A Tale of Terror on the High Seas in the Tortugas

(Take a dramamine before reading!)
Russ Hubbard

Hey Big Boy,

The Tortugas trip was one of those gigs where you're not sure if it would have been better to have just stayed at home. Although I would rather go on a marginal trip than to not have gone at all. As always, when one plans a trip right at the height of hurricane season, the weather can be the biggest factor. And it was.

Most of our fish were caught on Friday nite, our first nite out. We ran to the Marqueses and dropped on some preferred spots that the captain had GPS numbers. The bite was on. Little did we realize that the old saying that fish always bite great before a front or storm was to hold true. Nonetheless, we jumped all over Grouper, Muttons and Yellowtails. Had 15 good hours of meat hooking for the fish boxes. Then the bite subsided substantially.

But, the seas and the wind took it's place. The Gilligan song became our war cry, REPEATABLY! 6'-8' easy with the occasional 10'. My knees feel as if someone took a ballpeen hammer and just pounded away. One side of my body is covered in golf ball sized bruises. My shoulders and arms are leaving town. My f*#@%$g toes hurt! We ran for the safe harbor on the north side of the Marqueses with a squall line bigger than Baltimore running us down. One funny little note is that the local captains don't pull and stow anchor before running, they just drag behind from one spot to another and position the drop on the next spot that way. Interesting. Anyway,the storm came up quick and the captain was hell bent for leather to make safe harbor, (can't fault him for that), at any measure. Given the little fact that we didn't stow the anchor and I would SWEAR that cap'n started the sumbitch in gear... we managed to gaff with the anchor a lobster trap which drew the anchor line tighter than any two individuals could managed to bring to the deck. Capt'n was aware and basically said that there was no way he was going to slow down to deal with the trap/anchor situation. We tried several times to point out the "hook-up" but it fell on deaf ears. The wildest part to watch was this wood lobster trap come flying thru the crest of the seas as we ran for safe harbor. I was reminded of the Jaws movie when the shark was behind them charging thru the water. What a goddamned sight! Raining like cow/flat rock story with 7'-10' seas, shit flying all around the boat, people getting tossed from their bunks, (did I tell you it was 6AM), and Capt'n Ahab, cranking up the turbo's on the big deisels like a screaming Banchee, wanting to know where the whale had gone...

God , I LOVE FISHING... every trip is different. Only a matter of degrees. Got plenty of fish. Life is good. Came back alive...again. It's Wednesday nite and am still gulping down beers and Vicodans. Can't wait for the next trip....



If you have any questions or comments, would like to book a trip, or would like to submit a story, please email me at capt@barhoppr.com.

Bottle at Sea Or, call 1-239-633-5851.
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