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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What happened here?

We have been scouting one by one the passes of the atolls we cruised by, all the best, with the proper tides. The quest was for the big Dogtooth Tuna (Gimnosarda unicolor), an animal that can grow in excess of 250lb and bite a jig with rage. We sure hook some of them but none of us was able to bring it to the boat. Several monster strikes all burnt in few seconds. Broken lines, bruised leaders, hooks pulled. This is how fishing can be at the Maldives.

When we got to the southernmost atoll of our cruise, during a slow jigging session outside the main pass I had a strike of a large fish. The fight lasted few seconds and then the hook pulled. Sad news I thought, another one is gone. Yet, while retrieving the line I felt some weight. Then some pressure and finally the line started peeling off the reel at a quick pace. John, the skipper, quickly motored the Dhoni to the open seas, in order to keep the fish off the coral, and once in deep waters I started to fight the fish.
At the beginning everything was normal. The fish would take some line and I would get some back but at one point everything turned into a dead weight lifting. Boy, that thing was heavy but it was unable to steal any braid now, while I was suffering to retrieve every single inch. When we finally saw the fish under the boat we exploded with joy, they have been fooling us for so long that this was like a sweet revenge. To our surprise the fish was foul hooked on its flank, close to the pectoral fin, and this explained the odd fight. I surely missed the estimated weight by a great deal, it was 30% less than I though but hey, who cares, it was a nice fish and a great one to photograph