Mixsonian Larry



The Helen S VI
The Helen-S VI

Me fishing on the Helen-SMe fishing on the Helen-S
(Eric sitting behind me)

The Guys at the Hotel

Eric was seriously into fishing and he found a three day, two night fishing cruise to the Bahama island of Bimini and then he talked Paul, Craig and I into going.   Bimini is a small island just sixty miles off the east coast of Florida so it is an easy boat ride to it.   We drove down to Pompano Beach early Friday morning and boarded the Helen S VI.  The Helen-S IV described as “the pride of a small feet of fishing vessels, built with long range trips in mind. In 1971, she was christened with the sole purpose of running trips to the Bahamas.”  The boat left port mid-morning for the four hour trip to Bimini arriving in time for a good half day of fishing. The Helen S. was a nice clean boat, seating for fishing along each side of a large interior galley, the boat could accommodate 30 people on each side (60 total) but there were Dinneronly half that many on the cruise so there was plenty of room.  The boat didn’t have sleeping quarters so each night we docked at Bimini and stayed the only hotel on the island. After checking in we had dinner at a restaurant in the town and went to bed early for the boat left just after sunrise Saturday morning for a full day of fishing.  RestingFishing was good, with us each catching a number of grouper, snapper and a few other smaller fish. It was fun but tiring in the hot sun and I had to take a break in the airconditioned interior galley.  At the beginning of the cruise we all put money into a pot which then each day, the person who caught the biggest fish that day one a portion of it.  The first two days a couple of ten to fifteen pounders were caught with me catching a few three to five pounders.  I had never caught such fish before. Fishing in freshwater the biggest thing I ever caught was a good sized catfish although Dad once caught a five pound bass but none of that compared to the fish we were catching.   We returned to Bimini at the end of the second day, again had dinner at the hotel which had a small reggae band playing so we listened to it while we had a couple more beers before turning in. 

Polaroid SX cameraJust before the trip I bought a new Polaroid SX-70 camera which made instant prints.  It was an expensive camera at $150 (about $500 today) and a film pack costing $7, but it was really cool to be able to take pictures and see them in minutes.  A nice feature was the cameral could fold flat making it easier to carry.  What also was kind of neat about the photos is there was a white space at the bottom of the photo to write about it.  

The third day we again left at sunrise for a half day fishing before heading back to Florida when we were not having much luck, so the Captain move to a new spot and we got into a school of Amberjack’s. I had never seen such large fish, a several twenty pounders were caught and a couple of 30’s.  We all had our lines out when the captain announced, “Pull in your lines, time to head for home.”  At that moment a fish hit my line, and my reel started screaming as the line rapidly played out.  Everyone else on the boat had pulled in their lines, I was the only one with a fish.  The fish I caught stopped going out, my pole bent over almost in half as I started reeling the fish in, I could tell it was a big one.  With no one else fishing, they all gathered around me and watched when, with about half the line back on the reel,  the fish took off on another run, the line screamed as it played out but not as long, nor as much as the first time.  The fish stopped running and I soon was again reeling the fish in.  Being the only one with a line out as helped as the captain maneuvered the boat so that my line didn’t get tangled in the propellers when the fish dove under the boat. Soon the fish started to become visible in the water,  CertificateI pulled harder, the fish rose to just under the surface and people were saying “it’s a big one” when the fish took off on another run.  Tt was tiring and didn’t go far when I reeled it back to the surface and then to the side of the boat where the crew, using a long gaff, hooked the fish. It took two of the crew to pull it out of the water and onto the boat where it was weighed.  52 pounds, I won the pot for the day and the big pot for the biggest fish of the trip, a $150 total.

The Big One

Updated: 03-14-2023