I could hardly sleep last night due to excitement because at dinner Sammy told me I was up for the marlin today. So far I’ve been an observer. Sammy sponsored this trip and it’s only fair that he get some good shots first. But the marlin have not been cooperating. If I was to get any chance at all, today was the day. We made the long ride back to Bank 88. The sun was scorching hot and like everyday so far, there was hardly any breeze.
Soon the teasers were bouncing behind the boat and Braden was quick to spot some floating debris so we headed toward it. There’s little structure out at sea so whenever you find something floating you can expect fish to be near. The bait fish take cover under it and the predators pick them off when they can. This structure however, turned out to be bad news. It was a fish trap. Basically it was a raft with a huge bag of chum below it. This chum bag ran 20 feet deep! Worst of all, attached to the raft was a satellite signal. The commercial fishing fleets have such unreal technology these days that fish barely have a chance.
These traps float randomly all over our oceans and they truly are tracked by satellite. Pelagic fish are attracted to the chum slick. Then, after it sits a few days, a commercial fishing boat comes by and puts a net around the raft in a circle. Some nets are a horrific several miles long! They gradually close up the net until finally they catch every fish within in a large distance of the chum. Braden finds these far too often on his fishing trips. It’s just one of many far too effective methods of catching hoards of fish and gives the fish populations and our oceans a very grim outlook.
The fish trap definitely put a damper on the day. I found myself daydreaming about the trouble our oceans face. At least two lifeless hours went by but then to my delight I felt the boat swing again. This time it was better news. We had a school of about eight striped marlin with their tails cutting the surface. They were quick to sink out of sight so and we turned our attention to the teasers in hopes of seeing slashing bills. I put the 15-weight fly rod in my hands for the first time of the trip and was ready for action, but after an hour of teasing the area, nothing.
I won’t bore you with the rest of our day. That one school of marlin were the only ones we saw. Not one single marlin came for our teasers – not one! I sat, stared and hoped for at least one cast to a marlin today and it never came. Once again the highlight was lunch. Today it was grilled grouper that we caught yesterday. Honestly, I’d be willing to fast for the rest of the trip if it meant Sammy and I would catch our marlin. We have a marlin curse to break!
As you can imagine, it was a long 68 mile back to San Cristobal. I tried to sleep it off but there was no way. All I could do was stare at the ceiling of the cabin and wonder why this had to be the week without feeding marlin in the Galapagos? Maybe tomorrow. . . .