We left Clarence Town at first light as we had a very long, 10-hour run in front of us. Unlike the previous sleigh-ride down Long Island, this crossing to Acklins Island was 70 NM with 15kts of wind right on the nose. So to make enough speed to reach our destination before dusk, we had to run with both engines on and the mainsail up for additional stability. Normally when we motor-sail, we only run one engine, but today we needed the extra punch. Running on one engine, Panache goes about 80% as fast as running on two, so it much more efficient. However, today was all about getting it done, not about fuel efficiency.
After the briefing the day before from the boat-boys at the Flying Fish, we put out both rods and crossed our fingers. At 8:30 a.m. a Mahi-mahi hit our port line. We played it as instructed, not too much tension to start, then striking it before backing off a bit to let it run and tire itself out. It made several jumps completely clear of the water which showed its brilliant colours – blue, yellow and silver. Absolutely stunning! Once we managed to get it to the boat, we gaffed it, per Greg Holmes’ instructions, and hauled it aboard. Benny had the spray bottle handy which contained some of my prized gin. A little of that on the gills and the fish settles down nicely – surprisingly, it works pretty much the same way on me as well. I then filleted it on the back deck and tossed the carcass into the drink. The fillets were put into ziplock bags for the fridge. We would later remove the skin, vacuum pack meal-sized portions and load the whole lot into the freezer. We don’t have a fish scale, but we netted 10lbs of fillets, which according to Google means the fish was about 20lbs whole.
The entire process took about ½ an hour. But given our tight schedule, we reluctantly decided to forgo fishing for the rest of the day to ensure our arrival at Atwood Harbour before dark.