My good customer and good friend, Joe, recently bought a 39 SeaVee with IPS drives. These IPS drives are also referred to as pods and make the boat extremely maneuverable. It is by far the most maneuverable boat I have ever been in. The pods also provide you with great fuel consumption as well as speed. This boat is equipped with twin diesels and can top off at close to 47 mph and burn at cruise 1.2 to 1.5 mpg. The boat is amazing. Anyway, I fish with Joe for sailfish about once a week during the winter and while fishing one day we discussed blue marlin fishing. He had caught blue marlin before but his goal was to catch a few blue marlin on his own boat. We decided the best shot was to take the boat to San Salvador in the Bahamas during June. Going to San Salvador is not like going to Bimini. San Salvador is 350 miles away compared to Bimini, which is 50 miles. Also San Salvador is pretty much in open ocean and there is nothing east of the island to offer any protection. This is what I call big water. As we joked during the trip, next stop is Africa. I plotted out our course, we got our tackle and supplies ready and soon enough it was time for our adventure.
We left Miami and made our first leg to Nassau where we would spend the night and hed to San Sal the next day. The first part of our trip was relatively calm and was non eventful. The next day we started to San Sal. Our first obstacle was to cross Yellow Bank and keep an eye out for the coral heads that come close to the surface. Hitting one of these would not be good and would definitely end our journey. Driving from the tower, the heads were easy to see and soon enough we cleared Yellow Bank and where making our way to Exuma Sound. We exited the bank at Highbourne Cay and had a 90-mile run into Exuma Sound. The wind had definitely increased and soon we were doing 20 knots in 5 ft. seas that were really close together. We rounded the tip of Cat Island and were on our final leg of about 50 miles to San Sal. This is the portion of the trip that everyone warned us about. Seas were inherently big here and with the wind kicking we soon found out. We had to slow down to 15 knots and the big SeaVee had to push its way through 8-foot seas for over 30 miles. Just when we thought we would never reach our destination, the seas laid down a bit and soon we were running 25 knots to San Sal.
We were staying at the Riding Rock Inn and Marina. The people and staff there were extremely nice and helpful. We got the boat situated, got our rooms and had a great dinner. Next day we went out to scout the area and begin our quest for blue marlin. The report from the week was that there were some blues around but not a lot. We put out our trolling spread and trolled for hours without a bite. By late afternoon we had a blue come up to the teaser (squid chain with a mackerel on the end). After a few swipes at the teaser we pulled the teaser away and the fish swam up to the short lure and pounded it. With Joe in the harness we got all the other lines in and watched Joe gain line back on the reel. After a short while we had a 200-pound blue marlin next to the boat and got our first official release of the trip. Hi fives for everyone and I know I was breathing a bit easier as we had accomplished our goal. The next day proved to be even better as we got 5 shots and ended up catching 2 more blue marlin. One of the bites we had has been burned into memory as I saw the blue charge the short bait and with the lure in his mouth the entire fish’s head was out of the water and still swimming forward as he was trying to shake the lure loose. As is often the case when a fish swims up from the back of the lure, your hookup ratio is not good. You prefer the fish to eat from the side or to eat going away. Going with the odds the fish did shake the lure loose, but that vision of a big blue marlin behind the boat is etched in memory forever.
We fished a few more days and caught wahoo, mahi, and also did some deep dropping due to the wind kicking it up another notch. Our trip back was very pleasurable. The seas were still rough, but with the wind and seas behind us the big SeaVee did her job well and we averaged 25 knots back. Just to show you the fuel efficiency of the IPS drives, that 350-mile journey in rough weather, we only burned 290 gallons of diesel. Now with the SeaVee back on her lift we are already talking about a longer trip next year and are planning for a three-week trip.
As far as the fishing here, the swordfishing during the day has been good. We caught a decent fish before we left (275 pounds) and the mahi fishing for the most part has been very good. We are heading to Bimini next week and will hopefully target the tunas there as well as some snappers. With June almost gone, July is an excellent month for the Bahamas as well as deep dropping for swords and mahi fishing in the Stream. Give me a call and lets set it up!
PS. I am attaching a video of our trip and with only a mate, an angler and me as Capt. it was hard to get good video of the fish we caught. If you look closely though you can see shots of one of the blues on the leader.
Capt. Dean Panos