Passage to Brisbane – Day 6


Friday 27th January.

There is a lot of Bull**** written about fishing: here is some more.

When on passage every cruiser tows a line behind their yacht in the belief they will catch their supper. Sometimes this happens. Like fisherman the world over every one knows that their method is the best. Over the years I have developed my own theory.

I began with a simple glass fibre rod bought in the back streets of Panama that served me well all the way to Hawaii, Alaska and down to Mexico. I stuck it in a holder on the stern, let out the line and set the reel. A high-pitched whirr alerted me when a fish struck and then it was a matter of reeling it in. All went well until we reached the Sea of Cortez when a massive Wahoo fought so hard that in spite of Simon and my united efforts, the fish smashed rod and reel into pieces.

The cruising funds were low and the price of a new rod too high so I settled on a reel of heavy-duty line to which I attached a wire trace about a metre long on a swivel and at the end of that a lure that hid a large double hook. I asked around and advice poured in from all sides; this is the best kind of lure, are you sure your boat is tuna friendly to only trying to fish at the right time of day. Short of lighting a candle or making a sacrifice I tried out everything but the fish ignored me…

What was different between what I was using now from previously? It had to be the lure. Lurking around the fishing shops in Mexico I studied all the different types on offer. Of course my eye was caught by the most expensive, a beautiful feathered number that wouldn’t look out of place worn as a ‘fascinator’. ‘$25.00 for that? You must be mad!’ said Simon.

I found gull feathers on a beach and bound them tightly to an existing plastic lure, used a bit of acrylic paint to turn them scarlet and added strips of plastic from a shopping bag. Two days and 100 miles later, Bingo! From then on I have never looked back when trawling for fish.

My secret? Rule one is to have a very sharp and strong hook, but it is feathers that tickles a fine fish’s fancy. I have tried all kinds of different squid-like baits but the one that gets them every time is my special brand of ‘Sharon’. So named after the 80’s TV series called Birds of a Feather featuring the original Essex girls, Sharon and Tracy – and their extremely flashy next-door neighbour, Doreen.

Sharon numbers 1 – 5 had fluffy skirts made of pink and white feathers. Attracted no end of Tuna. But sadly they age and even multiple feather lifting doesn’t work in the long run. I am now on to Doreen #1 who wears black, purple and green feathers. Mahi-Mahi snap her up!

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