Sport Fishing with Exodus
One thing the experts will tell you – Saint Lucia has excellent sport fishing around its coast, along with plenty of companies who know the waters and know their billfish! And let’s face it, how many times do you get the opportunity to cook and eat something you’ve caught yourself? Hopping aboard Exodus Boat Charters for a half-day fishing trip, Tropical Traveller got a real insight into why the sport is such so popular - and fascinating – plus a real workout for the bi- and triceps for anyone trying to firm up. Although its reputation might be otherwise, billfishing isn’t a male bastion sport, so in the interests of feminism, it was an all-girl posse that boarded the “sexy” Exodus 4, all excited and not entirely sure what to expect. Captain Tom is a veteran in the business, and his crew Kimo and Service were on hand to make sure my two gal pals and me were briefed on the features and facilities of high-powered sport-fishing boat before setting out from their dock at IGY Rodney Bay Marina. Despite all his years plying the ocean blue, it’s obvious Tom is passionate about fishing and loves to share his experience – and stories – with visitors to the island. Heading into Rodney Bay and northwest, we passed Pigeon Island and started getting serious as we entered the Martinique channel, where the rolling waves were around ten feet high, giving a few stomach lurches and giggles as the gals found their sea legs. Regaled by first mate Kimo with fishing stories and jokes, we watched in fascination as the guys started baiting up to eight lines and placing them in position so we could start fishing; the lures themselves are like something from a Christmas tree, in bright colours with metallic fringes and serious hooks to which small fish called ballahoo are attached in order
to tempt any passing hungry fish. With lines in the water, Exodus 4 headed to the fish-finder buoy, which is located in an area known for great results, and the wait began, as we plied the rolling ocean in blustery, blue conditions with a few fluffy clouds and a high level of expectation. Confidence was not an issue, and the fact that the ladies had zero experience in fishing of any type didn’t hamper the plans to cook up whatever catch we landed with garlic, lime and black pepper – the local seasoning of choice. In the comfortable cabin, somewhat protected from the spray of the monumental wake, we took up reccy positions, looked for magnificent frigate birds overhead; Kimo explained they are a great indicator of where the fish are likely to be, although we had no luck as we trailed after a few flocks of these beautiful swooping seabirds who were acrobatically dipping into the waves and taking a swim-rest. And so began the real experience of sport-fishing, because it is very much an activity of extremes; after the initial adrenaline rush of excitement fades, and the power boat trawls up, down and all around, the waiting game has begun and all eyes are fixed on the lines, the brightly-coloured floats and the sea, the sea, the sea. We watched and scanned the waves and an hour passed without incident, as the undulations of Exodus 4 on the waves hypnotised us to the point of sleep – in one case at least! Then just as we were thinking it wasn’t to be our day, craaaccckkk! FISH ON! First in the chair was Little Lyz, who valiantly started to reel in whatever was on the end of the line; her tiny hands had a hard time hanging onto the handle but with coaching in technique from Captain Tom and the boys, as well as some cheerleading from the gals, helped her through the burn – “keep going, you’re nearly there,” they said for the first of what felt like several hundred times. Next up was Yummy Yana, whose gym workouts were evident as her biceps and pecs were more than a match for our fishy friend, and she impressed everyone with her skill and determination. Then it was TT Editor’s turn, and
Captain Tom helps nab a big marlin the very next day!
It's much harder than it looks - especially when the fish is 300lbs!