Friday, January 31, 2014

January 28, 2014.

After spending 6 nights in Southside Bay it was time to get going. We had a pleasant breeze behind us as we broad reached out of the anchorage along with Blue Wing and Alibi II.
Blue Wing
The trip was only about 10 miles so we opted to add a few miles and tack our way into the anchorage at Hog Cay.
Alibi II storming along under Jib & Jigger

We spent a few days at Hog Cay visiting with friends, hunting, hiking and fighting with refrigeration issues. I did manage to get the fridge going again but it was not without some swearing and a loss of sleep.

The hunting went well though. We went north to the cut below Maycock Cay and I had 4 lobster and a smallish Hogfish in the bucket when I spied El Grande. If you've ever been fishing (with a pole) you know that fish put up a good fight while you try to reel them in. If you're in the water with a spear the fight becomes a lot more challenging. You're leverage is gone and hes in his element. Hogfish are extremely powerful fish so shooting a big one is not to be taken lightly unless getting totally manhandled by a fish is something you enjoy.

I saw El Grande from pretty far away and started to stalk him. He noticed me and coyly moved into some cover. As I maneuvered for a shot he countered by changing direction and moving a short distance. I was trying to close the distance without moving directly towards him. We did this dance for a while before a shot presented itself. I caught him coming out from behind a coral head. I had him dead to rights, his full flank exposed and in range. And I practically missed him.

I hit him low on the body just as he darted away. I don't understand it. The biggest one I've seen this year and I barely hit him. He bent my fiberglass spear around the coral head. As I swam forward to straighten it, he swam ahead and kept it wrapped firmly around the rock. One of us was running out of air. I let go of the spear and surfaced figuring “how far could he go with a 6 foot spear hanging out of his chest”.

It turned out that he didn't have to swim away as he did some crazy Houdini like crap and spun the spear free of his body before I could get back down to him. Shit. He dove under a rock to hide.   Bastard.  I floated on the surface so I could watch all sides of the rock lest he try to leave via a secret backdoor.

I carefully surveyed the rock and there was no secondary way out for him. There were small fish darting in and out of the hole probably eating at his wound. I knew he would have to come out sooner or later so I began a series of dives where I would just lay on the bottom next to the hole with my spear cocked and waiting. Finally on the fourth such dive he burst out of the hole and flared his dorsal fin at me. And then I shot him dead....
A moment of silence for El Grande

He turned out to be 5 1/2 pounds.  He was large enough that I could easily put my fist in his mouth.

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