and poaching violations. When the patrol boat finally showed up, the
officer in charge had no idea what the situation was. Communication
from the home base was sketchy. It took a lot of explaining to get the
story. The fact that a fisherman died after he was stabbed by a marlin is
difficult to believe. And there was no body.
Fortunately, Wilbur’s video had captured the bizarre occurrence.
The RBDF captain suggested strongly that the Dawn Lee and the
El Conquistador follow him to the Bahamas.
The Dawn Lee captain objected because he would have to pay the
fees for entering and leaving the Bahamas, overnight accommodations,
and lose the next day’s charter. The RBDF officer was stumped. He did
not think he could force the American boat into a Bahamian port for
what was essentially an accident investigation.
Wilbur had been in law enforcement his whole adult life. He knew
the situation had the potential to escalate. Since he had the video and
was an eyewitness, he volunteered to go with the El Conquistador,
which sailed out of Harbor Island in the Bahamas.
The officer nodded. “This is a good plan. Take the El Conquistador
and this gentleman to Harbor Island and we will come to see you in a
day or two.”
The three boats separated. The Dawn Lee headed back to Islamorada
in the Florida Keys with no fish, but one heck of a tale to tell. The
RBDF patrol vessel headed south on another call. The El Conquistador
went east for the long run to Harbor Island in the Bahamas.
Wilbur sat on the flybridge passenger seat while Luis leaned against
the rail. He remarked how strange it was to see a man killed by a
marlin. He also wondered what would become of Roger’s possessions.
“Well, the man didn’t just fall out of the sky. He must have some
family somewhere,” Wilbur said.
“Maybe, but when we were drinking, I got the feeling that he
was pretty much a loner,” Luis said. “‘Course lots of guys that come
through these islands are running, ya know?”
Wilbur was thoughtful for a minute. “I could see this would be an
easy place to get lost if you had a mind to. I guess you just need a wad
“Seemed Roger had that,” Luis said. “He paid a chunk for his boat
and stays over on Spanish Wells, a lobster fishing community not
far from where I keep my boat. The boat yard manager is my mate’s
cousin. Roger gave him enough cash to get the Catch ’Em, that’s the
name of his boat, to the head of the line for an engine refit. Everybody
knew that this Roger guy was spreading a lot of money around and was
always in a hurry.”
“He sounds like a man on the run.” Wilbur stood to stretch. “You say
the name of his boat is the Catch ‘Em?” Luis nodded. Wilbur immedi-ately
saw the irony.
“How much longer?”
“About three hours.”
This fish tale is about the recently retired police chief from Frostville,
N.C., Wilbur Bonnet’s first-time fishing for Marlin out of Islamorada
in the Florida Keys. Wilbur Bonnett and Frostville, N.C. are fictional.
Like all good fish tales this story is part truth, part fiction.