Leg 2: Trolling off Port Lucaya
Port Lucaya was the second stop of our tour of Grand Bahama following Hurricane Matthew. After we departed from Old Bahama Bay on West End aboard Capt. Skipper Gentry’s Carolina Gentleman — still with full bellies from the incredible meal the night before — we began to fish our way southeast along the edge towards the Northwest Providence Channel and then on to Port Lucaya. The bottom structure as you leave West End drops off quickly, and you are fishing in depths from 100 to 400 and then 1,000 feet before you know it. The satellite imagery for sea-surface temperatures showed a really nice eddy in about 900 feet of water with about a three-degree temperature break, and this is where we’d troll towards.
Lots of Bait
Flying fish were everywhere as we got closer to the edge of the eddy. At one point we had a frigate bird circling very low as flying fish scattered across the surface: We were certain there was a billfish or at least a mahimahi around, but after working the area for two hours with a combination of baits and lures we headed further east towards Lucaya without any luck.
But then our luck changed as we approach Hawksbill Channel, the entrance to the Freeport Container Port. We saw mahimahi scattering flying fish on the surface in the distance and it was only a matter of time before the drags started to scream.
First it was the ballyhoo with a chugger head in the shotgun position and then the Mold Craft on the left rigger: a doubleheader. I grabbed the first rod and Glenn Law, Editor-in-Chief of Salt Water Sportsman, grabbed the second rod as a pair of mahimahi jumped in the distance.
Law’s mahimahi was much larger than the bailer that we boated moments before. It would make for a great dinner back ashore.
Gentry says, “I always have luck right outside off the commercial channel for Freeport, no matter the time of year. There is just something about it that you generally will always find some action.” With two fish in the boat and the sun beginning to set we made the decision to head towards Lucaya and spend some time ashore.
I met Muff Roberts, one of the local charter captains, just moments after tying up Carolina Gentleman at the Port Lucaya Marina. And just like most fish stories, Roberts said that we missed some good action the week before but that the cold front had shifted the bite a little bit. We were also just ahead of the yellowfin tuna bite, but he did mention that because of the unseasonably warm winter that he was already catching a couple yellowfin tuna about 20 miles due south of Port Lucaya. He also released a blue marlin the week before while fishing for yellowfin tuna.
Just a short walk from the marina is the Pelican Bay Hotel, a very nice resort that has a handful of pools, bars restaurants. We only had a chance to spend one night in Port Lucaya but there is plenty for the family to do in the evenings or during the day if they want to stay back ashore while you head offshore.
Preparing for the Third Leg
The next morning we departed from the Pelican Bay Hotel and headed further west for the third leg of our tour of Grand Bahama to do a little flats-fishing for bonefish at Deep Water Cay.