There are only a couple of things that you can’t control on a fishing trip: the weather and whether or not the fish are there and/or biting. Luckily, we’ve enjoyed pretty good fishing on our last two Marlin University trips: in Guatemala in late April and the Dominican Republic just a couple of weeks ago. I can tell you that the students really appreciate a good bite, but not as much as the captains we hire to take us fishing!
I knew we’d made the right decision with our boats in the Dominican Republic when, on the first day, Capt. Butch Cox told us that he’d like to leave a bit earlier. “Our guys just like to fish as much as possible,” he said. You’re damn right! And fish we did! I also switched boats in the middle of the session, so I also got to fish with my old friend first mate David Hernandez, Steve “Skibo” Eakle and Capt. Ken Ross. It was incredibly refreshing to fish with such professional and top-notch crews.
I think we ended up catching 34 marlin from two boats in four days. I saw at least three or four blue marlin every day and four or six whites as well. On the third day — my first day fishing with Cox and his top-notch deckhands Capt. Newt Cagle and Pelicano — we began the day with an interesting doubleheader of blue marlin. The fish took off in opposite directions, and after several minutes of rushing forward, losing line on one to gain line on the other, Cagle and Cox decided to pitch a rod over on a buoy and go get the other fish. (Cagle had actually rigged the buoy up at the initial hookup.)
As my Marlin U. angler watched Cagle prepare the life ring/preserver combo, he said to Cagle, “I ain’t going in the water; what are you doing with that?” When Cagle told him he was going to throw the rod in the water, the angler said, “Oh, hell no, you aren’t!” He finally came around after a brief explanation, and Cagle locked up the drag, attached the ring and pitched the rod over the side. Cox marked the spot on the plotter and immediately began chasing down the other fish, which was by now stretched out pretty good.
We caught the second fish in short order and then started back to the mark on the machine. As we approached the spot, the buoy was nowhere to be found, and soon all eyes were scanning the surface looking for the life ring and our second marlin in the doubleheader. Cox spotted the buoy first and plotted a course to intercept the still pushing buoy from behind.
Cox backed up to the buoy and Cagle reached over and retrieved the reel, winding on a few yards of line before handing it back to the original angler, Bob Nettles. Nettles now had to wind in the entire spool of line for the third time — but he got it done! It was one of the coolest “doubleheaders” I’ve ever seen, regardless of the IGFA infractions!
We also had a great room at the nearly empty Punta Cana Fishing Lodge. We got a great deal on what was really a five-star room, and the all-inclusive aspect was awesome as well.
We’ve got one last Marlin U. session left in 2012 and it’s filling up fast, so visit www.marlinuniversity.com and book your Bermuda trip quick!