Day 5: Swimming with the catch.

Day 5: Swimming with the catch.

The final day of the challenge with blue skies and lake water I couldn’t of asked for a nicer day, except for a cold snap down here, but that why there are air conditioned cabins!

Cristina stayed back at the resort to a day at the spa, beach, paddle boarding and doing nothing, which we both struggle at the last one.

The started out great when a couple of the guys in the crew discovered the night life of the hotel and provided some great humor at breakfast.  They were both going on 3.5 hours of sleep!

This was suppose to be a challenge for the ultimate angler and while Cody and I were both competitors, it was so nice to be on the water out there our competitive spirit diffused into the moment.  The crew would yell, “fish on,”  Cody would say, its yours, then I would say, “No go for it.”  It drove everyone nuts, come on you guys get on it!

We began bottom fishing with jigging and the electric downrigger (the beer drinkers pole).  The yielded a bunch of snapper and a couple odd species.  Eventually a good size Jack which we put right on a shark hook.  Not too long after a big one took the line out quick.  Excitement rose until he got it off, probably a 25lb jack too!

Continuing on we (Sharp and Walt) set up a trolling set up.  Just for clarification, from now on when I say we, I mean, we all watched Sharp and Walt set up everything for us to catch fish.  Steve (a new face on the boat today) and I  were up on the tower looking for birds, whales and whatever with scopes.  Suddenly Steve spots mahi trailing the back of the boat.  Quickly we all jumped into position….
Well kinda… as Cody and I reached for our cameras, but wait, we are suppose to be reaching for the poles!  Lol.  I got a few shots off the first catch and then grabbed a pole as we had a double header.  I faught it in until it was ready to be gaffed.  As soon as we had it in the boat I got my housing out and then jumped in, joining Cody and Skye.  Cody also had his water housing shooting while Skye kept an eye for incoming sharks.  Supposedly the Silky sharks make their way in quickly here.  With the three of us in the water my chances were less, right?

As many of you follow my work, everything I shoot is natural, no baiting, chumming or releases, not even air for my lungs to get my nature images.  This was the first time shooting a catch and release.  I have to say I had mixed feelings shooting the scene and the fish that were part of the game. I was covering the game and in that context it was very interesting, providing a lot of different options.  Cody had a lot more experience and was way more comfortable getting in with lines hooked on fish and many other elements where things could turn.  What a rush, thanks to a great crew that out us in the right place to get them.  We continued to troll and got onto another few Mahi providing a busy day.

Mid day Kevin spotted a Hump Back whale breach and suddenly we were all focused on seeing another.  It was almost two miles away but with them being so large you could see it.  The next breach I was lucky enough to see and it was impressive.  We headed that way as Walt and Sharp most likely rolled their eyes, saying inside their head, guys we are here to FISH!  We say them again with camera ready but not breach.  Once to the spot they were no where to be found.  The whales are here to give birth and then head back north for the summer.  They are all protected but like Sea Turtles need a lot of help to keep the numbers high.

We continued on, setting up bait all around us on the rods.  An hour or two into it we had another shark bite but came up empty again.  Later on we went full bore chumming up the waters, with a ton of bait out, cleaned mahi and tuna guts and live bait everywhere.  Finally we came upon a school of Tuna, where we had a solid hour of action.  I caught a bonita and nearly had a hefty Yellow fin tuna before mr. shark stole it.  What a great way to end the day!  Thanks to sharp and Walt for pretty much doing everything except reeling the fish to the boat and of Kevin for captaining!  We headed home to another epic sunset.  At the dock they crowned both Cody and I equal winners of the challenge with both of us were fine with even though Cody had two great Bonita at the end of the day by himself that definitely put him past me on fish!  Joke was we were going to have a handline face-off with the giant tarpon under the dock but it never really happened, thankfully!

Can’t thank enough for putting on the photo contest and Otterbox and Ocean Surfari for fulfilling the trips expectations!  Great times!

Tomorrow we head home after a quick morning SUP session with my wife while relaxing and catching up on being gone for 3 days on the water.

Supported by:
Pacsafe Travel Gear
SunBum Suncare
Watershot Housing
Cressi Dive gear