Sophie celebrated the New Year with a bunch of WHAMS! today, catching SIX Spanish mackerel (and keeping four) during our 45 mile motorsail southwest from the western tip of Papua to an anchorage on the east coast of Misool (01.53.503S, 130.26.986E).
As I’ve mentioned recently on this blog, I’ve been worried about reports that there are no more fish between here and Thailand, with the exception of potentially catching a Spanish mackerel around Misool. But not today, baby. We had 3 lines in the water: a 3 inch squid on the pole, a rapalo on a 30 meter meat line, and a big marlin squid on a 10 meter meat line.
The rapalo KILLED it today, catching four fish in an hour. We have never caught fish with that lure before, and I had even been thinking about getting rid of it. But no more.
The carnage started when our guest Steve Schufreider pointed back at the rapalo and said “I think we have a fish.” I didn’t even bother to look up and said “No, that’s just the diving movement of the lure,” (knowing full well that the rapalo simply doesn’t catch fish.) I’m quite smart, you know.
Steve then said “Well, what’s that thing splashing on the surface?”
It was a 14 pound Spanish mackerel on the rapalo. We got it on board, bled it with the rope Melissa gave us, cut it up and then vacuum sealed it into 5 freezer meals plus lunch. Just as I was about to start cooking the fish for lunch, Steve said “I think we have another one.” It as on the rapalo again, and just as I started pulling it in the reel on the pole started to go wizzzzzz. Two fish at the same time! The first Sophie Double Takedown of 2015! We got both fish on board, and just as we had finished bleeding these two fellows (now using both ends of the rope Melissa gave us), there was ANOTHER fish that hit the rapalo.
Four Spanish mackerel in 30 minutes, ranging from 6 to 14 pounds.
I took the three new fish, cut them up, vacuum sealed them, and added 9 more meals to the freezer. Spanish mackerel is delicious, and we are looking forward to sharing it with our friends when we reach Bali next month.
But I was pretty tired after landing and processing four fish. I had also disassembled and fixed a toilet earlier this morning. I am not complaining at all. I actually like this adventure we are on.
But when Steve said “I think we have another fish on the rapalo”, quite frankly I had no interest in landing it. But this gal was a JUMPER. She lept out of the air multiple times, so I got her within 10 feet of the boat and yelled for Jenna to get the camera. I was hoping she would jump one more time. She did, we didn’t get the photo, and she spat the hook. But I am calling it a landed fish because I had the leader in my hand.
At this point I didn’t want to deal with any more fish. 15 meals in the freezer is a good day, and we were approaching our anchorage and needed to clean the boat. So I reeled in the the line on the pole and put away the meat line that was trolling the rapalo. I was too tired to deal with the big marlin lure and figured I’d deal with that at the anchorage. Besides, a Spanish mackerel would never hit a lure that big.
Steve said “Jamie, I think there’s a lot of splashing coming from that last lure. I think we might have another fish.” I didn’t even bother to look up and said “No, that’s just the splash coming from the concave head of the lure,” (knowing full well that a smallish Spanish mackerel would never hit a big marlin lure we were using as a teaser.) I’m still quite smart, you know.
It was a four pound Spanish mackerel that had attacked a lure half its size. I pulled him in and let him go, because he was too small and we had caught enough fish for one day. I put away the last meat line and we headed towards the anchorage. No more fishing for the day!
But then we started to pass multiple bait balls with diving tuna beneath them and attacking birds on top of them. After passing the fourth ball in 10 minutes, I turned to Steve and said “let’s put a line back in.” (I have self-control issues you know, but at least I am aware of them.)
We trolled around and through another 8 bait balls but had no luck. We then made it to our anchorage, dropped a hook, and waited for Per Ardua. They track us closely on AIS when we are underway together, and they now know that when Sophie starts doing Crazy Ivans it’s because we are fishing.
The anchors on both boats are now down in a calm spot surrounded by coral. There are craggy jungle-covered limestone mountains covering 180 degrees of our horizon. We’ll be making pizza tonight on Per Ardua to celebrate their son Sam’s 10th birthday. He doesn’t know it yet, but we are giving him our backup multimeter as his birthday gift. He is really into learning about marine electronics, and we all know that this gift will make him very happy.
Fish. Tropics. Calm Anchorage. Sharing with Friends. 2015 is getting off to a pretty good start.