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Joined: 22 Feb 2007
Location: Miami, Florida
|Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:02 am Post subject: Too Nice!
|The other day we had a trip with a very good repeat customer, Ed Conway, a.k.a. Gimpy. Of course he brought along our amigo, Julio Sr (7 a.k.a. Poppi A lot of our customers earn a nickname when fishing on The BEAST. It’s like a badge of honor! Ed got his a.k.a. on his first trip when he arrived sporting a full leg cast and a limp. This time he brought along his nephew Jeff and Poppi’s friend Anthony.
The foursome was waiting at the dock when I arrived. They had already been there for 30 minutes. Anxious? Devon and I loaded our gear and let them onboard to arrange their lunch, drinks, and personal items. We turned The BEAST out and made our way into the Bay.
Gimpy and I picked a gorgeous day, following 2 days of rain, but there was not a breath of wind, slick calm water, and it was getting hot quick. I hoped my choice, when picking this day for Gimpy, turned out to be a good one. I hit 2 Hardtail spots and only put one small Jack and 2 large Runners in the well. Off we go for some Ballyhoo. We pulled up to our spot of choice for this day and the ’hoos were showing up before the chum bag was in the water. The crew started catching them and putting them into the other well. We had about 2-3 dozen in the well and I decided to toss the net. The bulk of the bait was tight against the motors making it difficult to throw the net without lassoing the motors. The day was so clear that they spooked as soon as I let go of the net. I got 4. Man, that sucked! 3 more tosses and nothing, so we spent a few more minutes with the rods to fill the wells. If you have the time the hookers last a lot longer than the netters do in the wells.
We strolled across the reef in crystal clear, flat calm water. You could see the fish and corals on the bottom in 45 feet of water. Uh oh! This makes for good boat riding but is usually a recipe for disaster when it comes to catching fish. We eased out into the blue water and set out some lines. 10 minutes later and Gimpy had a small Cuda on the line. We reset the down line and moved slowly about the area when the down rod sings out again. Not another Cuda, please. Jeff was working this fish but it wasn’t thumping the rod like we expected. As the fish got closer, about 50’ down, Devon notices it is an African Pompano and happily pulled the 31” fish aboard for Jeff. Nice!
This is a pretty good start with 2 fish caught in less than 30 minutes. Devon reset the rod again. Yes! 10 minutes later and the line is ripping off the reel this time. I think this is one of our “Spotted Caribbean Mackerel” Yup, sure enough! Good job Poppi! Anthony wants to keep all of the Barracuda, so we tossed it in the box for him too.
We were in the process of resetting the down rod when the long rigger popped the clip. Jeff jumped on the rod and a Sailfish took to the air. Unfortunately the fish was heading toward the boat and Jeff never got the hook set into the fish. I worked that area in and out for another hour but the bite had turned off. I made the decision to go hit the Grunt & Sweat wreck to see if the Big’uns are still around. Let’s try it and see if we can keep these guys busy while we watch them sweat. Devon dropped the bigger Hardtail and in less than a minute the rod doubled over. They’re still here! Anthony jumps on the rod and I think this fish was a bit stronger than he had anticipated. Meanwhile Devon had tossed a speed jig and was working it to the top. Bam… it gets hit and he hands the rod to Jeff. This was not a Wreck Donkey like Anthony was trying his best to just hold on to. This had a fast tail beat. A nice football sized Blackfin appears and Devon quickly dispatches it to the ice. Anthony is still on his fish and asks someone to take over, so Jeff grabs that rod. This 30+ Amberjack had no chance with this big, young dude.
We made 2 more drops and Gimpy hooked up to a bruiser for 10-15 minutes when it finally broke off. The hook was missing and Devon inspected the remaining roughed up leader and surmised it to be a shark. Since we are out of deep baits now, I headed for another spot to try for some Muttons. We made several drift/drops and ended up with 2 nice fish.
The afternoon was growing long and my group was hot, tired, and getting very quiet. When Gimpy gets quiet, that is the cue to try and get one more fish and call it a day. We set out a spread for some surface fish and hopefully another Sail. Time is dwindling and we get the word to wrap it up. Devon had 3 rods in when I see a Sailfish rapidly tail walking toward the boat. Sailfish! Sailfish! Devon thought I was joking until he sensed the urgency in my voice. He’s on the down rod. This sneak had taken the bait down deep and surfaced without the slightest indication. Gimpy grabs the rod and he’s hooked up. As usual with Sailfish, there is always a fire drill. Devon notices the line has wrapped around the down rigger line and the fish is pulling the weight up. OMG! I don’t know how, but Devon takes the rod and with 2 quick passes around the d/line, he frees up the fish. That was too close! Gimpy works the fish in and Devon bills the fish for a quick photo op and release.
Now that is the way to end a day! We buttoned up the boat, grabbed a drink, and I headed west. As always, it was fun fishing with Gimpy, Poppi, and his crew. We tallied 1 for 2 on Sailfish, 2 Barracuda, 2 Mutton Snaps, 1 African, 1 Blackfin, and an Amberjack.
The second front of the season will be here this weekend. The bait is arriving in mass as we evidenced that morning seeing huge schools of finger mullet, pilchards, sardines, and ballyhoo. The arrival of baitfish means the predators are only a tail beat behind.