Jeremy had not fished with us since 2015 but he called me last night and wanted to do a shark/tarpon trip as they did 3 years ago and we were happy to accommodate him and his family. No tarpon tonight but plenty of sharks including several fast movers like this blacktip shark.
Shelia, Kristen and Art were very patient this morning as I tried to locate some mahi and it just didn't seem to be happening in my little part of the ocean. We caught 3 single fish and saw no birds or weed to work for a couple hours but then things started to change and my stress levels started to go down as the birds and the weed appeared along with lots of nice schoolie mahi. We ended our 3/4 day with our limit of mahi and sent our folks home with their cooler packed.
After a windy rainy weekend that kept us off the water in was nice to get out and finally do some fishing. We had a nice family from Louisiana that had done a lot of redfish and trout fishing but were absolutely amazed when the 1st bait in the water was eaten by a 70 lb tarpon. After catching the tarpon we caught 8 or 9 sharks including a nice blacktip. We are taking Art, Kristen and Shelia out tomorrow to look for mahi and I'm sure they will be a lot more comfortable with that after an evening in the channel.
We started a little slow catching one mahi off each of the 1st 4 frigate birds we saw. At that point I'm thinking it is going to take a lot of frigate birds to put a decent catch together, fortunately we upped the ratio as the day progressed and we ended up with 30 nice schoolies and heavy lifters. Great group of guys from the Huntington group that we fish every year.
First fish of the day was this 23 lb tuna, and what a way to start the day for Ed and his daughter Gabby. Although we've had a lot of wind this week, it had finally subsided today and while we were trolling out to the blue water this tuna decided to eat our rigger bait. We got to the blue water in 400 ft and after catching 15 or so mahi decided to head back to the reef and the calmer water to finish up. We were able to catch a dozen yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snapper to top off the day and sent our father and daughter team back to NY with some awesome memories to share.
Anthony and the guys saw those big yellowtail we caught yesterday and wanted to try that first but conditions were not good on the reef and after spending a couple hours trying different spots we headed off shore in search of the mahi. Lots of rain and wind made for a bouncy ride but we ended up with a dozen mahi, enough for dinner a some to take home.
We looked hard but didn't find a whole lot of mahi today even though the conditions were pretty good. Out passed 500 ft the current was running hard and there was plenty of weed to look through but not many fish so we ended up back on the reef catching 3 to 4 lb yellowtail snapper. Our happy group really enjoyed catching those big tails, (of course the ladies caught the biggest) and they helped make our day.
Taking a page from the last few days and not running passed the fish really helped us out today as once again we didn't have to go passed 300 ft and most of our morning half I spent in 200 ft or less. The blackfins were numerous and there were even a few legal mahi mixed in, we were able to keep Eric, Parker, Carter and Carter Sr, busy all morning long with the almost nonstop action.
Just 2 guys today, Shell and Justin were on board as we went out looking for the mahi in the shallow water. Never got passed 350 ft and found school after school but mostly small fish and they didn't want to eat well either. We had almost reached our limit on mahi when I decided to do some yellowtailing, which worked out reasonably well and we caught a dozen nice ones.
Last Thursday I lost the raw water pump on my starboard engine and thought I was going to be up and running on Friday, it didn't work out that way. Yesterday the part came in and today we got to go fishing with our clients from Minnesota. Nothing like having the first mahi that you have ever caught be a 20 pounder, that's what happened to Bob today and he was pretty stoked about it. We caught over 20 mahi, a couple blackfin tunas and fought the barracudas for 9 yellowtail. A good day as we get back into the fishing again.
Adam wanted to catch a tarpon and brought his family out with us last evening on our channel trip. I had barely got done telling Adam that the tarpon had not been biting all that well when the 1st tarpon ate and 3 jumps later spit the hook, the next tarpon was a monster and we got one jump out of him before the hook came loose, the 3rd tarpon was on for 20 minutes before the grass that had built up on the line dehooked the fish and that fish was gone, the last tarpon was one jump, and that one was gone too. We did catch six sharks in between jumping off tarpon and Adam's kids had a great time with those. Adam said just jumping the tarpon made the whole evening and his trip to the keys great, he also said "we will catch them next time"!
Today was the 1st day of the Keymorada Tournament and we saw lots of fish but nothing very big. Paul and the guys dealt with a little wind and rough conditions once we got out passed 600 ft but everyone stayed well.
A lot of smiling faces on this group from PA where these guys are all working on various degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. Kyle wanted to catch a large fish today and a 30 lb mahi mahi certainly qualifies as a large fish and Kyle got to catch it. Everyone on the KK caught today as we ended up finding several pieces of debris that held nice schoolies and heavy lifters and racked 20 plus fish at the end of the day.
Steve and his family decided to do a half day so we stayed on the reef, tried for that big grouper and caught one. Unfortunately it was a goliath grouper around 50 lbs and after a few pictures we turned him loose. Caught a mess of yellowtail snapper after catching the grouper and headed for the marina.
Second day with Wayne's group and the wind is still with us but the current was behind the boat and the yellowtail snapper bit well. We did catch one legal black grouper, numerous mutton snapper (one legal) and a king fish to round out the day. The guys had a great time (even with the 20 knots of wind) and will be back on the KKIV again next year.
Wayne brings this group down the 1st of May every year and we've had some really memorable catches in years past, this year was just OK. We only had a couple of big grouper bites and although we did catch couple of red grouper, we didn't catch the 20 to 30 lb black groupers we have caught in years past. The wind did blow as predicted, but I was able to get out to a couple of my deeper spots for the vermillons and caught a couple jacks out there as well.