Sea Monsters

In my last post I mentioned bottom-fishing. Day or night, it is one of the easiest and most productive styles of fishing from a boat. Just rig your line with a weight and a baited hook, drop it to the bottom, and wait for something to bite.

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In Tahiti, we would typically try to find a good anchorage by the afternoon. Anchoring the boat was often followed by a swim, or a cold beer, or both.

Next came dinner and the sunset…

After the light was gone and the dishes were clean, the fishing rods came out. We had trouble finding bait for sale, so we used what we had, which wasn’t much, but it worked well enough. We caught squirrel fish, mackerel and lots of snappers. Then, someone in a grocery store on Raiatea suggested that we try using steak for bait. I have fished with strange things before on local tips, usually with good results. So, we grilled up some steaks, and kept the odd bits to fish with after dinner.

The fishing was out of control! Bite after bite, fish after fish. The cooked steak was tough so it was often possible to land multiple fish on one piece of bait.

Suddenly, as Tara was trying to help unhook someone else’s fish, her rod tip bent hard, and stayed down. Line started to peel away. She handed the rod to me. I was certain she had hooked a small shark and waited for the line to be cut by it’s sharp teeth, but the fight continued. The fish was heavy and strong and stayed deep for quite a while. When I finally caught sight of it, I thought I had caught the world’s largest butterfly fish.

We were finally able to identify the creature with the help of our dive master the next day. It was a “platax” or, orbicular batfish. Too bad we released it, he added, they are delicious!

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