A once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence for a pair of in­ter­na­tional an­glers


Gu­atemala is well-known for its vast num­ber of Pacific sail­fish; an­glers from across the globe ven­ture to these fer­tile wa­ters in search of fast ac­tion. How­ever, some­times the un­ex­pected hap­pens, even with the most ex­pe­ri­enced crews. And while we do not ad­vo­cate re­mov­ing bill­fish from the wa­ter, this is ad­mit­tedly a very in­ter­est­ing catch from a pro­fes­sional cap­tain.

On Feb­ru­ary 5, Capt. Luis “Wi­cho” Ramirez and deck­hands Emer­son Tor­res and Danilo Fa­jardo had two novice blue­wa­ter fly an­glers aboard for the day: Lutz Minich and Michel Jean­nelle. The pair of Ger­man fish­er­men had caught a bunch of other species on fly and were keen to try their hand at bill­fish, so they booked a few days with us. They were avid fly-fish­er­men for sure, just no off­shore ex­pe­ri­ence for ei­ther one.

They were fish­ing on Sails Pitch, our 28-foot Carolina Clas­sic we op­er­ate as part of the Blue Bayou Lodge fleet. The bite had been good prior to their ar­rival; we were see­ing up to 50 sails a day in the spread, but things slowed down a lit­tle once they started fish­ing. Since these guys were still learn­ing the bait-andswitch and were get­ting lim­ited shots at sails, the mates de­cided to leave a rig­ger bait in the fly-fish­ing pat­tern to catch a mahi for lunch, or maybe a lazy sail that wasn’t play­ing the fly game on the teasers. A nice sail­fish left a hole un­der the rig­ger bait, and right away the crew no­ticed some­thing dif­fer­ent: It was nearly all white. The only color on the fish was in the sail. We later learned that this was a leucis­tic sail­fish, since it did have some color, rather than a true al­bino, which has no color at all (even the eyes are pink in true al­bi­nos).

While we never take our sail­fish out of the wa­ter, we didn’t have our selfie stick on board, so the crew pulled the big sail up for a very quick photo. They es­ti­mated the weight around 90 to 100 pounds, and it was out of the wa­ter for just a few sec­onds. It was a truly in­cred­i­ble en­counter, and for the lo­cal Gu­atemalans who love this fish­ery more than any­one, it was a great ac­com­plish­ment to re­lease a white uni­corn of the sea. —As told to Sam White by Capt. Chris Starrs, of Blue Bayou Lodge

An un­usual catch any­where in the world: a leucis­tic sail­fish, es­ti­mated to weigh be­tween 90 and 100 pounds, caught aboard Sails Pitch in Gu­atemala.

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