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January 31, 2010

OU Islamorada - Sails Still Chewin

Sailfish Bite Remains Consisten from Ocean Reef, down to Islamorada

Capt. Joe McGivern was fishing up above me yesterday off Ocean Reef, in teh Mayors Cup. He was 8-13, while I was down off Tavernier and had about the same number of shots, although we didn't connect as often as we'd have liked!

Capt. Jeff and I loaded up the Mirage Center Console and headed out for the day, with a Mother-Son team from Texas looking to catch Rhodes (the son) his first sailfish. Conditions had been pretty good the last few days, so we were feeling pretty good about dedicating the day to live-baiting sailfish. By the time we arrived at the bait patch, there were quite few boats sitting there, none of which appeared to be doing too much...uh oh...not a good sign. But things went our way, and as soon as we came tight on the anchor, we had the ballyhoo up close and personal. Two throws of the cast net and we had plenty for the day and we were off to the reef. I decided to run a bit to the north and hit some of my favorite Sailfish spots. We put the lines in right off of Davis Reef, with only a couple other boats around us to start the day. The conditions were bit sloppy, with a steady 18 knots wind out of the SE, but the 29 Mirage handled it quite well. The single diesel allowed us simply to keep the boat in gear, idling upsea, with the baits swimming perfectly. I didn't see the first bite, just saw Jeff pick up rod, wind and come tight. After a few seconds, it was clear that we had hooked our targeted species! We made quick work of the fish, chasing him down and putting the baits back in. It was probably only another 10 minutes and we had several fish up in the spread. We hooked one of several that showed themselves and again made pretty quick work of the cooperative fish and got a nice picture for the photo albums. As the morning went on, more boats arrived, and we continued to get shots at fish until about 1:00pm when it slowed down to a trickle. By this time, there were probably 30 boats around us. We saw many fish caught yesterday, with several doubles and triples, quite exciting all day. We ended up releasing 3, and probably had 9-12 shots, who knows. It was pretty active and our anglers enjoyed their first ever chance at hooking a sailfish with live bait!. We pulled the hooks on a few, that we'd have loved to have gotten, but that's how it goes. Towards the later part of the day, we got into some Kings. Most bit us off, since we were running all mono for the sails, but we got couple of them. We never moved more than a quarter mile all day, simply did circles around the area that seemed to keep producing bites for everyone. The action was from about 125 to 150 feet. We had a few bites in real close on the flat lines, that was really cool for everyone to see, as the Sails chased the ballyhoo almost right up to the transom!

- Tight Lines

Trey