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Passages: Brooks Sweeting
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Page 1 of 1Total of 3 messages
Posted by:Jul 12th 2008, 10:00:43 am
ColinBrooks put me into more fish and provided my family with more joy doing it than any other fisherman. My first outing with him took us to one of his favorite holes for triggerfish. Between banging the side of the boat with his wood fish billy and singing to the fish, we caught more big triggerfish than I've seen since. He taught me to wait while the triggers nibbled the bait. He took me out trolling -- my favorite -- in his old handmade boat. We used to go out a mile or so offshore, riding the swells up and down the spine of Eleuthera. On my 20th birthday we went out and were trolling on the ocean side of Pierre's Island. I got a huge hit on my 50 pound trolling rig. But the ryhtmic zing zing zing of what seemed like a snag started singing out from a very unhappy reel. We stopped to make sure it was a snag. The line kept ripping out. The reel kept screaming. We got excited. Line was peeling out in such strips I feared the spool would empty. I screwed down the drag a few notches. When four wraps of line were left the fish stopped. I heaved on the rod, using all the strength in my arms, legs and back to pump the rod. No fancy harness. No safety line on the reel. Just me, a flotation cushion with a flimsy gimbal under my butt, a 50 pound rig and Brooks' little boat. After about half an hour we got the fish to within sight of the boat. It was the biggest barracuda Brooks or I had ever seen. We brought the fish, completely exhausted, alongisde the boat. It was about a foot longer than the boat. We tried the little gaff and it simply bounced off the fish's thick scales. We tried wrapping our arms around the fish behind the head (man, those teeth were big) and rolling it into the boat. We came closer to tipping the boat over than we did to getting the fish inside. We couldn't think of any way to get the fish in the boat so we decided to tow it in. Very carefully we edged him backward. Once his body swung behind the boat a small wave lifted us up. The line went slack and the hook slipped out of his mouth. He rocked back and forth, slowly. We worried he was already dead. Then his tail flicked. Slowly, his gill flaps began pumping again and he bgan to swim haltingly. He was about 20 feet down and 30 feet back by that point. We were briefly heartbroken but decided that the honor of reeling such a king of the deep up to our boat was compensation enough. We ended up cathing more than 400 pounds of fish that day, including a very nice 35 pound king mackerel. When we got to Government Dock my sister Laura snapped a photo of a smiling me holding that fish aloft. That picture still sits in our dining room 32 years later.
And it's all thanks to Brooks. God bless him and my condolences to his family.
Posted by:Jul 12th 2008, 04:00:34 am
Sue R.As an adopted member of the Chappell family, I would like to extend our sincerest condolences to all of the Sweetings – Phoebe, Rennie, Jacqueline, Timmy, Bernard and everyone – in your time of sorrow. Brooks was a long-time neighbour and friend and we will miss him. He was also the family’s favourite fisherman and took all of us out bottom fishing on countless occasions over the years. I myself first went out with him in 1966. Farewell to a fine seafarer! Rest in peace, Brooks!

Fondly, Sue

“So fare thee well, good Captain, you've been so kind to me/
And likewise my sailor lads, I'm sorry to part with thee.”
Posted by:Jul 11th 2008, 12:06:45 pm
Fig Tree News TeamWe regret to note the passing of long-time fishing captain Brooks Sweeting. Our condolences to his lovely wife Phoebe and his family, including Jacqueline, Timmy and Bernard.

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