June 06, 2013
I consider it a great blessing that after 50 years on the ocean I still don't sleep worth a darn the night before a blue water fishing trip, but last Saturday night was one of the worst.
The secretary of the Florida Lottery was coming fishing with us out of the Abaco Beach Resort, and if that wasn't bad enough her name is Cynthia O'Connell (as in Mrs. Stephen C O'Connell) for which just about everything on the hallowed ground of the University of Florida is named for. She may have travelled the world, but she'd never seen a blue marlin. Just in case that wasn't enough pressure, we had exactly ONE day to produce a blue one on the Dos Amigos.
This is our 8th season of fishing the Hopetown Light area and it has given us so many memories of so many great fish, I was almost scared to hope we could pull one more great day out of our hat.
FINALLY morning came, I was sitting on my bridge explaining to Cynthia's escort, USN Capt Dan McCarthy (Ret) who clearly and openly lusted after a blue marlin, that we average a little better than one blue marlin encounter per day trolling at the light. Suddenly, just like that, there he was. He was tracking the shotgun and I had the rod in my hand before he ever touched it. Clearly this fish was meant to be ours. I felt him gobble it up when I fed it to him, I was crushed seconds later when I saw him stick his head out of the water and spit the hook back at me.
Dan and Cindy were clearly having a good time. We were picking a few nice mahi, including a 30 pounder that made Cindy's day. I was just thinking how the old lighthouse had come through again for us. The marlin had done his part; unfortunately I hadn't closed the deal, but hey, that's fishing.
When the left short rigger popped out just before quitting time, I waited to see another mahi jump, but it just kept going, and going, and going. My good friend Mark Lacovarra looked up at me and smiled as Dan got in the chair. I should have known the old lighthouse would cover my butt with another chance. Soon Dan's 220 pound blue was in the air, and we were ecstatic. Twenty-eight minutes later the fish was cussing us as he swam away with a bruised ego. He may be king of the Abacos, but he was no match for Dan and the boys on Dos Amigos. Long after we had walked Dan to the edge of the dock to show him the old sunken ship (Splash) that we show all first time marlin catchers, I was back in my bunk, once again unable to sleep with enough adrenaline pumping through me to light up a city. We had shown two wonderful people our favorite fishing hole on earth.
We're headed back for another weekend in less than 48 hours. Oh well, maybe I've found what August is good for. Maybe I'll sleep in August.