A Barracuda Catch
by Ann Mones
(Vieques, Puerto Rico)
In 1987 on our 26' Oday we made a trip from Miami to Key West, Florida. We wanted to see the gulf side of the Keys so went to lighted marker that would eventually take us to the 7 mile bridge of the Florida Keys.
We spent the night at the marker and headed out the next morning for the 7 mile bridge. My husband had one lure for a trolling line and deployed it as we headed east. About 1 1/2 hours into the cruise we had a catch. It was quite exciting until we got the creature aboard and found out we had a barracuda.
We were standing on the cockpit seats while the barracuda was on the floor of the cockpit. My husband wanted to retrieve his only lure from the barracuda's jaw. He gave it a few tries but looking at those teeth said it was never going to happen.
Within about 10 minutes the decision was made to return our catch to his environment with the lure. We hope the hook eventually disappeared and let the barracuda continue on in his life.
We were so excited about even having a catch that we did not notice that we were turned around and were headed west back to where we had spent the night.
At that time we used paper charts, and I was the chart reader. I kept saying to my husband that the chart and eye sightings were not matching. When we reached the marker, we both burst into laughter and continued to tease one another as we redid our morning adventure.
We eventually did reach the 7 mile bridge but have continued to relive that adventure many times as novice sailors back then!