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During my daily morning bike ride through the islands trails, I planned my day. Conditions are crucial; wind, sun and tides create special recipes for diverse activities. Sunrise crept over the horizon, and beams of light shot through the sky. The Columbus pass and near-shore waters looked like glass. I decided to start with early morning top water fishing. My target area was the maze of reef cuts adjacent to Tarpon Point on the northwest tip of Ambergris Cay.

I started with a chug plug and spinning rod. My first cast was right on a boiling eddy created by the corner of a spectacular and brightly colored reef. My plug landed; I let it sit for a moment, and then began twitching the lure across the water towards the boat. Chug, chug, SLAM! My lure exploded as if a bowling ball had been dropped on it. It was a 5-pound bar jack. It fought well, with jerky head shaking motions and short powerful runs.

I speeded my retrieval on the next cast and I glimpsed a four-foot missile traveling at mach 10 to my lure. CRASH! BAM! SLAM! I set the hook, and the battle began. The fish launched five feet in the air I realized it was a barracuda! My light spinning rod was put to the test, and after ten minutes of heart pumping action, the ‘cuda was next to the boat. As I leaned over to release him, I saw five other enormous ‘cudas. With my fish exhausted, I tried an old trick. I put the rod in the rod holder, let the ‘cuda swim under the boat and grabbed my fly rod. I tossed a half-dozen pilchards on top of the ‘cuda. WOW! The other ‘cudas went nuts! I flipped the fly in the water, stripped it once and the mouth of a 30-pound Alpha male engulfed the popping fly right in front of me! As he turned, I set the hook and he blasted into the air like a silver missile.

Three casts and it wasn’t yet eight o’clock. Just another morning on Ambergris Cay!

Captain Byron Sewell

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