On our last 2 trips we saw relatively calm seas, light winds, and warm ambient air temperatures. So far we haven’t been subject to those nasty afternoon thunder boomers but I’m sure it is only a matter of time.
Our trip with Homestead local, Brian Morris, included his business associate and son, Dan and Denver. We met up at the dock at the usual time and cast off our lines. This day we decided to forego the usual bait stop and take our chances with a few Hardtails we had caught on the way out.
I immediately made my way offshore and into the deeper blue water to search for some Dolphin. We found some scattered weeds and Devon dropped our spread and we began to “do work”! We worked the area for a short time as we headed for deeper water. Bonk, Bam, Zing! Lines were ripped out of the riggers and flats! Green and yellow flashes let us know we had found our mark. We were hit by some decent sized school fish. This scenario played out a time or two again and we boxed 6 Dolphin in total. As things settled down and we lost track of the fish, we spotted birds working on the horizon. I made the turn and in a few minutes we were on them. Looks like Skippies to me. We had a long shotgun line out and I made a few wide turns. To my surprise the short flat line takes a hit. Dan worked the fish to the boat and judging by the fight it was definitely a tuna. Yes sir! A nice football Blackfin greets us. Devon snatches it out of the sea and quickly preps it, to preserve the flesh, then dispatches it the ice. We continued to worked the birds for a while and never got another bite. Those Skipjacks can be frustrating, to say the least!
We packed it in and I took a cruise heading for the wreck. Dan and Denver are from Minnesota. Once again we had someone aboard who was discussing walleye and salmon. OK boys, get a load of these back breakers. We worked the wrecks and gave each one of them a shot at some AJ’s to 40 pounds or so. Done deal. The guys tapped out in the second round!
I had Devon pull lines and we made our way toward the Permit hole. Permit are not quite the bruisers that our local Amberjack are, but they do take a place on the tough fish list. We worked the area and conditions were not helping us. As the fat lady was warming up her vocals to end the day, we managed to get young Denver hooked up and he boated a 15 pounder.
Brad Essick has fished with us several times over the years, and he was here in Miami on a business/busman’s holiday. He decided he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go fishing with us again. He came alone. We met at the dock at 7 and we asked him what fish or type of fishing was his preference. He said, “It doesn’t matter, just keep me busy!” I made way for an area to catch some Blue Runners and we managed to quickly catch a half dozen or so. Off we go!
Considering the Dolphin bite of yesterday, I decided to head out into the general vicinity of our previous catches. Holy Cow! What a difference a day makes. That area was void of life. No birds, no weeds, no debris, nothing! After the boredom set in on us, I hollered to pull lines and let’s get this guy on some fish. We ran in from our position in the inky blue depths and as we approached the 500′ line we found birds working Skipjacks. Once again I made the wide turns and to my surprise the 2 flats and a rigger get popped. Dolphin! They must’ve been working the fringes of that school of Skipjacks. Brad managed to catch and boat them all. We stayed on the birds and pitched small speed jigs at them and Brad caught 2 Skippies on this 15# spinning setup. A short while later we attracted too much attention and boats began running up into the school, splitting them and sending ’em down. The schools would pop up a good distance away and it began to get tedious. I left them to the other boats. I put The BEAST on plane and made our way to the AJ’s.
Now you’re going to get busy Brad. Each drift produced a fish and Brad didn’t cry uncle, not once, not even close. He backed his words with a smile on his face. 10 fish later, he had caught them with live bait on heavier bottom tackle as well as speed jigs on 30# spinning tackle. We vent/released all of these wreck donkeys to fight another day!
He wanted more, so I suggested a try at some Permit also. A smile and a nod and we were off. As we approached the Permit spot, it was as congested as a public boat ramp on Memorial Day. There was a sportfish there and a spotter in his Tuna tower telling his anglers where the fish were. Other boats crowded him to within inches, as if they had no idea how to catch these fish without his direction. That might just be the case. A very short while after we arrived, the big boat pulled out of the area. A few short minutes later and all the other boats were gone too. There were only 2 of us left there! COOL! We worked the fish and Brad went 3 for 4 with the largest fish being 18 pounds. We released the 3 Permits also, to continue the rituals that had brought them there.
With a half hour or so left, we pulled out from these fish and tried to top off the day with a Sailfish. We put out the last of our live baits. Nothing came of that and I pointed The BEAST for the barn. On the ride in, Devon and I couldn’t believe that Brad had caught 3 Dolphin, 2 Skipjacks, 3 Permit, and last but surely not least, 10 Amberjack, all by himself. He was a fishing animal, a glutton for punishment! However, Brad did confide in us, that his muscles would be feeling it in the morning!
Speaking of muscles! You guys have just enough time to hit the gym and tone up for Cubera Snapper season. That time is fast approaching again and several days have already been reserved.