Where When How — May/June 2017
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Captain’s Blog
Captain Geoff

The magnificent BLUE MARLIN, subject of Ernest Hemingway’s famous novel, is a fisherman’s dream, worldwide. Even those with no interest in fishing know the name of this remarkable billfish. Yes; its a rich man’s game but anyone can test their wits and skills against this ‘bison of the sea’ if they visit the Turks and Caicos. The marlin start to arrive during May and stay through to November, in substantial numbers.

Everyone marvels as these turbocharged monsters leap, shake, dive and ‘greyhound’ across the surface. Although a hooked marlin will fight for up to four hours, it isn't necessarily a macho sports fish. Many world records are held by women and youngsters. We typically see marlin in the 150 to 500 lb range in the TCI. But they can run to over 1500 lb. Therefore first class tackle, boat and crew are essential.

Marlin follow and feed on another monster of the deep, the yellowfin tuna, which are also abundant in our waters from May onwards. Frequent catches of 60 to 120 lb fish and multiple hook ups of up to eight lines can cause chaos and excitement onboard. Tuna fight like thugs and dive deep, providing a real workout for the angler. Getting a big tuna to the boat, before it is ravaged by sharks, calls for strength, skill and teamwork.

Marlin and tuna are part of a vertical food chain. Tuna chase sardines to the surface, where gulls frequently go crazy. The ocean boils as bait fish are devoured by tuna; the tuna are swallowed whole by marlin, and from deep below the tiger and bull sharks rise up to feed on the stragglers and your hooked fish if it’s not boated quickly.

Action of another type is inshore sports fishing. We troll slowly, just inside the barrier reef, in typically flat seas and catch barracuda, mackerel, kingfish, horse-eye jacks and grouper. Families especially enjoy this excursion, and it’s a beautiful way to see our islands too.

We also bottom fish, on both our inner and outer reefs. The boat lies at anchor and lines are dropped to between 50 to 100 ft. Everyone takes a rod, and bites are fast and furious. It’s rewarding to catch fish for dinner and exciting to see so many tropical and exotic fish. On a half day trip you’ll likely see or catch various types of grouper, red, yellowtail or mutton snapper, triggerfish, parrotfish, and reef sharks.

Billfish and sharks are always catch and release, to preserve our sport.