Friday, May 28, 2010

Waiters Day

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.

Pompano Rodeo

For the past twenty plus years I have enjoyed fishing the Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo. It is a fun, family oriented tournament with many ways to win. This year the fishing was spectacular. We always fish on the Frick and Frack which is the 27 conch that I own with my brother Fred. Our team consisted of my wife Debbi, son James, daughter Laurel, long time fishing buddy Mike Welter, my mate Greg Braswell and his brother Chris. It was windy and rough and the fish were biting. This tournament does not place a limit on the number of lines you can fish so we had fourteen or fifteen baits out at all times and everyone on our boat was busy from start to finish both days. At the end of day one we weighed our limit of kingfish and tuna and Debbi added a nice cobia to give us 225 pounds with nine fish and put us in first place, giving us the daily! The second day was nearly as good as we again weighed our limit of kings, three tuna and James added a nice dolphin for good measure. It was good enough for second place overall in the tournament and the second place daily for the final day. The highlight of the tournament for me was the success my children Laurel and James had. Laurel won first place in the small fry division (kids 10 and under) and it was one of the greatest moments of my life watching her face light up as they called her to accept her first place tropy!!! James, as usual made his father proud, by winning the junior division (kids 11-16) by a landslide. Not only did he dominate the juniors, James was named second place angler in the entire tournament beating out nearly four hundred other anglers most of them grown men and women. We also won top family and Debbi and I were named top husband and wife. It was truly a successful tournament for us and one that I am very proud of! I would like to give a special thanks to Greg, Mike, and Chris for all of their hard work and without them none of this would have been possible.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mothers Day

Warren Weiser and his family have fished with us every mothers day for the past eight years. Over that time we have had many great trips and this year was no exception. With only a half day I decided to make a big gamble and run almost twenty-five miles to a wreck that many boats have been catching permit. Warren and his family had never caught a permit before so I decided to make the run. When we arrived at the spot I found a huge school of permit, but unfortunately I was not the only one who had located the school. There were many large bullsharks on the edge of the school and they were determined to make it tough for us. It seemed as soon as we would hook a permit the sharks would eat it immediately. With a few tackle adjustments and some excellent angling by the Weiser boys, Blake, Michell and Billy we were able to catch three beautiful permit to over thirty pounds. Now it was time to head for home. We caught a big dolphin on the way and stopped by a wreck just long enough for the boys to catch their limit of amberjacks. About ten miles from home we found some great conditions and decided to try the kites for a half hour. The fish were biting like crazy and Wes and Greg were unable to get a full spread out. In less than an hour the Weiser family caught several bonitas, eight kingfish including two over thirty-five pounds and two sailfish. It was another Mothers day success! Thanks gang and we will see you next year.

Girls Rule

Kathy Banks has fished with us before and this time she invited her friend Diana Decker. The girls didn't mind what they caught as long as they could take some fish home. After catching bait we decided to try some kite fishing and it seemed to be the right choice. As soon as the kites went out we began catching kingfish and bonitas. Diana definately had the hot hand with the big fish and landed three kings between thirty and forty pounds. The average size of our fish was almost twenty pounds and at only ten in the morning we were well on our way to another great trip. With the kingfish and bonitas out of the way I decided to see if we could find a permit for the girls. Almost immediately we found a hungry fish and Greg delivered a perfect cast. Kathy battled the tough fish for nearly thirty miniutes only to have the hook pull out just feet from the boat. None the less we resumed our hunt and found another fish that was looking for an easy meal. Diana battled the big permit for thirty-five miniutes and this time luck was on out side and we boated the thirty-five pound beauty. Without wanting to push our luck I told Kathy we wouuld try to find one for her. Before long the lucky ladies were again hooked up to a big, strong permit. Kathy showed her experience with the rod and boated the thirty-three pounder in only twenty miniutes. While the girls took a break, I drove the L&H to a deep shipwreck and in no time the girls were doing battle with double header amberjacks. In what seemed like the blink of an eye we had our limit of the powerful amberjacks and decided to try and get a sailfish for Diana. We put the kites back up and in and hour and thirty miniutes of nonstop action the two girls landed two big blackfin tunas, several bonitos and three big sailfish including the first two for Diana! It was an amazing day and an amazing catch for our two lady anglers and one that will not soon be forgotten. Thanks again girls and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tournament Day

Manny Quintana is one of those guys who always seems to bring good luck when he comes fishing on the L&H. On one trip after landing several hundred pounds of dolphin we found a mako eating a sword, pulled in the 300 pound sword perfectly in tack missing only its tail then caught the big mako, but thats another story. Today Manny booked us for a small tournament and brought several of his friends and co-workers along. The president of the company James Walker came all the way from Minnesota amd Manny told me on the phone several days before the trip that it was very important James had a good day. After an early start we stopped at a spot where there had been some big kings and the fish were there. For the next few hours the fishing was red hot. We landed our limit of two kings per person (18 fish) including four kings over thirty pounds! James caught a beautiful 65 pound sail and we also released another sail and got a couple nice cero mackeral and a pile of bonitas. It was such a nice day we decided to do some sight fishing. As I cruised the shallows I spotted a couple big permit. The fish were hungry and we now had two thirty plus pound permit to add to the collection. It was the first day of grouper season and the guys wanted some for dinner so we tried a couple spots, but the amberjacks would not let a bait get past them. I managed to hook a nice blackfin tuna over one of the spots and after we put nine big amberjacks in the boat our 500 pound capacity fishbox was overflowing and we were forced to start putting fish in the baitwells! It was time to head for the scales. While running through stiltsville on the way to the weigh in we got stopped by the park police. They wanted to check our catch and Wes and my son James were forced to unload six hundred pounds of fish onto the deck of the L&H! What a sight! The park officers were shocked. They had been stopping boats all day and we had more fish than all the others combined. Of coarse we were within our legal limit so after a quick review of our licences they let us go. We ended up with the largest fish for a charterboat and our guys were very happy. Everyone went home with bags and coolers full of fish and also the first place trophy! It was another wonderful day onboard the L&H!

Franks Success Continues

Frank Bottitta of Lantana has fished with me several times on the L&H and we have always enjoyed great success. The highlight, although there are several, has to be the 500 pound swordfish we caught during the day with my brother Freddie as the mate. Today was a very important day for Frank because it was the first time his wife Mary joined him to fish on the L&H. If we had a good trip, Frank would have a new fishing partner for the rest of his life, on the other hand if Mary left unhappy Franks fishing career might get cut short. Their friend Bacillio Holguin and his daughter Brianna joined them as we got an early start. Greg and Wes crushed the pilchards in the castnet and after we aquired a few larger biats we headed for the edge. We put the kites up and started getting bites right away. Kingfish and bonitas were eating everything we put out and we often had three or four fish on at a time. In the middle of the mayhem Frank hooked a sail and did a super job fighting the fish from a dead boat. I chose not to chase Franks sail because it would take us out of the kings, but before long he had the fish alongside the L&H for a few quick photos and a healthy release. When the action slowed I ran to the south and found better water but the ever bottersome houndfish. The hounds would kill every bait we put out and forced us to move. When we started fishing again my wife called on my cell phone with an emergency but the area we were at the service was shaky at best. I had to run several miles to get phone service and it took fishing time away from us. While I regrouped we pulled the L&H over a shipwreck to try some bottom fishing. The amberjacks were ravenous and every one took turns pulling on the muscular brutes until we had our limit. Again we put the kites out and again my cell phone started ringing. This time with much better news. My good friend Alex Adler who was in town practicing for a sailfish tournament was just above us and told me there was a big pack of sails headed our way. We were in perfect postion and I told everyone to get ready. Then it happened! First the right middle, then short, then the long and all the left side baits as well, there were at least ten sails behind the boat. Fish were jumping everywhere and we had seven sailfish on!! More fish were back there but we were just unable to get baits to them. After some unbelievable work by our anglers and mates we managed to release six of the seven fish. It was truly a sight to behold as I stood alone in my perch in the tuna tower so very happy and proud to be part of such a well oiled machine. For the rest of the day we continued to have good action with sails bonitas and kings. We finished up with eleven sails, and limits of kings, amberjacks and heaps of bonitas. Mary caught her first sail and amberjack and had a wonderful time much to the delight of her husband! It was truly a special day and I will be looking forward to the next time the happy couple comes for another successful day of sportfishing on the L&H!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Max is Back

My good friend and long time fishing buddy Max Puyanic was back on the L&H after a minor surgery. He had a few of his friends with him today and wanted some fish for dinner. Our plan was to look for mahi and try sailfish in the afternoon. Wes spotted a frigate bird and we quickly boated a fifteen pound dolphin. That fish took the pressure off and we knew we had dinner taken care of. A short time later I spotted a bigger fish and Wes made a perfect cast and hooked up. The big bull dolphin raced all over surface with the L&H backing down in hot pursuit! With the fish going strait away from us and the boat backing down hard Wes made a mean gaff shot as water poured over the transom. Several other boats were finding sails so we decided to head for the edge. On the way I stopped the L&H over a shipwreck and we caught our limit of nice amberjacks to make sure everyone got to catch something big. While we were heading north to put the kites up I began to see sailfish tailing like crazy. Single fish, doubles and even a few big packs of sails all tailing down sea. Some would bite, others would just rise up on the bait then fade off but the action was fast and furious. Although we endured a little bit of bad luck we still managed to catch four out of ten bites and saw countless others in just a few hours. It was a great day as always seems to be the case when we have Max onboard! Thanks alot Max, I am happy you are doing better and me and the boys are looking forward to your next trip!

Craziness After the Storm

The next day after the big storm Trevor and Martin were back on the L&H to see what the sea had to offer. It was a much nicer day with calm seas and blue skies and best of all the fish were really biting! We had alot of bait left from the day before, got some more in the castnet and were at the wreck for an early start. When the first bait hit the water it got eaten immediately and for the next hour we got bites as fast as the baits went out. In no time we had our limit of kingfish and a bunch of bonitas. From there I steered the L&H offshore and as soon as we hit the gulfstream, Greg and Wes began to spot Frigate birds with hungry mahi underneath! It was the best dolphin fishing we have seen this year and in an hour and a half we landed almost twenty fish with a few of them in the twenty pound class. Now it was time to shift gears and try for amberjacks, which were like everything else that day, biting like crazy. After what seemed like only a matter of minutes we had our limit so it was time to head for home. We stopped on a shallow reef near Fowie Light and the boys caught a half dozen barracudas and a few nice yellowtails. When I got the L&H back up on plane and headed for the marina I saw one of my favorite sights. It was a big sailfish swimming over the white sand in only twelve feet of water! I have seen this countless times while fishing with Captain Paul Ross on his charter boat Relentless in Islamorada, but it is far less common to see it off Miami! Everyone watched the beautiful fish cruise the shallows and when Wes threw the bait in front of it we were on instantly! We got the release in seconds off the bow and headed for the marina grinning from ear to ear. It was an amazing few hours of fishing and after dealing with such a nasty storm the day before, the beautiful weather was like icing on the cake.