During the 1980s, many of my friends and acquaintances owned or worked for businesses in Ocean City, Md. Several of them traveled to Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton, Fla. to spend the winter. We visited our friends in Fort Lauderdale annually, and it was common to meet many of our acquaintances from Ocean City while we vacationed.On one of our trips, as we dined in Fort Lauderdale, we met Brenner, an Ocean City boat captain and his mate. They had brought a 48-foot-Hatteras-fishing boat from Maryland to Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano Beach, Florida. After brief negotiations, five of us chartered the boat for the next morning to go to Bimini in the Bahamas.
Early the following morning, as we began our 50 mile journey the mate tossed red bait — or chum into the royal blue Atlantic to attract fish. The chum formed a bloody stream behind the boat and we dragged several fishing lines through it. When a fish took the bait the line zinged as it unreeled. The zing alerted us to jump into the fighting chair to battle the fish.
When it was my turn, the mate harnessed me in the chair to prevent me from getting pulled overboard while I reeled in the fish. He showed me how to keep tension on the fishing line, so that I would not lose the fish.
I struggled with the fish for about 15 minutes, and I needed to use both my hands on the reel to bring it in. I caught a barracuda that weighed about 60 pounds, but with the fight it felt like it was about 200 pounds. We also caught dolphin –the fish not the mammal. This was my first time deep sea fishing, and I loved it.
When we arrived in Bimini, we docked at the Bimini Big Game Club marina. We gave the fish to the locals to clean and keep. Barracuda is poisonous, but they cleaned it so that it was edible.
We left the boat and as we walked down Bimini’s main street in Alice Town, several locals approached us selling drugs. We ignored them, and we attempted to stop into the End of the World Bar. When we stepped onto the shack’s sand floor, a man dropped his pants. We left quickly. I wonder what would have happened if we would have laughed — probably not a good idea.
We eventually returned to our boat and the three guys of our group, Doug, Joe, and Gene grilled hamburgers. Lucky for them, our boat was docked next to a yacht occupied by about 10 older men who ranged in age from 55 to 70 and their attractive hookers.
As the guys grilled, they watched the hookers and men drinking and walking in and out of their cabins and into cottages near our marina. They put on quite a show for my friends, and I have never seen the guys enjoy grilling this much.
That evening we went to The Compleat Angler which was a bar and lodging that had been frequented by Ernest Hemingway. We played the famous Compleat Angler ring-toss game with our captain, mate and some of the locals. The object of the game is to toss a metal ring that is attached to a rope that hangs from the ceiling onto a metal hook affixed to the wall. The locals were experts.
In addition to playing the game, we watched the “old men and the hookers’ show” continue in the bar. A few of the girls even danced on the tables.
Catching fish, the older men and hookers, and the dropped pants created an adventure. Our impulsive Bimini visit resulted in lasting memories.