Confession: Prize catch in Barbados proves the luck of the Irish

In this month’s Confession, we hear how a novice fisherman’s prize catch led to some confusion about his choice of boat

Several years ago my wife and I travelled from Northern Ireland to Barbados for a holiday destination on the north-west coast of the island.

We were delighted to find stunning scenery and picturesque white sandy beaches. After spending a couple of days exploring the local area I planned to fulfil a long-awaited dream and embark upon of a deep-sea fishing trip.

I made contact with a local charter company and arranged to join three other novice fishermen for a day at sea, each of us paying about £30 for our share of the boat charter.

Early the following morning we met on the beach awaiting collection for the fishing expedition, however we discovered that the approach to shore was too shallow for the fishing boat and that we would have to travel out to deeper waters in an ancient 8ft-long fibreglass dinghy, which was in poor repair and worn with age.

Seawater quickly filled the bottom of the dinghy from a variety of leaks and the open bunghole when all four of us climbed aboard, but fortunately the journey was only about 200 yards to the charter boat.

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A young lad, with strength belying his age, had the unenviable task of rowing us out there with mismatched oars.

After familiarising ourselves with the equipment on the fishing boat, we baited our outrigger lines, and once prepared we headed out in search of the fishing grounds about seven miles from
the mooring.

It was a warm day with the bright sunshine reflecting off the moderate swells of the crystal clear water. It wasn’t long before a variety of fish started to strike our lines.

We caught bonito and barracuda and then suddenly my line pulled hard and following a short but energetic fight, I could see my catch from some distance as I slowly reeled it in.

I managed to hook a 5ft-long kingfish weighing in at 30lb. The skipper told me that this was a local delicacy and a prize catch.

Following a successful day with bountiful results we headed back to the resort and the skipper returned to his mooring some distance from the beach.

On boarding the dinghy once again I perched on the bow thwart proudly carrying my prize catch across my lap, the head of the kingfish in the water to the port side and the tail touching the
water to starboard.

An interested group quickly gathered on the beach to watch our journey in, including the head chef from our nearby hotel.

The chef quickly approached me to purchase the kingfish and after a short haggle we agreed the deal at £30 in local currency and headed back to the hotel with the grubby bank notes clutched in my fish-scaled hands.

That same evening we enjoyed the very same kingfish for our main course at the hotel. It was delicious – and the price of my catch refunded my day’s expenses.

Later I reflected on my day of excitement and success and thought about repeating the experience. The next morning I set out to interest several other holidaymakers from the resort in another charter fishing trip.

One man I approached turned out to be an Englishman who had watched me arriving on the shore with my catch the day before. He was unexpectedly hesitant when I invited him to join our planned trip and he admitted that he had never gone fishing before.

He asked me how far we had travelled out to go fishing and how long we had been at sea. I replied that we had ventured about six or seven miles out to sea for about five hours.

He looked incredibly shocked and said that there was absolutely no way he would be prepared to go more than 20ft in that little old dinghy, let alone six or seven miles.

Before I had the chance to explain he muttered that it was little wonder that Irishmen were called mad and scurried off into the distance!

The author of every confession we print wins the original Stephen Shaw cartoon artwork (above) and an Icom IC-M23 Buoyant VHF Marine Transceiver handheld VHF radio worth £165.

For your chance to win, spill the beans on your funniest boating moments in 650 words. Email your story to:


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