Jitka, the Master Fisherwoman

Hello again my dear reader,

we spent almost the whole weekend just gone fishing. Our spot of choice was Cavello Bay, a ferry port with clear water and plenty of fish.

The fishing started on Saturday morning at 9:30. I met a mate and colleague (M) at the Henry VIII pub on the South Road. The plan was to fish off the South coast at West Whale Bay, which is reported to be good for fishing. But, when we got there, it appeared that there was enough wind to spoil an otherwise idyllic fishing setting. So, we set off towards Somerset for a location facing North towards the Sound so that it would be protected from the wind. I had been to Cavello Bay once before and it was clear that people go fishing there since there were even bins for discarding old fishing line.

So, around 10:30, the fishing began at Cavello Bay. We immediately started pulling fish out. Most were too small to keep so we threw them back into the water. A little while later, the first keeper was caught. It was a Chub, I would guess around 700 grams. So, the omens were good, there were plenty of bites and plenty of action overall. As the time went on, the tide was pulling out and we started to suffer with much less biting and much more heat. I was covered in sunscreen but M was not. The net result is sore sunburnt feet and face. I’m too scared of the sun so I was protected, mostly. He wasn’t and suffered the consequences.

One noteworthy incident was the M’s chair found its way into the sea. We had both brought folding chairs to the pier where the fishing took place. We thought it would be nice to sit and chill in the chair but, realistically, you need to get up all the time to cast the line into the water and to cut the bait and sometimes repair the fishing line. So, we couldn’t really use them. At some point in the morning, the wind came and pushed his chair into the water. He tried to fish it out before the end of the day but had little success. It’s a shame, it was a nice chair and we didn’t mean for it to be in the water. Perhaps we will fish it out at low tide at some point during a future fishing trip.

The fishing continued until late in the afternoon. We tried many different experiments to convince the fish to come out to play. We used bread, sweetcorn, tried floaters and sinkers. The results were mixed. It appears that it’s sometimes good to have a floater and hang the bait down by a few centimetres or up to a meter and sometimes even more. Other times, nothing bites on the surface and it’s best to put a sinker on and head for depth. Casting into deeper water is sometimes beneficial also. The only clear sign was the tide. High tide, good. Low tide, no good. Tide coming in, good. Tide going out, not good. In effect, this must mean that fishing this time of year should be best in the early evening (tide coming in) and early morning. But, I can’t say that I’m 100% sure. By the time we decided to leave, I was feeling good. I had pulled out the majority of the fish, kept only two big ones for the barbecue. Then, just before we left, M threw one last cast into the water annoyed with having caught nothing all day. We started packing and a couple of moments later, the reel started unravelling at pace! He had caught something and whatever it was, it was large and in a hurry to get away. It took two people’s strength to bring it up, the fish must have been 1,500 grams! It was a snapper, a tasty fleshy fish, an absolutely stunning catch.

I have to admit having felt an element of jealousy. All day, I was way ahead in catching the bigger ones. The only fish worth keeping that entire day were caught by me. Then, at the last second and without any technique, M catches the big one. I was somewhat annoyed. But, M decided that we should share the spoils in a Sunday evening barbecue and therefore I felt a little better. It’s M that I bought the barbecue off and he hasn’t managed to replace it yet so it was the best of both worlds, we provided the fish and shared the barbecue.

That same evening, Jitka also wanted to try her hand at fishing. So, we rode back to Cavello Bay to try again. She managed to catch a couple of little things that we threw back in the water. I also caught some little fish and one bigger one that deserved keeping for the barbecue. I could see that Jitka really wanted to catch something big, to feel like the fishing is worth her time and worth being dirty and fishy. So, I offered to take her fishing again on Sunday morning. It should be better anyway, the fish apparently bite quite well in the morning and with less heat, it should be better. So, Sunday morning rolled round and we sleepily headed off to the same site. I pulled a fish out on the first case but again, slightly too small to keep. Then, all of a sudden, Jitka starts screaming that she has caught something. I leapt up, dropped my line and headed to help her. She couldn’t quite lift the fish so I had to take over. I pulled up to the pier and looked at it amazedly. It wasn’t as big as the snapper the day before but it was fairly close. It’s definitely the biggest Chub I’ve ever seen. It must have been just over a kilo, I imagine. Jitka was brimming with happiness and joy from having caught such a great catch. I was happy to see it too, it meant that our barbecue could feed a good number of people. Jitka caught another decent size fish that day. Compared to my terrible haul on Sunday, she is now the master fisherwoman!

In the end, the barbecue was a great occasion. We had 6 people over, ate al fresco on the balcony, the food was fabulous (although I burnt the meat skewers a little) and everyone seemed to have a good time. We ended late at night, I had the customary cigar and completed a weekend where living in Bermuda made sense. It was like another mini holiday.

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