April 18, 2014.
Since we're back in Annapolis and once again working for a living, what better time than now to write the cruising hunting/ gathering wrap up. For the past several years we've been pretty pleased with our performance. Every year we've been able to beat the previous year's haul so its always somewhat of a personal challenge to top last year.
This year we had an advantage that we've never had before. In years past we've been a solo act. Christy and I have almost always gone out hunting alone. In the past 7 years we've rarely ever had anybody ask us to go fishing. Christy says its because my hunting prowess emasculates other guys. I feel terrible that my “killing a lot of shit” made other guys penises small. My bad.
I've had guys that were having limited success ask for some help and I LOVE helping them. It's not rocket science and after a trip or two together they're self sufficient and go off on their own. It makes me feel great that they're more successful, I know they appreciate the pointers and it really is fun to see them succeed.
For the first time ever we had dive buddies. Steve & Kim on Fine Lion were as eager as we were to get in the water. Often departures and arrival times at different cays depended on whether or not we were getting into the water to hunt. For the first time ever we had outboard issues while hunting miles from the big boat. We made it home on our own, but having them there was very comforting in case a tow was necessary.
I was able to kill fish in full view of a shark because Steve was there to keep “the guy in the gray suit” at bay with his spear, while I got my catch into the dink. I found that I genuinely enjoy watching other people kill stuff. After an afternoon in the water it's fun to see what the other guys got in his bucket, I might have a mondo lobster and he'll yank a 6 pound Hogfish out of their bucket. It's fun to sit in the dinks, side by side and recount the hits and near misses while they're so fresh in your mind before speeding back to the big boats to clean your catch.
As for the catch, here are the numbers....
Lobster 195. Last year it was 181, so there was improvement. Since we had the new underwater camera this year I saw several dozen lobster that we only photographed. On several occasions we left them biting so to speak and I could have taken 300 this year if we wanted to. It's good to see that the lobster are still so plentiful.
|195 isn't really that many when they come in bunches|
Hogfish 34. Steve laughed at me because I swam past so many Hogfish this season. The truth is, cleaning lobster is easier and I'm lazy so I let a good number of them swim by. Still, I only took 14 last year so 34's a pretty big step up. I'm blaming a lot of these on the peer pressure from Steve mocking me. Thank you Steve.
|Big dead guy|
Nassau Grouper 5. We're just about ready to head north when Nassau Grouper season opens and 5 is an average number for us.
Tiger Grouper 2. And they were both spectacular....
Ocean Trigger 4. Ocean Triggers are no joke when it comes to spear fishing. This is the first year we've ever taken any at all, so I’m pretty pleased with 4, and they are fabulous eating.
Lion Fish 30. I was trying to kill a Lion Fish for every lobster we took and you can see I fell well short of the mark. Last year I took 57 Lion Fish and this year I killed almost all that I saw so that might mean that this invasive species is on the decline.
Margate 1. He was a biggie. Fishing was slow that day and you don't spend the better part of the day in the water to go home and have peanut butter and jelly for lunch. So Margate it was...
Strawberry Grouper 1. Usually I don't see them big enough to kill. I was lucky to find him, he was unlucky I did.
Slipper Lobster 1. They're creepy, prehistoric looking things but taste oh so good. They just blend in pretty well, seem fairly rare and I was lucky to spot him.
Almaco Jack 1. He was big, I caught him unaware, it was an irresistible combination.
Success didn't stop at the surfline. With Christy having Kim as a beach combing buddy it took a lot of pressure off me. I still went beach combing a lot but Christy went twice as much as she might have since Kim was so willing.
Hamburger Beans 742. I don't know what we'll do with them but when I do figure it out we'll be able to do it a lot. Christy and Kim had a single day where they both scored over 120 beans from a single seldom scoured beach.
Purse Beans 31. Not a Gucci among them.
Mary's Bean 16.
Monkey Face 54.
and to wrap it all up was 35 honking POUNDS of SEAGLASS....