GUANAJA DAY 4
Our second and last day in the boat with our makeshift guide. The first errand of the day was a boat ride to Bonacca, the island where the majority of the residents of the bay islands live. We pulled the Dead Runner to the gas station and docked up. Sheridan took Hewy, J and The Big One into town to find Internet to email our parents. We wanted to make sure they knew we were alive. Grit and I stayed with the boat and gear, making sure all was safe. Bonacca is not as safe as Guanaja. Me and Grit got food from the gas station, chips and a banana soda and sat, feet dangling, face down in the water. We took the spin rod out and gave a few casts. One little jack follow, but no take. Me and Grit tried to talk to the man who worked at the gas station, filling up boats as they pulled in. We tried to make small talk, he wasn’t having any. Posted up on the bench behind us, probably thinking how crazy Americans are.
The rest of the crew came back with breakfast and tales of the town. Little dark walkways between buildings, weird looks from locals, and sketchy vibes. I wish I could have entered town with them to see what it was like, but the gear had to be watched. With the emails sent, the weight of our worrying parents lifted, it was time to get to the fish.
We started fishing the canal that we passed through to get to Bonacca. A narrow, murky canal where we were hoping to hook into a dancing tarpon. Since the canal was so small, only one person would be able to cast without everyone getting caught in the surrounding mangroves. I was fishing a meaty tarpon pattern that I tied. Black and red, looking juicy in the canal. No takes. We got ourselves in a little bit of a pickle, and had to pull ourselves out of the canal with the mangroves on the bank until we were deep enough to run the engine.
Our next destination of the day was a big dock on a sandy beach. We saw massive needle fish schooling around the waters, so we had to stop. J and Big One sleighed these fish on the spin rods. Catching one after another and smashing them on the dock. We used them for a deep-sea excursion past the reef in hopes of massive mahi-mahi. No luck. Maybe needlefish isn’t the best bait. I had trouble landing one of those toothy bastards on the fly and was only able to catch another small cuda. When J was reeling in a needle, we saw a dark shadow, menacingly positioned underneath the flailing needlefish. MASSIVE CUDA! J yells, and the boys come running over. The giant barracuda was just watching the distressed fish. They looked like they were doing a dance. J was jigging the needle fish trying to initiate a strike, but every time the needlefish turned towards the cuda, the predator backed off, weary of the toothy needlefish. No big barracuda for the boys. While we were fishing, Mad Hewy was busy spearing around the dock. He said he shot two squids, but lost them because of the ink they release. We wanted to eat those squid Hewy.
We took the needlefish bait into deeper water. Sheridan hesitantly guided us around the shallow reef and into the deep ocean, where we drifted and chummed in hopes of catching a monster. We sat on the boat, drank a few beers and tried to make Sheridan think we were all insane. It worked. She loved us for our craziness, and admired our passion for fish. She laughed at how excited just the sight of a fish made us. Simple pleasures. We ended up taking a nap in that boat, the rolling waves acting as a rocking motion, cradling us to sleep under the sun. They boys get some color as Sheridan keeps a weary eye out for the shallow, sharp reef.
Back at our beach I’m jigging under the doc, not really paying attention to my flie’s movements. I see the flash and hook into a decent Jack. Food! We were hungry from the days excitements and this fish was a meal for me and Big One. As I am landing this fish, a big barracuda strikes my jack and takes me for a little trip. He lets go and I retrieve my shredded fish. We took him inside and made fish tacos for dinner. The night ends as the boys sit on the porch, listening to Mad Hewy strum away at the guitar his dad built him. Cold beers and live music. The good life.