On a Cayman TV Shoot

This blog’s deadline finds me fishing for blue marlin and tuna in the gorgeous Cayman Islands for Sport Fishing TV. I don’t get a chance to do these shows very often, so I was excited to get to handle the rod a little bit.

The last time I was here was around 20 years ago when my wife’s (at that time, my girlfriend) company paid for a week’s vacation on Seven Mile Beach. We did a couple of wall dives, saw Stingray City and even got some fishing in. In fact, the first photograph I ever took that made it into the magazine was taken on that trip. It was a product shot of this zany thing called the Z-Rod, a rod with a built-in “Z” shape that allowed you to curl the rod. I caught a wahoo on the rod and took the photo of the rod and fish on the dock next the charter boat we fished on that day.

Today we fished on a late-model 60-foot enclosed-flybridge Hatteras with the president of the Cayman Islands Angling Club, Franklin Thompson. We got off to a pretty quick start when an 18-pound dolphin hopped on a purple-and-black Doorknob lure. The fish surfed in on the 80-pound tackle, but at least we had a fish in the boat early. A few minutes later an ominous black cloud of smoke belched out of the port engine — we’d lost a turbo. No worries. The show must go on, so we kept fishing on one engine.

Around 11:30 a.m. that same Doorknob enticed a 150-pound blue marlin to take a bite, and the first marlin of the trip skyrocketed into the air and then started turning circles on top of the water. It eventually came tight and proceeded to kick my butt! We dumped half the spool as the big Hatteras tried to turn around and give chase on one engine, but it was little help. The fish kept taking line, and eventually I had to crank it all back in — in low gear, no less. Needless to say, I was worn out when the tired little blue finally came to the boat. Not the most photogenic capture ever, but a blue marlin is a blue marlin!

Tonight we are in for an adventure. We plan on fishing a bank 60 miles off Grand Cayman, so we are going to leave at midnight and chug through the dark to the bank. We hope to get in on the yellowfin tuna bite just as the sun’s coming up and then put out some live baits for blue marlin. We are not going to be fishing on a 38-foot Rampage, so I hope it stays calm for our trip out and back. Wish us luck … you’ll see how it turned out when the show airs this fall!