BILL COL­LEC­TOR

Yachting - - EDITOR'S LETTER -

had high ex­pec­ta­tions. Sev­eral friends who had trolled the wa­ters off the Do­mini­can Repub­lic all re­turned with re­ports of amaz­ing mar­lin fish­ing, of­ten just a few miles off­shore. As some­one who reg­u­larly runs 100-plus miles to the mid-At­lantic and North­east Canyons for a bite, I found the prospect of a quick trip to the grounds en­tic­ing. So, a few years back, I jet­ted down to the Cap Cana Re­sort to see if I could bring back my own fish tale. I was for­tu­nate to have use of a 47-foot Riviera con­vert­ible, which proved to be a solid plat­form for both mar­lin fish­ing and the sea con­di­tions.

The Mona Pas­sage — which con­nects the At­lantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea — was run­ning hard with con­sis­tently lumpy wa­ters be­tween the Do­mini­can Repub­lic and Puerto Rico. The Riviera cruised with­out a care for three days of steady 5- to 6-foot­ers, and the oc­ca­sional 8-footer. A strong breeze was con­stant. Waves some­times crested as white foam stretched across the hori­zon.

But the drop-off was close to the beach. My cap­tain and mate kept the spread sim­ple:

IAND THEN HE AP­PEARED. A MA­NI­A­CAL WHITE MAR­LIN WAS SLASH­ING, TRY­ING TO NEU­TRAL­IZE THE PLAS­TIC FISH.

two daisy-chain teasers with two short out­rig­ger bal­ly­hoo baits; two long out­rig­ger bal­ly­hoo baits; and two pitch baits at the ready in the cock­pit rocket launch­ers to port and star­board. It wasn’t long be­fore the ac­tion started. On the first morn­ing, our crew had a bull mahimahi hooked up within five min­utes of putting lines in the wa­ter. Then another. A 30-pound-class yel­lowfin tuna crashed our right long rig­ger with reck­less aban­don. The fast and fu­ri­ous bites from these great-eat­ing pelag­ics were wel­come, but I was fo­cused on find­ing those fa­mous Do­mini­can Repub­lic mar­lin. Stand­ing in the star­board aft cor­ner with my Costas glued to my head, I peered into the blue, look­ing for that wind­shield wiper swip­ing ag­gres­sively on the daisy-chain teaser.

And then he ap­peared. A ma­ni­a­cal white mar­lin was slash­ing, try­ing to neu­tral­ize the plas­tic fish. I dropped the short rig­ger bait into free-spool. The mar­lin crashed onto my bait and took off for Puerto Rico. Af­ter some fast ma­neu­ver­ing, the fre­net­i­cally danc­ing fish was boat­side. It wasn’t even noon on day one.

Within an hour, a linebacker-size blue mar­lin showed up too. But that is another story.

pa­trick sci­acca Edi­tor-in-Chief pa­trick.sci­acca@yacht­ing­magazine.com

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