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!