01/02/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Midges



Those That Know Me Asked For It, So All Of You, Know Me Or Not, Are
Going to Get It - Extreme, X Rated, Hard Core Fishing Tales

The Old 5 Gallon Bucket Trick
I doubt there's anyone that's fished for billfish very much that hasn't heard of the 5
gallon bucket trick. One thing that has always impressed me is the fact that I don't
care how large and fancy of a sportfishing yacht one may have, it always seems to
have one or more empty 5 gallon buckets on it somewhere. That's because you can
put a rope on the swinging handle, toss it overboard, grab some water and wash
anything off the boat in a heartbeat. I've watch mates grab the bucket, get some
water and do that when right beside the bucket lay the hose to an expensive
pressurized saltwater water wash-down system alongside another hose from a
pressurized freshwater holding tank. On bottom-fishing boats, there's usually
several buckets. Five gallon buckets are used for everything from thawing out
frozen baits to waking someone up that sleeping on the when they shouldn't
be.They have a hundred uses including bailing out water from the boat when the
bilge pump doesn't work, and on smaller boats, they have even been used to save
a sinking boat - like my own 27 foot Sportscraft a few years ago. It not only saved
the boat, it may have saved the life of Tommy Powers, my dad and myself. We were
about 20 miles offshore when I discovered the hull was full of water below deck
because a stupid, no-good engine repair shop failed to put a plug in one of the I/O
outdrives when they replaced the gears in. It wasn't noticeable until we stopped
running to bottom fish. That let the hole in the outdrive below the water line. The
best use of all, however, is to turn the bucket into a hard fighting fish.

In the mid 1980's, I was producing some offshore fishing videos in the Cayman
Islands. My partner, back in the states at the time, owned several businesses, one
of which was being set up by this guy I'll just call Big Shot from now on. When I say,
being "set up", I really meant "established" but now that I have written "set up', I
realize it just so happens that it's the perfect description of what Big Shot was really
doing. You see, Big Shot had two big assets going for him. He was not only a big
liar, he was smooth as silk at it. He actually could sell an Eskimo ice. Somehow,
someway, I ended up with Big Shot coming down to join us for a day or two of marlin
fishing in the Cayman Islands. I doubt Big Shot had ever been on a canoe before
but to hear him tell it, he had fished all over the World and had caught black marlin
from the Great Barrier Reef and blue marlin from the Ivory Coast of Africa. I doubt
he had caught anything other than possibly a catfish from a "pay to catch" pond and
if that was ever the case, I can assure you of only one thing. He didn't pay for it -
someone else did.

Well big shot was supposed to be down in the Caymans working on a new big
Caribbean Oil distributorship deal that he was trying to con my partner into buying.
Meantime, my blind partner insisted Big Shot got to go on a marlin fishing trip with
me. Big Shot boarded the boat that morning in a new hundred dollar Jamaican silk
shirt that I'm sure he charged to my partner's credit card in the local gift shop and a
pair of sissy looking shorts that looked more like he had just returned from a
Hawaiian vacation. When we departed, he asked how long it would take to get to
marlin water. Little did he know in the Cayman Islands the water was over 5,000 feet
deep less than a mile from the shore. I didn't want to have to put up with him wanting
to be the first one to get in the fighting chair when we hopefully hooked up but I
couldn't think of a way out of it without getting into it with him. Suddenly, out of the
corner of my eye, sitting right below a glass etched custom-built cabin door that had
to of cost a few thousand dollars sit the answer to my problem - a 5 gallon bucket.

I climbed up on the fly bridge and set everything up with the boat captain, and then
the mates. Knowing Big Shot had been up all night partying, and knowing that he
thought we had to run a long way to fish, I knew if I played my cards right, I could get
him to fall asleep. I went into the air conditioned cabin and laid down in a recliner
chair as if it would be a long time before we got to fish. In less than a couple of
minutes, Big Shot came in and laid down on the huge, soft couch. There was about
a 6 foot sea and the boat was cruising at about 12 knots. It didn't take Big Shot but
about ten minutes to get rocked to sleep. As soon as he did, I sneaked back out on
the deck and let the boat crew and my cameramen know he was sleeping. The
captain very slowly got the boat speed down to about the normal 5 knots trolling
speed to keep from waking Big Shot. We put all of the lines out but one, 130# class
flat line.  I went back inside to make certain that Big Shot was still sound asleep. He
was not only asleep, he was snoring louder than the noise from both diesel
engines.In case you are not familiar, the 130# class tackle is largest of the big game
fishing setups. The drag is adjusted to just under a third of that or around 40
pounds. Pumping the rod with that drag will tire anyone out fast but for someone
who doesn't know how to use a fighting chair, it only takes minutes to do that. On
the end of the leader we tied the 5 gallon bucket and over it went. We started
laughing before we even got the line set.

I don't know how to explain the physics of a line attached to a swinging bucket
handle but just let me say it imitates the head movement of a billfish very well. It will
wear you out trying to reel it in with a dead boat and when a little forward motion is
applied to the boat, it will strip drag like an huge blue marlin.

I warned everyone not to laugh or look funny and then we started yelling "strike". I
opened the door and yelled at Big Shot. He jumped straight up off the couch and
headed to the deck asking "what, what". I said "a fish is on, you idiot". He didn't have
a clue what to do. One of the mates yelled at him to get in the chair. They strapped
him in and brought the rod to him. He just started trying to reel and he couldn't turn
the handle on the reel. The mates keep giving him some instructions or how to use
his legs and not his arms. He looked like a kid does the first time he ever tries to
ride a bicycle. Finally, mostly trying to use his arms, he got enough hang of it to
start tiring him out. When he did, the captain added a little throttle and Big Shot
yelled "something is happening-the reel is screaming". The clicker, which shouldn't
normally be on, was turned on to add to the excitement and the fish, or I mean
bucket, was taking drag.

It wasn't long before Big Shot was sweating like a mule plowing cotton (something I
haven't really seen but can imagine) and he was red as a beet. In about ten minutes
he was so tired he kept stopping pumping the bucket and we all would yell, "your
going to lose it". Finally, he asked if someone else would take his place. He
complained he couldn't do any more. One of the mates removed the fighting chair
harness from him and he almost fell out of the seat. At that point, the captain begin
to back down on the bucket and the mate begin to reel the line in. At first he didn't
notice but when he did he begin to ask what the new deal was. I can't repeat his
exact words but it was far worse than "why in the heck didn't you back the boat up
for me'. When the mate gaffed the bucket by the handle and sit it on the deck, I
though he was going to do his best to kill me. He turned and looked at me with the
strangest look I have ever seen. He was fighting mad but also very embarrassed.  
He didn't really know what to say or do, other than calling me every name he could
think of. Everyone, including the captain looking down from the bridge was laughing
as hard as they could. I just said, go back inside and get some rest "Big Shot".

Copyright 2010 James Marsh