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Old 07-02-2013
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Re: Catching/Eating fresh fish

Ciguatera !!!!! .... especially for reef fish. Potentially fatal malady.

"dipsticks" are becoming available, but not 100% effective for assaying if the reef fish you are eating are free of ciguatera. When traveling in such areas its usually best to BUY your fish from the local population who know which fish and when these fish are free from ciguatera‎
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Old 07-02-2013
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Re: Catching/Eating fresh fish

I am in my 11th year as a full time liveaboard cruiser and would have died of starvation had I been relying on the fish I caught while trolling on passage. Sure we catch some but not enough.

However in the 90s when I was on a tight budget and underwater hunting with a spear gun was less regulated, myself and the cats ate pretty well. I would have been able to eat fish every day.

Nowadays spear fishing is much more regulated, i.e. basically banned for cruisers in the Eastern Caribbean except for the French islands so you might have to go with line fishing.

This will still be pretty successful but it will take longer, a lot longer! Best bait will be small live fish which you catch with a trap or cast net.

The local fisherman are your best guide as to which areas and fish are safe. Cultivate them.

There is an exception to the ban on spearfishing in the Eastern Caribbean, lionfish are not native to this area but have spread throughout the area. Most islands seem to be in the process of getting more aware of the problem and relaxing the rules to allow lionfish to be taken by any means including spearfishing.

They are supposed to be good eating!
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Old 07-02-2013
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Re: Catching/Eating fresh fish

Lionfish are excellent table fare, however, handling them can be extremely dangerous. The tip of each spine is a small hypodermic needle filled with toxin. While an adult is unlikely to die from an inflicted wound, the pain can be absolutely excruciating.

Hook and line fishing is the best advice I have. Use strips of cleaned, washed squid, whole shrimp, live or dead, chunks of cut fish, etc..., rigged on a 1/0 wide-gap hook and a top & bottom rig. Fish the open patches of sand between the reefs and you'll find lots of fish.

Outside tropical areas, fish the shallow drop-offs, depths ranging 12 to 10 feet are usually the most productive, locations where baitfish and shrimp are prevalent and dissolved oxygen levels are highest. Schooling species, striped bass, bluefish, croaker, spot, etc..., tend to migrate through these areas during tidal changes. Shallow water areas tend to be best during incoming tide, while the outer edges of shallow drop-offs are often highly productive during the ebb.

Trolling with artificial lures from a moving sailboat is rarely productive for a variety of reasons. More often than not, the boat is traveling much too fast unless you're trying to catch pelagic species, tunas, billfish, some species of sharks. And, anything over 6 knots is often too fast for them as well. Additionally, those species tend to roam the canyon edges and offshore lumps, locations where most boaters do not frequent. Sure, you can luck across a mahi or tuna once in a while, but the odds are not favorable.
Good Luck,

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