My last 2 trips this past Thursday and Saturday were a blast. Much better weather was forecasted and the fishing, well, let’s just say it was comfortable!
Early in the week, Trollin’ Tom and I had discussed the possibilities of getting out for some Wahoo fishing following the full moon. Another day of trolling was OK with me since I would be live baiting on Saturday. We picked Thursday since I had other commitments at the boat show on Friday and the seas were supposed to be laying back to 2′ or less. We met as usual, at the crack of 10 AM and quickly prepped The BEAST. Once again we set out at cruise, omitting the bait catching sessions. As we reached the edge we were greeted with 2-4′ seas. Laid back? Not yet it seems. We slowed to trolling speed and put 2 lines down with naked ballyhoo and then set up 2 lines on the rigger, 1 lure and 1 naked ‘hoo. We also set out a Williamson Live Mackerel and Tom said he either wanted to lose it or take it home crippled.
With the gear out and the speeds set we began searching. An hour after we began the winds laid back dramatically and we were fishing on calm waters. Slicks began to form and we found a good weed line with some heavy mats in the almost 600′ depths. As I passed the first set of mats, one of the deep rods fires off and we are hooked up. The fish is no match for the rod and we quickly get it up to see a nice Weehoo, of about 10 pounds. Then the other line goes off. As we get this fish to the boat, it is the bigger brother to the first, approximately 12-13 pounds. A few minutes later the weed line runs out.
Taking a wide turn we take the time to check all of the baits and de-weed them. Big Mac on the shotgun line got hit and his plastic tail bears the crippling scars of a Wahoo bite. Dang, 2 for 3! We now resume the hunt going upstream in the current. As we get back into the good weeds I notice my rigger bouncing and the rod tip jerking. I looked back and there was a nice gaffer Dolphin jumping out of the water. I grabbed the rod and as I began to reel, the line breaks. We had a major malfunction with the rigger clip and it cost us the fish.
I kept working south from one slick to another as time is passing. Finally I found another good weed line in a slick much farther to the south, but nothing was happening. I changed to a lure/Bally combination on the down rods. As I am about to change course for another location, I spot a pallet in the water. It was tough seeing the pallet because it was so water logged it was actually under the surface with only a small portion of the corner breaking the water, from time to time. I made a pass by this pallet and both down lines fire off. One fish wins his freedom and the other 10# Weehoo comes to the boat. As I stow him in the fish box, Tom hurriedly gets another bait down and it immediately gets hit but once again the hookup wasn’t to be. I jump in the cockpit to help Trollin’ Tom get some fresh baits down. I take a visual on the pallet and a visual on the chart plotter track lines and I even took a quick turn to give me another reference point on the plotter. When we got everything back in the water and the cockpit back in order the winds began to pick up and the slicks disappeared. That’s great! I returned to the area where the pallet was and we couldn’t find it. I made a search grid attempt, considering in drift, and we searched the area for an hour. We never saw the pallet again. I can’t begin to tell you how angry that made me!
We had an uneventful ending to our day and we packed it in. We ended up 3 for 6 on Wahoo bites and lost a nice Dorado too. We tucked our tails and headed home, BUT, we each had some good filets for the dinner table.
Saturday, was a trip with a local family, the Evans. We had originally planned on the previous Saturday but the seas were too big for our plans, so we backed it off to this past Saturday. This was to be a learning/fun trip. Art has his own boat but wanted to tweak his skills by seeing how we do it. He brought his wife Tammie, along with his 2 sons Kyle and Casey. The original scheduled Saturday would’ve been a lesson in holding on, not fishing. This day the seas were placid as a mill pond. We met at the dock at 7 AM and turned The BEAST out.
Our first attempts at bait only produced 1 Hardtail and 2 Goggle Eyes so we headed out to the bait patches for some Ballyhoo. The waters were extremely calm, no wind, and the chum slick was prominent, but moving slow. We could see the Ballyhoo coming a hundred yards off. When they finally arrived, they kept their distance. We struggled! While we were picking away at them with the hooks, Devon spots a Barracuda stalking and scaring the bait. He takes down a rod, pins on a Bally and fires it our in the vicinity of the sighting. Fish on! Kyle takes the rod and this Cuda puts it on him, complete with some nice aerial moves. Kyle finally subdues the fish and we take a few photos before releasing him. As we took the picture, this Cuda gets the best of Kyle by slapping his tail right across Kyle’s face. Well isn’t that a fine, “Good Morning”!
The Ballyhoo are finally getting closer to the boat so I tried to toss the Calusa net over them. Twice! Both times I got a zero return. You could see them skitter off before the throw even left my hands. We finally captured enough hookers to fish the day. Everyone out there was struggling with bait in this calm sea without a breath of wind.
We headed out and as soon as we hit the edge we set out our lines. The first bite was on the downrigger and mighty Casey was at bat. It took him a few minutes but he boated a nice little “Snake” Kingfish.
We missed several other bites throughout the morning with baits coming up slashed or missing. We had a bite on the long flat line and Kyle took this one. As Kyle gets it close to the boat we see it is another Barracuda. C’mon Kyle, we aren’t Cuda fishing, or are we?
The fishing was slow to say the least. The winds began to pick up a little and the waters began to show a tiny wind chop. Getting late in this ¾ day trip we decided to check out some bottom fishing. Man, that was worse yet. We made several drifts in 2 locations and only ended up with mangled baits to show for it. With quitting time drawing near I decided to go a while longer and see if we couldn’t make this a better day. I told Devon to rig up for more Kings and Sailfish, our standard set! As we made our way north in the slow current we instantly started getting bit. It appears the bite had turned on a bit. We hooked up on the downrigger and Casey again brings a “Snake” Kingfish to the boat. A miss or two on the d/rigger and BAM? the d/rigger lights up! This time Kyle is at the rod and this fish almost pulls him over the live well. Kyle works the fish like a trooper as the fish works Kyle like a spoiled dinner! After many minutes we see color and WHAT? A monster Caribbean Spotted Mackerel? No one told me that they were bringing Kyle the Kuda Killer on the boat. This fish whooped his little butt, but in his defense, the fish was bigger and almost outweighed him.
5 minutes pass and we get a run on the down rod. This time Art (Dad) took the rod. We could tell by the runs that this was a nicer Kingfish this time. Art brings the fish to the boat and Devon puts the steel to this 15 pound fish. As the photo op is completed and they are putting the fish in the box, the short flat line pops off. I know what that is! I grab the rod and feed the fish. Here we go! I flip the bail and start reeling as the line comes tight I hand the rod to Art who has made his way back to the cockpit again. The fish makes a short run again and heads for the sky. Sailfish on! Well, for a minute, maybe. The fish spit the hook on the first jump.
We fished for a little while longer and then wrapped it up for the day. Kyle the Kuda Killer had scored 3 Barracuda, mighty Casey and Dad teamed up for 3 Kingfish, and Art also got one jump out of a Sailfish. Poor Mom (Tammie), only got to catch some sun rays and a boat ride.