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December 20, 2008

Fishing and the birds!

WE had to fight off the birds to catch fish!

On Monday my brother-in-law, Michael, called to see if I was available to fish on Wednesday. He wanted to take 3 of his employees fishing for the day. I was open and we did go fishing, sort of.

Michael, Mike, Robert, and Rolando arrived an hour late so Devon and I quickly, untied the snarling BEAST and made our way to the bait patch. The bait came up quick but they were skittish and to add to that, it was nearing slack tide. Everyone, with some coaching, got on the ball and began putting bait in the livewell. We lost Mike to that queasy feeling about 15 minutes into the process. I managed to coax the bait close enough to get 2 throws with the cast net and we were set for the day.

The seas were fairly good size, a solid 3-4', and the winds were steady out of the East at 13-15 knots. We made our way to the edge and put out our usual spread. In very short order we had a small, sushi size, Blackfin Tuna on the speed jig. Anticipation was high as the fish tend to feed much better in the slop. But that's not what was happening. We picked a sub-legal Kingfish. There seems to be an abundance of these small kingfish this year. Then the fishing seemed to shut down. Oh boy! I checked the celestial predictions for the day and surmised we would have to wait until about 1 PM to get into a good bite again. The wind and seas began to rise, reaching 18-20 knots and the seas were 5' now. One by one we were losing our crew! Mike was out for the count and Rolando was next, followed by Robert. Rolando and Robert were taking turns leaning over the rail as Mike slept. Michael was the only remaining angler.

Around 1:30 the dinner bell rang and we began getting one bite after another. Robert would pop up to catch a fish but most of the time it was Bro-in-law, Michael, working the rods. The next 2 hours or more was non stop action, unfortunately, it wasn't all fish. The sky was full of hungry Frigate's, Terns, and Gannets. We were lucky enough to avoid the Gannets as that is usually and instant hook up, Normally, the Frigate birds aren't fooled by hooked baits but they were on this day! The terns were relentless and poor Devon was getting a workout! We had lines picked up by the birds, only to drop them across the other 3 or 4 lines. If it wasn't the birds, it was the wind. We even fouled the starboard prop twice, had to clear it, and hung the d/rigger ball in one of those deepwater lobster pot buoys. We pulled in the 4th line, only running 3 now, to keep the tangles to a minimum. But during all of this the fish kept coming. Michael was working a jig/ballyhoo combo and getting bit often. Meanwhile the d/rigger was going off. The surface baits were silent. Finally we had a good fish come on one of the top baits and we suspected a nice tuna. As we were nearing a visual on it, the fish screamed under the boat. It must've pulled the line into the running gear and it was gone. By 3:30 or so the fishing went slack and the birds left the area, for the most part. We had gone through a bunch of bait. As the witching hour began, we put the last of the lively baits out. Once again, we were screaming at a hungry Frigate that was hell bent on eating the left rigger bait. Suddenly the right rigger goes off and Michael is into a Sailfish. Yes sir! He worked it like a champ and brought it to leader twice for a legal catch. As I was attempting to stick a tag in him, I saw him turn his head towards the underside of the boat and he was off to the races and the line parted as we tried to regain our position on him. No tag, but it was Michael's first Sailfish catch, none-the-less!

We packed it up and pointed The BEAST westerly, towards home. While running in we recounted the day. Although we never had time to get the camera out, we discussed the catch for our memories. A bunch of Kingfish, a couple of Cobia, a Blackfin, a Bonito, a Mutton Snapper, a Red Grouper, and a Sailfish. We had numerous mangled baits and the teeth marks held the explanation. Small fish! For some odd reason, many of our fish were not legal size that day. All were released except 5 Kingfish and the B/F Tuna. Hey, it was still fishing and catching, just not much eating! Just for giggles, we took a picture of Robert with some Kings for the smoker and the small sashimi Tuna.

Mike said he would never set foot on a boat again, and Rolando was nodding his head. Robert who actually fought off the sickness for a good portion of the afternoon, during the melee', actually wants a repeat trip. All in all they were a great bunch of guys with a good sense of humor. Oh yeah? that little Tuna never made it past the filet table!

Capt. Jim
The BEAST
305-233-9996
beastcharters@aol.com
www.beastcharters.com