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Changing up!

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

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:52 pm    Post subject: Changing up! Reply with quote

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.

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!

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
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