Day 13: Three down; one to go.

Fishing is not my strong suit, despite my epic beard and silly Tilley hat I’ve little (no) experience in fishing, either on a boat nor sitting in the drizzle by a brook. So I bought a book on the subject, the front cover had a picture of a man with a beard, silly hat and big fish… so that should help you narrow it down.

What appealed to me about this particular book was that the author focused on the most effective way to feed people fish on boats. It’s not about sport fishing, to the extent that he doesn’t even recommend using a rod and reel, preferring to trawl with a hand line. Armed with my new found knowledge I wandered into a little fishing shop selling to commercial fishermen in Spain’s Tuna fishing capital – Barbate.

The proprietor took one look at me and promptly laid out the everything I would need with almost little or no prompting. Pausing only briefly at the end of our conversation to inform me that I would catch tuna with this, no problem. For around 80 euros I got, 50m of 150lb (75kg) monofilament, a yoyo (hand lining reel), three 8inch lures, high quality swivels, a Finish filleting knife (they make the best, so i learned) and a few other technical doodads.

The setup is fairly simple. Take a large squid lure with a big hook on a wire leader. Attach swivels to either end of 10m of monofilament (the strong the better). Attach on end of the monofilament line to the leader of the lure. Attach the other end to 5m of very strong end stretchy shock cord which is tied to somewhere on the back of the boat. Throw the above into the sea. Wait. Wait. Panic ‘cos you caught a fish!

The challenge I discovered is what to do next. Getting the fish back onboard requires a gaff (hook on stick), killing the fish requires squirting gin into their gills (surprisedly quick way to go), then you need to cut it up. After my first attempt to fillet a fish on the back of a moving boat Mia bought me a pair of cut proof butchers gloves.

Anyway, all this worked well, we caught fish, it was tasty and huge. Then we left Cape Verdes and in three days we lost three of our four lures. The first was a broken line – something big applied more than 75kg of force to the line. The second was a broken metal wire – I’ve no idea what that breaks at, so I’m thinking the crimped loop in the end pulled out. Finally, something really big bet the cheaper metal connectors that I picked up at a less reputable tackle shop – but still check the photo!

In response I upped my game. The final lure went into the sea with three 75kg lines on the whole run – triple the breaking load. Bring it on. We even attached an empty 5lt water bottle at the end of the line – I was inspired by Jaws.

The good news is that within a few hours we had a bite and a nice little 3kg mahi-mahi was our for the eating. Kevin will be cooking her up for dinner tonight and whatever monster was out there is still out there.

In other news we knocked off another 150 miles in the last 24 hours.

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