There is not too many things in this world more satisfying then a well laid plan coming to fruition; whether it be passing an exam, getting the girl, or breaking that record. I am of the opinion that the true legends in sport fishing are the fisherman that plan to catch that big fish, or target a particular species on light tackle, not the ones that go out and incidentally catch a record fish or that one big enormous one. These are meritorious catches for sure and deserve recognition! But they are not ones of true legendary status.
One of my favorite examples is that of the millennium tournament that was held out of Tutakaka, New Zealand. The fishing had been very slow for everyone concerned and the fleet was wondering what to do on the last day, when it was revealed to a few the night before that a very large black marlin had been sighted at the famous hole in the rock, Bay of Islands. The very next day, a number of the few who were in on the secret headed to the area to try and catch this fish. Now a few boats had been live baiting the rock all morning, but it was Bruce Smith who took his time, caught fresh live bait and ran into the rock to arrive at the change of tide to catch this one big fish. Just as it probably played out in Bruce’s head earlier that morning, Bruce and his team caught the fish, won the tournament and took home the money. Ignoring the fact that, this one fish was over 400kg, the plan was dreamt, planned, executed and the result is history….Very very satisfying!
I cant say I have had anything similar to this feat, but just the other week, we had our own simple plan. We had long time guests onboard and the weather was glamorous. We had been fishing on the southern side of the picturesque Moorea, in French Polynesia. We fished 2 days for 3 bites and 2 fish but decided to head to another spot which I was hoping would have more bait, and perhaps a tuna or two. However this plan proved fruitless, so we continued to fish another location which GeoEye lead us too. Funnily enough, just as the GeoEye fishing charts had suggested, we found a nice break with good water and bait and sure enough, We came across a patch of fish and started getting bites. We were not only raising fish for no bites, but also marking them on the sonar and sounder but not raising them. So we needed to change our game, or what a long time friend would suggest “we needed to approach the situation from a different angle”. The next morning we spent some time catching some live baits, in order to pitch to the fish we were marking on the electronics but wouldn’t raise to lures.
The next day with Fresh skippies onboard, we trolled the glassy calm waters of Tahiti making our way back to the previous days bites, when I noticed a patch of birds on my Furuno S band Radar, 60 degrees to port and 3 nautical miles away. We altered course, and once within a mile of the birds I could see them through my binoculars. As we approached, I noticed a solid mark on my new MAQ sonar out to stbd, 750 meters away, and some distance from the school of tuna. I turned and asked the boys to get a live bait ready. we followed the fish and determined its depth. When I marked the fish directly under the boat at 60 meters, I called to the boys to throw the bait in. As the live bait entered the water and began swimming, the marked fish now appeared some distance behind the boat, but with one particular noticeable change… the fish was now following us! Having heard the stricken vibrations of the tuna, the fish caught me by surprise at how quickly it swam up towards the boat. The marlin looked for its lunch only to turn up between the boat and the bait, swimming straight past the bait, obviously not very interested in a healthy tuna to eat. The call was given for the bait to skip, and with in seconds of the rigger peg hitting the top position, the live tuna skipped twice and was engulfed by a blue marlin in the 700lb range. What ensued was a fantastic fight and release in glassed out conditions. It doesn’t get a whole lot better then witnessing a big marlin jumping close to the boat in flat calm weather!
So there you go, utilizing our electronics, from the GeoEye sea surface and current charts, to radar, MAQ sonar and sounder, they all played a key role in finding this marlin, with the fresh live tuna and swift crew work being the last and pivotal step in the days success. The initial cost of these electronics are expensive, but so is going the wrong way in the morning and not catching that big fish!