Catching Dinner at Barbados’ Colony Club


Above: on the sea on Barbados’ Platinum Coast (all photos by CJ)

By Alexander Britell

ST JAMES, BARBADOS — “Why are you whispering?” Captain Rory asked me.

“So I don’t scare off the fish,” I said.


Rory was leading a group of us near a section of reef just off Barbados’ Platinum Coast.

We were here for some line fishing on a Thursday afternoon —and to catch our next meal.


Above: shades of blue in Barbados

Twice each week, Mondays and Thursdays, the Colony Club hotel sends out a pack of intrepid guests to speed out about a mile off the beach and reel in some sea creatures.

It’s called “bait to plate.”

On this day, there was only one kind of fish interested enough in our collective pitch — the spiny-backed cook, an angry little creature who reveals a fan of sharp talons whenever caught — or touched.


For me, it was slow.

“That’s why they call it fishin’ not catchin,” I remembered.

Then, on a clear blue day, on clear blue water, more cooks began to pop up.

Then, after about 25 minutes, came mine.

A nibble, then a longer nibble, then a pull and I drew in the line and found my own cook, spines and all.


“Will you keep it?” Rory asked.

“I will be clement,” I told him.

We threw it back into the sea.

And so my dinner went back to the water, and our boat to the shore, and I put my fate in the hands of a different kind of cook.

— CJ

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