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Game Fishing - the Bottom Line!

Seven boats and 42 anglers took part in last weekend’s overnight Bottom Fishing Tournament. Staged over Saturday and Sunday, the event followed on the heels of last month’s Bara Bonanza. The event also gave new anglers, aboard Free Willy, an insight into the world of game fishing—starting at the bottom being the basis of any thorough education!

The eye-closing event began around eight on Saturday night with a star-peppered sky and Lionel Ritchie for company as the 36ft Bertram, Xiphius Seeker, began her campaign opposite Sandals Grande.

“Hello, is it me your looking for?” crooned Sandals resident Ritchie to the paying guests—and more than a few anglers—as the song reached across the waves.

“No!” replied the crew in unison.

A shoal of Trevally were more of what we were looking for and anglers were kept busy in the feeding frenzy, albeit not for long.

A decent sized Crevalle kept spirits up and the night looked promising, but the owner’s lack of appreciation of dear Lionel proved the deciding factor. “He’s crap, let’s move. We didn’t come here for singing,” said owner Tony Windsor—not in the mood for debate.

Captain Ram fired up the twin Perkins as we drowned out Lionel and roared into the night. In deep water off Hess, we picked up some nice Snapper. However, the current and wind stiffened and we headed off to Marigot, hiding from both.

We were anchored in Marigot. Tony’s rod was bent double and the line sang in the freshening breeze as he hung on to: a) a large Tarpon; b) the bottom; c) sanity.

Sniggering suggestions of the biggest eel ever, ‘they swim backwards and slip back into their caves you know?’ or ‘don’t pull too hard, you might have the plug,’ did little to distract Tony from the task at hand—to scoop fame and fortune with the recalcitrant monster below.

“I can feel it moving,” said Tony as the rod bent and the Bertram moved backwards, straining on the anchor rope—something had to give. With a crack like a pistol shot, the line and bottom parted company. A bewildered Tony turned to the crew with arms outstretched—rod in hand—and invited comment. The loyal crew scratched their heads and in unison nodded. Yep, that was probably the biggest and sneakiest eel/tarpon ever (no mention ever being made of the plug).

As the weather settled, we moved inshore and pick up some nice redfish and, as the first lights of daylight threaded through the silhouetted clouds, we decided on one last venue.

Close to the Barrel of Beef, we spent our last hour or so. Not much here and we were all spent, and couldn’t decide if it should be ‘back at six’ or ‘pull-up lines at six.’

Tony was in the fighting chair and adamant it should be in at six. Captain Ram, who’s always, let’s say, tardy, plumped for the other—mistake!

We were the last ones in, and around 10 minutes late—it was in at the dock for six. Vice President of the Game Fishing Association, Milton Mackenzie, waved a finger and laughed as he threatened to dock five thousand points from our weight for being late.

But it wouldn’t have mattered, the Xiphius Seeker earned a massive 1650 points taking first place followed by Team Misbehaving (Bing and Co) with 800 points. Next was Team Cable & Wireless with 625 points, fourth and final place going to Team Raquet Club with 450 points.

All in all, a successful tournament. It gave the sport more exposure to a wider audience and built momentum for the October Billfish Tournament—now that’s another story!

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