Just days earlier, on the full moon, Trainor had done a bang-up job on the mutton snapper. His largest scaled 15 pounds, and his client lost one near the boat that was even bigger. The mutton bite on the moon can be off the charts, and Trainor and his clients were there taking full advantage of it. "The mutton fishing here is wild when it happens," says Trainor. "You can count on it during the full moons of April, May, June and sometimes even July. And you can't overlook the yellowtails either. They sometimes show in large golden balls right behind the chum bag. And they're quality-size 'tails, with some of the bigger ones pushing 4 pounds."
Strange Dancing Partners
In addition to muttons, yellowtail and grouper, cero mackerel and a host of smaller bottomfish joined the mix. I watched Trainor fight what acted like a mutton snapper on a 20-pound-class spinning outfit. But we were shocked when that "mutton" came into clear view and turned out to be a huge margate. In this type of fishing, one should always have an outfit standing by to take advantage of what might pop up in the slick. Fortunately, we were prepared for the trio of amberjack that suddenly swam up the chum line. I free-spooled a split-tail ballyhoo back to the AJs and teased them a bit by jerking on the bait until one engulfed it. The other two fish remained by the hooked one. When I played my fish near the transom, Flora pitched a bait to the followers and hooked one. Unfortunately, the jack swam out, turned belly up and floated to the surface. Rather than let that fish go to waste, mate Josh Chance dove into the water and swam it back to the boat, where it would be iced down and later eaten. When the second amberjack neared the transom, we baited the third fish. We unhooked Flora's fish, revived it and turned it loose. Unfortunately, it did the same thing as the other AJ. Chance was about to jump in once again to rescue the ailing amberjack when a big barracuda passed off the transom and forced him to pause. And it's a good thing he did. A minute later, three big sharks blitzed the floating amberjack. In a frenzy of white water and blood, the sharks devoured it in less than 30 seconds. You have to wonder what might have happened had Chance dove in and towed that jack back, but you don't have to wonder too hard.
Even our third amberjack came up exhausted, so we boated it for food. Our haul for the day included yellowtail and mutton snapper, amberjack, margate, grouper, untold grunts, sharks and - of course - barracuda.
Chill Out at Treasure
With winter now upon us, Trainor will be soon be trolling for wahoo off Treasure. His spread consists mainly of a combination of skirted ballyhoo, feathers and large swimming plugs. He trolls a zigzag pattern between 150 and 600 feet. His biggest winter wahoo to date off Treasure, caught by a 10-year-old boy, weighed 91 pounds.
You can be sure fishing off Treasure Cay isn't boring, regardless of the season. From blue marlin to wahoo and from snapper to grouper, all the players are here. For those in midsize center consoles like mine, it's really not difficult getting here. In fact, numerous midsize and large outboard-powered boats make the run each spring and summer.
For those who would like to experience Treasure Cay the easy way, hop on a Gulfstream International Airlines flight from either Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and hook up with the Over Under Charters' 54-foot Bertram. The only thing that won't be so easy will be the cranking. And you can bank on doing a lot of that whenever you come here - unless, of course, you decide to sit back, relax and snap a few pictures!