By: Bill Heick on January 4th, 2016
Indonesian turtle fishermen, during this period, lived on fish and rice. Three times a day, everyday. Our crew was no different. Wherever we were going there were hand lines out, gaffs at the ready, and plenty of excitement at the hookups. The fishing was incredible in the early years. Starting at G-land, which was totally alive with sea life, all we had to do was circle the Zodiac around the anchorage a few times, and boom, monster ulua, dorado yellow fin, and tengiri produced epic battles and gourmet meals. The crew couldn’t have been more stoked. The nightly barbecues were a smorgasbord of high quality protein.
Later on, as we got deeper east, into the Lesser Sunda island chain, the fishing wasn’t always great, as some areas had their own small fishing fleets and they had to go further and further out to find fish. It was here, especially around West Lombok, West Sumbawa, and South Sumba that we pulled out our secret weapon: Nelson! He had been spear fishing most of his life at various locales around the world and had all the prerequisites: patience, fearlessness, and huge lungs. Along with state of the art equipment. Nelson kept the crew happy, often whacking fish in the 40-50 kilo range. Sometimes he got more than one big one and it was too much to eat in a reasonable time and way more than we could keep cool until needed. It was here that we came up with a humanitarian gesture that provided loads of laughs for years to come. What we’d do with extra fish (and usually quite big ones) is Zodiac in to some low tide reef area, near a village, and find the most bedraggled, starving, dressed in rags, reef picker and give him/ her a 40, 50, or 60 lb game fish. These poor souls were out there trying to pick a few ounces of protein, then suddenly, Eureka! They’re walking back to their village dragging more meat than they could ever comprehend. Sometimes we’d sneak along behind and watch as the whole village went into a tizzy. What did he tell them? “Some big blonde guys with golden beards gave it to me”. Right!!??