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3 "Tough" Days

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Joined: 22 Feb 2007
Posts: 127
Location: Miami, Florida

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:59 am    Post subject: 3 "Tough" Days Reply with quote

We did another 3 days with our good friends from New York City, the Harbor Club. It’s always nice to see Chief, Yalkin, Frank, and this time they brought along Rich. They are the guys that brought the bananas last year and we dubbed them the Banana Club. Yalkin is not an early riser so I knew when he called Thursday night that they wouldn’t be there before 9 AM. It turns out that their plane was late and they didn’t make it to the hotel until 4:45 AM. They arrived at the dock at 11 AM. Oh Boy! Not a good start, but it is what it is, and Devon and I will make the best of it.

We made way to catch bait. We hit a couple of spots and had a good number of Hardtails. Let’s get some Ballyhoo. The conditions weren’t great but the Ballyhoo did come up and we scored plenty to do the day. It’s almost 1 PM and we made our way offshore into the 15 knot ENE winds. The seas weren’t as big as the Bonito Bonanza trip but they were 3 feet or larger. The blue water was actually a little on the green side. Devon put out a spread. About 5 minutes into it and the down rod sounds off. Rich puts on a valiant effort, for a few minutes, but the fish manages to spit the hook. Devon quickly resets the line and after a few go rounds, the down rod is screaming. Franky, a.k.a. Soulie, jumps on it this time to give Rich a lesson in how to catch a 30+ pound Barracuda.

The spread is reset and we give it a concerted effort but the surface action was dead. Time is of the essence as the seas are rising. I suggested that we head over to the “Grunt & Sweat” to let the crew pull on some donkeys for a little bit. We arrived at the site and I made a quick drift to get my bearings. A light current at 1/2 knot made it too easy. Drop’em Devon! As we passed over a portion of the wreck the bait was ignored. Give it time. Let the baits get down current of the wreck before we pull them. Kapow! Down goes the bait rod and we are hooked up. There is just something about going up against these bruisers.

As we worked the wreck, it came alive with each, successive pass. We spent the rest of the afternoon giving them a couple of rumbles each. We backed off from the area even though the sonar was lit up with these agitated and hungry fish.

We tried the surface bite for another hour and called it a day. The guys were spent from tussling with the AJ’s and the lack of sleep the night before. They vowed to come back the next day renewed, refreshed, and ready.

The “better late than never” guys said they would be there at 9-9:30 AM. Yeah right! Devon an I know them too well by now. At 10:05 they came rolling in. Well, that’s an hour earlier than yesterday. The BEAST was chewing at the dock lines, so we hurriedly loaded their gear and shoved off. The Hardtails were hard to come by so we grabbed about 8 or 10 and headed out for some ‘hoos. They weren’t on fire either but they did get stupid enough for me to get a good throw on them with the net. We’re outa here.

The seas were much calmer than the day before and we had the dreaded, south current. I decided to try an hour of surface fishing before the sun got too hot. Too late, nothing going on! The day before, Chief had expressed his desire (about 20 times) to try and catch a Hammerhead. Let’s give it a go. Devon set up 2 of the rods they brought and we put a down rod out to catch a Barracuda for bait. I slowly motored over the ‘Cuda hole and we quickly picked up a monster. Devon tossed it in the box while he finished readying the lines. Devon cut the Cuda into baits and used the rest of it for chum. We set a live bait out on the surface as well. 20-30 minutes into the set, when Devon yells out, “Sailfish on the flat line!” Sure enough. Rich grabs the line and we instruct him to reel hard until the line comes tight. Hook up! Rich is loving the scene as the Sail goes airborne. This goes on for several minutes. The fish sounds for a few seconds and comes skyward about 6 feet out of the water and we see the bait go flying in the opposite direction. Crap! A big disappointment but as we all know, you can’t catch them all. Another 30 minutes passes. We are about to pull the shark baits up and try something else when Devon spots a dorsal fin approaching the surface bait. Gulp! Yalkin jumps on the rod (his rod) and I looked around wondering why the Chief didn’t get it. Oh well. Yalkin is putting the heat to this shark with his fancy harness, and expensive, 4 piece, 50-80# custom travel rod with an accurate twin drag winch. 10 minutes, the fish is below the boat, and suddenly we hear a SNAP!

The boat is full of laughs, chides, and short one line comments. The Chief helps Yalkin by holding the rod so the line doesn’t bind in any of the “leftover” parts. Believe it or not, we got the fish.

The general consensus was to finish the day working the surface for Sails, Dolphin, Tuna, or whatever. We worked the waters northward and had a few bites but no solid hook ups. The tip of the down rod pops up and it immediately makes a deliberate power run. The Chief takes this one and it goes into a slow and steady tug o’ war. I think you got your shark Chief! 5, 10, 15 minutes and the Chief has his hands full on 20# test. After another 10 minutes we see color. OK, Chief, it’s not a Hammer, but it is a shark.

We fished a little while longer and the group called it a day. They told us that tomorrow they would arrive at a better time to tackle a full day for a change.

The last day and the Banana Boys arrived “almost” at their decided time. What is the term… fashionably late! Devon and I were ready. We unleashed The BEAST and made a beeline for the bait but it was a tough bait morning. I had to hit 3 different spots to get enough for this quasi full day trip. After we left the bait patches, they opted to troll awhile for some Dolphin, etc., looking for some food fish. I ran out to 1400 feet and we didn’t see anything that looked the least bit fishy, so I made a turn more to the south and inward toward an area of scattered weeds in 1000 feet. I really hate calm days. We put the lines in and worked the scattered stuff until we saw a mat, using the term loosely. Nothing. About a ¼ mile north of the mat the lines went down. 4 Dolphin and everyone is engaged in the proverbial fire drill. We picked away at a small school and ended up with 3 legal fish. Ugh. We played around offshore for a while longer and nothing much was happening. Very little weeds, no debris, no flying fish, no birds, nada, zilch, nothing! That brings out the prankster in Devon and I. Rich has a bucket list, but does he have a bucket fish. He does now!

Alright, enough already, we’ve wasted a good part of the day, so lets bag this and go drop on the bottom for some groceries. Arriving at our new destination, Devon readied 2 rods, one bait and one speed jig. The first drop and the bait rod goes thump, thump. I quickly take up the slack and Franky removes the rod from the holder. C’mon Soulie, move it. There are fish down there that want to eat him as much as you do. Get him in the boat, then play with it. I see PINK, it’s a nice Mutton. The weight is aboard and as I grabbed the leader, a flash comes from nowhere. Our catch just became a Barracuda snack. The remainder was still a legal length but we just lost 1/3 of a good 9-10 # Snapper.

Several unproductive drifts and nothing was going on especially with the speed jig. Yalkin is slowly bringing up a bait from an unsuccessful drop when, WHAM, the rod doubles over and he says “This is an AJ… Want it Chief?” The Chief takes the rod and feels the power of the fish. It’s not an AJ. Now we see color and it is definitely not an AJ. Grouper? No. It’s a CUBERA! It’s not just a Cubera, it’s a 43 # Cubera Snapper. Sorry Yalkin, that’ll teach you to hand off the rod. Good job Chief!

After the excitement died down on the boat and the “We’ll be back for Cubera in August” comments subsided, we got back to dropping. The guys missed a couple of bites. Not too much longer and Rich gets another thump on the rod tip. I told him to crank it up as fast as he can so it doesn’t get halved. He is working the fish and suddenly feels a temporary weight. Not this time. The rod is still showing the tail beat. Devon takes the leader on a beautiful 14 # Mutton that almost lost his tail.

With enough fish for a few meals and anticipating the time to clean/bag the catch, the guys called it a day. They had packing to do for their flights home to New York. Will we see them again this August or September? I don’t know the answer to that one but I will venture a guess we will see them again next year.

Cubera season is fast approaching. Weekend nights book quickly and 2 are already reserved. So… If fishing Cubera with us, is in your plans this year, you might want to drop an email or give us a call.

Capt. Jim
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