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Sometimes the bug!

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Joined: 22 Feb 2007
Posts: 127
Location: Miami, Florida

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:14 am    Post subject: Sometimes the bug! Reply with quote

The past several weeks have been beautiful days for a boat ride but hard for the captain and crew. We have seen days with slow tides and no current and if we did have a current it was moving to the south at a trickle. Not optimum conditions but you take what you are given and carry on.

Ron and Dick came with us for a ¾ day trip with their grandsons in tow. We made our way out to the Hardtail areas but they were nowhere to be found, so we made the run to the ballyhoo patches. The tide was dead and that is all I heard on the radio. Everyone was having trouble as nothing was flowing across the inside reefs. We hung at the patch for 30 minutes and finally pulled the chum bag. We were going to go “all in” and made our way out to the edge in hopes that there would be some current moving along the deeper reefs. The winds were nonexistent and the chum was barely moving, Yeah… sinking right under the boat. Thankfully the winds picked up to about 8 knots and swung the boat and the slight wave action helped wash some of the chum away from the stern. The worms started to show up but it was a slow process. We finally had enough baits to head out for the rest of this short day.

Having kids and grandkids of my own, the one thing I know is that you have to keep their attention. That means you must try to keep them as busy as possible catching fish. My first stop was to get them hooked up on anything and I knew just what would do that and where to go to do it. Devon put 3 lines on top and dropped one down. The blue water current was barely trickling to the north. I made a few rounds in the area when the down rod kicked off. This was not a big fish but it would satisfy one of the boys for now. He did a real good job with little assistance and the fish made it up to the boat, A small Barracuda!

Ok. Let’s see if we can do this 2 more times. We set up again and the procedure worked out with each of the other 2 boys getting a ‘Cuda. They weren’t monsters but they did get bigger, on cue, as each of the older boys took their turn.

Each boy had a fish fight under their belts, so I spread out the search pattern in that area. The current had all but stopped now and the bite followed suit. 15 minutes of this and we couldn’t even buy a Cuda bite. I had Devon pull the lines and I made a 10 mile run in search of some moving water. I found an area that had about a half knot current so we set up there. Oh boy, what a difference moving water makes. We managed to catch 2 Kingfish quickly and missed several other small fish strikes on the down rod.

The action was much better in this area. We had a good Kingfish on the line and suddenly he got much heavier and then he lost weight a few seconds later. We reeled up a very nice Kingfish head. Devon reset and 5 minutes after the line goes back down we get hooked up again. This time we caught the Kingfish bandit. A nice 4 ½’ Silky shark with a fat belly. My guess is he had about 10 pounds of our Kingfish in him. We released the fish to digest his meal. We were running out of time and the men were ready to get these happy kids back to their Moms. I told Devon to dump what bait was left in the wells. I slowly motored around the freebies and we got a taker on the rigger line. Sail? Nope… it’s staying down and circling. It was a large Bonito, aka Bonehead! Devon released the fish unharmed and we buttoned up The BEAST. It was not a premier day fish wise, but we kept 3 kids busy for most of the time.

The next trip was another ¾ day with Dan, Dave, Jake & Terry. Conditions hadn’t changed very much except we did manage to get about 4 Hardtails before we went to the worm hole. Again… the tides were not hardly moving but we did have an easy breeze and a light chop on the waters. It took about 30 minutes for the ballyhoo to show up but when they did we got a couple dozen “hookers” and I tossed the net to load the other well with a couple dozen “netters”. Off we go into the wild blue yonder! Yep… I did 4 years in the Air Force!

Of course, the conditions are not a whole lot better this day compared to the previous trip. Devon put out our normal spread and a half hour passes. Oh Boy! I’m thinking… Here we go again! I absolutely hate these sort of days. I really want to put my guys on fish too! Bam! The down rod gets the nod. This is a decent fish and it doesn’t take long until we see the telltale signs of a Caribbean Spotted Mackerel. C’mon, you know by now that we call them by that nickname on The BEAST.

That was the only bite we had for some time to come. I changed up areas and Devon kept fresh baits out. Suddenly the action started picking up however it was a multitude of small Kingfish and Cero Mackerel. We did manage to pick up yet another Barracuda that was worthy of a picture.

The guys got another shark on this day, a 3‘ Sharpnose. Our shining moment was when we dumped our wells at the end of this short day and had a Sailfish come up and eat. We did everything right from letting him take it and cranking down to hook up. He was taking line and on his first jump he suddenly came unpinned. CRAP! I guess it was not meant to be. Sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. I guess it was time for us to pay our dues and eat a big piece of that nasty “Humble Pie”.

It so amazes me, how hard it is to write reports about these less than glamorous trips, but I refuse to only write about the good ones. It’s even more amazing how Devon and I consider these days slow even though we catch fish. Sometimes the conditions just make the fishing hard, definitely not a lack of effort! I promise we’ll do better!

Capt. Jim
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