Thanks to Tom Tomfohrde of Hilton Head Island for sharing the story of an epic father-son fishing trip.
'A Winter Fish Story'
By Tom Tomfohrde
In February, Merry Harlacher, Jim Delligatti, John Nowacek and I, all from Hilton Head Island, flew to Puerto San Jose, Guatemala, for the "world's best sailfishing."
We thought the special thing about this four-day trip was that we could be joined by our sons from across the United States -- Washington, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Indeed, we had a ball, fishing from three charter boats. We raised 132 sailfish to the bait and brought 101 to the boats, where all were released unharmed.
We also caught mahi-mahi, most of which became lunch on the boats or dinner at the lodge.
But the real fish tale was about to unfold.
On the third day, I brought a lovely mahi-mahi cow (female) to the boat. Capt. Carlos said, "That fish is in love; see her husband (a large male, or bull) swimming behind her?"
I said, "Let's not break up a happy family," and the female was released to swim away with her mate.
"I hope the lord of the sea blesses us for our good deed," I said.
Shortly thereafter, Rick Tomfohrde, Merry and I hooked three large sailfish nearly simultaneously.
A "triple" landing on sailfish is highly unusual. Most anglers never have the experience in a lifetime of fishing.
But as the mate was frantically reeling in the fourth line to get it out of the way, another sailfish crashed the bait.
Four 120-pound sailfish were simultaneously running and jumping in all directions.
The mate, Jorge, set the drag to allow the fourth fish to run out slowly, while we played the first three fish, which all were released unharmed. The first angler to release a fish grabbed the rod with the fourth fish still hooked and jumping, now far from the boat.
Most experienced fishermen would agree that landing a "quad" of sailfish is impossible because lines will be cut immediately if they cross while running under high tension.
However, the fourth fish was landed safely, a feat that none of the anglers had ever heard of and never expect to see again.
The crew was so excited that the second mate, Christian, jumped into the water with a camera to take a photo of the fourth fish, with the name of the boat, before it was released to swim away safely.
I'd like to say it was the skill of the anglers, but more importantly, it was the skill of an outstanding captain who handled the boat like a sports car to help keep the fish separated.
But most importantly, it was our blessing from the lord of the sea.
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