March 24, 2010.
Like Dick Vitale would say, its time for March Madness Baby.
Back when we lived with a television I used to love March Madness. Since we now live elsewhere where there is no television I have no idea who’s in the Final Four or is it Great Eight time, is the tournament over? I dunno. I have to admit that I don’t really miss it.
March Madness has taken on new meaning for us. Lobster season ends on March 31st so we’re trying very hard to grab a few before the season ends. Nassau Grouper just opened on March 1st so for the month of March everything we see in the water can legally be put on our plates. After months of having to ignore Nassau Grouper it’s been great to be able to whack a few.
Today, March 24th was a record breaking day. This morning we walked back across the cay with a large group to snorkel the ship wreck we swam the other day. Since we had taken that large lobster over there we once again brought our spears. I was in the water for only a few minutes when I nailed the largest Nassau Grouper of my career. He weighed in at 16 freaking pounds and 9 oz’s. I saw him and ducked behind a coral head and snuck closer.
I came over the top of the coral head and he was directly below me and headed for his hole. My spear was quicker and tonight he was dinner for several of us here in the anchorage.
After lunch Christy and I headed out to explore Southampton Reef. The reef is composed of every type of coral I’ve seen in the Bahamas. There are long clusters and individual heads scattered for miles. There are so many nooks and crannies to examine that its easy to get confused about where you’ve already been. The reef breaks the surface in a lot of places even though some of the coral sits in 25 feet of water. It’s actually difficult to navigate the dinghy through the maze of coral heads. This is the same reef that the 68 foot power yacht with the delivery captain ran aground on.
I was surprised at how few fish there were. It doesn’t seem to make any sense. Beautiful live coral with tons of structure, but very few fish or lobster. I spent 2 hours searching for lobster. I saw only 2 or 3 fish I would have considered, but this mornings grouper was plenty to last us for a few days.
Finally, I spotted a hint of an antenna down inside a coral head. I peeked into the hole and could just make out a bit of a single antenna. I found another hole to look into and was able to see even less of the second antenna. I jerked around teasing the antenna for 15 minutes in an effort to get him curious enough to see what was brushing his antenna. I couldn’t even be sure that he was big enough to warrant all this effort. Finally, I found a third entrance down near the base of the coral head that looked up through the head. From this newer vantage point I could see 2 very large legs. Eureka, El Bug Gigantico.
After giving him a few minutes to sit and ponder I went back to the original hole and stroked his antenna one more time with my spear. Curiosity killed the cat and it’s not so great for lobster either. He stepped forward just enough that I could see most of both antennas and just the tips of 2 legs.
I couldn’t stand it anymore so I slipped my arm into the hole and kinda figured where all these body parts came together and took a shot.
The spear went nuts in my hand so I knew I had nailed him a good one. When I finally worked him free of the hole I almost shit. He was massive. When we got him back to the big boat, he weighed in at 7 ½ pounds. This is the biggest lobster we’ve ever taken and on the same day we grabbed our biggest Grouper ever.
March Madness Baby!