I called Anthony yesterday to let him know that the wind was still blowing and I expected it to be rough today. He said they had fished the backcountry yesterday in the wind and they still wanted to go off shore today even though they knew it would be rough. It was very rough with 6 to 8 footers at the hump, but we did catch 4 mahi off a pallet and a couple blackfins that we managed to get passed the sharks. When we finally got back to the reef it was very pleasant as the wind and current were the same direction. That really helped with the yellowtails and we ended up with 30 tails which was plenty for dinner and for the guys to take home.
It just didn't come together the way we wanted it to today. From the slow tuna bite to my inability to find that magical piece of debris where all the mahi seemed to be hiding today it was a struggle. We did catch a few tunas, a mahi and two dozen yellowtails but it wasn't what we had hoped for, fortunately Joe and his guys have done a lot of fishing and know that the effort doesn't always show in the catch and there was a lot of effort put in today.
Shane and John were married on the KK Tuesday evening at Alligator Lighthouse and today we took the newlyweds out for a full day of fishing. Tunas and Mahi in the morning and as we did not hear of much going on off shore in the way of mahi we came back to the reef and caught yellowtail snapper and assorted other species. We wish these two the best and I'm sure we will see them again soon as the sailfish season heats up.
Finally after days of brutal wind and rain we get a reprieve and Steve and his buds picked the right day to go looking for mahi. We did the tuna thing at the hump early and then I went too deep only to discover on the way back to the reef that there were mahi in 450 ft of water. These guys have obviously done quite a bit of fishing as it didn't take much to get them into the rhythm of a mahi war. We caught 18 nice fish and headed back to the reef where we caught a legal mutton and got a gold star from the Coast Guard by passing their safety inspection with flying colors.
Tom, Mary, Richard and Gwen are going to be eating tuna for a while as the sharks left us mostly alone and let us get almost all to the boat while we were at the hump. We stayed at the hump for a couple hours waiting to see if the guys running off shore would find mahi but all I heard were isolated incidents. We did finally go off and got to 20 miles or so before turning around and working our way back to the reef. Did catch the one mahi teenager on the way back and 3 undersized groupers once we got to the reef along with a king and assorted other scallywags. Happy folks even with the lack of mahi due to the strong northwest wind. We will see them again.
We have not fished with Brian Wing for about a year now but it's always a pleasure when we do get to fish together. He came down to do the lighthouse swim (which was yesterday) and he was a little disappointed when it was shortened due to weather. The weather was great today and we didn't have any problem catching really nice tunas and a dozen or so mahi. All those fillets are all headed back to Texas to be consumed by his four boys and lovely wife Shannon. See you again soon Brian.
Chris and the guys had a banner day catching some tunas to start and catching close to our limit on a 3/4 day. There was a current edge at 16 miles and we caught almost all our mahi off of one piece of debris that was on that edge. The weather is great and it looks like next week is more of the same with light winds and great fishing,. I have some open days so give me a call.
Things have been a little slow down here as everyone has been watching Dorian and afraid to make a move until the hurricane decided where it was going. Thankfully Dorian has gone away and we can get back to fishing. Today we stopped at the hump and spent quite a bit of time there catching tunas, there were a lot of smalls but enough decent size ones to keep us there till we had accumulated 7 or 8 better ones. There was almost no weed out to 20 miles but we did catch one 20 lb bull on the way out on a bucket and this sailfish a short time later. We spent a lot of time looking for the mahi after that but only found one more. I did get reports of mahi at 34 miles, hopefully those fish will get closer once that wind swings around to the southeast.
We caught a few tunas at the hump but the sharks were very active so I headed out toward the deeper water, slowing down at times to get a good around. At 17 miles I saw a couple frigate birds that looked good and as we eased up on the set and hooked up the first fish the rest of the fish showed up. It was the best school of fish I have seen all year, with very few fish under 6 or 7 lbs and a couple that went over 20. Randy, Joann, Christine and Garret did an amazing job of with very few tangles and we ended up with around 30 fish plus the tunas. Hurricane Dorian is lurking about and will pass north of us, I don't see any major effect in the keys as we are on the clean side and pretty far from it. I have quite a few open days in September for those of you looking for some great fishing with less visitors to contend with.
We fished Dr John and his daughter Lauren yesterday and although we were successful in catching tuna and our limit of mahi it was not without some degree of sadness that John's son Jay was not physically there to pull in some of these fish, something he loved to do. I only knew him for a relatively short time but it was long enough to see how much he loved the outdoors and especially his love of fishing. We met Jay's sister Lauren for the 1st time yesterday and we had a really nice time with her and her dad remembering Jay and the good times we had with him on the KK.
For someone that was not that interested in fishing, Evan was sure showing a lot of enthusiasm for it by the end of our evening. We caught a bunch of sharks and one ray this evening and dad decided to do a full day on Thursday to give the boys the off shore experience. Looking forward to it! We also fished Mike and Ian this morning and caught yellowtail, muttons and gray snapper along with a couple sharks and a yellow jack. Nothing special but we kept them busy and they had more fish to add to all the mahi we caught with them yesterday.
I was hoping the mahi would be where they were yesterday (around 800 ft) but no such luck today. We had to go 22 miles but when we got there there were big schools of fish and with a little help from my buddies on 2 other boats we were able to limit out and start that long trip back to the marina on the 3/4 day. We did catch some tunas at the hump on the way out and as Ian and His dad Mike had never mahi fished before they were a little overwhelmed to start when the mahi showed up behind the boat, but they caught on, settled down and soon they were catching every one that bit. Great day and we will see them again tomorrow on another short day
Our half day worked well as we traveled to the hump and beat the sharks to get a good catch of tunas for Stephen and his buddies. They really wanted some snapper to go with the tuna so we stopped on the reef on the way home and managed to catch a few yellowtails for the dinner plate. Enjoyed fishing with these guys and look forward to fishing with them again in the future.
Mike added one more today. Brian arrived in Miami just a couple hours before driving down and getting on the boat, but what a story due to weather delays last night he ended up flying from North Carolina to Texas and then Miami, I don't think I could have done that! The tunas did not bite as well at the hump this morning as they did yesterday and the shark were very active. With the wind from the north the weed lines were broken up and we got caught in the rain for a few hours so it was a bit difficult finding mahi schools but we caught 10 decent ones and together with our 10 tunas it was an OK catch.
Carolina Mike call me a few weeks ago and wanted to know if I had any consecutive days available. I let him know I only had these two days and after waiting a few days for a response he let me know he had gotten permission and today was his first day. We always enjoy fishing with Mike and today we had an awesome day with the mahi and tunas. Hopefully tomorrow will bring similar results.
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.