Jack and Ann Hill took their daughters Margaret and Louise fishing on the L&H for a morning half day on Christmas Eve. Today the bait would be more difficult to catch than the big fish. We stopped at one spot and as soon as we hooked a bait, a mackeral would eat it and break our rig off. We tried for a long time and finally went to the bouy where they had been, but today the bouy was tough also. We went back inshore and finally managed to get enough. The conditions were perfect, with beautiful water, a strong current and a big swell. Mike and James could not get the baits out fast enough. Dolphin, kingfish, bonitas and sails were eating us up right away. We lost the first three sailfish of the day and a forty pound king right at the boat. From my perch in the tower I spotted five sailfish tailing down sea and moved the L&H to get in front of them. Seconds later, dad and both girls were fighting sailfish. After releasing the triple our team got into a groove. Dad and Margaret and Louise caught every fish that bit for the rest of the morning. By 11:00 the Hill family had caught eight sails, seven dolphin, two bonitas and a kingfish and they were ready to go home. As I headed the L&H for port I continued looking for tailing sails in hope of getting the magical double digits. Just seconds before we crossed over the reef I found a group of ten sailfish tailing down sea. Had Santa given us an early Christmas present? This was too good to be true! James and Mike threw the baits out and the sails raced each other to the easy meal. Dad and both girls had sailfish jumping in every direction while mom snapped away on her camera. A school of hungry mahi moved in and ate the rest of the baits before the sails could get to them. The father daughters team released the triple giving the L&H an unbelievable eleven sailfish released on a half day of fishing! It was an exciting, fun filled trip, and one that neither myself or the Hill family will soon forget!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tom Kuljis, Tom Sr., Manlio Valdes, and Sergio Valdes joined us for and excellent day of nonstop action. Tom fishes with us whenever he can and is an excellent angler who can handle light or heavy tackle. He is one of those guys who makes you feel confident whenever the rod is in his hand. The bait fishing was as good as it gets and I was excited about the prospects for the day. We ran south to triumph reef and James and Wes put up two helium balloons, with three baits each. After they put out two deep lines and two flat lines I spotted a free jumping sail to the south. I told our crew we had to reel in EVERYTHING to run in front of the fish. With all the lines in the boat the L&H raced to get ahead of the sail. I stopped the boat and the kites went up and baits out in seconds. Then it happened. The fish we were trying to get in front of was not alone, but it was a whole group of sailfish! We had seven baits out and every one got eaten by a sail. Two of the fish got tangled and broke off but we released the remaining five fish! Everyone did great and the L&H had its first quintuplet of the season. For the next three hours, as fast as baits went out we had fish on. Lots of sailfish, kingfish, dolphin, bonitos, snapper and grouper kept Tom and his family fighting fish nonstop. When the action finally slowed I decided to try a shipwreck. As soon as the baits hit the bottom we were on. Tom got a big gag grouper on his first drop and a huge amberjack (on twenty pound spin) on the second. Again it was nonstop action. Then Tom hooked something different, after a tough battle we could see it was a big african pompano! What a catch! Then he got another pompano on the very next drop! Before we left, Tom hauled up a fifteen pound mutton snapper and all we could do was smile! It was our day. As James and I rode the tower home I really wanted to find one more sail. We had released nine up to that point and getting double digits would put and exclamation point on Tom's amazing trip. Just before dark, we spotted sailfish chasing bait. I pulled the L&H in front and Wes made a great cast. Two sails came up chasing the bait. He quickly hooked one of them and we released it in seconds giving us the tenth sail we were looking for! What a great feeling. For the day we ended up with ten sailfish, eight jacks, six dolphin, five kingfish, six cudas, a big grouper, two african pompanos and two mutton snappers. Tom set personal best records for most sails in a day, most sails at one time, biggest aj, mutton, pompano and possibly the most fun on a single fishing trip! It was an outstanding day and I want to give a special thanks to Wes, James, Tom and his family for all the hard work making it all possible.
With James off from school for the Holidays I decided to take a family trip and see if we could find a couple wahoos. There had been some around and boats were seeing some every day. We loaded up our family boat Frick and Frack with my brother Freddie, son James and headed out early one morning. Our plan was to troll high speed lures on the edge of the reef and try to locate some of the speedy wahoos. Shortly after starting to troll the short bait went off and we were hooked up. I fought the fish to the boat in ten minutes and James sunk the gaff in the beautiful thirty-five pound wahoo! Thirty minutes later the short bait started screaming and we were hooked up again. A few minutes later a twin of the first fish came over the rail. Two nice wahoo in less than an hour had James, Fred, and I pumped up. The action stayed steady for most of the day and we also boated a double header. James handled most of the leadering duties for the day and he made his dad and uncle Fred very proud. I had a great time as I have fished with Freddie all my life and fishing together with my family is the thing I enjoy the most. We ended up the day with nine nice size wahoos and great fun with my son and brother!!!!!!!!!
Jasmin and Danny Coyle and their friends Karl Ashcreoft, Ray Corso and Tom Coyle were referred to us by our good friend Chuck and Haddie Walker, so it was important to me to have a good day. The bait was a little tough, but after a while we had enough to go fishing. The wind was light so we had to use the helium to keep the kite aloft. Shortly after getting set up I saw a free jumper and moved the boat so we could get a bite from the fish. It worked, and we hooked the sail on the left middle. After a great fight we released the sail and set back up. We then caught a couple of big bonitas and a snapper. After that we released another sail and everyone was happy. By now our bait supply was getting low so we decided to get a few fresh ones so we could finish out the afternoon. As soon as our team put the fresh baits out we caught another sail and a snapper. With a little daylight left we set up one more time. Soon we had a sailfish hooked up then another and another. It was an amazing sight as sailfish were jumping everywhere and all of our anglers had bent rods and smiling faces! We got a quick release on one of the sails and then hooked a nice king and another sailfish. When all the dust settled we ended up releasing seven sailfish and added a coupled kings and a couple bonitas. It was a great afternoon of fishing and alot of laughs and smiling faces!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The Sailfish Kickoff is the first big tournament in Miami of the season and a tournament in which I have enjoyed great success. A few years ago on the L&H, with Captain Neil Orange we set a tournament record releasing seventeen sails and a one hundred fifty pound swordfish on the first day and ended up finishing second. A couple years ago while fishing with my family on the L&H we won the Top Boat, James won Top Junior Angler, and Debbi won Top Lady and Top Overall Angler. This year I fished with my friends Hanibal Moya, Albert Castro, Ricky Querejeta, House, Louis Isaias, and Captain Scott Leon on Louis's beautiful fifty-nine foot Jichi.
The first day we fished south of Fowey Light and had good action all day. We landed seven out of nine sails and in the meat fish category we were leading with the heaviest tuna, dolphin, and the heaviest kingfish. It was a great start and we were feeling confident going into the last day. We caught a few fish early in the morning to take the lead. Then after hearing about our fish another boat ran up and stopped right in front of us and caught four sails. We decided to run south and find an area we could fish by ourselves. The plan worked and when we got down off Triumph reef we began catching sailfish one after another. Again, the other boat came and stopped in front of us but they could not keep pace with the Jichi. We were on fire! No misses today, every fish we saw, we caught. In frustration, the other boat left and we continued to dominate. We ended up going nine for nine on the day. Our total of sixteen fish for the tournament was good enough for first place!!!!!! Our dolphin, tuna, and kingfish hung on to win heaviest of each category. It was a great tournament and we all had so much fun. Thank you Louis and every one on our team!
Chris Scarlett and a few of his pals purchased a half day gift certificate in the CCA auction and upgraded it to a full day. This turned out to be a smart choice because it enabled us to go down south late in the afternoon and have an action packed variety filled fishing trip. After catching bait we started to head to the south when we found a school of big cobias. The fish were up on the surface and some very big ones were there. Wes did a great job assisting our anglers and before long we had our limit of cobias including a sixty-three pounder. This was a great start to our day and everyone was pumped up. As we resumed our journey to the south Wes spotted a frigate bird off in the distance. When we got to the frigate Wes hooked a nice dolphin on the first cast. Soon more and more fish startred showing up and before long everyone was pulling in the mahi mahi. Our team did great and we landed every fish in the school. After that we stopped at a shallow reef and had fast action with barracudas of all sizes. These fish were fun on the light spinning gear. Now it was time to try some kite fishing. With the kites set we soon hooked a big sail, but the fish jumped off. As Wes reset the bait a big wahoo grabbed it and we were hooked up. We had the wahoo on for a long time and just when we had the fish coming our way the hook pulled out. After setting the baits out again a big sailfish of almost eighty pounds grabbed the right long kite bait and took to the air. Another fish was with the hooked sail and Wes, the hero of the day made a great cast with the spinner and hooked the second fish. After a tough battle with the double header our team landed both fish. Our anglers would land two more sailfish that afternoon before the L&H returned to the dock sporting its sailfish flags and a box full of fish. A great time was had by all and we look forward to seeing you guys again.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Debbi, James, Laurel and I joined Ben Eclund, Scott Stokey, Jim Hendrix and Captain Paul Ross for three great days of fishing during the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament on the Relentless. Captain Paul and his crew are some of the best fishermen I know and we always enjoy fishing with them. This year most of the fish were in the shallow water so we would be doing alot of sight fishing which is one of the most exciting ways to pursue the sailfish. The first day we saw a dozen fish, hooked seven of them and caught five. The two fish we lost were only feet from the boat when the circle hook pulled free. The second day was a bit slower. We saw nine fish and they were very tough to get to bite. Out of six bites we were able to release three of them and that put is in the middle of the pack heading into the last day with eight releases to our credit. Shortly after lines in on the final day, Captain Paul found two sails swimming in the clear, shallow water of the Florida Keys. James and Jim Hendrix hooked up as soon as the fish saw the baits and both sails took off in opposite directions. After a long fifty minute battle both anglers were able to successfully release their fish. Paul steered the Relentless back to shallow water and we soon caught another sailfish, then another and another. On the sixth sail of the day the fish became tangled in the main line and broke off before we were able to touch the leader. We ended up with thirteen fish for the tournament and that was good enough for third place. James was awarded the top junior angler for his releases. It was great to fish with my family and the crew of the Relentless. Thanks a lot you guys for an awesome three days!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Frank Koenig, Gudrun Gornik, and Sebastian Gornik fished with us one Sunday afternoon and we found our first big school of cobias for the season. Frank has been fishing with us a lot lately so I was happy he could be on the L&H when we got the first limit of cobia, (for the fifth year in a row) out of all the boats from our marina. The weather was nice and after the baitfishing I decided to make a pass through the cobia area before we hit the edge. My wife Debbi and daughter Laurel joined me in the tower as we cruised the shallows. The water was a little murky, but still clean enough to see. After only a few minutes of searching we found what we were after! A big stingray glided along the bottom and the school of hungry cobia surrounded it. When we first saw the ray several of the fish came to the surface and Laurel exclaimed "Look dad alot of nice ones"! Our team sprang into action and we had three fish hooked right away. Every one was working together, with Deb and Adam hooking the fish and Frank and Sebastian fighting them on spinning outfits. When a fish would come within range, Debbi would sink the gaff and Frank would grab the handle and help her lift the fish over the side. It was poetry in motion and I enjoyed every second of it. Unfortunately the biggest fish, a 60 plus pounder broke off after a tough battle. Nevertheless we caught our limit of nice size fish and released a few others. What fun! After finishing with the school we hit the edge and caught a shark and a nice king. It was a great trip and hopefully the first of many cobias this season.
Friday, November 26, 2010
John Fischetti, Jim Stern, and Ron Wilson joined my friend Mike Welter, my son James and I for some great fishing on my birthday(11/13). We started the day out kite fishing and caught a few sailfish, a couple nice kings and a tuna off Key Biscayne. When the action slowed we moved to the south and got a couple more kings including a forty pounder that hit the kite. Around mid day we tried our luck over a shallow reef and had nonstop action with barracudas of all sizes. This was great fun as our guys were hooking up immediately after the baits hit the water. After the cudas we hit a couple wrecks and caught two big jacks and lost a few other fish. We decided to run back to the north and try the kites again for the afternoon bite. It turned out to be a great move because after getting a happy birthday call from my daughter Laurel we caught sailfish one after the other, including successfully landing four sails at once. We ended up going 11 for 13 on sails and with all of the other fish it was an awesome day that gave us the record for the most sails caught by anyone at our dock so far this season! Thanks alot guys! This will be a birthday I won't soon forget.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Ben and his crew from Airbus Corporation went on a L&H trip. I (Laurel) rode along as the second mate that day. They caught a sailfish and I leadered the sailfish for my first time. Then they caught a black tip shark. Then we were fighting and fighting another fish and when we finally got it up we saw it was a big amberjack. It was almost the end of the trip we caught a baby sailfish and baby sailfish are rare, I also leadered that sailfish. As I was reeling in the right long kite bait to start heading in, my dad told me to put the rod in free spool and then he said, "Laurel reel you have a sailfish on!", after we caught that we headed in.
It was a great day on the L&H for my dad and I!Thank You For Reading My Post
This Post Published By Laurel David
Monday, November 8, 2010
Miguel and his crew wanted to learn about kite fishing and have some good action in the process. The bait came easy and with a strong north wind I felt good about our chances. The current was out a little deeper than yesterday so we set up in 200 feet. When the first bait went over the side it was immediately eaten by a nice dolphin. With the fish in the boat, Wes and James resumed setting up our kite spread. With everything in position we waited for a bite. After a while I spotted a sailfish tailing down sea directly toward us. I veered the L&H offshore a little bit and Wes flipped out a bait right in front of the sails path. The hungry sailfish lit up, charged the frisky live bait and we were hooked up. Our angler did a great job on the light spinning outfit and soon we had the fish at boat side for a clean release. A little while later we hooked another sailfish on the kite, but unfortunately this fish jumped off. After getting reset again, James hooked a nice wahoo on the kite. The fished raced away on the surface and the L&H backed down in hot pursuit. What a sight to see the wahoo swimming on the top all lit up as water came over the transom. After the wahoo settled down James got the leader and Wes made a great shot with the gaff. He pulled the fish over the side and everyone started celebrating. It was another great day of fishing for the L&H team.
Scott Brotz and his family went on the L&H with us for a morning half day to try and catch something big. The weather was good with wind from the north and after catching bait we set up on the edge. After a while we caught a nice kingfish on the deep line. Shortly thereafter we hooked a big mahi on the kite and things were beginning to look up. From my perch in the tower I spotted a sailfish tailing down sea. I maneuvered the boat so the left side kite baits would dangle in front of the migrating sail. It worked perfect, and when the left middle kite bait passed in front of the sail, he ate it and we were on. The fish took off jumping down sea and put on a great show for everyone to see. We set up one last time and a few minutes later we hooked another sailfish on the left kite and again had a successful release. What started out a little slow turned out to be a great trip for the Brotz family.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Max Puyanic and a few of his guests joined us for a trip on the L&H today. The bait came easy and we began to work our way south. When we got just below Fowie Light I spotted three nice mahi and our gang managed to hook all three in short order. After some great angling and good gaffing we had all three in the box and resumed our trek to the south. Way inshore and up on the reef there was a big flock of birds and we figured it was worth a look. When we got to the birds we could see a pack of big mahi chasing ballyhoo all over. The fish were full and would not even look at our baits. We finally managed to hook a nice bull dolphin, but unfortunately the hook pulled out just before the boys could sink the gaff. By now the rain was closing in from all directions and we wanted to try the kite before we got poured on. Within minutes of getting the baits out Max had a sail on the right long. Max did a great job on his first of many sailfish to come this season. Soon after we released the fish the rain came and after catching a few snappers we decided to cut the trip short. Our friend Max has several more days coming up so I am sure there will be more to write about soon.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
The boatyard is one of my least favorite places on earth. Unfortunately it is part of the job and in order to keep the L&H as the cleanest, neatest, and best maintained boat on the dock this is one thing that must be done. While working for John Dudas we would take the L&H to the boatyard every fall and I have continued to haul the boat out EVERY year in either September or October. Over the years I have learned alot about the care and maintenance of the L&H from John and also on my own. Some years we spend more time in the yard than other years. This year our time will be only a couple weeks. We will paint the bottom (as always) do some painting in the cockpit and paint the transom. Over the coarse of the season the bills of the sailfish and swordfish scratch, gouge and impale the transom and to keep the L&H looking her best it is necessary to repaint it annually. There is also work to do on the rub rail, in the lazarett, and in the engine room. The crew on the L&H will do alot of the work themselves, but we will also call on help from others as needed. We work hard and long and do our best to get back in the water and fishing as soon as possible.
Henry Castellanos of Miami and Jim Smith, Danny Meinus, and Terry Harris all from Arkansas joined us on the day after one of the nastiest storms of the year. They timed the trip just right because the weather was beautiful and the bottomfish were biting like crazy! Henry had fished on the L&H before and had enjoyed success, so we wanted to keep him and his guests happy! Our plan was to fish on the bottom in deep water to try for action and boy did we get action. That day everything seemed to go our way and the fish were biting on all the spots. Everyone took turns pulling in fish and the boys did a great job keeping up. We seemed to have fish coming up and fresh baits going back down nearly the whole trip. By the end of the trip our fishbox was sporting the beautiful colors of silver snapper, red snapper, vermillion snapper, yellow-eye snapper, amberjacks, almaco jacks, kingfish and blackfin tuna. It was fun to see the fish biting like that and when we got back there was plenty of fish for everyone to share! Thanks alot guys and we look forward to seeing you again.
Bennett Hoke and some of his friends were here in Miami for a bachelor party and when they got to the boat in the morning we could tell they had a big night. There had been some nice mahi around along with a few skipjacks so our plan was to find the birds and then find the fish. After we got the bait we began to work our way to the edge. Wes spotted a couple frigate birds in shallow so we decided to check them out. As I was heading to the birds I could see ballyhoo showering and when I slowed the boat down I could see four big mahi. Wes hooked the first fish and the fish took off jumping to the south. I started backing up quickly to stay with the hooked fish and get Wes in position for another cast. He hooked another big fish and we kept backing into the sea to stay with the pack. After some great teamwork we had four mahi from 25lbs to 35lbs all hooked up and going different directions. We managed to avoid a ship coming out of the port and a few crossed lines, but everything worked out for the best. With the big fish in our icy hold we steered toward another diving frigate. This time it was a single big mahi and Wes made a great cast and this fish joined the others in the box. Our team added a couple skipjacks to the catch to end up with a great morning of fishing!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Kara and Kevin Gladstone from Rockchester NY were in Miami on their honeymoon. One night at a bar, they were asking some of the locals what boat they should try sportfishing with. Somebody told them, that the best boat to fish on in Miami is the L&H! They booked us the next day and we headed out early the following morning. We ran strait out to the edge and the fish were there waiting for us. Shortly after putting the baits out we began hooking kingfish and bonitas. The action was steady as both anglers took turns reeling in fish. We hooked a few doubles to make things interesting and everyone was having fun. A few hours into the trip Kevin hooked something bigger and stronger than what we had been fighting. To everyones suprise it was a big sailfish! Kevin was now hooked up to the biggest fish of his life and the sail was doing its best to get away. After a while the fish began to tire and we soon had Kevin's trophy at boatside. The rare summertime sailfish was all lit up as we took some photos and released the fish. All of us were so happy. It seems that whenever we are lucky enough to take honeymooners fishing on the L&H we always have good luck and Kara and Kevin were no different. We ended up catching a few more kings until we had our limit and enjoyed a nice ride back to the dock.
Jose Juara, Jose Jr., Jose Arcia, Eduardo Rodriguez, Eduardo Jr., and Marc Milian joined us for a full day on the L&H on what would be a great fishing (and catching) trip. Jose Juara Sr. has been buying fish from us for over twenty years and has become a good friend in the process. When he was planning the trip, Jose decided to wait until I returned from Hawaii so I would be able to run the boat. I took his gesture as a compliment, but the pressure was on to produce for these guys! Jose and I talked about the trip several times. I knew it was important to him since he had friends and relatives flying in from Spain and Zimbabwe with high expectations. The weather was beautiful and we caught bait easily and ran out to the edge. James put the first bait out, locked the reel up and we hooked up immediately! "This is good", I said to myself as we could hardly keep up with the nonstop action! Jose loves to eat kingfish and we were catching alot of them along with the bonitas. For over two hours we were getting bites as fast as we got the baits in the water and everyone was helping out and having a great time! When we got our limit of kings we ran offshore to look for dolphin and wahoo. About ten miles out James and I spotted a big coil of rope that was holding alot of bait. A few dolphin showed up, but wouldn't bite. Finally we caught a nice one and just before the gaff went in I saw some wahoo deep below the surface. We quickly shifted gears and began wahoo fishing. The bite was fast and furious. Before leaving the rope we put almost ten wahoos in the fishbox. Further offshore I found another floater with a big triple-tail and a few more nice dolphin. We caught the dolphin with no problem and began heading for home. Just before crossing the edge I saw a big board with a few more dolphin on it. As we were catching the dolphin, a school of at least ten wahoo swam up to us. Just like earlier that day, we changed tactics and added another half dozen wahoo to the fish box. It was a great trip with my friend Jose, and as we pulled into the marina everyone was all smiles!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Alain Perrin has been fishing with me on the L&H for a long time and it seems that no matter what we try to fish for we are always successful. Normally he fishes with his daughter, but she was expecting a baby this time so Alain took some other guests. Our plan was to fish on the edge of the reef to try for action and maybe some fish for dinner. As soon as we set the lines we began hooking up right away. At first it was bonitas and everyone had a fun time fighting these fish. After a while the kingfish began to bite and when they did it was one after the other. On two seperate occasions during the trip we hooked five fish at once and managed to land all of them. Then, in the middle of everything, we hooked a big sailfish. Normally sailfish are not found here in the summer, but we were happy to see it. The sail jumped and jumped and I backed the L&H in pursuit. We got the fish to the boat and took some photos and released it for another day. After a few more kings our anglers were too tired to fight anything else. We took it easy heading back to the marina where we took some photos of the catch and cleaned fish for the happy fishermen. It was another great day for Alain and I.
As captain Kevin Nakamaru and I discussed the plans for our last day of fishing in Hawaii, he told me that now matter what happened it would be like a victory lap, since we already had such a successful trip. We decided to troll down south because there had been at least one big fish and some days as many as ten hooked down there for two weeks strait. Kevins mate Matt was on the other boat so it would be only the four of us joining Kevin on our final outing. James had fished on the Northern Lights for fifteen days so he knew the routine and had it down. As usual we left the harbour just after six in the morning. A couple hours into the day the was a big explosion on a small jet lure running behind a bird on the farthest line from the boat. James jumped in the chair as Laurel, Debbi, and I cleared the other lines. The fish didn't jump, and just continued to swim out to sea. After thirty minutes the big marlin made it's only jump and we knew James had a big one! For the next hour the fish never got more than a hundred feet from the boat. It would take some line against the heavy drag and then change directions and swim back toward us. It was an awesome sight to watch the fish swimming just below the cobalt blue Kona sea. Finally after two hours, the fish began to tire and Kevin stayed close with some unbelievable boat handling. With the big reel in low gear, James inched the fish closer until the leader was in reach. I have not pulled on something like this since the days when I used to fish for the giant bluefins and I didn't want to lose James' fish after such a long battle. I slowly pulled the marlin up as Kevin maneuvered the boat to keep up with the fish. A few seconds later Debbi placed the tag, but just before release the fish rolled over and went belly up. We had no choice but to take the fish. Kevin and I slid James' big blue marlin into the boat and with the measurements we knew it was over five hundred pounds! Father and son were exhausted and mom and sister were going crazy. We put the lures back out and a few minutes later we hooked another marlin. This time it was Laurel's turn and my eight year old angler did a great job on her second marlin of the trip. She did super in the chair and had the fish at the boat in fifteen minutes. We put a tag in the fish and released it. About thirty minutes after setting the lures back out, mom hooked another blue marlin. The fish jumped all over the place and then went down. Captain Kevin decided James was ready to wire his first blue marlin and what a better fish to do it on than his mom's. When the leader came up James reached out and took hold. He did a terrific job pulling up the 150 lb marlin. When James got the fish to the surface, I placed a satellite tag in the fish so we would be able to track its movements. Kevin yelled "You did it James"!!! I was so proud of my family! It was one of the best days of my life!!! An unbelievable ending to a great trip and a victory lap the I will never forget! Thank you so much to Captain Kevin Nakamaru for making this all possible and for everything you have done for my family and I. Thank you so much to my wonderful wife Debbi and my beautiful children Laurel and James for giving the memories that will be with me forever.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Last year on our trip to Hawaii, the biggest marlin (out of the 11 we caught) was with Captain Steve Epstein on the Huntress! The Huntress is a gorgeous forty-two foot Merritt with alot of history. It used to be called the "Black Bart" and was run by the famous Bart Miller. It is responsible for four grander blue marlin including a 1656 pounder that is the largest blue ever landed in Kona. When we found ourselves with an extra day to fish Kona, we decided to try our luck again on the Huntress. Just like last year, we had some great fishing. After about an hour of trolling down south we got a bite on the long rigger. The fish ate a jet lure that was designed to run below the surface so nobody was sure what we had. Deb jumped in the chair and went to work with the heavy tackle. She did a great job, and applied alot of pressure, but the fish refused to come up. After about twenty minutes we finally got a look and were happy to see that it was a nice size blue marlin. It is rare to catch a marlin that never jumps, but this one refused to, nevertheless we pulled it up, tagged it and released it to fight another day. Within seconds of setting the lures back out we hooked up again. Unfortunately the marlin pulled off some line and jumped off. About an hour later Debbi hooked yet another blue marlin on the short outrigger lure. This fish put on quite a show for us. At one point the fish jumped clear of the water, behind the boat and Gabby and Juliana Nakamaru (who joined us for the day) both yelled "That is a big fish"!! Again, Debbi (who is one of the best light tackle anglers I have ever seen) showed her skill with the heavy tackle and had the blue marlin at boatside very quickly. We pulled the fish up and James put a tag in and we set the fish free. We ended up missing a spearfish four different times later that afternoon, but it didn't matter at all, because we had a great trip. Thanks alot to Captain Steve and his mate Mitch for another wonderful day on the Huntress.
My son James caught two blue marlin in two days of fishing. Catching a single blue marlin is often a feat accomplished only once in a lifetime by some of the best anglers. Catching a blue marlin two days in a row is something to be proud of. Quite possibly the only thing better than that is to be a father watching his son catch these beautiful blue marlin! Debbi, James, Laurel, and I joined Captain Kevin Nakamaru on the forty foot gamefisheman "Northern Lights" for two days of fishing, as a trade for taking Kevin fishing two days in Florida on our L&H. We had a great time fishing with Kevin and he is without a doubt one of the best I have ever fished with. The first day in Kona we raised a nice blue marlin on the short outrigger lure and after several attempts the fish finally got hooked. James jumped in the chair as the fish jumped almost thirty times! It was a quick fight and Laurel placed the tag in the fish. The following day the acton was good for some other boats but we could not get bit. Finally late in the afternoon we raised a fish on the short bait. The marlin snapped the lure out of the clip, but did not get hooked. Then a few seconds later the fish showed up on the short rigger lure ( the same one James caught the fish on the day before) and got hooked up solid. This fish was tougher than the one we caught the day before, but James hung in there and did a great job. We finally got the fish to the boat, put a tag in, and released it to fight another day. It was a great two days of fishing and Captain Kevin proved to us why he is one of the best there is!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
As most everyone who is reading this knows, my son James, who is only eleven years old, is a fisherman with the skills and experience well beyond his years. On this day, however, it was my daughter Laurel who is only eight, who showed she can more than just hold her own!
Debbi, James, Laurel, and I met Matt early in the morning and jumped on the classy 37 Merritt Northern Lights, eager to begin another day of fishing in Kona. We left the harbor and ran for less than five minutes until the water depths plummeted to over three-thousand feet. James and I quickly set the lures. As I glanced at the mountain, waiting for the sun to rise, I couldn't help but to feel so lucky to be fishing in such a beautiful spot. When I focused on the lures dancing behind the boat, I could not believe what I saw. The dorsal fin of a nice size blue marlin was racing toward the short outrigger lure. "Marlin!" I yelled just seconds before the fish ambushed the lure and became hooked up solid. As everyone frantically cleared the remaining lines I couldn't help but think, could this really be happening? Laurel was in the chair and we were in hot pursuit as the fish jumped repeatedly away from the boat. Laurel kept tight and gained back some line as the fish headed for the depths. We switched the reel to low gear as my eight year old angler slowly pumped the fish back to the surface. With a look of sheer determination, she inched the fish closer and closer. A short while later, the leader was within reach. As soon as the marlin felt the additional pressure I applied to the leader it threw itself into the air and charged directly at the boat. Then the fish changed its coarse and jumped away from us, with an awesome display of both power and grace. Again Laurel inched the fish closer as I thought to myself that if I was able to get a hold of the leader again I would not let go. A few minutes later when the fish came up again. This time it was much easier to handle and we slid Laurels prize into the boat. I was soooooo proud of my girl and it was a moment I will never forget. We pulled into the weigh station at 6:45 am. Laurel's blue marlin weighed in at 165 lbs and it made me the proudest father on earth!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Kevin Nakamaru had a three day charter on his boat so he offered to let his mate Matt take us out on the 37 Merritt "Northern Lights". Debbi, James, Laurel, Matt, and I loaded up early one morning and headed out to the flat calm Kona waters to see what we could find. The fishing had been steadily improving so we were eager with anticipation as we watched the lures splash along the surface. Around noon there was a splash behind one of the lures, but the fish missed the target. Everyone watched and hoped the fish would come back and try the lure again. Then a few seconds later the fish came back, this time devouring the lure and getting hooked up solid. Laurel grabbed the rod, jumped in the chair and held on as the fish took line. The rest of us cleared the other lines and watched in amazement as a beautiful spearfish (the rarest of all the billfish) jumped completely out of the water. Laurel did a great job, reeling the fish to the boat and a couple minutes later the leader was within reach. As I gently pulled the fish closer, the rare spearfish displayed some of the most brilliant colors one could ever hope to see. James pulled the fish in the boat and everyone celebrated Laurels catch! After everything settled down we began trolling again and a short time later there was a big splash on the exact same lure. Again, the fish missed and nothing, we watched and waited. Then the fish came back, got hooked up and this time Debbi jumped in the chair. This fish acted entirely different than any fish we had encountered so far on this trip. Line peeled off the reel but the line angle went strait down. After we got everything cleared and organized and the fish settled down we began to see the thump, thump, thump of the rod tip, a tell tale sign of a tuna. Could Debbi be hooked up to her first big ahi? A few minutes later our suspicions were confirmed when deep down into the clear, blue pacific waters we could all see the big yellowfin tuna sporting it's long yellow streamers. My wife had applied maximum pressure with the heavy tackle, thus wearing the tuna down and making my job on the leader an easy one. I pulled the 130lb ahi within range and Matt and James quickly gaffed and hauled our catch onboard. This was Deb's first yellowfin and one to be proud of! It was another great day of fishing under the Kona sun and two great fish that my girls can now check off their lists. Great going Laurel and Debbi today was your day to shine.
Our friend Captain Kevin Nakamaru had a full day charter and it got cut short, so Kev invited our family to join his family for an afternoon of fishing. We met Kevin's wife, Elizabete, and their two girls, Gabby and Juliana, at the marina and headed out to try our luck. James had been fishing on the Northern Lights for six days strait so he quickly showed me the set up. As soon as we set the lines we hooked a big mahi mahi. Debbi made quick work of the fish on the heavy tackle and James gaffed the lively dolphin and threw it in the fish box. With dinner out of the way we resumed trolling and a short time later there was a big explosion on the left long lure. The line came tight and we were hooked up! Everyone sprung into action, clearing the remaining lines and Deb got strapped into the fighting chair. The fish was taking a lot of line so Captain Kevin turned the Northern Lights and began to chase the fish. Then a few hundred yards away a big blue marlin rocketed out of the water. Debbi began gaining line back and the fish started swimming out to sea. Captain Kevin spun the boat around and started backing up fast. Deb continued to fill the reel back up with all the line the marlin had taken from us. A short time later we could see the leader and everyone was impressed with the fishes size. A few seconds later I had the leader in hand. I wired the 300lb blue marlin alongside the boat and James placed the tag. We took a few photos and released the fish. It was a great afternoon of fishing for both families and a fun time was had by all! Thanks so much to the Nakamaru family and way to go Debbi!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
My son James and I fished the HIBT on two of Kona, Hawaii's top boats, Captain Kevin Nakamaru's Northern Lights and the Marlin Magic with Captain Jason Holtz. James got off to a great start with a blue marlin double header, releasing a 250 pound blue, and boating a 392 lber. The second day was my turn and around 10:00 am a big fish ate a purple lure on the closest line to the boat. Captain Jason did a great job chasing the fish and we had the leader in just over a half hour. When the other mate, Brian Tomey grabbed the leader, the unthinkable happened. The line got wrapped around the top of the rod and our angler (a small man from Japan who spoke no english) had no idea what happened. If Brian were to let go of the leader and the fish ran off our angler would have been pulled overboard. Instead Brian took several wraps on the leader and pulled the big marlin closer as Captain Jason backed down hard to get the fish within gaff range. I reached out as far as I could and gaffed the big Pacific blue marlin in the shoulder. As soon as I sunk the gaff the marlin, it jumped out of the water all the way to the other side of the boat. The gaff rope came tight and again the big marlin jumped out of the water, but this time Jason sunk another gaff while the marlin was in mid air. We quickly secured our prize and slid the fish into the boat. Back at the scales the fish would weigh 531 lbs and on only fifty pound tackle it was a catch I will not soon forget. We finished the day with the tag and release of a shortbill spearfish (my first ever) and ended up winning the daily for that day. James also released a nice blue that day and we were both on our way to a strong finish. James and the Northern Lights team tagged and released a shortbill spearfish the following day. On the final day of the tournament we hooked a nice blue marlin after a spectacular bite on the short outrigger lure. After a tough battle the hook pulled just a few feet from the boat, but thats marlin fishing. It was a great tournament and an unbelievable experience for my son James and I. We will be here in Kona for a couple more weeks and I am sure there is a lot more exciting fishing to come. (1st pic is James with the tag stick, 2nd is the 531lber)
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Debbi, James, Laurel and I are on our annual trip to Kona, Hawaii, but it seems we are missing some red hot summertime action. Captain Neil Orange is filling in while we are gone and with Wes and Greg running the cockpit the L&H is not missing a beat. The guys fished a bunch of days so far and each and every trip has had a lot of action and plenty of eating fish. One great surprise for this summer is the sailfish action. The L&H team landed at least one sailfish six trips in a row. The kingfish action has been very consistent and as usual the bonitas are biting fast and furious. Captain Neil and the boys also have managed three big wahoos by either trolling or fishing with live bait. There have also been a lot of nice size mutton snappers biting live baits fished on the deep line. I am very proud of Neil, Wes, and Greg not only for the consistency they are having with great catches day after day, but also for all of their hard work keeping the L&H in tip top shape. Thanks a lot guys and keep up the great work.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Allison Bowen, Mike Lawrence, Maurice Veissi and Monica Hernandez fished with us on the L&H back to back days and a good time was had by all. Due to trips already in the schedule our fishermen we forced to leave late one day and return early another, but they did not let that affect their fun or the fishing. On our first day the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed the run out. Everyone did great catching bait and in no time we had plenty. After leaving the bait spot I found something I have never seen this time of year. It was two nice cobias on the surface in only twenty feet of water over the white sand. I stopped the boat, Greg and James presented two baits and Allison and Monica went to work on the fish with spinning rods. Cobia are one of my favorite fish and although we see this type of thing in the winter and spring, to find something like this in the heat of summer was very exciting. The girls did great and with two cobias laying side by side in the fishbox we were off to find something else. With great conditions we decided to try for golden tilefish. When our rigs hit the bottom the tilefish were there waiting. That afternoon we found golden tiles to over ten pounds and even had a few doubles. All of the fish were nice size and that made for some great eating. After a few small dolphin we stopped on the edge of the reef for a few minutes. Our team quickly hooked four big bonitos and landed three. After a few more bonitos and a nice kingfish we made our way back to the marina.
Day two again provided us with great weather. After catching bait we decided to run south and try to find Mike a sailfish. As soon as we stopped we hooked a sail, but unfortunately he jumped off. After a few bonitas and a couple kings, Mike and Maurice found themselves hooked up to a double header sail. Both fish went opposite directions and after a tough battle, Mike's line got ran over by a small boat and Mo's fish broke off. Bad luck I guess. When we got the baits back out, one of the girls got a nice king all the way to the boat and then, like the others, it got away. I could see the shiny fish just laying down there so I grabbed the gaff and jumped in after the kingfish! I swam down, gaffed the still stunned king and returned to the surface with our fish and also some good luck. We reset again and Mike got a big king and things were looking up. Just before we began to pull the baits in, Mike got the sailfish he was looking for. It was a tough fight, but Mike was up for the challenge and did a great job. We took a bunch of photos and headed for the dock all smiles! Thanks alot you guys for two great trips and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
Ed and Barbara Grace are first time fishermen on the L&H. They were recommended to us by our good friend Capt. Kevin Nakamaru from Kona Hawaii. Kevin led my family and I to 8 blue marlin and 6 yellowfin tuna in a single day last year and is definitely the guy to fish with if you are planning a trip to Hawaii (Northern Lights Sportfishing 808-960-1549). When Mr. and Mrs. Grace were in Hawaii earlier this year, catching marlin, Kevin recommended they try the L&H for sailfish and swordfish. The Grace's booked us for two days, which turned out to be the way to go. The first day started out stormy and would remain that way throughout the day. We tried for sailfish, but could only manage a couple kingfish and bonitas and cudas. As we made our way into the gulfstream our crew encountered several storms some with high seas and strong wind gusts. We made a couple of drops for swords, but with unfavorable conditions we cut it short. We ended up with a few dolphin, but all in all it was a wet, slow day.
Day two was much better weather and with Debbi and Laurel joining us I was sure we would do well. Despite calm seas and clear skies nothing would bite. We tried kitefishing in the morning with no bites, then we went nearly thirty-five miles offshore and all we found were a couple schools of skipjacks. When we arrived back inshore at the swordfish grounds Ed caught a big barracuda and a few small dolphin, but still no swordfish bites. Our time was running out! As I steered the L&H toward the marina I continued to search for the fish we were after for two days. Then all of the sudden, as if it were a gift from above, a sailfish free jumped off the bow! Then he did it again and again. I pushed all of the L&H's 1320 horsepower to the limit toward the sailfish. As soon as the boat slowed down, the team put the baits out and in seconds we were hooked up! What a thrill!!! Our team had tried so hard for this fish and now we finally had him hooked. Ed did a great job with the light spinning outfit as the L&H backed down in hot pursuit. Every-one cheered and screamed as the big, beautiful sail burst out of the water. A few minutes later James got the leader and showed his ever-improving skills as a wireman until we had the fish by the bill and were able to get some photos. I could not have been happier! After covering over one hundred miles in two days we manged to get the fish of the trip for the Grace's, only a few minutes outside the port, at the end of our second day. Thank you so much Ed and Barbara for spending such long hours with us and for all of your generosity toward my crew and I! We look forward to seeing you next May!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Wendy Armstrong gave her husband Jim and a few of his friends a full day of fishing fun to celebrate fathers day and Jim's birthday and the crew on the L&H didn't let her down. We ran offshore and found several schools of dolphin, but most were undersized and we had to catch and release. After a while we found some skipjacks and that gave everyone something a little bigger to pull on. After catching the skipjacks we resumed the hunt for dolphin and found a few more schools. With most of the fish being on the small side, again, it was mostly catch and release. I decided that we should try for a swordfish since we were not that far from the spot and if we were able to catch a sword it would save the day. As soon as the bait got down we got a bite. The rod bent over double and it seemed like a good fish. This is too good to be true I told myself. One of Jim's friends was up on the bridge with me and I told him that if we were able to land this fish it would be a great fathers day present. The sword fought hard all the way to the surface and when we finally got the leader we could see that he was tailwrapped. Greg pulled the leader and and I ran down from the bridge and sunk the first gaff. We got another gaff in the fish and everyone helped pull until it was in the boat. I was so happy! That fish turned an ok day into a great one. We made another drop and had a bite but the fish came off. When we made it to the dock everyone was very pleased with the fathers day/birthday spent catching fish on the L&H!
Mike Quesada and his team from Link Construction Group have fished with us for the past few years. Ususally they are a large group and we find a few other boats to accomodate everyone. This year Mike needed five boats, Debbi did a great job organizing and everything went smooth. The weather was beautiful but the baitfishing was as tough as it could possibly be. After trying a few spots with very little success we decided to run offshore with next to no live bait. About ten miles out James and I saw a single bird picking and when we got to the area we found a big green cargo net. Dolphin began to swim up from all different directions and soon we had fish jumping everywhere. For twenty minutes we had it more or less to ourselves then boats began to come from all different directions. With so many boats the fish began to spread out and became tougher to catch. When the dolphin action slowed we changed tactics and caught four nice wahoo. A few hours later we found a large tree branch and caught another nice dolphin and four more wahoo. This was our best catch of wahoo this year and with bunch of nice dolphin to go with them everyone caught plenty of fish. Best of all everyone got to take home plenty of great eating fillets. Thanks again Mike and to everyone at Link Construction and we look forward to seeing you again next year.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I have known Jim Knapp for almost my whole life. When I was much younger, fishing tournaments on the Frick and Frack, with my grandfather, dad and brother, Jim's team was always finishing near or on top and they were the boat to beat. I had never fished with Jim before, so I was very excited when he called a booked a full day with us. He was only bringing two family members, Ken Hallstrom and Lad Lubanovich, both from Ohio so he had no problem with Debbi, James and Laurel coming along to help out. The bait came very easy so I decided to try some bottom fishing to get some action as well as a few fish for dinner. At our first spot as soon as the lines got down, we got bites immediately. This was a very good sign. We had nonstop action and in no time had fifty yellow-eyes, vermilion's and silver snappers in the box. When the action slowed we found ourselves at a new spot and caught several nice tile fish and a snowy grouper. When the grouper came in I decided to run to the south and try to find a few more of these tasty fish. Somehow our team on the L&H found ourselves in one of the best deep water grouper bites we had ever seen. We were catching them like crazy, sometimes three at a time and there were a lot of nice fish up to fifteen pounds. Every spot had them and they were biting. Just before everyone was ready to go look for dolphin we stopped and caught a few almacos, including a twenty-five pounder Jim caught on spinning tackle. With an amazing quantity and assortment of bottom fish, I then steered the L&H offshore. The sea was flat calm and you could see for miles. About ten miles out we came across a two foot piece of foam with dolphin all over the place. Our team went to work and soon dolphin were flying into the boat fast and furious. All of the sudden the school came together and hid under the boat. From our view in the tower Debbi and I watched as a mako shark nearly three hundred pounds raced up from the depths through the middle of the dolphin in an amazing display of speed. It was truly a sight to behold. Wes and Greg got the shark rod out right away, but the mako and the rest of the dolphin had left the area. Before we moved on we caught a nice wahoo to add to the nearly full fish box. A few miles away, Wes spotted some birds and when we got there dolphin were everywhere. Again the L&H team had dolphin coming in the boat like no tomorrow and in short order we had our limit. It seemed like everything we tried that day was working, so why not try for a day time sword. The first try we had a good bite, but didn't hook up. I was feeling confident that we could get another bite and a few minutes later we did. The rod doubled over and line melted off the reel, we had a big fish on! After twenty minutes we knew this was not fighting like a sword, more like a thresher shark. When we finally got the beast to the surface everyone was shocked to see a big swordfish coming in backwards. After we muscled the big sword into the boat we were shocked to see that it was not hooked, only the leader was looped around its tail. It was amazing to pull that fish all the way up with so much pressure and have it stay on all the way to the boat! As Debbi, James, Laurel and I rode together in the tower I felt so very lucky to have such a wonderful family, crew and friends to share such and amazing day with. We caught a couple nice tunas close to shore just to put an !!!!!!!!!!!! on the day and when we made it to the dock it seemed like it took forever to unload all the fish. When word of our catch spread, one boat owner was reported as saying "There is no way the L&H caught so much fish in just one day, my boat was out the day before and they only got a few dolphin". It is days like these that separate us from the rest of the fleet and that is what makes the L&H so special.
John Ouelette has been fishing on the L&H for twenty years and he knows our operation very well. He is very fun to have on the boat because he always has a positive attitude and loves to get involved and help out. For the past several years we have fished the Mechanical Contractors Tournament of South Florida, a dolphin tournament out of Ocean Reef and nearly every year we end up in the top five. The tournament is very hard on the boat and the crew, leaving in the dark and almost always returning in the dark, running the boat hard all day. There is no time to fish for bait so we must go out ahead of time and have the bait on the boat, but to see John try so hard and get soooooo excited when we hook a big fish it somehow makes it all worth it. The fishing had been slow leading up to the event, so when we picked up John and his family early in the morning at the Ocean Reef fuel dock we knew the odds were against us. I decided to run far offshore and not stop until we found something to fish to. When we reached two thousand feet of water off Key Largo we found a likely area and before long John spotted a piece of floating debris that we picked a few nice fish off. With something to weigh and dinner for the Ouelette family everyone was feeling good. Although we did not catch a ton of fish or a monster off the debris that John spotted, it was crucial to our success that day. The floater put us in the zone where the fish were and we stayed in that zone all day and caught more and bigger fish than almost anyone from Miami to Key Largo! For the next few hours we found school after school of dolphin some with as many as one hundred fish. Then just before lunch we came upon a set of birds that looked like they would be over the big fish we needed. Our anticipation turned to frustration when I spotted some big skipjacks under the birds. Seconds later James yelled "There's a big one dad"! A single big dolphin was mixed in with the skipjacks and Wes teased the fish in close. John delivered a perfect cast with the live bait and we were on! I threw the L&H hard in reverse and it was a little black smoke alot of white water and blood and in a few seconds the fish was in the boat. Everyone was celebrating, what a great feeling! John's son, Kyle followed his dads lead with another nice dolphin an hour later and we began the forty mile trip back to the reef. Just before lines out we found a nice bull dolphin, but unfortunately he ate the bait off the hook and we had to start running for home. Again I pushed the L&H hard and our team slid into the weigh scale with only four minutes remaining. When we pulled the fish from the fish box on the L&H I could see that Johns fish was long, but very skinny and that would cost us. We missed first place by a mere two pounds, to a boat that only caught one fish the entire day. Nevertheless John Ouelette and his team on the L&H ended up taking second, third, and fifth heaviest dolphin. When we finally made it back to Key Biscayne other boats had their catch on the dock. One boat had about thirty small fish and other boats had less than half that. When we threw our catch for the day up, people gathered around asking how long we had been out and where we were fishing. All I had to tell them was "Just another good day on the L&H with my friend John". Thanks alot to the Ouelette family and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Frank Koenig has fished with me a few times in the past couple months, but unfortunatly this time I was unable to make the trip. Captain Neil Orange Sr. is one of the few people who I feel confident enough to let run the boat. I know Neil will take good care of the boat and always does a good job finding fish. This time was no different. With Greg and his brother Chris as the crew Neil decided to run north to catch bait before making the twenty mile run to south of Triumph Reef before starting to fish, but that is beside the point. I met the crew at the dock when they returned (just before dark) and from the smiles I could tell it was a good trip. They ended up catching three big blackfin tunas, (one of which was nearly thirty-five pounds) a few bonitas and three sailfish. Unfortunatly one of the sailfish came up dead and Neil decided to take it. Everyone onboard loves to eat fish so Neil fillleted the sail and along with the tunas everyone had plenty of fish to bring home. Thanks alot to Captain Neil and Chris and Greg for working so hard, staying out extra late and showing these guys a great time!
Lucky Max strikes again and this time he even surprised Greg and I. The weather for the day was a bit questionable so after catching bait we decided to try a spot close to home. As soon as we got the kites up Max hooked and quickly landed a twenty-five pound kingfish. From that moment on we never went more than fifteen minutes without catching a nice fish. After Greg and I reset the kites I dropped a bait to the bottom and the rod bent over instantly! The way the fish was fighting everyone was sure it was a nice bottom fish and a short time later we put a ten pound mutton snapper in the boat for Max. That is the way the entire morning went. Max and his friend Rick were either pulling up mutton after mutton after mutton from the bottom (sometimes double headers) or they were catching nice sized kingfish on the kite. With the weather getting better all the time we decided to stick it out. The afternoon fishing was almost better than the morning if that was even possible. The mutton snappers continued to bite and we even managed to get a few big yellowtails for Rick (much to the delight of his female companion). Late in the afternoon Max and Rick each landed a big blackfin tuna, both of which made spectacular strikes on the kite baits. With almost twenty mutton snappers, a few big yellowtails, a limit of kingfish, an amberjack, two big blackfin tunas, a big shark, and some bonitas, the fishbox was looking very good and our anglers very tired! Just before we pulled the lines in, Max landed a big sailfish that, like the tunas, took a live bait dangling from the kite. The sailfish put and exclamation point on what was already an unbelievable day of fishing only a few short miles from Max's backyard!
Ken Strochek has fished with me dozens of times on the L&H and he is a pleasure to fish with. This time he brought his son Jason and the infamous Walter along. Ken has been fishing longer than I have been alive and always has great stories of past fishing adventures. He has caught his share of sailfish in his day and wants nothing to do with them. Ken only wants eating fish and lets you know this by deducting from the tip everytime a sailfish is caught. We got a ton of bait very easily and went to try for some kings first thing. While other boats were struggling with bait the L&H stayed busy with double and triple header kingfish in the ten to fifteen pound range. In the middle of the kingfish flurry I spotted a frigate bird diving in very shallow water. The boys pulled everything in and we raced to see what the bird was over. Our decision was rewarded with a pair of twenty pound dolphin that quickly made their way to the fishbox. Again we resumed kingfishing and shortly there after we had our limit. Just before leaving we pulled up a nice mutton snapper much to Kens delight. With good conditions I figured we should try for a permit, a fish that is one of Kens favorite. Again the decision was a good one and we soon found ourselves hooked up to a thirty pounder. After a tough battle the big permit was in the box. After another lengthy battle we pulled the hook on a second permit just feet from the boat. I felt as if our luck had run out. James and I searched and searched for one more fish, but nothing. Finally, just before we were about to head elsewhere we found a truly large permit well over thirty pounds. The fish inhaled the bait and we put alot of pressure on the fish right from the start. The tactic worked to perfection and in only fifteen minutes we had the monster permit in the boat. We decided to go look for dolphin and about fifteen miles offshore, found a piece of floating debris with thirty nice fish on it. Wes, Greg and James worked together with our anglers like a well oiled machine and we caught nearly every mahi in the school. It was a great day with ALOT of eating fish for our friend Ken, and without catching a single sailfish everyone was happy!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
As far as I know there is no other boat to have caught a permit and a swordfish in the same day out of Crandon Park Marina. These fish are very different, they are caught in totally different areas, they eat totally different baits and the fishing methods are as similar as night and day. On this day, Eloy Garcia and his crew of Daniel, Gianni, Coach, Oscar, and David brought both fish together on the L&H. It was a beautiful day and the water was crystal clear. After leaving the bait spot I found a few permit on the surface in shallow water. Wes made a perfect cast and we were hooked up. After a tough fight we put the thirty pound fish in the boat and I began to look for the school again. Before long, I spotted the fish and this time Greg made the cast and again we were on! This time the battle was even longer but again we were successful and now had two big permit in the boat. As we moved offshore we came across a few schools of dolphin, but most were undersized and were released. Everyone enjoyed the action, but only a few were keepers so we kept heading offshore. Along the way we came across a few sailfish, but they would not take the bait. By early afternoon we found ourselves in the middle of the sword grounds and Ely was up to giving it a try. The first drop did not produce, but a few minutes into the second drop the rod tip began to bounce. Then suddenly the rod bent over and we were hooked up! Catching a swordfish in broad daylight is one of the most exciting moments any fisherman can ever have and this fish was no different. When I finally saw the fish for the first time I knew it was a nice one. This sword was tough and the L&H spun like a top to keep the fish from getting under the boat. Greg did a great job on the leader and Wes placed a perfect harpoon shot through the fishes gills. The rest of the team sunk gaffs and helped secure the fish and then we pulled the big sword in the boat. As we ran for home I couldn't help but to feel so lucky to fish in a place like Miami, where we were able to catch such amazing fish. Not just in the same day, but in our own backyard.
Mark Johnson, Beth McGinn, Jon and Alli Moses from Atlanta, GA were referred to us by another L&H customer and just so happened to be there for one of the best days of fishing I have ever had on the L&H!!!!! We caught bait easily and as soon as we hit the deep water we spotted and then caught a nice cobia. Could this be a sign of things to come? As we trolled offshore a small billfish ate the right rigger but came off, and this is quite possibly the only fish that got away the entire day. A few minutes later I spotted a twenty pound dolphin and in no time he joined the cobia in the fishbox. A little while later Wes and Greg spotted a big flock of birds with an even bigger school of tuna underneath. As we trolled by we hooked up instantly. Then we did it again, and again. From my perch in the tower I could see tuna busting on the surface as far as the eye could see. The tuna refused to go down and the school stretched for miles and miles. These fish were very hungry and aggressive. Our anglers caught them on live, dead and artificial baits and often when someone would get a tuna to the boat there would be ten or more tunas following the hooked fish. Just after lunch time while we were fighting a quad of tunas Greg pitched out and artificial lure and hooked a dolphin. Then thirty more nice dolphin showed up and things got very interesting. I often say that I have THE BEST mates on the dock with Wes and Greg, and the boys proved it this time! With almost perfection (except for dropping a gaff in the water) Wes and Greg guided our GA anglers to all four tunas and every dolphin in the school. By now the fishbox was nearly full with several hundred pounds of tuna and the dolphin and cobia and our anglers needed a break. I decided to run inshore and try a shipwreck to get them something different. When the lines went down they were bit right away. When two big amberjacks came aboard the 500 pound fishbox was filled to capacity and we could not close the lid. Everyone looked up at me like 'now what' and I said "drop em back down"! I quickly ran into the salon and emptied out the drink cooler and took it outside. After our team put five more big amberjacks and a big almaco in the drink cooler it too was filled and the lid would not close! On our way back home we found a big school of dolphin and the gang just started putting the fish on the deck we simply had no more room! We caught what we needed to get our limit and ran for the dock. A very tired and dirty L&H team arrived at the marina with nearly a thousand pounds of fish and a day I will never forget! Thanks alot to my anglers and crew!
Max Puyanic and his good friends Alex and Sheldon always seem to have a great day whenever they fish with me on the L&H and today was no different. I have fished with these guys for a number of years and we have grown to be good friends. Today my wife Debbi came along and with her great set of eyes and her excellent fishing sense she is definately an asset. With flat calm seas we decided to run offshore to the gulfstream. After trolling for a while Wes and Greg began to see birds and we could see tuna underneath. After a few passes with artificial lures we had four nice tuna in the box and resumed our search for dolphin. After venturing further offshore we hit the jackpot! We found a large tree branch with mahi mahi all over the place. Debbi and I watched from the tower as Max, Alex and Sheldon went to work on the hungry mahi. Wes and Greg did a great job keeping everything organized and in no time we had nearly thirty keepers in the fishbox. When we finished up with the school the guys went inside to cool off in the AC and we started heading toward shore. On the way back in we found a couple more schools of mahi until we had our limt and released the rest to fight another day. Just before we hit the reef edge we spotted a big bull dolphin and Max did a great job fighting the fish all the way to the boat. With the biggest dolphin of the year within gaffing range a person (who would rather remain nameless) sunk the gaff only to have the fish wiggle free, break the leader and bolt off into the depths. All we could do is laugh, it had been a great day and we werent about to let a fish ruin it.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Tom Angelo and his son Hunter fish with us on the L&H every chance they get and we have had some great catches. Last trip Hunter and his sister did great on the bottom fish and we were excited to try and get Hunter his first tuna next chance we got. When our tuna trip came the bait was hard to come by but before long we had enough. When the L&H crossed over the edge the water looked great! As soon as James and Greg got the baits out a big blackfin tuna jumped out of the water and and stole the bait off of the right long. Before we could react another tuna crashed on the right short kite bait, but somehow a sailfish grabbed the bait first and Hunter was hooked up. After some great angling, Hunter had the fish alongside the boat and James grabbed the leader and released the fish. Minutes later Tom and Hunter were hooked up to a double header. Tom's fish turned out to be a big bonita, but Hunter had something that was fighting much harder. After another great job of angling, Hunter had his first tuna, a 33 pound blackfin to leader and Greg and James quickly put the fish in the boat. By now the seas really started to pick up, but we decided to put the baits out one more time. Once again, as soon as everything was out we were hooked up! This time it was a triple header, two sailfish and another big tuna. The father/son duo made it look easy and we successfully landed all three fish. I headed the L&H toward home as Greg filleted the tuna for Tom and his son to take to a friends restaurant. It was truly a great trip and one that I am sure Hunter or his father will not soon forget. (PS the photo is of one of the Amberjack caught on a prior Angelo Family Trip)
Friday, June 11, 2010
Answorth is one of the guys who handles the painting on the L&H every fall and is also a good friend of mine. He took a few of his friends for a long afternoon of fishing and we had great action the whole trip. Our plan was to fish by a shipwreck, get some action and also alot of fish for a party they had planned for the next day. When we got all set up the first fish we got was a sailfish and just before we released it Greg noticed the fish had been previously tagged. After retrieving the tag, we released the fish and resumed our goal of catching some eating fish. We soon had a double header of kingfish and a big amberjack in the fishbox and we were on our way. As the afternoon wore on the big blackfin tuna began to bite and this meant Answorth and his buddies would be hooked up to these strong fish again and again. Since the boat was anchored and we often had multiple fish on at a time and some of the fights would take place on the bow of the L&H! On several occasions Greg would yell "Give me the big gaff!!!! Answorth has another big tuna on the bow". It was great action and everyone was worn out by the end of the trip. After the dust settled Ans and the boys had landed a total of seven big tunas, two sailfish, several jacks and kingfish and a pile of bonitas! After taking a few photos at the dock we filled up several coolers of fillets and steaks of fresh fish for the fish fry that my friends would enjoy the next day.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Once a year we show our appreciation to waiters and waitresses and although neither me or my crew are one of these people, there is a waiter who works part time on one of the boats at our marina and this post is dedicated to him. Ryan Bouchard from Massachustts joined us on the L&H along with two of his fishing partners. It was a beautiful day and we decided to run offshore to the gulf stream. Once we arrived in the cobalt blue waters of the stream we were greeted with feeding birds and feeding mahi. For a couple of hours Ryan and his buddies had nonstop action with dolphin and it seemed as if as soon as we finished one school we would find another. After we had our limit of dolphin and a nice tuna we decided to try some wreck fishing. The action on the wrecks was great and we soon had our limit of amberjacks. With a little bit of time left in the trip we decided to anchor and catch some yellow tail snapper. Like everything else we did that day this seemed to work well for us. In about thirty minutes our crew caught nearly two dozen yellowtails and a few big barracuds. The three tired tired fishermen relaxed on the flybridge as the L&H glided over the crystal clear waters off Key Biscayne on the way to the dock. It was truly a great day.