From a couple difficult days to almost 30 mahi by 11 o'clock was a welcome change for us today. A few of our group had some problems with the rocking boat in the morning so after catching the mahi we went a little shallower and caught a dozen rose porgies in the calmer water. Having some time left we even stopped and yellowtailed on the reef for a bit to show the kids what that was all about and then headed for the marina. Looking forward to fishing with these guys again probably in December when the sailfish show up.
No tarpon this evening but we kept Ashley and her family very busy with sharks and rays. We get to fish a full day with these folks tomorrow and it was good practice for them with all the activity tonight.
Yesterday was a struggle with very few bright spots among the fleet searching for mahi and today was similar with a few more decent catches of mahi but still not what it has been. We were not among the more decent catches but Chris and his crew still had a great time. Chris has taken home bags and bags of fillets over the years when fishing with us and today was the only off year that they could remember. They did get to try deep dropping which they had never done before so it was a total loss and we caught some nice rose porgies for dinner. See you next year gang!!
Over ran them today as did a lot of boats but we recovered somewhat by the end of the day and put together a decent catch even without the birds to show us where the fish were. Tom and his group really enjoyed themselves, 1st time mahi fishing for a couple of them and that is always a little special. Another calm day today but it looks like we may get some wind and rain this weekend and then back to low wind conditions next week.
It took a little more time to put together this catch today but we ended up with a really good grade of fish. Scott, Heather, Will, Colton, and Josh had their hands full with these nicer fish but they got almost all of them to the boat. Just a beautiful calm day on the water for everyone, although it was bit hot in that cockpit by the afternoon.
Once again everything fell into place as we found a couple turtles with fish on them in the morning and so we got that sigh of relief early that you get when you have fish in the box. A lot of heavy lifters and gaffer size fish to start the day lowers the stress levels and we had some really good anglers in William, Nichols, Erica and Rich to get those fish to the boat. Did a little deep dropping at the end of the day and caught some nice porgies to add to the catch.
We caught our 20 mahi for Dr Mike and Brian and after trying a couple unproductive deep drop spots found one with a hungry 10 lb snowy grouper which Dr Mike proceeded to catch. Caught one more smaller snowy which we sent back down and we got back in to the marina a little early so the fish could get packed and the guys could get on the road.
Charlie, Steve, Bobby and Joe fished with us today on their annual mahi fishing trip. Boby caught the big one and caught it on 15 lb test, it wasn't planned that way, but he did and we got him after a 40 minute battle. Lots of fish out there today but also a lot of boats vying for them, a great way to meet new people and make "friends". Thanks Steve, see you again next year.
Just a really nice day with our good friends from Texas, Dr Mike and his son Brian. They wanted to yellowtail to start and after limiting out with them we decided to see if there were any mahis out in the deep. We didn't have to go too far, found two turtles with fish on them, limited out again and came back a little early so they could get their fish packed up and in the freezer. Always a pleasure to see this family (not sure we will get to see the kids or the ladies this trip) and we get to fish with these two again on Sunday.
Yesterday we had a very short day but we still caught enough for Jeff and Heidi to have a dinner or three. Today we had no such problems with seasickness, the 10 year old twins Charlie and Kaelie took turns cranking in mahi with Dad and Granddad's help and we ended up with 35 or so by the end of the day. There are a lot of small fish out there right now, unlike a week or so ago so it's just a matter of finding a good school.
The 1st set of birds had a large school of mahi under it but we only caught 5 and they got away from us. The next school had smaller fish and after catching 3 or 4 they moved on, by now I figured we would catch our limit but it might take a couple hours at the rate we catching. I saw another set of birds that I thought might be back on the first school of fish again and it turn out they were, we were better organized and it wasn't long before we had reached our limit of 20 mahi. After catching 8 or so tunas at the hump we headed back to the reef , bounced the bottom for a while but no mutton snapper (1 kingfish) and then sat down and caught a hand full of yellowtail. This is the 3rd year that Bob and Wendy have fish us and they will be back next year.
Everything progressed smoothly today, the bait was cooperative (unlike yesterday), the tuna bit well enough at the hump to get us started and we also caught a couple keeper mahis there to start the day on them. Found a frigate a couple miles from the hump with a hand full of more mahi and it just continued like that throughout the day. This was the 2nd trip for Alex, Ena and Victor and once again they had a great time and booked me for next year same time.
Yesterday is a distant memory as we found a lot of nice fish today for the Southern Freight tournament Guys. We fish them every year, it's always a good time and we won it a couple years ago. Don't know about this year as our big fish wasn't that big coming in at 16 lbs. See you next year guys and gal!!
Overran them today and I knew it as I got out over 20 miles that I was out too far. There were fish caught out there by a couple boats and I thought I would be able to find a school also. I was not alone in the struggle to find fish today, many boats had the same problem but I still felt frustrated. Fortunately tomorrow is a brand new day and we do it all over again, but bigger and better.
I make a lot of decisions every day as to the direction I take the boat and I will never know how many fish I catch or never see because I decide to go left instead of right. Today I made the right decisions, I drove right to a piece of bamboo that had a bunch of schoolies on it and the big fish, I then found a turtle that had a few more and topped it off by finding a large school of migrating mahi where we caught a bunch more. We ended up with 27 mahi and 8 or 9 tuna on a day when most of the feet struggled and we could just as easily been as unlucky. Miguel and Kameron had a blast. To my surprise Miguel wanted to know whether mahi was good to eat, I thought he was kidding but he convinced me he had never eaten mahi, he is in for a treat!
They wanted some yellowtails so we started on the reef, catching a dozen tails and then moving on to the hump where we caught 8 or 9 tunas. The mahi eluded us for a while but we did finally find a few big schools with some legal size fish in them catch a dozen. The guys had a great time and will be back (God willing), hopefully they will not wait 3 years for their return.
I have not see Curtis and Duncan for three years but they called me a few months ago and set a two day trip up for them and their fishing buddies. The rain shut us down for a spell several times today shortening the time we could search for the mahi but think we caught the tunas because it was so overcast. We will do it again tomorrow with these guy but may start on the reef in the morning to see if the yellowtail want to bite.
Caught another big bull today but not as big as the one that won the tournament, this one was probably 25 lbs or so and we also had a cow that would have gone at least 20 lbs. Phil and his group preformed well and caught all the fish they had hooked up. We stopped by the hump on the way home to let Zack and Phil junior catch blackfin tuna which were easier to deal for the smaller people then the mahi. Everyone had a good time and they will be back.
Jessie did it! Was not sure it would hold up but I heard this morning that our 34.4 lb mahi was big enough and Jessie took home the trophy and the money. Congratulations to all of our anglers and we look forward to fishing the OZ tournament again next year.
The 2nd day of the OZ tournament and we found a big fish out 21 miles. Jessie struggled a bit but we got him close enough for Dave to put the gaff in him and we added him to the nice catch of heavy lifters and gaffers that we already had in the box. He weighed in at 34.4 lbs and I'm waiting to hear if this was the winning fish.
Steve and the ladies came to Islamorada to fish the OZ tournament and although we did not have the big fish today we did have a 15 lb mahi and a bunch of other nice fish. We will have a different crew tomorrow on the 2nd day of the tournament as they change boats every day. The mahi fishing continues to be very good to my relief and the relief of all the captains out there looking for mahi and we just hope it continues thru the rest of the summer..
David and his group sat for an hour or so as we ran to 17 miles and then put the spread out. Most of the mahi caught yesterday were out 20 to 25 miles so we ran out there to get in on that bite. It didn't happen quickly for us but after an hour or so we started finding good fish and ended up catching a 20 lb bull and a 16 lb cow to go with the other 15 smaller mahi that we caught. David said they were going to make it a yearly event and that they will be back to fish on the KK.
Joe and Lisa wanted some fresh tuna so we headed to the hump and we caught four before they shut down on us. There was no current at the hump and I decided to try the bottom as the snapper are much easier to catch with light current and you lose a whole lot less gear with no current. The vermillon snapper bit very well, the silk snapper bit a little and Joe got to catch 3 jacks along with all the snapper. Joe had a ball deep dropping and they are already talking about scheduling their next trip on the KK.
After all the tough days, 30 fish in the box by 9:30 in the morning felt really good! It was a short day to start with, which adds to the pressure so finding a large school of mahi early was just what we needed. Chris and his crew did a great job under Dave's tutelage catching almost every fish in the school even though several of them had never been experienced a mahi battle before. Great job by everyone and we will see you again next year.