Liberia: Sunday Dec 11: Getting Reel

Went fishing at Extreme Fishing Liberia with Capt. Flash, and deckhand Hasaan, I was worried about finding the location and getting there on time, so the hotel got me a $25 cab and then myself and William the driver set off. We passed through Monrovia and the market area that the day before had taken us 1.5 hours in about 30 minutes. No market and no traffic this early on a Sunday morning.
I was the first to arrive at Extreme Fishing. A guard was there and let us in. I paid the cabbie and left him a $5 tip. I also left my tablet in the car when I realized it later and called back to the hotel to ask them to see if William the cabbie found it and can leave it at the hotel for when I return.
Only one other paying customer – Steve – went with me. Capt Flash offered us coffee as we signed the liability waivers and paid our $200 charter fee. He questioned my long pants so I took off the lower legs of the convertible pants. He also said no shoes on the boat- we all left our footware at the dock. We were off.
We headed about 20 miles off shore and put the gear down in about 250 feet of water. The fishing is all at the surface, with lures that mimic flying fish, I think, with a lure and a hook trailing behind. We put out 8 rods with out rigger poles to keep the gear spread and fished at about 7.5 knots.
We fished all morning without a strike. They had sandwiches on great bread, chips, cookies, and pop, water, beer and hard cider to drink. Later in the day they broke out some nice Lebanese cold pizza. We finally got a fish on about 115. Steve was on the rod. I’m guessing he fought it for 15 minutes or less – about the time a good king salmon might take. I saw the fish come to the boat and it looked brown. Then I saw something poking out of the water and thought I heard someone say it was a tuna and so thought that it was hooked by the tail and that was the top of the tail. Then Flash grabs the thing sticking out of the water and he hauls aboard a 60 lb sailfish over the rail. It’s as wide as the boat deck. What a beautiful fish. It almost looked more like a painting or a fish mount than a live fish. Somehow, he’s able to put a towel over it’s head and he gently held it on the deck. It hardly flapped. Then it was calm. I cut the gills and it never kicked or anything. I don’t know what he did. He says he lands his fish that way without a club to knock them out. It’s his way of honoring and respecting the fish I think.
We had several more strikes and fish were on for a second or two but we caught no more. We also got in a pod of maybe a hundred cool dolphins with rosy colored bellies. Some of them would come out of the water spinning around gracefully, and others would come out spinning sideways and sort of bellyflop ungracefully into the water. It was really a great day and neat to learn another kind of fishing on my first ever deep sea fishing trip. Flash said he has trouble selling all of his catch and that tuna, in particular, don’t freeze well so I’ll see what I can think of for having him move more of it. He could hardly have made any money today after paying for gas, but that’s why it was great going with a guy like him and Hasaan – they’d have gone anyway, paying guests or no.
We returned to their dock, and I thought Tamba was waiting for me. He said he was. Back at my hotel. We crossed wires. So, I sat down and bought a few beers at Flash’s Bar. Sunday is family night there where his restaurant is open and the mix of Liberians and Lebanese was most pleasant, along with us two Americans and Flash’s wife, who may be Russian or Eastern European. I watched a worker butcher the sailfish filleting it with a dull paring knife. I wondered why the skin didn’t just come off like a salmon, so I grapped a piece, showed him how to do it so it would all come off, then he went back to doing it his way. Oh well. We got a few loins from it that I”ll give to Tamba and Patrick.
Tamba and I left about sunset so drove most of the way to Tubmanburg in the dark. We arrived without incident to some rustic, clean accommodations.

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