April 1, 2011.
Since we’re back in the states I thought I would do my post Bahamas wrap-up.
The first year we went to the Bahamas we were able to take 11 lobsters. The second year we doubled our take with 22, followed by 71 last year. I liked the idea of at least doubling each previous years total but I figured that 142 lobsters was out of the question for this year, but we ended this season with 144, go figure.
Then there were 32 Hogfish, 27 Lionfish, 3 Margate, 2 Mutton Snapper, 3 Slipper lobster, a pair of Grouper and a School Master. I guess it’s obvious that we really like lobster and Hogfish. I would have enjoyed taking a few more Grouper but the season was just getting rolling when we were forced to flee back to the states by our battery issues. Big picture…..we can’t complain, it was a wonderful year.
We did a few things differently this year which enabled us to really boost our lobster total for the year.
First and foremost was the fact that we got south quickly. We celebrated New Years Eve at Flamingo Cay in the Jumentos this year. We were in prime hunting grounds before most of the hunter/ gatherers arrived.
We could have taken quite a few more bugs but we’re guests in the Bahamas and we live by their rules. We never have more than 12 lobsters in our possession. Anytime we have even a few lobsters in the freezer we give away the majority of our catch. That early in the year there was just nobody around with which to share the bounty. So for the first month we were leaving as many as we were taking.
The second big change for us this year was a gift from a friend. He was forced to give up cruising this year and gifted me his spare pair of diving fins. My normal standard pair of fins that I’ve been wearing for years is on the left. He gave me the pair of free diving fins on the right. Once I got used to them I felt that I was a lot faster which helped when it came to spearing fish. I think they also enabled me to swim longer distances at a relaxed pace without tiring. More ground covered equals more opportunity to send more lobsters off to the afterlife.
Another big improvement was a trick we learned from a local fisherman down at Ragged Island. The lobster whistle. I know it sounds ridiculous and there was nobody more skeptical than I was but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work. He had what he said was a special whistle but it looked pretty ordinary to me. So I tried that cheap plastic whistle that everyone has hanging on their life jacket.
You take the thing to the bottom, blow for all your worth and then surface, since you’ve just blown out all of your breath. Then you just float on top and watch as any lobster within 20 feet or so comes literally charging out of his hole. It doesn’t make any noise that I can hear, just a torrent of bubbles but it must make some sound that the bugs can hear. I’m not sure if the allure is sexual or if he’s barreling out to challenge an interloper to his turf. Males and females both respond so I have no idea whats really going on. Frankly, I don’t care.
The fourth addition to our bug hunting arsenal is the flashlight. A lot of the time you can only see so far into a hole and the blackness just takes over. In the past that’s just the way it was. Now with the flashlight I could remove all doubt. The flashlight was instrumental in 10 to 15 percent of our catches this year.
As far as sharks go, I don’t think I saw more than a half dozen all year. We had days last year when I would see a half dozen in a day. We did take less fish this year than in years past so we had less blood in the water or it could be that my eyes are just going and I didn’t notice them. I dunno.
The weather this year was back to normal. Extraordinary. Very, very few clocking fronts with most of the big winds being out of the east. It was a terrific weather year.
If you’ve been a long time reader then you know that every 4/1 I pretty much lie through my teeth. The difference is that this year every word is true, except for a paragraph or two. I’ll leave it to you and your bullshit detector to figure out which ones……