Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mack Attack!

Feeling the need for a bit of adventure last weekend, we loaded up a borrowed kayak with camping gear and paddled over 6km of open water to a small speck of sand, barely visible in the distance.

The island was invisible during our paddle due to it's size, so we used nearby islands as guideposts. The paddle took us over blue waters hundreds of feet deep. Peering over the side of our open-topped kayak, it felt as if we were paddling over a giant pit, the depths of which were obscured by distance and the unknown. We've heard people talk of tiger sharks spotted in these waters, and we've personally seen bull sharks, caribbean reef sharks and lemon sharks in the 7-8ft range.

Naturally, at least one fly rod was coming along, so I figured why not let some line out behind the kayak and see if we might summon up some creature finely-tuned to the unique environment of the deep blue water.

As the bottom began to disappear in about 60ft of water, I let out all 90ft of 10wt line and fed the backing knot through the guides. I pointed the rod behind me and stuck the cork handle under one leg. I tightened the drag so whatever slammed the fly would hook itself and made sure the reel handle was pointing up so it didn't slam repeatedly into the kayak if a fish ran. A three-inch white and lavender deceiver was tied to 18lb flouro. We paddled west, and waited...

At just about the midway point, I felt a strong tug on the rod, heard the reel sing and a splash well behind me. I grabbed the rod and set the hook as best I could and felt the pulse of life reverberate back to me from 100ft away. I had no idea what had taken the fly. As I pumped and reeled I thought of what it could be. Kingfish? African Pompano? Dolfin? Shark? Bonito? Mackerel?

The fish ran towards the kayak and I furiously gained line. It was now directly beneath us. I looked over the side and saw a silvery flashing thing at least 60ft down. It wasn't a shark, but that didn't mean a shark wouldn't show up. Suddenly, the flimsy yellow kayak we were sitting on top seemed quite unsubstantial.

The fish fought well. I gained on her up to the leader knot and saw that she was the first mackerel I've ever hooked. I tried to tail her, but at the touch of my hand she bolted under the boat, putting a dangerous bend in the rod I was borrowing from my brother. I got her close and eventually grabbed her with a gloved hand.



still pissed.

The camera I has never done justice to anything it has taken a picture of. These pics are no exception. The subtle colors on the fish were remarkable. It's serrated mouth shredded the fly to almost a bare hook. It's forked tail was massive in relation to it's size. The fish's eyes were huge and seemed as if they could look in all directions without moving, living and dying by them.

first mackerel.

perfectly tuned.

the unknown.

I caught two more mackerel that day and one unknown species of jack. I missed something big, which I fought for about 5 minutes before the hook popped out.

Yeah, it's not fly fishing. But it was fun.

Sandy Spit photos courtesy of bareboatsbvi.com


Mike said...

That looks like a fun trip. Any updates while on the island? Not sure to tell you about the camera, but you live around some beautiful sights and fish and they deserve better then foggy pictures!

Unknown said...

i'm working on it!
in 10 months, the saltwater has killed two pentax w60's and three olympus tough 8000's. They finally stopped honoring my warranty.
i have a GoPro HD Hero which takes awesome video but no so awesome stills. That's what these are from.
Any suggestions for a waterproof\bombproof point and shoot?