Monday, December 9, 2019

the triple luck GT

Way out in the Dampier islands, brother Charles knows a good place. Andrew and I peppered the shoreline surf with a variety of lures and caught a small Giant Trevally apiece. A small Giant ? it's a proper name for the fish best identified as Caranx Ignobilis, not ignoble but in Latin obscure or unknown. This tag was presumably given for its relative obscurity to the Swedish naturalist who first saw a specimen, in the fine frenzy of naming following Linnaeus.

We took a break to snorkel in a quiet bay. Andrew swam ashore with lures in his hat and a rod in one hand, to try luck from there. He's out of sight on the far shore, where the waves become silver as the big GTs flash in their turning hunts.

The waves surged around the point that is just out of view to the right of this picture.  It seemed to me the best use of my time would be to pound the eddies with repeated casts, hoping for a marauding stray. The GTs tend to prowl the reef edges. A few casts to an eddy for trout would either spook the fish or catch them, but here the hopeful repetition might even work. There is a sort of zen satisfaction to be had anyway, in putting the cast exactly where needed, over and over though nothing happens but the changing water.

The lure is a GT Ice Cream Needlenose, looks like not much, until retrieving at a good speed. Then it dances across the water much like an escaping lunch of tasty fishlet.

A heavy swirl missed the first strike, then made no mistake on the second attempt. By the time I'd recovered my wits the fish was a good hundred yards away and moving well.

This is my triple-luck GT -
luck 1, was using a rod borrowed from Andrew, with way more power than my little travel inshore reed;
luck 2, the fish ran straight out some 200 yards instead of out and around the corner into the coral;
luck 3, my good guide Charles got the boat moving to follow it out, not sure I'd have won back those 200yds without getting reefed on the way.

This shows how far off the island we went in pursuit.

The fish looks distinctly annoyed. I was perfectly happy. 

In a sense this fish was wasted on me. As Roderick Haig-Brown wrote about pike, 
To create a legend, time is needed. There must be time for stories to grow and men’s minds to work upon them and build them larger yet, time for eyes and minds made receptive by tales already told to collect and magnify new fragments of evidence, time for partisans of the growing myth to raise about its essential points a hedge of protecting dogma. These fish have every necessary quality - size, strength, ferocity, a cruel cold eye, a wicked head and a love of dark waters.
Andrew has been thinking about a good GT for years, investing time money and imagination into preparing: the right lure, rod, line, practicing the knots to hold in the terminal tackle. 
I had not put the dreaming time in to be ready. 

On the other hand - in 2003 I'd hooked a smaller GT of 10 pounds or so on a fly rod, which fish wrapped the line around two different coral bommies in short order. Charles swam out and freed the line from the first. The second was in twenty feet of water with a strong tide ripping over it and sharks circling. We broke the leader so the fish could escape. That fish I'll remember while memory remains. 

Thanks to niece Dr. Exceptional Jessica, for the pictures..