we have some good ones. One in particular that we had in the Plana Cays made the sky so red it looked like it was on fire. It’s great to be back in the States. The past two months were a bit tumultuous with having to find mates to fill in, but things will settle down now that we are in Key West. I have a few guys I will be interviewing over the next week to replace Tyler. Sad to see him move on, but I wish him the best. It’s time to move on for me and train a new deck hand. I've done it before and I will do it again.
Originally Published By: Capt Ed Thompson