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Bonito Bonanza

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

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:09 pm    Post subject: Bonito Bonanza Reply with quote

Steffen and Silmara Jahn from Munich Germany returned to fish with us again this year. They decided to book 3 days of fishing (6/3,4,+5) before heading off for the rest of their vacation. Steffen has fished in many places throughout the world but ultimately loves fishing with us in S. Florida.

The duo arrived about a half hour late due to the rental car GPS being set on city streets. I guess the rental company wants to avoid the automatic “by license plate” toll charges. We loaded their gear and headed out. Winds were blowing 20 knots out of the ENE. The waters were a bit on the rough side but The BEAST can handle it

The bait was excellent and we had several dozen Hardtails and several dozen Ballyhoo in the live wells. In short order we were headed out for the blue water to get them hooked up. The first bite of the day was on the down rod and it came unpinned. Apparently a large fish by the way the line peeled off and the terminal rig was mangled. Devon re-rigged and dropped the down rod again. A few scant minutes later and the line is off to the races again. This time Steffen keeps the fish hooked up and in short order Devon puts the steel to a nice 12# Kingfish.

Devon readjusted the cockpit and reset all lines. I made a few passes around the area to see if we could pick up another King. The down rod pops off again and we are on a big fish. Uh oh! To many head shakes to be a Kingfish. Several minutes passed by and we see color. Look at the size of that “Caribbean Spotted Mackerel” (Cuda). This Barracuda was of the larger variety. Devon removed the hooks and made a good release on the fish.

Once again we reset lines and I moved from the area looking for more desirable fish. We managed to get into a school of “Grasshoppers” (schoolie Dolphin) and caught 2 keepers out of 4 fish. Then we got nailed by 2 “Boneheads” (Bonito).

The action was a bit slow and the seas are up to 5+feet. We decided to do the wrecks for a little while. Several drops produced 2 Almaco Jacks on the speed jigs and 1 Amberjack on the live bait. We left the wrecks to finish the day off doing some more live baits on the surface. A Sailfish came up and ate the long rigger bait. Before Steffen could get tight, the Sail sensed something, went skyward, and spit the bait. Well, almost a fitting end to a good day.

Day 2 and our dynamic duo arrived at 7 AM and we pulled away from the dock in good time. We began bait fishing but the bait was slower this morning. What a difference a day can make out there. We managed to grab enough bait for the entire day and headed off to the deep blue.

The day was non stop action. We could barely keep the baits in the water. We got nailed by a small school of “micro” Dolphin. The Boneheads were out in record numbers, a virtual Bonito Bonanza. They were all full grown, very large fish. We hooked up so many that we lost count and actually boated 18 of them. During the day we made a quick stop at a wreck to take a break from the Bonito Barrage. We got 2 of 3 big Barracuda, and a nice Almie on the speed jig.

We spent the final hours working the surface water to the north. The Bonito were everywhere, and you could see huge schools of them tailing in the 5’ waves. During the Bonitofest, we did manage to hook up a shark on the down rod. Unfortunately after a lengthy fight the trace wire finally broke. As time wound down and running low on bait, we saw 2 Sailfish tailing. They wouldn’t take a bait. We had 3 more Sails come up in the spread but they were just window shopping.

Day 3 arrived. The winds had come down quite a bit and the bait was even slower than Day 2. We did get enough for the day and off we went. Devon put out his spread and the action wasn’t as hot as the day before. We got into a school of small Dolphin but “eagle eye” Devon spots a larger fish in the mix. He casts a bait to the fish and it eats. Get’em Steffen! A few minutes later and our German couple have a nice little bull dolphin for dinner.

The Bonito Bonanza was still going on but not as hot as it was the previous day. We boated about a dozen or so.

We were working a nice current rip and at one point we had 3 fish on. A shark was on the down rod. Steffen took the shark at first but suddenly 4 Sails came up on the top baits. A Bonito plunges in and takes one bait from a Sailfish. Silmara takes that rod and Devon and I try to bait up the remaining 3 Sails. 2 of the Sails lost interest but we managed to get the last one to eat. Steffen switches over to the Sailfish. Silmara is still on the Bonito and we left the shark rod in the rod holder.

Steffen, was hooked up to the Sailfish and the fish went deep. LOOK! The shark is getting awful close to Steffen’s line. As the shark neared the 20# fluorescent line, it parted without a tug. Are you kidding me? That shark just cut the line. Steffen, switches back to the shark on 20# line. Silmara boats the Bonito and Steffen, with much effort, wins his battle. We pulled the shark close for a photo op and release.

The day progresses and it’s well after quitting time. We have had some good excitement but it finally went stale. I announced that we’d give it 15 more minutes. At the 14 minute mark I spot a pallet floating a few hundred feet off the rip. I maneuver The BEAST over to put the baits around the pallet. Devon is tossing a speed jig hoping that a Wahoo may be lurking below. At 14 Minutes and 59 seconds we notice the long rigger line is going out. Grab it, Steffen, and reel until your tight. Bada Bing! The line comes tight and a Sailfish goes skyward. Steffen is nervous because he has tried all weekend to get his Sailfish again this year. This time he succeeds and we have a good release on his fish. Good job Steffen.

What a weekend! We had many hookups and boated a wide variety of fish. The smiles on Steffen and Silmara’s faces were priceless. I also want to give credit where credit is due. A well deserved shout out to Devon who, in my book, is one of the best mates in S. Florida.

Capt. Jim
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