And fishing…this was the most enjoyable year for fishing…the ones that did not get away included a number of 10 lb or larger permit, snapper and barracuda, but by far the catch of the season was the 24lb grouper. This was a two day ordeal and the story goes like this.
Day one…Gary is out hunter/gathering with Steve (Sv Better Days). After an hour or so with nothing much to show for, Gary is heading back to the dinghy and sees the flash of fish belly (shiny silver) off to the right near a medium sized coral head. As he swam closer, he noticed it was two small (4ft) nurse sharks playing (or perhaps mating)…they were rubbing their bellies against each other and standing vertical almost on their tails. There was a large dark shadow below them against the coral, and as Gary swam around the back of the coral and peeked around the corner to watch the sharks, there lay the largest most beautiful black grouper he had seen in these waters. Carefully aiming with his pneumatic gun he fired just behind the grouper gills, and as he did the grouper twisted enough that the spear pieced his higher back…he then shot under the coral head, twisting and flailing and finally dislodging Gary’s spear…bending it almost into a semi circle. The two sharks followed the grouper into his hidey hole and lay on top of him. Gary called for Steve to join him who had his pole spear. Together they tried to move the sharks and finally, after repeated pokes in the keester (that’s the rear end) of the sharks,…one swam off…the other remained in total control and possession of this beautiful and dying grouper. Undaunted, Steve repeated the process and Gary lined up (after straightening his spear) for a kill shot on the grouper. Gary aimed carefully, and just as he was about to deliver the ‘coup de grace’…Steve poked the shark and the shark came out straight at Gary…Gary fired…and hit the shark between the eyes…BLAMMO…one dead shark…the grouper skittered away in the sand…..:(…you wanna talk about two very P O’d fisherman…alas not all was lost as Gary and Steve took the shark ashore, skinned and filleted him and everyone in the anchorage had shark meat that nite…it is very tasty…but it ain’t no grouper.
Day 2…determined and not beaten…after spending many hours of sleeplessness reliving the experience and fretting over the ‘one that got away’…and no one would believe how big he was…Gary and Steve went back to the same spot and within a minute Steve surfaced about 100 ft from the spot and yelled…he’s here…he’s here in this hole”…and sure enough…there was Mr. Grouper…and the proof was that you could plainly see the flap of skin off his shoulder where he was shot the day before. The only problem now was…how to get him out of the hole. About this time Steve and Gary were joined by Carl (Sv Diva) who also had a pole spear…so…the three stooges developed an extraction plan to get Mr. Grouper home for dinner…or so they thought. The problem was, Gary couldn’t get a side shot at the grouper…the hole was about 12 feet across and the grouper kept himself pointed at the opening…and despite repeated shots…they kept bouncing off his iron clad skull. Finally, with Carl on one side of the coral head, using his spear thru a small opening he was able to poke the Grouper enabling Gary to take his shot. It was not wasted and he fired a spear clean thru the big bad grouper :o). However, Mr. Grouper, wasn’t having any part of ‘coming home to dinner’…just yet. Gary, remembering the damage to his spear the day before, brought a second spear (and you thought he was just a rookie)…and fired that second spear in and thru the gills of that big ol grouper…now we have two spears in him….and still Mr. Grouper refused our entreaties to ‘come home for dinner’. All of this is happening in less than 6 ft of water, but with a fast moving current and little to hold onto…it was very difficult to find any leverage to haul Mr. Grouper’s big fat butt out of the opening…especially since when a grouper is hurt, they tend to inflate their bladder and he was now approx twice the size of the opening we were trying to pull him thru. Too make a long story short (thank God) after spearing him yet again…and inserting a fairly hefty dinghy anchor into his gills and the three stooges pulling with all their might…Mr. Grouper wouldn’t budge…there was no way Gary was going to abandon this fish…so after some debate, and consternation…the three stooges managed to use the dinghy anchor to‘re-design’ the opening in the coral opening until it was large enough to extract Mr. Grouper…YEAH!!!!! and…the three little stooges lived happily ever after and Mr. Grouper was had by all!...ain’t life Great!! (well… maybe not for Mr. Grouper).
The Three Stooges, Carl, Gary & Steve and the Big Bad 24lb Black Grouper Now that's fishin :o)