Good day, good friend, good eats!

Breaking away from the normal routine of live bait.

February 3, 2009
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My friend, Trollin’ Tom and I went out for an afternoon of fishing. He loves to troll for fish and I welcomed a break from live baiting the edge. We always seem to have a good time whether we catch or not. We picked Friday for our trip since it was a pre-frontal condition with winds from the SE at 10 knots and light seas. The front was positioned to pass through the area later that afternoon.

We met at the dock at 10 AM and shoved off shortly thereafter. Not concerned with catching any live bait, I throttled up The BEAST and we made our way offshore. As we passed the edge the water was a dingy blue/green and I decided to start at around 300′. A few scattered weeds in the area and we put out a spread with 2 deep rods for Wahoo and 5 top lines for Dorado. I set my course to the SE and about 30 minutes later we happened upon an obscure line of scattered weeds. The weed line was so faint that we had to get on the upwind side of it to keep the sun at our back and a visual on it. This also kept us from inadvertently passing back and forth through it and fouling our baits. A few more minutes passed and we saw a small flock of Terns working a big bait school around a small patch of weeds. I took the school well off the starboard side and the birds quickly directed their flight over our baits and it was, FISH ON! One of the deep rods sounded off and then the starboard rigger lit up. DOLPHIN! This is what Tom was looking for, his favorite offshore target. The fish on the deep rod came loose and the fish on the rigger rod was a good chubby “Schoolie”. Then the other down rod went off and we had a nice liitle “Gaffer” Cow on. As the Cow breaches the surface the other rigger sounds off and we have the Bull hooked up as well. OK! 2 of us on board and 3 fish going, this is going to be fun. We quickly dispatched the “Schoolie” into the fish box and Tom handed me the rod with the Bull and he took the Cow. I fought this nice little Bull up to the boat and Tom put his rod into “Rodney, the rod holder” and we gaffed my fish and put it in the cooler. Tom picks up his rod and re-enters the fight with the Cow. Suddenly, my fish, in the cooler, busts out and dang near makes it out of the boat as Tom takes a few swats to the back of his thighs. Tom never lost his composure, keeping the flopping fish in the cockpit with swift leg kicks. Finally, the melee’ is over as we put the Bull back in the box and gaff the Cow. We were laughing at ourselves and the situation? I guess you should’ve been there, to really appreciate it!


After we cleaned up the bloody cockpit, we reset lines and resumed course. The weeds ran out and the birds were gone, so I turned the bow around and tracked back towards the hot spot. As we approached, the birds were once again dipping down on the water. This time we passed by and nothing happened. I made a large circle and came back against the current. As we passed by the birds, once again, they changed course over our baits and a double hook up was the result. This was a matching set of book ends, chubby “Schoolie’s” identical to the first fish of the day. We made short work of these fish and now had 5 nice Mahi in the box.

We worked the area for a while until the weeds scattered and the birds sat resting on the water. No fish? let’s move on! I continued out, setting a limit at the 600′ depths, and still nothing happening. Working our way back in to the earlier productive depths, the winds began turning like a clock. The front is moving in and we are now experiencing westerly winds with some scattered rain. The air was chilling and the seas were resembling a blender, tossed up by the increasing winds and quick change of direction.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the right rigger trips and I am on a fish that ate the small Tuna lure. The fish stayed deep giving me an idea that we might be eating Sashimi or blackened Tuna for dinner. Yes sir! Up comes a nice Blackfin Tuna which is quickly launched over the gunnels, prepped for the cooler and iced down.


The seas were growing wild, we were wet from the previous rains and chilled from the drop in ambient temperature, so we called it a day. Tom and I quickly stowed our gear and headed west toward home. We replayed the day as we cruised the Bay toward the head pin. Normally, this time of year, I want to be fishing the edge with live bait. The Sailfish were on fire, the radio was buzzing, and the boys working the edge were clocking them. That was not our goal on this trip, and it didn’t bother me in the least! Nothing can compare to a good day on the water, with a good friend, and a cooler of good eats!

Capt. Jim
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