The Harbor Club came down to fish with us for 2 days, once again, but this time with a day off in between. It was the usual group… Chief (Harbor 1), Yalkin (Harbor 3), Frankie (Harbor 7) and honorary guest Freddie. This group runs on Yalkin time. In case you haven’t read other reports about them, Yalkin time means an ETA of 9AM, not a minute sooner!
The BEAST was chomping at the bit as we shoved off on Day 1 , We made our usual stops at our bait spots and had the wells full of Runners and Ballyhoo although it was a bit of a tough go. With the late start and having to take time to catch bait, I had a plan to maximize the short amount of actual fishing time we had. I had brought a half dozen crabs with me, so I decided to try for some Permit first thing. Uh, that didn’t work out too well. I pulled out of there and headed for our Holy Crap wreck to give them a good work out right away. The first drop and we had a hook up as if the fish new the script. Chief did his thing on this wreck donkey and we had the skunk off the boat in short order. We did this in succession with live baits and speed jigs until we had 5 fish caught and the guys threw in the towel.
I pulled away from the wreck a bit worried about what I was hearing on the radio. It seemed that everyone was enjoying a boat ride that day and very few were catching anything to write home about. Well, we’re going to give it our best shot. I worked the usual areas where we consistently catch fish and nothing much was happening. Just as I had feared. I mean to tell you that I couldn’t even catch a dang Barracuda with the primo baits that Devon was using. We did have a few bites but they were obviously small fish. Devon even tried downsizing the rigs, to no avail. We toiled on! Nothing on the bottom, nothing in the mid depths, and not a darn thing happening on top.
We were ticking off the hours when I hit another good spot. KaPowey! The down rod gets slammed and we are on a good fish. I’m hoping we have a big grouper on but as the minutes passed by it was more apparent that we had a shark on. This is definitely the year of the shark for us! Working the boat and tussling with this fish on 30# line for 20 minutes, we finally get the critter to boat side. It’s a nice one, pushing 6 feet and around 80 pounds. Not the Hammerhead that the Chief wants to notch off his bucket list, but a good fish anyway. As Devon leaders the shark over to cut it loose, I leaned over the rail to get some photos. I noticed that the shark was bowed up, which is not a good thing. I held the shutter down to get some quick shots and suddenly the shark reacted. WATCH OUT!!!!
He made a lunge at me and slammed into the side of the boat, falling back into the water. Holy Cow! That was a close one. Devon reset the lines but the sea was quiet. The guys called it a day, saving their strength for Day 2. We tucked everything away and made the run home.
Day 2 and the guys arrived at Yalkin time, as usual. The BEAST was snarling, ready to exact revenge, so we cut loose her tethers and turned her out. We hit our bait spots and the baits came much easier that day. With plenty of baits on board the local fish population in its entirety was our target. I coaxed the Beast into the blue water and Devon quickly set up our spread. Starting at Yalkin time or later makes for a short day and we’re not fishing during prime hours. In other words, just handcuff me and ask me to jump rope. Concentrating our mission on surface and bottom fish, I omitted wreck fishing from our agenda. Knowing where we were headed, Devon set his lines accordingly. 15 minutes into it the bottom rod gets bumped and Freddie, cranks up a keeper Mutton Snapper.
Working the waters deeper and then shallower we were getting some attention from smaller fish and definitely got beat up by Ocean Triggers at one point. We caught a few Bonito here and there on some of the smaller speed jigs and surface baits. Noticing a big splash offshore of us, Devon and I kept our eyes peeled. We got a bite on the down rod and thought it might be a Cobia at first glance. Uh, not! It turned out to be a very large Remora. The bite seemed to be on, so we kept a sharp lookout. 20 minutes later, Devon shouts out, “Sailfish!” The Sailfish has already eaten, hooked up, and taken to the air! The Chief is on the rod and working him. 15 minutes into the game and the Chief has his fish boat side. I tried to get a picture of it in the water but the leader popped off before Devon could bill the fish. We had a few more bites and things were getting busy. I heard the faint pop of the line release. The short rigger was paying out line. Here Freddie, take it! Freddie climbed on the rod and a nice Sailfish goes airborne! In and out and all around, working hard and easing up, trying to wear him out without parting the line. Freddie did what he needed to do with this fish and at the 30 minute mark, his Sailfish was played out. Devon gently pulled the fish aboard for a quick 30 second photo shoot and then we took 10 minutes time to totally revive this tired fish.
We replenished the baits and got back at it again. I continued to work in the area and the down rod goes off. Frankie is fighting the fish while we are betting on what this one is… Mutton? No, too big. Grouper? No it’s coming up to the surface. Bonito, Barracuda? No. Probably a pesky little Sharpnose shark. Nope, there it is! Yes sir, it’s a nice Cobia! Woohoo! We’ll take that one for sure!
Once again all lines are reset and the day is drawing to a close. I’m hanging close to this area that has been working well for us. Boomdiddy! The down rod goes off again. Here we go with the species betting again as Yalkin takes the position as angler. This fish is definitely a bottom type, judging by the pull. A couple minutes later and we see a decent Red Grouper pop to the top. Dinner!
Ok.. Day 2 was a great deal better than Day 1 for sure. We were getting close to quitting time when the down rod gets doubled over again. This fish got heavy quick. No betting necessary, this fish is a big shark and we are somewhat under gunned. Hey, that’s why its called sport fishing, not grocery shopping. I can’t remember who the lucky angler was, but he got served! We worked this big dude to the surface and I snapped a quick picture, from a distance this time. I didn’t want that face full of teeth slamming into my boat like the other did.
The time drew to a close and we were more than content with the fishing that day. The Harbor Club reminded themselves that this is the reason why they always book 2 days and now are convinced to keep a lay day in between as well. Smart move I think. We buttoned up the boat and I turned her westward. With all on board in a content state of mind, The BEAST made a leisurely run back to her den!
Father’s day is coming so take a Dad fishing… show your favorite fisherman that you care.