Rough & Tough!

We had several trips but I’ve been a bit too busy with the Holidays, to sit down and write reports, but I figured I better make time to write a quick report anyway.  There has been plenty of Dolphin, Tuna’s, and Sails around if you can tough out the wind and seas.  The BEAST makes it a lot easier to deal with on her catamaran hull.

Andrew Fitzpatrick was an exchange student at UM a while back.  He came back to Miami on holiday to visit his buddies here in Miami.  They wanted to reminisce and catch fish.  We shoved off on time and made way for our bait patches.  We had no trouble catching bait that morning but we were on pre-front conditions, which I absolutely hate.  After catching our bait we headed out to the blue water.  We struggled for a while getting our down rod bit up but not hooked up.  We could tell by the bite marks that the fish were small.  We finally nailed a small Cero Mackerel.  That answered that question.  As the day moved along we caught several Skipjacks.  This seemed to be the predominate catch rolling down the corridor we were fishing. The day dragged on and the seas built up with each minute.  As the time was running low we had a taker on the short rigger and here we go.  Sailfish!  The guys were happy to see that fish as it did its acrobatics out of the water.  It was a great ending to a relatively unspectacular day.

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The next day we had a ½ day trip with Tyler and Justin.  It was a morning trip and I was a bit concerned because I really don’t care to do half days during live bait season.  By the time you run out there catch bait and allow for running back in, you only get about 2 to 2½ hours of good fishing time,  I was praying that the bite was on.  We hit our worm bed and quickly collected plenty of good baits.  We blasted out of there, heading for the edge.  We had barely come to rest and put the spread out when we were hit with some nice chubby Dolphin.  We worked the birds in the area and came up with a small “Gaffer” to go along with the “schoolies”.

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The Dolphin passed on through and the action slowed for 15 minutes or so and then the Bonito arrived.  We caught some hefty 15 pound Boneheads until it was time to pack it up.

OK!  I spent Christmas eve with all the grandkids and today I just lazed out.  I hope everyone had a really nice Holiday season.  We’re all rested up now and the fish are definitely out there… so let’s get after ‘em.

Capt. Jim

Changing up!

We’ve had some very windy weather with a few days of calm thrown in for a tease. During this past weather spell we had 7 trips booked with 4 different customers. Unfortunately our good customer, Steffen from Munich, had to cancel 2 days before his trips(2) because of a family medical emergency. Ivan and Ken, from Gibraltar Spain, fished 3 days with us. Day 1 weather was a beautiful day for a boat ride. They arrived about an hour late. Devon and I had already caught a bunch of small Jack Crevalles under the dock, for bait. We blasted straight out to one of our favorite worm holes. The Ballyhoo came up quickly in good numbers and they were hungry. We spent 20-30 minutes of hooking and then I tossed the net twice. We had plenty of worms and we were on our way. The seas were almost flat calm. What a gorgeous South Florida day. I told Ivan it was too nice for fishing in fall/winter but he was happy anyway because he tends to get seasick. We fished hard trying everything from the surface to the bottom. We had a half dozen bites or so from smaller fish but just couldn’t seem to get hooked up right. It’s been a very long time, beyond memory, since we had a “skunk” trip and I thought that this was going to be the day. Thankfully a kamikaze Cero Mackerel stayed pinned to the hook and came aboard. Whew! That fish took that proverbial skunk off of the boat. A sorry day of fishing but Ivan was thrilled that he didn‘t get seasick. It was his first day since he started fishing with us in 2007 that he could fish all day offshore without an inkling of sickness. On day 2, Ivan and Ken arrived on time and we shoved off. Bait fishing was a bit tougher because the winds had the boat laying against the tide. We collected our baits as quickly as we could and headed offshore. The sea conditions started out lumpy and were forecasted to get bigger. Bigger was an understatement. By the afternoon we had scored a couple of Skipjacks and a large Barracuda. That was right in Ivan’s game plan since he had his sights set on heading inshore and doing some shark fishing. When we could no longer see over the top of the waves, Ivan threw in the towel and we headed in. I headed for a good shark spot but the conditions were crap so I hit spot #2. The conditions there were perfect. We had our bait in the fish box and we cut it up and set out a float line on top and dropped one to the bottom about 10 feet from the boat. 15 minutes into the set and we had the bottom rod clicking off slowly. We came tight but the fish had only cut off half of the bait. This happened 2 more times before the fish came up on the float rod. Shazaam! It’s a 7-8’ Hammerhead trying to take in the floater. I don’t know how these sharks survive because they are terrible feeders. Their mouths are so small that they have a hard time taking in a bait that another comparable sized shark would consider a tidbit. We missed him several more times and he gave up on feeding and just swam around erratically on the surface before going under.  photo 14648-N90-Hammerhead4-13_zps652b2178.jpg As the Hammer disappeared the bottom rod began strolling away and the stroll turned into a run. “Throw up the lever and get on ‘em!” Ivan did just that and it was on! Less than 30 seconds into the fight and we had a Blacktip 6’ in the air. The fish made another run and went airborne again. So cool! Ivan fought the fish for about 10 minutes and it came to the boat. We released a nice 6’ Blacktip about 80-90 pounds. We reset the baits. Not too much time passed when I noticed the bottom rod loading up again. The clicker barely made a sound but I knew we had something going down. Ken grabbed the rod and I told him to crank hard to come tight because the fish was coming toward the boat. Sure enough… there he is! This fight didn’t last long as we saw the fish pass by the boat and it was a “Homer” (Nurse shark). A few minutes later we had another release. Ivan was happy with Day 2 and pulled the plug because they had dinner plans that evening. They took several days off and had booked to return to us later in the week. Ken and Ivan arrived on time and we had a good day to start off. Seas were running about 2-3’ and the bait was easy. We crushed the worms in short order and blasted out to the blue water. We had barely gotten the lines in the water when we noticed a pair of Frigate birds working close by. I made a turn and bumped the throttles a touch to intercept these birds. Bam! We had a bait hit and crushed on the short rigger line and then the long flat line takes off. Kaboom! Ken grabs the rod and we are hooked up. It was a “Slammer” Dolphin, Dorado, Mahi, whatever name you choose, but I called this one a big Bull! While Ken was tied up into the Bull, a decent “Gaffer” Cow hits the long rigger line and we are doubled up. We had Ivan and Ken doing a fire drill on the boat. Ivan gets the Cow to the boat and Devon sticks the steel to her. One down and one to go. Ken works hard, retrieving 20 and then losing 30, gaining 30 and losing 10. Finally we have the Bull at the boat and Devon clocks him with the gaff and stones him with one pull. We have a beautiful matched set… 13# Cow and a 28# Bull. We pulled that off just like its written in the Dolphin fishing handbook. Pretty work!  photo 20131109_095830_zpsa23fe49c.jpg That was a great start to the day and it continued on, never going much longer than 15 minutes or so before another hook up. We tallied several Skipjack (14#), 4 Bonito (12#), a Yellow Jack (14#), an undersized Cobia, and a small Kingfish. It was only about 1 PM and the seas had risen to solid 5 footers. Ivan was turning green and finally about 1:30 he requested to go shark fishing again in the quiet water. Ken, although having an absolute blast, went along with the change. We went inside and set up but the tide was wrong, so we did the best that we could. We only had one bite. It was a big ‘Cuda that aired it out on a live Blue Runner on the float line and cut it in half. That was it. Stick a fork in us, we’re done! Ivan had a blast and always remarks about how much fun he has fishing with us. It must be so because he has only had 1 day in 6 years that he didn’t fight off the sea sickness. The next few weeks should be showing some good Dolphin fishing as they scamper south ahead of these fronts. The holidays are coming up quick. If you have someone in your life that is hard to buy for, call me, I have an idea! Capt. Jim The BEAST 305-233-9996

On & Off Fishing!

The Harbor Club from NYC came to visit us again to do some fishing.  Charlie (Chief), Yalkin, Frankie, and Richard booked us for 2 days.  As always, they relayed that they would not be arriving before 9AM.  Yalkin absolutely refuses to do anything earlier than that.  They arrived at The BEAST around 9:30 and by the time we loaded everyone and their gear it was almost 10.  I turned The BEAST out and we made way to pick up our bait for the day.

We arrived at a hardtail spot and picked up about 6 baits then hit another spot and picked up another half dozen.  I pushed down on the throttles to head for a ballyhoo patch.  The ballyhoo have made their way into our area in great numbers and are not wise to the bait collecting process yet.  They came up pretty easy considering the sun was high in the sky.  We hook and lined about 2 dozen quickly.  I broke out the 10’ Calusa cast net and captured about 4-5 dozen on the first throw and another 2 dozen on the second toss.  That’s plenty of baits for this day.  We motored out to the blue water to begin the hunt.

Devon put out a 5 line spread with 4 up and 1 down.  I slow trolled the baits on the edge but nothing was happening.  I decided to head out into deeper water and within minutes we got covered up with some school sized Dolphin.  We boxed the good sized fish and this scenario played out another time or two.  We were working the 3rd barrage when I saw a big cow come into the melee’.  She was attacking the smaller fish, although I’m not sure if she was actually trying to eat them or eat the baits that were hanging out of their mouths.  Devon grabbed a ballyhoo and tossed it in front of her but she ignored it.   He quickly changed up and pinned a small blue runner onto the hook and tossed it out to her.  Her antics were frantic and she dismissed the runner as well.  This went on for about 5 minutes and then she disappeared.  As Devon reorganized the cockpit to set out another spread I drifted the runner bait about 30 feet from the boat.  There she is!  She swooped in and ate the bait.  I free lined her for 5 seconds, engaged the reel, and handed it off to Richard.  She’s on!  30 seconds and 2 jumps later she is off.  Oh yeah, that’s not frustrating.  As Devon was putting out the new spread I saw a flash behind the mid bait.  I focused my attention there and sure enough she is back.  Devon baits her with another small runner and she teases us by charging it and then retreating.  Suddenly she just charges in and grabs the bait and Devon let the reel free line.  She was peeling line off and after a good run off we decided to see if she had the hook deep enough to result in a solid hook up.  Devon engaged the reel.  Boom!  She’s on Bruddah!  He hands the reel to Richard again and this time she is hooked up tight.  In the meantime we had a couple more decent school fish come in and eat.  We were sizing up the Cow and guessing it to be somewhere around 20 pounds.  She was spent and reluctantly came to the boat where Devon put the steel to her.  As he pulled the fish over the side she just kept growing.  The tail finally crossed the gunwale and we couldn’t believe her size.  This fish was large for a cow dolphin.  We took some measurements after we settled down.  She was over 49” long and pulled the scale down to 35 pounds.  NICE!

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We proceeded through the rest of the afternoon with waves of dolphin coming into the spread.  We also caught a couple of Silky sharks and the Chief managed to get a nice young Bull of 15 pounds as well.  The day finished up with a tally of 10 very nice Dolphin in the box.

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Days 2 was a complete opposite of Day 1, on & off, the yin & yang.  The guys arrived real late, about 10:30, which definitely started us off on the wrong foot.  We managed to get bait but it was quite a bit tougher than the previous day.  Against our recommendations, they wanted to do some wreck fishing.  I warned them that it is quite late in the season to try and wrestle AJ’s.  The first wreck we went to showed nothing.  OK, let’s try a Mutton Snapper spot instead.  The first drop produced a Barracuda.  On the next 2 drifts we got hooked up to what seemed to be some decent Muttons but they got sharked about half way up to the surface.  A couple more drifts had the same uneventful results.  I convinced them to go back to live baiting the surface to see if we could muster up some more dolphin that day.  We managed to miss a couple of mackerel bites but that was it for the remainder of the afternoon.  That was a really sad result for Day 2.   Starting so late and wanting to fish for species that are not really in season, does not make for a great day.  If you want to have a busy successful trip, it is best to let the charter crew do what they do best… catch fish!

Our fall/winter fishing is one of my favorites.  November through early December is a great time for Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) passing through our waters while heading for their winter staging areas.  The Mackerels (King and Cero) will be moving onto the reefs and drop-offs during that time as well.  Our prime Sailfish season is about to get under way and battling these gamesters on 20# spinning tackle is hard to beat.  One thing is for sure… You can’t catch fish from the living room couch!   Quit watching TV fishing show reruns, get out of the house, and let’s go fishing!

Capt. Jim

Unsettled Weather...

Our good customer, Jon, flew in from Atlanta for his 3rd trip this year!  I can’t begin to count how many times he has fished with us since we first met in 1998 but we welcome his every visit. He always comes by himself for these “mental health” days and there is never any pressure to produce fish.  He just wanted to get on the water, relax, troll a few baits, and catching some fish just makes it that much better.

As I headed toward the boat on Wednesday morning, the skies opened up.  Devon was fighting his way to the Marina in a torrential downpour.  I checked the radar on my phone and it looked like a small hurricane, pretty grim for a 7 AM takeoff.  I called Jon and him to take his time.  He stopped to grab some breakfast and arrived about 7:45.  We all gathered and hung out under the T-top checking our radar apps every 10 minutes.  Around 8:30 we decided to go sit in our cars for a bit.  Devon and I jumped in his truck and monitored the radar.  At 9:08 we saw a weather break where the thunder-boomers had dissipated to the East.  That is where we were heading for the day.   It looked like we had a good chance to get this trip done.  We climbed on The BEAST and motored out to catch a few quick baits in case we needed to toss a live bait at some big fish.  We got about 8 or 9 baits and headed out through the cut.

There were light winds but the outer reef line had some big water rolling in.  The seas were nice leisurely 4’ rollers.  We made our way out to an area that I had a gut feeling about.  We hadn’t fished very long when  we picked up a pair of Dolphin(fish).  One was definitely over the legal size but the second fish was clearly not.  Devon unhooked it and pitched it overboard.  We worked our way around the area.  Ka-Pow!  A fish hit the larger rig on the sub surface “hope & prayer” long line.  It’s pulling like a heavier fish when Jon grabs hold of the rod.  For all of the show this fish put on in the beginning, it didn’t take Jon long to take the fight out of this fish.  When the fish came to the stern we were surprised to see a small Silky Shark of about 3 ½ feet.  Devon pulled it aboard and had to work for a few minutes to get this hook out.  The hook is out, a quick release, and we got back at it.

The action slowed down for about 45 minutes.  We got a couple of swing and misses as we covered water, and the conversation was good.  Here comes that feeling again.  The water just didn’t look right to me.  I turned The BEAST and began looking for better water.  There was nothing, not a weed, not a board, not a stick, not even a piece of paper floating anywhere.  I was telling Jon that some of our biggest Dolphin come out in the middle of nowhere, just like this.  Another 10 minutes passed and... Ba-Boom!  The right rigger line is screaming out!  Whatever this is it’s a nice one.  Woohoo!  The fish leaps from the water and it is plain to everyone aboard that this is a nice Cow.  Devon is clearing the other rods and I quickly pin a live bait on a big spinner.  I pitched the bait into the vicinity of that cow in case there is a Bull running with her, but once again it’s another Cow running solo.   One is better than none!  Jon works the fish to the port side and Devon has the 5” steel ready.  He snatches back on the gaff and lifts her into the boat.  Jon is not one for photos but he was glad to pose with this one.  Devon scaled the fish and it pulled the Boga grip down to 29.5 pound... WTH, let’s just call it 30.

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Of course, before we put out the lines we went through the congratulatory phase.  Why not?  Everything went perfectly, by the book, a well oiled machine, not the usual nervous fire drill.  The lines went out again.  Time passed and we were in a desert now.  We did find scattered weeds with some big mats but down in the water we could see Moon Jellies everywhere under the weeds.  No self respecting fish would be taking his chances dodging the hoards of those stinging things.  We passed some time as Jon told us of his elephant hunt in Africa and the leopard hunt he had scheduled in the spring.  Hunting stories were the topic for a good while.  Devon said, “Jon, something just tripped the down rod, it’s not big but it is a fish.”  Jon cranks the fish in easily, because it is only a little 5 pound Caribbean Spotted Mackerel.

I worked in to shallower waters and the Bonito found us.  The first pair were better sized in the 15 pound range.  We didn’t go too far when they found us again but this was a school of 10 pounders.  I think we caught 5 out of 8 or 10.  Jon said “Let’s get out of here!”   I ran SE and we found a weed line with  plenty of flotsam in it but there were no fish.  We worked it for a while longer and then we all decided to pull the plug since it was getting pretty late in the evening.  We tightened up the boat and I pointed The BEAST toward the barn and pushed the throttles down.  It wasn’t a banner day but it was a good day, with good company, and 1 very good fish for sure.  The total tally for the day was 3 Dolphin, 1 Silky Shark, 1 Barracuda, and 5 Bonito.  Not too shabby for an unsettled day in August!

Capt. Jim

"Nasty" Night!

Tuesday night we had a Cubera trip reserved for Marty and our friend CL from North Carolina.  Unfortunately they had to cancel.  We hadn’t rebooked that night so I called Devon and he rounded up my 2 daughters Missy and Amy.  Of course we invited my buddy, Uncle Al as well.  This trip was going to be a fun trip with no pressure to perform, just a leisurely stroll to Nastyville.

We hooked up at the dock at 3 PM, checked all of the running lights, and paid a visit to the fuel dock to drop $300 worth of petrol into The BEAST.  We moseyed out into the Bay then I throttled up the ponies and let The BEAST run.  We arrived at a likely spot to start catching lobster.  Devon and Uncle Al slid into the water.  They were fighting a strong outgoing tide, 2-4’ seas, and an entire platoon of Moon Jellyfish.  They were doing fairly well on the bug collecting when Al said his legs had enough of the Jellies and shortly thereafter, Devon couldn’t clear his one ear.  No problems, no pressure, it’s family having fun!  11 bugs should do us fine.  There was some heavy rain moving in on us so I made a dash toward Cubera City to outrun the rain.

We arrived in the area and while I drifted around getting an idea of what was going on in the water, Devon rigged the terminal tackle for the main show.  Missy grabbed a small speed jig and made a cast toward a Sooty Tern working the water.   There he is!  She is hooked up, first cast and first fish of the evening turns out to be a chunky Bonito.  Amy, Missy, and Uncle Al continue working the speed jigs and Al gets the bump.  He’s working another tuna-type fish when suddenly the door gets slammed on him.  He can’t move this fish and then it begins to move.  Everyone was saying he must’ve hooked into a garage door.  After another 10 minutes of grunting, huffing, and puffing, the leader parts.  Al thinks the original catch had been eaten by a big shark.  We dropped down a couple of Mullet that we netted in the Marina earlier.  We got a swing and a miss on the mullet.  The mullet came up with fang marks in it.  OK. Let’s get after our target species.

It wasn’t dark yet but we went ahead and dropped a bug down.   Everything is perfect, light current at 1 knot and I could work the boat and keep that drift down to .1 or .2 knots, that’s lobster walking speed.  The only thing that wasn’t absolutely perfect were the 2-4’ seas but that’s nothing The BEAST can’t handle comfortably.  On about the 3rd drift we lose one rig to the bottom but I have found the drift line.  Next drop and we get a bite but it doesn’t hook up.  The bait came up split in two pieces.  Next drop and, Bam!  Missy jumps on the rod and gets to feel the real  power these fish have.  She was just telling us how she worked out her guns at the gym that morning to get ready for this moment.  She brings the fish in and it’s just a baby, a 20 pounder.

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Amy is on deck for the next drift and once again the rod doubles over.  That didn’t take long.  Devon yells out, “They’re chewin’!“ Amy works the fish and it isn’t coming easy.  Several minutes later and Amy out muscles this fish.   This Nasty fish is pushing well into the higher 30’s possibly a 40 pound marker.

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We make another drift and nothing happens but as Devon is dragging the bait back to the top to set up again, it gets nailed.  This time the carapace was gone and we have the tail left. Uncle Al is set up for the next drift and we get a strike.  Bada Bing!  Al gives this fish the business and the fish is giving the business back to Al.  Uncle Al wins this fight and we have another 30ish pound fish.

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Every drift after that resulted in a good hit and Devon’s turn ends up being a bust.  He is snake bit!  He was getting frustrated and after a few missed strikes, he relinquishes the rod.  Next drift and SLAM... We scream for Missy and she jumps on the doubled over rod .  This is a good fish and it is making Missy‘s arms sore.  Maybe she shouldn‘t have worked out at the gym and saved her strength for these fish.  After a good time she gets the fish to the boat and this one is a bruiser, pulling the pin on the scale down to exactly 50 pounds.

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We talked Devon into trying it again and he loses another fish.  Now the snide comments and little jokes are aimed at him and flowing freely.  We started out with 11 baits and lost 2 to hangs up.  We’re out of bait, but wait, we still have that tail
that we tossed into the back of the cockpit.  Down it goes and thump... thump... Boom!  Fish on!  Devon was determined to get this one to the boat and everything worked out for him this time.  A nice fish in the high 20 pound range, reaches the boat.

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Ok, now we are completely out of bait, except for some live mullet.  Should we try them?  The general vote comes up no since the clock is approaching midnight. We packed it in and cruised on home in the  bright moonlight.  Technically we had 10 bites out of 9 baits and caught 5 fish which is not too shabby for a quick fun run.  This was a nice quick family trip and we had a great time.  Pictures speak a thousand words... Listen to this...

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Capt. Jim

Breakdown Comeback!

On our last outing in May I had a bit of a problem.  As I slowly powered on the throttles to come home, something came loose in the starboard engine...  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...  We lost thrust.  What the heck?  As I walked back toward the stern to check out the problem, the overheat alarm came on.  Shut her down!  Well it’s not the lower unit, we definitely have a driveshaft problem because the water pump isn’t turning.  Oh Boy!  We limped in on the port engine at about 8-10 knots, taking us 2 hours to get back to the slip.  Well, that was a crap way to end an enjoyable day with good company.

The BEAST was broken for almost 2 months.  She blew a driven gear and driveshaft on the starboard motor.  I had trips lined up and my back was against the wall so I called a “certified” Suzuki mechanic, in Miami, to repair it.  While they had it in the shop, I wanted them to change the driven gear on the port side also, and all filters, seals, water pumps, etc on both motors.  Basically I wanted both engines brought up to as optimum condition as possible.  She sat torn apart for almost 3 weeks with little work done until I finally got fed up, having lost all of the scheduled trips.  I went to the shop and blew a gasket.  They started working on it and gave it back to me 5 days later with a $6300 bill, saying it was complete.  I put her back in the water and the starboard motor with the original problem would barely run.  The port motor that had no problems before, was now overheating at idle.  2 more weeks of “change this...change that” and nothing was any better.  I finally contacted another mechanic who within hours of having the boat, pulled the powerhead again and diagnosed the problem.  The original mechanic had one camshaft chain out of time by one tooth.  They retimed the camshaft and ordered the gaskets to reinstall the powerhead.  While waiting they found the overheat problem on the port motor.  When the first mechanic reinstalled the lower unit the water supply tube wasn’t aligned properly and crimped the tube in half.  Yep... The first shop was “Suzuki certified” all right, more like a bad joke.  The new mechanic had me back in service within 7 days but it cost me another pile of money to fix what the first guy screwed up.

Finally in service I made a quick run with Billy Cox to do an ash spreading.  He was extremely patient and had postponed his trip week after week, waiting on The BEAST to come back in service.  We finally got it done for Billy, having a nice run out to the depths of the gulfstream and releasing his loved ones.

We just went out for a ¾ day with John, Eddie and Nick, from the UK.  These Brits had a tremendous time just catching Hardtails for bait.  You don’t know how many times we’ve heard that.  They had already caught their biggest fish ever.  The bait was a bit slow so after we collected about 15, we headed out for the blue water.

My plan was to probably troll a bit to see what we could locate.  Unlike others who run around all day looking for debris etc.  I learned from an “old salt” about a hundred years ago that, “You aren’t fishing without bait in the water.”  That made perfect sense to me and I follow that philosophy most of the time.  Think about how many fish you have run over, while looking for fish?   I have caught many nice Dolphin(fish)  in wide open blue water.  OK!  I was thinking we would probably need to get out into 1000-1200’ depths to catch some Dolphin(fish).  As I was running in that direction, an overwhelming urge came over me to stop and fish here.  That same old man taught me to trust my gut feelings, so I powered down and told Devon to set the spread out.  We were fishing well short of my initial depths.  Bump!  We have a peanut Dolphin on.  Normally there are several other duplicate fish swimming with smaller fish like this.  Not this time!  We got the fish aboard and true to August, the fish is about 19 inches.  Devon tossed the fish back in to grow up.

Devon throws the spread out there again and in a short time we get another knockdown.  Oh, Bruddah!  This is a good’un man.  Several good jumps and we see that this fish was a real nice August fish.  Matter of fact, anything over “schoolie” size is a nice one in August.  Nick worked the fish and the fish worked Nick.  This is the cow so while Nick worked on the fish, about 10 or 15 minutes, we looked for the bull.  There is no bull in sight so we have Nick present the fish boat side.  Devon takes the gaff shot and stones the fish.  Yes Sir!  That’s a good fish as it pulls the scale down to the 19 pound mark.  We are happy with this fish and all I could think of is what size bull could have been riding shotgun with this cow.  I’m glad I trusted my instincts!

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We worked the area for a while longer but nothing much was happening so I made way for the Back Breaker wreck.  If these guys thought that the Hardtails were fun, wait until they get a load of what’s to come.  We had some winds and rain coming through now and the drifts were sporadic.  After the uncertain weather passed we had good drifts but the current was cranking at almost 4 knots.  We broke off the first 2 bites on the first drops.  Settling down into a good rhythm, we hooked one after another on almost every drift.

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The guys were ready to tap out and it was almost time to call the trip.  Everyone was mesmerized by the Barracuda that had mauled a few of their Hardtails at the bait spot, so I suggested that we go catch one.  We were running out of time but I figured, what the heck, let’s show them the business end on these fish.   We hit our favorite wreck where these Caribbean Spotted Mackerel tend to pile up.  3 attempts, 3 hookups, and Eddied catches a nice specimen of about 25 lb.  They were in awe of the dental work that these fish carry.  We packed up The BEAST and boogied for the barn.

It’s that time of year and Devon and I would love to break The BEAST’s  boat record on Cubera Snapper.

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Jorge Marquez’s group set the record at 76¼ pounds a few years ago.  He continues to return with us every year trying to best that catch.  We have our sights set on an 80+ pounder.  Catching these largest of the snapper species is a pile of fun.  If it is something you may want to do, I know the boat for you to try it on.

Capt. Jim

Fish On!

One of our best clients, Jon Clement came down again for a “mental health” day.  It’s his term for a day on the water, by himself, to unwind from his rat-race travel schedule.  Jon is not one for pictures so I will make this short and sweet.

Jon arrived at the normal time and we shoved off aboard The BEAST.  We hit the Hardtail spots and gathered some baits quickly then moved out to the patches to see if we could find some Ballyhoo.  The ’hoo’s have been few and far between lately.  We only managed to catch 18, so we moved on.

The blue water conditions were good with some wave action but not uncomfortable.  We caught 2 Bluefish in the 13# class, that were left over from that unusual run we had here earlier.  Jon wanted Dolphin, Sailfish, Blackfin, etc, not Bluefish.  The fishing was slow but the company was great, as usual.  We hit the wrecks for a few minutes to get some pull on the lines.  Actually trying for some Permit or Cobia, we only managed to land 2  big AJ’s.  Enough!  Time moved slowly as did the fishing.  We managed to land a nice 10# Blackfin Tuna, a 20# ‘Cuda and right at the end of the day Jon hooked up an energetic Sailfish.  This fish was off to the races, with multiple jumps and runs.  Before we could clear the lines and get on the fish, it had taken about 250 yards of line.  The spool was nearly empty as I got The BEAST turned around.  The fish made one last jump, breaking the line.  Jon was jet lag tired and called it a day after that.  His motto is; even an OK day on the water is better than sitting in the airport between flights.

Our next trip was with my neighbor, Philip and his son Noah.  Noah wanted to fish with us again, for his birthday.  They arrived with Tommy and Julio in tow.  We headed out to hit the bait patches.  We caught our baits for the wreck fishing but catching Ballyhoo was tough.  A few popped up but they stayed out of cast net range and wouldn't eat the hook baits.  I think we caught about 6 or 7 Bally’s in total.  Not good!

We ran out to the wrecks with the first stop being for Permit.  The seas were too rough to work them properly so we hit Plan B -the “Grunt & Sweat”.  We worked the guys out with the baits that we had plenty of.  The first line down resulted in a ferocious bite.  My little man, Noah, worked the fish and tossed the “Skunk” off the boat.

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We kept the wheel of turns rolling, until everyone had a couple of fish.  The fish averaged between 25 and 40 pounds.

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I pulled the plug on wreck fishing when the reel seat came loose on one rod, broke the butt off another, and hyper-flexed one of my jigging rods which snapped the rod.  OK guys, I’m out of AJ rods!  We left the wreck and worked the surface for whatever would hit the few baits we had left.  3 large Bonito were caught before the day finished off.  Even though the catch that day was not any of the glamorous species, the guys had a good time.

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Our good friend Gimpy (Eddie) set up back to back trips which is his 12th and 13th time with us since 2009.  This time he brought along 2 of his original crew, Richie and Juls, along with Paulie who came with him on his last trip.  Of course, don’t forget Papi the octogenarian who always comes with Gimpy (his right-hand man) with or without his sons, Juls and Richie.  They met us at the normal loading time.  The BEAST was itching like a flea ridden dog, to get out there.  We were off!

Our Hardtail baits came pretty easy and we hit a new patch for some Bally’s.  The bait came up but they were finicky as hell and only a few ate the hooks and they were in no way going to come close enough to the boat to get a net on them.  This is all too typical for this time of year because we have beat them up repeatedly for the past 6 or 7 months.  We had about 10 baits, but during this time of year there are all kinds of other alternatives to make for a good day.

We put out a small 3 up / 1 down spread of live ones and worked the area for a short time.  The seas were flat so I didn’t waste a lot of time plodding away at this.  I wanted Gimpy and crew on some fish.  After an hour or so I had Devon pull the lines and we headed for the “Grunt & Sweat” to get some action going for these guys.

We worked the wreck hard, temporarily tiring the guys out on 6 AJ’s between 30-40 pounds, 2 Almaco Jacks, and 3 big Bonito.  All these fish were caught on live baits and Victory speed jigs.  Paulie had a ball when he got into the speed jigging.

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My buddy, Uncle Al, was out on his boat and radioed to let us know he found plenty of nice schoolie Mahi on a good weed line in 700’.   Since we had enough of the wreck fish it was unanimous to head out to see if we could troll up some of these fish too.  We found good weeds in 600’ and began hunting with a 4 spread of Rattle Jets.  It didn’t take long.  Bam, Pow, KaBoom, Kerplooey, on and on.  We never trolled more than 10 minutes before we got another knockdown.  We lost one decent fish in the small “gaffer” class.  The bite slowed down around quitting time and we called it a good day with 17 Mahi in the box.  I turned the bow toward the barn and goosed the 600 ponies up to cruise.  I looked around the boat and there was not one face without a smile on it!

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Day 2 with the Gimpster... Where are they?  They finally arrived around 8 AM and The BEAST was snarling at them as they dragged their butts aboard. Got lost?  (Chuckling) Yeah!  You’re staying 12 minutes from the Marina.  The Beast roared to life as we headed out to do the bait thing again.  We collected a few more Hardtails, just in case the worms didn‘t bite.  Almost exactly as the day before except 12 Ballyhoo this time.  Ugh!

There was almost no current that day, only a trickle to the North and I do mean a trickle.  The seas were calmer than the day before.  We shot straight offshore to see if there was anymore of those Mahi around.  The weeds were there but they were scattered with only a scant few small mats and very little Sargasso, mostly grass.  We worked at it for a while and caught 4 Mahi.  We changed up to take advantage of the slow current trying for some Mutton Snapper.  We trolled almost all the way in to our Mutton spot, picking up a couple of Bonito on the way.

The current was moving to the north at 1/3 knot.  I hoped that it was enough current for a bottom bite.  The first drift was slow, like dropping bottom on a sliding anchor.   Bada-Bing  We hooked up and as the fish approached the boat I saw pink!  Yes sir, yes sir!

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Several more drops, caught a Sand Tile and then another Mutton.  A few more drops and another Sand Tile and yet another Mutton.  Oh, this is nice.  While dropping the area, Juls and Paulie were working the jigs.  Umph!  Juls is hooked up on the jig and it is a really nice Yellow Jack.

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I kept working the area when Paulie got hooked up to a fish on the jig.  What the hell is that?  When the fish reaches boat side it was a 3’ Cornet fish.  It was beautiful, bright green with iridescent blue spots all over it.  Guess what?  No one thought to take a picture of it.  We’re too intent on another Mutton and... Hoot, there it is, that’s #4.

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While we were doing these slow drifts I put out a live “horse” Ballyhoo on top.  Devon yells “SAILFISH”!  Since my 80 year old friend, Papi, was going to take this fish I was going to hook him up for him.  I fed the fish and the line started moving off fast so I flipped the bail and started reeling when the Sail went airborne.  He was tail walking to the boat and he wasn’t stopping.  The fish covered 75’ in less than 2 seconds.  I was reeling like a madman with no time to give Papi the rod.  The line was about to come tight and I leaned toward Papi to hand him the rod.  In a split second, only 10’ away, the Sail digs into the water and makes a hard left turn.  One beat of his tail and it taps the line.  Pop!  Done deal!  The whole ordeal took less than 3 seconds.

The current stopped and so did the Mutton bite.  I decided to hit another spot to see if there was any current there.  Good, it was still moving there at about 1/2 knot.  We made a drop and got bit off.  Next drop, hooked up and there’s the color.  Nice!  It’s a good 13# Gag Grouper.

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Next drop and we were snagged up.  I grabbed the line to see if I could free it up.  It felt like the weight was a pendulum between the line and the hook.  Suddenly the line pulled back twice!  It’s a fish!  He kept coming like dead weight and as it reaches the surface it was a Sandbar Shark every inch of 9 feet and 250-275 in weight.  A massive but lethargic fish, until his nose touched the boat.  Splash!  One swipe of his tail and everyone leaning over to see, was wet.  The line parted and he was gone.

We buttoned up the boat and called it a day.  Everyone was happy, happy, happy! For some reason, Gimpy never has a lackluster trip with us.  When he and his buds come down from New York, he brings along some good MoJo!   But hey... They still talk funny!
Capt. Jim

Bachelorette Party?

This winter/spring transition has been a bit out of the ordinary.  We’ve had weird weather and fish patterns.  Fishing for our preferred bait has been our biggest struggle but we always seem to get ‘r done.

Eric and his son Jason met us at the dock for a full day trip and they wanted to get Jason his first Sailfish.  We loaded them up and headed for the bait patches.  We picked up the Hardtails easily and headed for the worm beds.  Relying on our past trips we headed for the best patch and it worked out for us.  They were a bit finicky but we got them.  After storing our bait gear away I headed The BEAST for the blue water.

I pulled back on the throttles and Devon started putting out the spread.  We had fished for very short time when we had a swing and a miss and then a single.  The fish turned out to be a Bonito a.k.a. Bonehead.  Shortly after putting the lines back out...Bada Bing!  The long rigger goes off and a Snooter takes to the air.  Jason worked the fish to the boat in 40 minutes or so, and we had a good catch.  Eric was happy that Jason had just boated his first Sailfish.

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We reset and things peaked quickly when when a nice pair of chubby Mahi hit the spread.  Eric and Jason jumped on the rods.  Jason lost his fish and we boated the smaller fish that Eric had on.  Jason was not happy that he had lost his fish.  We reset quickly and 10 minutes later we were on another nice pair of small gaffer Dolphin.  Eric had the smaller Cow and Jason had a Bull of about 15-20#’s.  Everything was going too good when suddenly, as Devon was attempting his gaff shot, the Bull took a quick turn and ran right under the motor cutting himself loose on the prop.  Visibly upset that we lost this nice Bull, Jason went forward and had to regroup.

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We reloaded our baits and began fishing again.  Things had calmed down and we went without a bite for about an hour or so.  I pulled the plug and headed for a wreck to get Jason on some fish to get his mind off of the 2 lost Dolphin. Jason was back in the game on the very first Amberjack.

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They had a great time working the wreck and catching one fish after another.  The highlight of this escapade happened when Jason hooked up a big shark.  After a long grind on the rod and reel, he managed to bring it up for a photo.  The shark was a good ‘un at an estimated 8’ and well over 200 pounds.

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We ended the wreck fishing on that note and went back to trying to get him another Mahi.  The fishing went stale and the remainder of the afternoon was uneventful except for catching a small Kingfish.  We called it a day and Jason was happy, forgetting all about those 2 lost Mahi.  He spent the ride home talking about the big Jacks and that monster shark.

Dan McGillicuddy came solo on our next trip. We exchanged introductions and unleashed The BEAST.  Dan wanted a Sailfish to scratch off his bucket list.  The bait was somewhat easier this day.  We caught plenty of Hardtails quickly.  We did manage to get enough worms to fish for the day, even though we had to hit a couple of spots and fight against a bad boat lay with tide running against the wind.

We blasted out to the blue water and put out our usual bait spread.  Once again we hadn’t been fishing long when we had a tremendous hit on the right rigger.  It was a nice Bull Dolphin but the fish didn’t hook up.  Seconds later the right flat line gets crashed and we are hooked up.  This was the Cow, the mate to the Bull we just missed.  This was another good fish!  Dan worked the fish hard and after 15-20 minutes on the 20# spin tackle, Devon sunk the metal into Dan’s fish.  Wow, this Cow tipped our scales at 30 pounds.  Good fish!  Imagine how big that Bull must’ve been!

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We reloaded our guns and worked the zone.  The fishing was not fast and furious but it was steady.  The next hook up turned out to be a very nice Blackfin Tuna.  We’ll take that any day.  They are strong fish, in any size on light tackle, and excellent table fare.

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After a while with no bites, we decided to hit the wrecks to get Dan busy again.  We made many drops and literally wore Dan out.  He caught several AJ’s in the mid 30# range and a large Barracuda.

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We left the wrecks and headed north for another attempt to get Dan that Sailfish.  Things were going along very slowly, except the time.  We managed to pick up a very large Bonehead and lost a couple of BIG fish (Sharks?) on the down rod.  Dan made a comment that he had a great day even if he doesn’t get his Sailfish.  I reminded him that the “Fat Lady” hasn’t sung yet.  Time was running out quickly when Devon noticed that the Ballyhoo on the long left rigger was skipping around.  There he is!  Fish on!  Get ’em, Dan!  Dan jumped on the rod and get ’em he did.  The fish worked Dan’s tired arms and it worked me at the helm as well.  We were determined.  About 35 minutes in and we had the fish at the boat and Devon yelled his traditional  “Yeah!” as he grabbed the bill.  We pulled Dan’s fish aboard for a quick picture.

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This one is a wrap!  A job well done!  We buttoned up The BEAST and made way toward the west, heading for home.  Dan kept saying that his day was awesome and he was totally satisfied even before we hooked up his Sail.  Catching his Sailfish was the just the cream cheese icing on the carrot cake.  Hey... Catching a Sailfish for Dan was our mission and Devon and I work tirelessly to complete our mission.  All of us were smiling at the end of this day!

The next trip out was a ¾ day, “Bachelorette Party”, for the bride to be Jessica and her bridesmaids, Megan and Loann.  We met the girls at the dock and shoved off for Jessica’s adventure and what an adventure it was.  I asked why they chose a fishing trip with us for her Bachelorette party and Jessica informed me that she wanted to catch a bigger fish than her fiancĂ© had caught on his many trips to S. Florida.  She really wanted a Sailfish.  Ok... Let’s see what happens!

We spent some extra time catching bait and it‘s good we did.  The Hardtails have been pretty easy but the Ballyhoo have been getting increasingly tougher to get.  We had enough to go so we went out to the edge and began deploying our baits.  Before we got our 3rd bait out, the left rigger gets hit and Jessica has her Sailfish on.  Woohoo!  Hold up.  The fish spit the bait on the second jump.  Dang!  Devon reset the baits and in the next 20 minutes we got covered up by nice Dolphin.

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The winds were blowing hard and the seas were 4-5 feet.  This was pure chaos, a virtual Mahi fire drill gone wrong.  We managed to catch several and then a decent 19 pound Cow finished off the barrage.

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This day, although rougher than the ladies would’ve liked, was turning out to be catch-fest.  We continued working in the zone and missed another strike on top and then hooked up again.  We thought we might have had a very nice Blackfin on the line but it turned out to be a large Bonito.

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Another spread is out and we missed a ‘Cuda bite on the down rod.  A few minutes later and Jessica is once again hooked up to another decent Cow Dolphin.   The fish fought valiantly but was no match for Jess.  Devon put the steel to this nice 15# Cow and sent her to the fish box with her other cousins.

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The baits are restrung and we are fishing again.  The next strike was another shot at Jess’ Sailfish.  This fish was not be fooled as it spit the bait quickly.  The girls were on their final leg and the seas were taking its toll on their stomachs.  We still had another hour to fish but Jessica gave me the “word”.  Devon and I packed up and readied the boat for the ride in.  The girls were bubbling about the day as Devon cleaned their catch and bagged them up for their ride home.  Devon and I congratulated Jessica on her upcoming wedding.  Hopefully, everyday of her marriage will be as exciting as her Bachelorette Party.

Capt. Jim

Spring is here!

The weather has been a bit on the iffy side even though spring is upon us.  The fishing has been pretty good and we’ve been pretty busy.  No complaints form us about either.

Shawn met us at the usual departure time and he came solo for his ¾ day.  Hey, you can’t beat that if you don’t feel like sharing time on the rods.  We went through the normal introductions and turned The BEAST loose.  We made way to one of our Hardtail spots, picked up several baits and then beat it for the Ballyhoo.  The Ballyhoo have been tough and the radio has been buzzing on that topic.  After spending way more time than I like to, the worms started showing up and we picked away at them.  I called the bait search off and hedged my bet that we had enough for the day.  We made our way out to the blue water and set up a spread.

I worked in and out and there was only a trickle of current.  This is not good.  Devon sparked up when he saw some flyers (flying fish) flying across the waters surface,   They were being chased by something.  I made a slight adjustment and headed off the culprits.  Line down and a Dolphin hooked up!  Shawn worked the chubby “Lifter” to the boat and we boxed it as another fish took down a flat line bait.  Another fat “Lifter” around the same size joined the first.  We’re on the boards and the skunk is off the boat.

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The fishing was as slow as I had expected with the lack of current so we finally bagged the edge and headed out to a deep wreck to give it a go.  I was hoping we would catch a few before having problems with the “Guard Dogs” (sharks).  The first drop produced a 25 pound Amberjack for Shawn.

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We made another drift and lost a bait.  Then on the 3rd drift we hooked up again.  This time I knew we didn’t have a Jack, instead it was one of those Caribbean Spotted Mackerel.  This ‘Cuda pushed into the mid 20 pound range.

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 I made a few more drifts, missing the bite zone completely on one of them, and getting a hook up on the last.  Shawn was working the fish when it suddenly gained about 200 pounds.  A minute or so later the fish felt like it did a crash course at Jenny Craig weight loss studio.  Oh Lord!  We woke up the Dogs!  Sure enough... His catch turned out to be a large Cuda head.  OK!  No sense in working this spot only to feed the Guard Dogs.

We headed back in to the edge to see if we could work up some Sailfish, Tuna or Dolphin.  We arrived on the edge and put out our usual spread.  Minutes turned into an hour and the day was slipping away.  No current, no fish, and almost out of time.  Devon slowly began tossing the remainder of the baits.  Sailfish!  A double!  The first fish jumped the hook but the second was pinned on good.  This fish was acting peculiar and Devon kept saying he thought it was foul hooked because he only jumped once and never came back to the surface. Shawn was nervous because he didn’t want to lose this fish, it was his first Sail.  30 minutes... 60 minutes... We’ve been walking this fish all over the ocean and Shawn was putting out minimal pressure.  Finally at the 80 minute mark we had the fish at the surface just off from the boat and indeed, it was hooked through the skin just in front of the dorsal.  Shawn gingerly played the fish for another 10 minutes and Devon finally got the leader.  Right at the boat as Devon was about to grab the bill the hook popped the piece of skin and both he and Shawn made a mad grab at the bill but neither got a hold on it.  We watched as the fish turned and swam off into the deep.  It was a bona fide catch, just no picture!

Definitely disheartened about no photo but a Sailfish off his bucket list for sure.  We turned The BEAST to the west and made way for the house.

Our next trip was another ¾ day and as the sun came up it brought us Carey and his daughter Chisana.  Carey had read my reports on Sailfish and wanted to try and get Chisana her first Sail.  We loaded them aboard and headed out.  I hit my usual bait spots and thankfully they were willing participants this time.  We got our bait in real short order and I blasted out for the edge.

We put our spread out and almost the same as the day before I caught a glimpse of Flyers getting up.  This time we just had to wait on the fish to intercept us and Bada Bing, we’re on!  Chisana took the rod and the fish stayed down.  Devon and I knew we had a Tuna type but was it a Blackie or a Bonehead?  Chisana worked it to the boat like a hero.  You could tell she had fished plenty of times before.  It was a decent 12 pound Blackfin and this was her first Tuna.

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With the spread back out again, the fish were on their feed.  Dolphin, Dolphin, and 6 more Dolphin.  All were nice heavy “Lifters” and Carey and Chisana stayed busy for a while.

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The Dolphin were done passing through and we thought we might have a minute to relax and grab a sandwich when Devon yells “Sailfish on the left rigger!”  Chisana was hooked up for a short time and after the 3rd or 4th jump the Sail took his leave.  Crapola!  Within 15 minutes of putting the spread out again, we had a double hook up.  We thought we had a pair of Blackie’s but when they got closer we realized we had a Bonito duo.  Reset the lines and let’s get after them again because time is running out.  Devon and I remarked that the down rod has been relatively silent on the last several trips.  The words were not long out of our mouths when the clicker screams out!  OMG this is a big one.  I was almost positive that we had a big shark on our 30# braid rod.  This is going to be a tussle for sure but it was a steady pull so we left our surface baits out.  30 minutes passed when I see a Sailfish pounce on the left long bait.  Chisana jumped on the Sailfish and she was, for sure, hooked up solid this time.  Now what are we going to do.  Carey made the decision to either make it or break it on the deep fish so Chisana had a valid shot at her Sail.  The leader parted under the pressure and we were focused now on Chisana’s Sailfish.  She did a fine job and  25 minutes later we had her first Sailfish at the boat and pulled it aboard for a photo op.

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The smile in that picture says it all... Not only was she ecstatic that she had her first Sailfish but that smile is the result that Devon and I strive for on our charters.  We called it an afternoon and boogied for the barn.

One of our most frequent charters, Jon, came to visit with his colleagues, Kevin and Richard.  We had good fun and caught some decent fish.  Since Jon isn’t one for pictures, I’ll just do a quick synopsis of the day.  We got our bait after a long struggle.  We went to the blue water and began doing our thing.  The day was productive in the morning but slowed down in the afternoon.  We ended our day with a grand total of 6 nice “Lifter” Dolphin, 1 Silky Shark, ! Barracuda, and a Bonito.  We didn’t see a Sailfish or hear of any being caught.  We gave it a valiant effort and threw in the towel a little bit early.

Spring time is here and it is one of our favorites times of the year.  Ah, who am I kidding?  Anytime Devon and I can fish is our favorite time of the year.  Anyway... the Dolphin are passing through, the wrecks are alive, and the weather, is looking like S. Florida again.  It’s time to go, Folks!

Capt. Jim

Day to Day Difference!

We met Dax at 7 AM and he brought along his mate, Olli.  They came all the way from the UK to try some of our S. Florida fishing.  We blasted off on our ¾ day trip, heading for the bait patches.  The Hardtails were sort of slow but the Ballyhoo were worse.  We finally got enough bait for the day and headed out.

We fished the surface and 1 down rod for a while and caught 3 big Barracuda and a Silky Shark, all of them coming on the baits down in the water column.  We managed to hook up and jump off a Sailfish.  A little while later we caught yet another snaggle-toothed Cuda.  Things slowed down and we decided to hit the Wrecks.  We kept Dax and Olli very busy catching several AJ’s up to the 50 pound mark.

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The guys had enough after several of those back breaking fish and we decided to get back after the Sails.  The top bite was slow and as the time was winding down it was looking grim.  We started chumming out what was left of our baits and, Here we go.  Sailfish on the left rigger, Sailfish on the right rigger,  Baboom, Sailfish on the right flat.  I took the last fish and kept him pinned on while trying to maneuver the boat.  One down and gone.  I handed my rod off to those empty hands.  Fish #2 turns loose a few minutes later.  Down to 1 fish now and this fish makes an aerial assault and charges toward the boat.  Reel! Reel! Gone!  That slack line will kill a catch every time.

No time and no bait left, so we called it a day.  They were a couple of good chaps and we tried to show them a good time on a short day.  Devon and I hope to see them again next year for a rematch on those Snooters.

Our next trip was a ¾ day again, with Amber, David, Suzanne, and Frank.  This was a beautiful pre-front day.  A great day for a boat ride and not too much for fishing.  The winds were out of the SW and light.  Devon and I try to make the best of it but the barometer was unsteady.

We got our bait and it was a bit easier than the last trip but we did have to hit 2 different spots.  We made the run out and set up.  Wow, I’ve had slow days but the time was ticking away and nothing was working.  Ok... Let’s get some action on the wreck since the fish have already moved in for spring.  We got started and each drop resulted in a bite.  The only thing wrong is that the bites resulted in cut off.  Over and over again we were getting killed by either a Cuda or Shark bite or a shark eating the AJ.  We even tried to put some wire on and catch the sharks but they were almost immovable and wrecked us up every time. We did manage to catch several smaller AJ’s that we horsed to the boat before they got tagged.  Our biggest fish was about 35 pounds.

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 We finally gave up when we toasted the 2 reels.  The gears locked up on them trying to get those big sharks!  I’ll have to up the ante next time and break out the big guns.

We made another valiant attempt to get some good action going on the topside.  We did raise 2 Sails.  The first figured out how to eat the bait but spit it out on the first jump.  The second came later but once again we didn’t complete the task.  At least that one stayed on the hook a lot longer. The winds had changed to the NW, the clouds moved in, and the seas were starting to get choppy.  It was later in the afternoon when we hooked up something on the down rod.  This was a mystery fish with some shoulders.  Devon had put down a large bait and my guess is we had a Hammerhead hooked up.  When they tilt that wide head down, you are not going to pull him up with 30 # tackle.  A good while later the leader finally gave out.  Devon reset the lines for one last hoorah.   Devon began tossing out the leftover baits in hopes of raising some fish.  Instead of fish we had an unexpected guest that dove into the freebies and grabbed the wrong fish.

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A little bit of work but we got the Gannet to the boat and Devon grabbed him behind the head to keep the business end of the bird under control.  He was hooked lightly and the guys removed the hook, releasing him unharmed.  That was the omen that told us to call it a day.

What a difference a day can make, right?  The front had moved through, the sky was bright, and the winds were light from the N/NE.  The barometric pressure was high and steady.  Looking good!  Andre, Thierry, Conner, Zach, and Wade joined us for a full day on this run.  

We collected our baits but once again we had to hit a couple of spots and leave with less than we like.  Off we go to the blue water.  Devon couldn’t finish setting the spread when...BAM!  A cow Dolphin!  Bam Bam, There’s the Bull.  Nice fish!  The big cow came loose and Devon sees another fish shadowing the Bull and pitches a bait... Bam!  We’re on!  The guys worked the fish to the boat and Devon boxed the 12# Cow and 33# Bull.  Good start!

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Devon reset the spread and less than 10 minutes passed when we hooked up a Sailfish.  The fish broke off after the 6th jump. The action slowed down quite a bit right after that so we hit the wrecks and managed to let the guys have some fun tugging on the deep water brutes.  We realized the last time that there were too many toothy critters on the wrecks now, so we used a piece of wire and caught 3 jumbo Cuda.

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After blowing up 2 smaller reels on the last trip we re-powered our wreck rods with a couple of fish winches.  The boys caught those Wreck Donkeys up to 45 # until their arms almost fell off.

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We worked the rest of the afternoon on the surface.  We were hoping for some more Dolphin or another Sailfish.  We got our wish as Andre managed to hook up and leader his Sailfish making it a good catch.  However, the leader broke as Devon was trying to muscle it over for a picture.  We had another shot at a Sail but jumped him off.  The guys had a good time but called the trip a bit early since we had so many fish to clean.

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When fighting these Snooters, slack line is your worst enemy and it's often impossible to keep the line tight.   Sailfish can swim at 70 mph then change direction on a dime and give you 9 cents change.  They are the masters at creating slack and experts at tossing the loose hook.

Capt. Jim