Erin wanted a half day and probably a good decision on her part as her kids seemed very sensitive to the motion of the ocean. The tunas bit well to start the day and we headed back to the reef after catching 8 or 9 of them. We stopped at a shallow spot on the reef where we have been catching decent mangrove snapper and there we caught some legal yellowtails and legal mangroves, then headed back to to the marina to get the kids on solid ground.
Sad day today as we say goodbye to Dr Mike and his group. We stayed on the reef today and caught yellowtails and and a few mangrove snapper. Ichen was our star pupil with all the enthusiasm we could ever want in a client and a joy to have onboard. We look forward to seeing Mike and Patsy again soon or as soon as their busy schedule allows.
The evening trip with the same group as this morning was picture perfect, the sharks bit steadily most of the evening, caught a ray half way through and when Dr Mike started to ask where the tarpon were, there he was. The fish took so much line, by the time I got the anchor up I didn't think we would be able to get him but he went right down the channel and after 25 minutes we had him close enough to call it a catch. Congratulations Dr Mike and Patsy did catch the biggest mahi today!
It was mahi mahi or bust today for Dr Mike, Patsy and their group and fortunately we found them early. To start the tunas did not bite well early in the day but we caught 3 decent ones, enough for tuna appetizers and more and then headed out to the deep woods to find the mahi. The first school was a pack of 15 or so heavy lifters and gaffers of which we caught a dozen, later we found a teenager with a couple schoolies and even later a turtle that had a lot of fish but we caught just a couple. These all add up to a nice rack of fish for our pictures at the end of the day.
Second time for Alan and his family, they were here just before Irma made a mess of things here in the Keys and the rest of Florida. We left early and caught the tunas well then decided I was going to to go back to the reef but heard that there were mahi fairly close in so we spun around and headed offshore. Found some mahi on a turtle but that was the extent of our mahi find . Tomorrow we will be back out there with Dr mike's group and it's mahi or bust!
The mahi bite has really slowed down the last couple days so when Mike and I discussed the plan for today I suggested fishing the hump early and coming back to the reef and fishing the snapper. A good plan that worked out pretty well as the tuna bit well and as did the vermillons. The yellowtail not so well and when they did the sharks were there. Great to have Mike and Patsy back on the boat and we look forward to fishing with them in the next few day.
These three were on fire today, never missing a fish, moving like cats in the cockpit and following all of Dave and my instructions (the few they needed) as we stopped on a big mat of weed where there was a beautiful school of heavy lifters and gaffers after running 23 miles to get there. Normally I get guys that have drank heavily the night before and are in such a fog in the morning it takes a few minutes for them to process even a simple instruction but not these guys, Joe #1 got them there right on time in the morning and off we went, by 10 o'clock we had 29 mahi and were looking for that centerpiece. The only problem we had was with the two Joes but once we assigned each a number it all smoothed out. Great job guys, looking forward to doing it again soon.
Not much sargassum at all today until we got 23 miles off shore but when we arrived the fish were there. Caught a couple dozen in the first 30 minutes at that spot and then followed the weed picking off a few here and there. At one point, another boat called us over to a big school and we caught 15 or so more mahi out of that school. We ended up with over 40 for Kirk and his crew, he is another one of my long term clients (fished with me for 10 years or so) and we always enjoy our day with them.
We had to go quite a bit farther today to find the mahi but there were big schools of fish there when we did arrive. Not all the fish in some schools were big enough but there were enough gaffer and heavy lifter size fish that we were able to put 30 really nice size fish up on the rack at the end of the day including one that went 20 lbs or better. John, Regina and her daughter Jazelle got a crash course in what schoolie wars are all about and by the end of the day were getting really good at the mahi dance. Very nice, see you folks next year.
We got done early. Jeff came up to the bridge around 10:30 and said they had all the needed and we headed for home, we did stop and deep drop a couple times just to see if the silk snapper might be there but we were back in our slip by noon. Almost 40 big beautiful schoolies and a dozen tunas were even more then Jeff and his crew could pack up for home but they went home with most of it which was good. We only broke a couple fish off and once we got passed the learning curve that did not happen again. Nice folks, they have their work cut out for them this afternoon vacuum packing and freezing their fish.
The mahi have been noticeably absent in any great numbers for several weeks, but in the last 5 or 6 days nice fish and large schools have shown up and in fairly shallow water. I heard reports today of large schools of gaffer (7 to 10 lbs) fish in 350 to 450 ft which makes everyone happy. William and his boys had there hands full today, especially considering these larger fish, if you tangle, can break off in a hurry. I don't think they broke even one off, good job guys! Williams told me when we were cleaning fish, he is selling his boat and he was going to fish with us every couple months because he catches more fish and its cheaper than owning his own boat. See you in a couple months William!
We started with the tunas, catching 14 in a short time and then headed off to find the mahi. It did not come easy as we looked hard for a couple hours and even started back toward the reef before find a pack of gaffers and heavy lifters under some birds in the weed. Pat and his family had to learn fast and they did, after the initial confusion they kept lines untangled and moved around in the cockpit to keep things straight. We located the 26 pounder after we were pretty much done with the schoolies so that worked out well also. Pat and his family are planning a trip back in December for the sailfish run. See you then guys!
We have not been spending much time looking for the mahi recently because they have not been here in numbers, but in the last few days I have gotten reports of decent catches of mahi and today we decided it was time to go find some. Jeremy, Liz and the kids are from Kansas City and had never caught or seen a live mahi but they did great. We caught the tunas first and then found mahi at various times throughout the shortened day. Looking forward to fishing with them again sometime soon.
Bev caught the first tarpon of the evening after we missed one and Toby caught the second after we missed another. There were many sharks to keep everyone busy between tarpon bites and plenty of laughter and humor for additional entertainment . We are going to miss Bev, Paula, Rubin and Toby as they head back to the UK on Monday , they have become more then good clients, they are good friends.
A half day worked out great for this crew this time but next time they want the full day according to Grayson and Christian and I know dad would go for it too. We tried the mangoves but the water was very clean so I decided to go to the hump, which work out well. Caught a dozen tunas or so along with a few bonitos. See you next time folks!
IRubin, Bev and Toby (The Kings) and their friend Dave were in on one of the best tuna bites i have seen in a long time. I could barely move the boat after catching a tuna or two, or three. when we would have another one, or two or three on. It obviously did not take long for us to have all the tuna we needed and because it was a little windy, rainy and rough I decided to head back to the reef were we ended up yellowtailing after trying a few other things. This is the last full day with the Kings, we do have one more evening trip with them Saturday before we sadly see them go.
Lou and his grandson, Robert and Michelle split the bounty today with each of them taking home a bunch of snapper and tuna. Once again we started with the mangroves and patch yellowtail and from there we went to the hump where the tunas bit fairly well. The water was crystal clear when we got back to the reef and so the larger yellowtail did not cooperate but we did catch a kingfish at the very end of or shortened day. Good news is that it sounded like the mahi fishing may be picking up, we will let you know.
I have caught quite a few strange things over the years but this was a new one, Laslo caught a drone off the bottom in whale harbor channel. It gave up pretty easy, not much of a fight but it sure surprised everyone and it's obviously been down there a long time. We also caught a tarpon or Toby caught a tarpon and he did a very good job of fighting him. We did miss Rubin this evening , we heard there was a disagreement between the brothers and it was better that they were in separate places this evening but I am sure we will see both of them come Thursday morning. Lost count on the number of sharks caught but it was a lot.
This was the final fishing day this year for Rick's group and we went out with a splash, catching yellowtails, mangroves, tunas and jacks. We headed for the hump where the tunas bit slowly at first but after the traffic died down the bite picked up, We decided not to go mahi fishing as the reports were not encouraging and so headed back inshore, catching a couple almaco jacks at the little hump and finishing up the day on the reef with the yellowtail snapper where we had to speed wind them to get them away from the bull sharks. A good time was had by all!
Not a huge tarpon but he gave Rubin a good fight and it was at the very end of the evening. Toby missed one early and of course we caught quite a few sharks through out the trip. We had the honor of having both Paula (Bev's wife) and my wife Pati on board which made for a fun filled evening. See everyone again in a couple days.
Two boats were needed for this big group and although the yellowtails did not bite for us well the mangroves did. Caught a few other species of snapper in our 1/2 day adventure and everyone had a good time learning different ways to catch them.
More great kids! I can't say enough about the kids we get that are fishing enthusiasts, they may not come with the skills but they listen and learn and in the few hours we have with them, they show huge improvement and it is so satisfying to see the change. Lots of yellowtails and some mangroves this morning along with the bull sharks trying to eat them, FUN!
The mahi fishing is not good but the snappers are eating and there are kingfish around to be caught, so we spent the day with are English friends on the reef, bouncing around from spot to spot catching yellowtail, mangrove, vermillon and mutton snappers and a couple kingfish thrown in for good measure. Great fun once again with great people.