The last time the Diaz family (Jennifer, Erica, DJ, and Dave) fished with us, Erica got a sailfish even though it wasn't the time when we normally find them. This time older brother DJ wanted one for himself. With high expectations, Jim, Trav, and I went the day before and caught bait so we could get an early start. The Diaz gang got to the L&H early in the morning and we were off. As Jim and I rode the tower on the way south the conditions looked great and we were excited about what the day had in store for us. Before long I saw two sailfish tailing down sea. Trav threw out two baits and we hooked both fish. DJ got one and Dave got the other. Now that DJ had his fish the pressure was off! We ran down a few more miles, put the kites out, and started getting bites immediately. For the first few hours as fast as the baits went out they were eaten by sailfish or mahi. Just before lunch, the wind switched more from the west and the sails stopped tailing, but we were still getting bites on the kites. By noon we had already released twelve sailfish, caught two kings, twenty mahi, a grouper and a nice wahoo! More and more boats started coming down to where we had been fishing to try and get in on the action. As the afternoon wore on , our team continued to catch fish. DJ and his father stayed on the rods all day and their extra effort played an important role in our success. By 4:00pm we were up to nineteen sailfish releases and Jim came up to the tower with his phone. Our friend Captain Paul Ross had called to congratulate us on the great day we were having. As I talked with Paul, another sail came up. LEFT SHORT!!! I yelled nearly blowing out Captain Paul's eardrums! This fish was very important to me as it would make sailfish number twenty for the day. In my years on the L&H I have caught twenty or more (As either captain or mate) five different times and no other boat at our marina has ever reached this magic number. It is something we are very proud of! DJ caught sailfish number twenty and he and his dad caught another double to finish the day with twenty-two sailfish releases!!!!!! It was even more special to have such a great day with a family like the Diaz's, because family is so very important to me!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Our friends Max, Sheldon, and Alex joined us for a busy day of fishing on the L&H. The bait came easy and we ran out to the edge. Today the edge was out a lot farther than it had been, but when we got there we found good fishing for the mahi. Some of the fish were under birds, but for the most part I would see them swimming from the tower and the boys would cast live baits to them. For some reason the dolphin were not biting very well. We would see six or eight fish in a group and only half of them would bite. As we got further to the south, I started seeing more and more mahi, but the results were the same, catching half of the fish we baited. After a while our team decided to do some bottom fishing. As soon as the first bait got to the bottom, we began hooking up. Amberjacks and almacos were biting fast and furious and before long we had ten of these fish in the box. Pulling up these strong fighters from the depths really wore out our anglers! On the way home the guys got some more mahi. With over forty mahi, all of the amberjacks and almacos, we headed for home to clean fish for everyone. It was a fun day with a lot of action for our friends!
Larry Puyanic is a fun loving, outgoing person who we enjoy having on the boat. Today, Larry had some clients with him and wanted to try for a sailfish. We got some bait and ran offshore to try our luck. Soon after setting up the kites, we hooked a big mahi that was jumping all over. After the fish settled down we were able to get close. Travis grabbed the leader and Jim gaffed the thirty pound fish and put it in the boat. For the next hour we had steady action with the dolphin on the kites, with some of them over twenty pounds. From my perch in the tower, I saw a bunch of flying fish getting chased inshore. I backed the L&H in shallow and as soon as we got to where the bait was, we raised three sailfish, all on the same bait. Trav hooked one of them and Jim quickly cast out a bait and hooked another. The third fish came to one of the kite baits and just like that we were hooked up to three sails. As we were fighting the sails, Jim hooked another one on the kite and we were now fighting a quad. After a lot of over and under by the anglers, laughter from everyone, and a few jokes thrown in from Larry we were able to successfully release all four sailfish. With a sailfish release for each of his clients and plenty of mahi for dinner, Larry decided to call it a day.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
On the fourth day with Tom the conditions were good for sailfish with a hard north wind and a strong current. We went north for bait and took our time to catch plenty because I knew the dolphin would be solid. When we were done with bait I ran out to the edge of the gulf stream where the dolphin were big and hungry we caught 15 nice ones but then a cloud came and I could not see them any more. That is when I ran south a ways to where the edge cut in to 115 feet. Once the sun came out I saw a tailing sailfish. Jim presented the bait perfectly and the sail engulfed the bait, then the chase was on with the big sail jumping away we got the release in 2 minutes. When we set up the kite it was as fast as you could go with nice dolphin and sailfish biting all baits. This continued all day until we hooked a sail in the late afternoon that took us right into a rainstorm but with some luck and help from Jim we got him. After that we made the long ride back home. Final count: 7 sails, 45 dolphin, 1 kingfish, 1 mackerel, 1 bonita, and one snapper.
Friday, December 16, 2011
On day three the conditions were bad for fishing on the edge because there was a light wind and dirty green water so I decided if we were going to try for a sword today would be the day as we just got past the color change James spotter a big floater but we only got one dolphin. When we got out there the first drop we had a bite. The second drop no bite. On the third drop we had one on for a little while. On the fourth drop we had a bite. After we reeled up the fourth drop we were running to another spot when James spotter a Frigate bird. As we got closer I saw that it was tunas. But not just little skipjacks there were big ones mixed in. With some bad luck we only managed to get two but it was really neat to see both the tunas and the bird chasing the flying fish. On the fifth drop we had a few big dolphin swim up but with some more bad luck we could only get one out of the three. Then we hooked a sword we got him all the way up, took the lead off and then he jumped and tail walked for a minute. When we got him to the boat we realized he was not as big as we had thought but he was a keeper and a great one for Toms first sword. Final count 3 dolphin 1 schoolie, 1 -20 lber, 1- 35 lber, 2 -10 lb. tunas, and 1 nice sword.
We have fished with Tom many days and we have had some great luck. When I saw he had chartered us for five days in early December I knew we had plenty good to come. On day one we went south to try for bait. Where we had been going and catching plenty good baits. When we got to the first spot the conditions were good but we could only seem to catch blue runners and a few small pilchards. After trying for what seemed like hours we went to a different spot that only got blue runners. After that I decided to just go with what we had. When we were running down the edge I saw plenty of dolphin and we caught our fair share. When we first set up the dolphin were coming through thick. As the day progressed the dolphin slowed. So we went to a wreck where we had great fishing earlier this year with great success. This time our results were one small almaco. Then when we were going to a different wreck I was driving over a sand strip when I saw a 500 pound bluefin tuna. That was super cool to see. When we were coming out to the deeper water I saw some dolphin and we started to see them again. Finally we got to the wreck, on the first drop we got a big amberjack. on the next drop we got a big black grouper, on the next drop we got a big african pompano, and on the last drop we got a big mutton snapper. After catching some more dolphin we called it a day and went home. Final count, 25 dolphin, 1 -35 pound grouper, 1 -35 pound african pompano, 1 -40 pound amberjack, 1 -15 pound almaco, and 1 -15 pound mutton snapper. That is what I call a wreck slam.
Friday, November 4, 2011
We finished up with our yearly maintenance faster than expected and we are very happy with the outcome. They took good care of us at the boatyard and Travis and I spent long days and accomplished everything we set out to do. We have had a few good trips since going back in the water. The meat fishing has been good with alot of tuna and mahi. The fish have moved in closer and trolling has been the most successful method. We have been getting alot of multiple strikes with both the mahi and the tuna and in some cases mahi and tuna at the same time. The wrecks have been active with a few groupers, amberjacks and cobias. With a few trips under our belt and plenty of fish for everyone, it is safe to say that the L&H is back in action!
Monday, October 10, 2011
We have arrived at the time where we do the annual maintenance on the L&H. Although it is not one of my favorite times it is something that must be done. This year we have a few pretty big projects, but I am hoping everything goes smooth. Along with the usual maintenance there is work that needs to be done on the spray rails as well as the fresh water tank. Instead of taking the L&H up north this year we will be working at a yard on the Miami river.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Christopher Marlin David was just over five weeks old when he went on his first fishing trip. The fishing had been good so Jim Hendrix, Donald (a friend of James from school), Debbi, James, Laurel, baby Chris, and I jumped on the L&H early one morning and headed out to try our luck. We ran offshore to look for mahi and Chris seemed very happy with all the new sights and sounds on the L&H! Shortly after sunrise we found some heavy sea weed and in no time began catching nice dolphin. James, Jim and Deb were catching the fish and Laurel was watching the baby. For most of the morning it was easy pickins as we continued to catch the mahi almost at will. Then a little after ten my friend Bouncer called and told me he was catching big ones a few miles farther out. When we got there it was one of the biggest weedlines I have seen in a while. The dolphin were everywhere and we started just looking for the big fish. Baby Chris would sometimes come out with his mom and sister to watch the action and sometimes he would just look from inside the cabin. Mom took him out to wave at Bouncer as we passed by and Christopher Marlin seemed to be enjoying himself just fine. Before noon we needed only a few more fish to have our limit and with the size of the fish the fishbox was full! As Donald battled a twenty pound mahi an even larger fish swam up. Laurel flipped out a bait and we hooked the big bull. The fish raced away and Jim backed the L&H in hot pursuit. Nine year old Laurel put great pressure on the fish and after fifteen minutes dad gaffed the fish and pulled it in the boat! It was truly a wonderful day with over five hundred pounds of mahi for the market and the first of many, many, many fantastic fishing trips with my new fishing buddy Christopher Marlin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Art West had been fishing on the L&H for as long or longer than I have and it seems that we always have a great day. The last time he fished with us on the L&H we caught four swordfish, so he wanted to give that a try. The mahi fishing had been good lately so our plan was to try for the mahi first and then maybe a sword. After loading up on bait we headed offshore to look for the seaweed that had been in close all week. It wasn't there today and before long we were twenty miles out and nothing. Finally we saw a Frigate bird and as I steered toward it another boat was racing to beat us there. When we got to the bird, the other boat went to the north and I went south. A few minutes later we found a big school of dolphin that were biting like mad. I smiled as I looked down and saw our team pulling in fish like crazy and then looked over and saw the other boat trolling out of site. Then, from the deep, a three hundred pound blue marlin came up and jumped nearly all of the way out of the water to grab a ten pound mahi that Art was fighting just fifteen feet behind the L&H! The marlin took Art's mahi about twenty feet down and just sat there. Finally it swallowed the mahi and took off until nearly stripping the reel and finally breaking the leader. From there we continued south until Jim found some birds over a big patch of weed. As I got closer, dolphin started swimming at the boat from all directions and they were nice sized fish. We stayed there and caught dolphin until we had our limit and the box was filled to the top. At this point there were more fish behind the L&H than when we started. Enough!!!! I said from the tower, we have to leave them, there is no more room! It was still early so we tried a drop for a sword. We had one right away, but it was tangled in the leader and pulled off. The next drop we hooked a nice fish and it was fighting hard! After a good battle we had the fish to the top and I could see that it was a big one. Everyone worked together. Jim handled the leader and our friend Abie hit the fish with the harpoon. After placing a couple gaffs, our team slid the three hundred pound swordfish into the L&H!! It was still early, but we had a lot of fish to clean so we decided to head in. It was another great day for Art West, his gang, and the L&H!!
**of the two photos, the four fish was then and the other is now
- John Oulette wanted to catch a swordfish for his son Kyle. So we left early one morning in hopes of catching some mahi first and then trying for a sword. When we finished with bait and headed out it wasn't long before we started catching dolphin. There was seaweed and floating debris all over and the action was steady. About mid morning we found a huge flock of birds and when the L&H got to them James and I saw a big tree stump floating. There were fish all around. We got more mahi, a bunch of tripletails, and then started fishing for the wahoo's. For the next hour we pretty much were catching wahoo nonstop. They weren't huge, but decent size and we also got a few tuna mixed in. Then after lunch we found a pallet and got a few more mahi, and limited out on wahoo and tripletail, including a fifteen pound trip that Kyle caught. As we headed to the sword grounds, Travis saw a frigate bird far off in the distance and we went over to take a look. James and I were in the tower and we could not believe our eyes! There were at least fifty mahi and they were all from ten to twenty pounds! For the next two hours our team fought these big mahi and boy did they fight hard. Finally when we reached the limit for dolphin and with the fishbox filled to capacity we had to leave the school. It was an amazing feeling to limit out on dolphin, wahoo, and tripletail all in the same day. From there we made a couple of drops for swords and caught a big oil fish. Shortly after dark we hooked the sword we were looking for. Kyle did a great job fighting the fish from the chair, but unfortunately after a tough battle the hook pulled out near the boat! After that we decided that we had enough and headed for home. Even without the sword it was still one of the best fishing trips in a long time!
Christian, Chris, Miguel, Alejandro, Jose, and Abdel came to fish with us one day before heading to the Bahamas for a three day cruise. I was unable to make it that day so Captain Neil ran the boat for me. They headed offshore and on the way out caught a nice wahoo on the wire line. This was a good start for the crew and with a good fish in the box it takes the pressure off. After a while they came across a pallet. There were not a bunch of fish, but they still managed to get a few nice mahi and some tripletail. When the action slowed offshore, Neil took them inshore where they caught several bonitas. It sounded like a fun trip to me. Hopefully I will be able to make it next time! Thanks Alot Guys!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Lazaro Diaz is not only the mechanic on the L&H, but a great friend of mine. Whenever I have a problem no matter how big or small, he will come to help me and at any time, day or night. When the weather is good and the fish are biting I try and schedule a trip with Lazaro. Today he brought along his cousin, Hector Diaz and his assistant, Kenny Cruz. I was planning on a long day, so we took our time and got a lot of bait. With the baitwell full, we headed out to find some dolphin. After about an hour we came across a nice bunch of mahi and everyone worked together until we finished the schoool. Then we found another school and with the boys catching and Laurel (9) gaffing we had a well oiled machine. By late morning we came across a pallet and got some more nice mahi, a few wahoos and some tripletails. A few minutes later I saw a good sized cobia, a rare catch for the summer, and soon this fish had joined the others in the L&H's icy hold. Shortly after lunch we found another pallet and got a couple nice wahoos and tripletails. Then two big dolphin swam up and our all star crew quickly hooked both, the larger of the two would later weigh in at thirty-eight pounds. As the afternoon wore on we continued to catch mahi until we had our limit. We decided to try for a sword since it was still early. On the way we found yet another pallet and this time there was a very big triple tail lurking underneath. We threw out a bait and Laurel let the fish run for a long time. When she hooked the fish it made a long run on the surface. This feisty triple tail was no match for the young, talented, angler. She boated the fish in just over five minutes. We would later find out that the nine pound triple tail would be a pending IGFA womens small fry world record! The third record in less than a year for Laurel! When we reached the sword spot, Travis and James dropped the rig and in no time they were hooked up. The fish fought hard all the way to the boat. When we got the sword close enough our team set the gaffs and pulled the one hundred plus pounder over the rail. It was an amazing day of fishing! As we took photos at the Marina, Lazaro told me he has several pictures of a dock full of fish behind the L&H and when he goes to show them off people say it has to be the same photo. No way you could catch fish like this time and time again, they say. "Only on the L&H!" Lazaro tells them!!!
Gabriel Gaber is a lucky fisherman. He has fished with us three times on the L&H this year and each time we seem to have outstanding fishing. Gabriel wanted to fish with us for two consecutive days this time, but unfortunately we were booked so he chartered another boat from the dock. All he could manage fishing on another boat was a few bonitos and one mahi. This set us up to look real good if we could manage another big day. First thing in the morning I found a piece of debris. We got eight mahi and were off to the start I was looking for. As we continued into the gulf stream we continued to pick at the mahi, with a few fish close to fifteen pounds. After lunch I spotted a pack of big dolphin. There were three big cows and a truly large bull swimming in the sea weed. The bull quickly broke away from the pack and I chose to follow him because it was the biggest dolphin I have seen in quite some time. The fish would not bite as James and Travis threw all types of live and dead baits at the fish. Finally we hooked the beast, but somehow the line got tangled around the reel and quickly broke off. As is occasionally the case, the big mahi stayed on the surface and I was able to follow it as the boys readied another rod. To the amazement of everyone on board we were able to hook the fish yet again. This time everything went smooth and the L&H chased after the frantic dolphin in hot pursuit! After a few minutes we nearly had the fish as Travis had the gaff just inches from a shot. After that the big bull went down. For the next hour we slowly inched the fish back to the surface. Finally we got it up and gaffed the fifty-one pound bull dolphin and put it in the boat. This was our biggest mahi in a long time and we were thrilled! When everything settled down we resumed our search and were again rewarded a short time later. We found a tree branch and it had a bunch of fish by it. After landing more mahi the L&H switched gears and started catching wahoo one after another. When the seventh wahoo of the day came over the side, Gabriel looked up and said he had enough and was ready to head in. It was a great day and another tremendous catch for Gabriel on the L&H!
Friday, August 5, 2011
Ed Grace has fished with us several times before. Ed and his wife Barbara are some of the nicest people we know and I enjoy fishing with them very much. Ed was in town for a few days and decided to do some fishing with a few of his friends. After getting some bait we ran offshore to see what we could find. About ten miles out we got a nice wahoo on a lure and we were off to a good start. A few minutes later I saw a couple of big splashes and a small mahi jumping out of the water. Then, about two hundred yards away a blue marlin jumped out of the water and grabbed the mahi in mid air! It was an incredible sight, and as we got to the spot where the marlin was feeding, we came upon a piece of small debris. At first we hooked three nice mahi and then more and more started showing up. For the next half hour, Ed and his crew stayed busy catching mahi of all sizes. After the action slowed we moved farther south and continued to pick away at nice sized fish. Late in the morning we pulled up to some birds and there was a few big fish there. We hooked three fish and the biggest one of the pack missed the bait and got foul hooked. The big bull put on a tough battle, but the angler did a great job. After nearly thirty minutes we were able to pull the thirty-seven pound bull dolphin into the boat. We got a few more good sized mahi as the afternoon wore on. Back at the marina we took some good photos and cut up mahi fillets for whoever wanted them. It was yet another great day of fishing with our friend Ed Grace!
Frank Koenig and a few of his friends booked us for an afternoon half day. The fishing was slow offshore and we decided to try our luck on the edge of the reef. After getting a good supply of bait we set up and began getting bonitas. Everyone was having fun with these fish when one of the bonitas came up bitten in half. A large shark followed it up and we quickly put out the bonita on the shark rig. Within seconds the shark took the bait and the fight was on. We battled the shark for a while and then pulled it along side of the L&H for some quick photos and then release. Later in the trip we moved up to fish by some rock piles and began pulling in snapper. Frank put on a big bait while his friends were busy with the snappers and he hooked something much larger. The fish took off on a long run and then went deep. Frank put good pressure on the fish and after a while we had nearly all the line back. As I looked into the clear, blue water I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a big, big kingfish and we did not have any wire leader. Somehow Frank managed to put just enough pressure to get the fish within gaffing range and we pulled the fifty-one pound kingfish in the boat! It was the biggest king we have caught in a long time and another great fish for our friend Frank.
Alec and Monika Weitzel went with us for a full day. Our plan was to go into the gulf stream and look for mahi. After loading up on bait we ran offshore and were greeted with beautiful weather. After a slow start I saw something very large off in the distance. As we got closer I could see that is was a big tiger shark over five hundred pounds. Travis quickly deployed the shark rig in hopes of hooking the shark for Alec. We tried and tried with everything we could think of, live and dead dolphin, a big jack, but the tiger was not interested in feeding. We stayed with the shark for a while and Monika was able to get some photos. From there we resumed our search for mahi. The fishing gradually improved throughout the day as Monika and Alec picked away at mahis. Then just after lunch Monika got a big skipjack and things were looking better. In the afternoon we found a nice piece of debris that was teeming with life. Our crew got some nice size mahi. We decided to try a deep bait and Alec was rewarded with a nice size wahoo. On the way home we hooked the two biggest mahi of the day. With fish over twenty pounds it was a great way to end a fun trip with our new friends!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Just a few weeks ago Max Puyanic would join us on the L&H for the best dolphin fishing of the summer, today he would do even better! It was slick calm without even a ripple as the L&H headed offshore. From the tower I could see a big weedline out in front of us. Before we got there I saw four twelve to fifteen pound dolphin. We got three of them and kept going. Then Max got a thirty pounder. It was easy livin! James and I would just steer the L&H along the weedline and the big mahi would stick out like a sore thumb. Some would bite and some wouldn't, but we just kept finding them. Several fish over twenty pounds, a couple in the thirties and a bunch over ten. Even the schoolies were nice size. We had it all to ourselves and left plenty of fish behind. We had our limit early and decided to leave the fish and try for some snappers. The current was too strong, but we still managed to pull about ten snappers in. It was another great day for Max, who always seems to be there at the right time. I am starting to wonder if we should sign him up for a dolphin tournament!
My sister Ashley's oldest son Johnny wanted to fish on the L&H for his sixth birthday. So one day we loaded up with Ashley, her husband John, her two boys Luke and John, cousin Nathan and my family to see what we could catch. Little John and his dad are accomplished fishermen out of Vero Beach, catching dolphin, kingfish and cobia. I wanted something special for Johnny so James and I had our work cut out for us. After getting bait, we decided to do some bottom fishing. As soon as the first line got down the rod started bouncing like crazy! We were getting good bites! Little John went to work and before long he had a string of nice snappers at the boat much to the delight of the six year old birthday boy! As James pulled the fish over the rail Johnny exclaimed "These are great eating mom, we can have them for dinner"!!! And Johnny went on to say that over and over through the rest of the trip. "These are great eating" Johnny would say nearly every fish that came in. That boy sure likes to eat fish! When we had about sixty snappers, Johnny shouted out with a big smile "There sure are lots of snappers off Miami"!! We decided to try for something bigger. Papa John got a couple nice groupers, and cousin Nathan got a seventeen pound grouper that put up a tough fight. Then at the end Johnny got a four foot shark that he plans to hang in his room. It was truly a great trip for everyone especially the six year old who loves eating fish!!!! Thanks guys, I cant wait until we do it again!
Max Puyanic is a good friend and a lucky fisherman. I have fished with him for many years on the L&H and had countless great trips. Today Max took his brother Larry along and since the inshore fishing was slow we decided to look for dolphin. Only a few miles out we found some sea weed and began fishing. Before long, Max and Larry were hooked up to nice mahi. And that was the way the entire morning went. Max and Larry catching nice mahi one after the other. The weather was calm and it seemed like we would go from one pack of fish to the next. It was fun to watch the two brothers in competition to see who would get the biggest fish. Around mid day Max got a nice wahoo as we were moving further offshore. In the afternoon we found lots of fish, but they were much smaller than what we had in the morning. On the way in, I saw three big mahi swimming on the surface. We threw some baits and hooked all three of them. Max ended up winning the competition with Larry when he boated the thirty pound bull. It was a fun day and another good one for Max!
Michael, Tiffany, Marissa and Nathan Smith from Houston, Texas fished with us on the L&H one afternoon. There had been some snappers around in the morning, but a friend told me he found some big schools of mahi well offshore. It was risky to make the long run on a half day, but after discussing it with the family we decided to make the run. James rode in the tower with me as we headed offshore. When I got to the area where my buddy was finding the fish it looked good and I felt confident we would find something. After a little while I saw a mahi jump several hundred yards from the boat. Then another mahi jumped and I pushed on the throttles as the L&H raced in the direction of the jumping fish. When I slowed the boat down I could see the colorful dolphin swimming all over the place. There was a big blue barrel floating nearby and it attracted fish from all around. The crew sprung into action and before long the Smith family were pulling in mahi like crazy. As fast as you could go the fish were literally fighting over the bait. Lots of nice size mahi some over twenty pounds. You could take the bait away from the small ones and give it to the good ones. It was red hot dolphin fishing. We landed a few nice tripletails, a wahoo and our limit of mahi in short order. James ran the boat home as Travis and I cleaned up. It was a great half day of fishing and a trip the Smith family will not soon forget!
Andy Greenberg has been fishing with me on the L&H for fifteen years and we have had many great trips together! Today Andy took his two sons fishing with him and he wanted to make sure they had fun. The fishing had been slow so I knew we would have to work hard. The plan was to try and get some snapper for action and then go offshore. The weather was great and conditions good and in no time we were pulling in snappers. The boys enjoyed this, but dad got the biggest one, a snapper over ten pounds. With good conditions we moved deeper and got a few nice sized groupers before heading offshore. Because the dolphin fishing was slow the team decided to try for a sword fish. We had a bite on the very first drop, but the fish came off. The second drop nothing, so we decided to give it one more try. On the last drop we hooked up! As we battled the fish to the surface, the boys were eager to see what we had. Finally the leader came up and I could see that it was a nice sword! When the fish got closer it raced toward the surface and jumped out of the water. We backed up to the fish and placed the gaffs! Everyone on board was so excited! It was just what we needed to show the boys and peak their interest. On the way back in we found some dolphin keeping a few and letting the rest go. Even with tough fishing we still manged to have a good day and get some nice fish for Andy and his boys!
Hal Weintraub is fun to have on the L&H. He likes to have a good time and always seems to be in good spirits. As long as we catch fish and keep his clients happy, Hal is happy! We got some bait and ran way to the south searching for good conditions. When we finally got down there the conditions had gotten worse. We put the baits out anyway and got some bonitas and a few big cudas. A friend who was on his way to the Bahamas told me he found some dolphin offshore so we decided to give it a try. About fifteen miles out we found a nice school of mahi and everyone enjoyed catching these fish. James finished off the school with a mahi over twenty pounds and it was time to move on. A short time later we hit another school and again everyone sprung into action to fish the school. The team did great and we only needed a few more fish to get the limit. On our way in I found another school of the hungry mahi's and we caught what we needed to get the limit and let the rest go to fight another day! At the end of the day everyone (including Hal) was happy, and that makes for a happy ending.
Mike Lawrence and his girlfriend Allison fish with us whenever they are in town. They are a pleasure to have on the boat and are happy to fish for anything that is biting. After getting the bait we anchored in close to the edge of the reef. The action was fast and furious and it seemed as soon as a bait went out, something ate it. We were getting kingfish and bonitas one after the other when Allison hooked something different. After a tough fight, she boated the thirty-two pound tuna. Soon after Mike hooked a big fish on the kite. The husky fish made some big runs, and after a long fight we gaffed the thirty-seven pound kingfish for him. With our limit of kingfish and heaps of bonitas we decided to go offshore and look for mahi. About ten miles out we found a nice weedline and got some good sized dolphin and a twenty pound wahoo. After more searching we came up on a big piece of debris. Everyone was pulling in dolphin when Allison hooked a thirty pound bull. The fish put on a great show but was no match for our lady angler! Mike added a couple more wahoo close to twenty pounds and we decided to call it a day! Thanks for everything you guys and I can't wait to see you again!
I have been fishing the Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo on our family boat Frick and Frack for nearly thirty years. It is a great family oriented tournament. We have enjoyed great success over the past few years with two second and one first place finish over the large field of boats. This year would be much more challenging as the weather was calm and the fishing slow. The first day started very slow and we didn't have a single eligible fish until James got a nice tuna just before noon. There were a few boats catching fish, but nothing was happening for us and I knew we had to do something. I decided to make a long run south where a friend had been getting some nice fish. As we made the nearly forty mile trip the conditions went from bad to worse and I felt as if I made the wrong move. Finally we found some good water and with less than an hour left in the day we had to fish fast! We got our limit of kingfish and Greg got a nice tuna just before lines out and we were still in the running. With the long run back to port, we ended up being the very last boat to weigh our catch and had to wait in line as forty other boats weighed before us.
Day two of the tournament has shorter hours and lines are out at noon. I decided to fish a spot off Fort Lauderdale where I fished a lot with my dad, brother, and grandfather and always had good success. Day two was flat calm and made kite fishing nearly impossible. With my long time friend Mike Welter running the flat lines and everyone working together we had a great day. We got some nice kings and a tuna right away and everyone was confident. The whole team worked great together and we ended up with a limit of tuna and limit of kings and even a big snapper for Laurel just before lines out. As soon as the tournament ended we reeled up everything and raced for the weigh scales. Today the Frick and Frack would be the first boat to weigh in and there was no waiting in the dreaded weigh in line. Our second day catch gave us the top overall boat for the day and two hundred thirty-four total pounds. We finished second place overall in the tournament missing first by only three tenths of one pound. James was awarded top junior angler, Laurel got third for small fry and we ended up as third place family. It was another fun and successful family fishing tournament!
Ed and Barbara Grace fished with us last year. They are some of the nicest people we know and I enjoy fishing with them very much. With the tuna fishing better in the afternoon we decided to leave late and stay late. After getting a bunch of bait we ran to the north and found some good conditions. Again we put up three kites with three baits each along with some flat and bottom baits. Before long Ed got a nice king and then another and another. We then released a sail and got a big tuna so I knew we were in a good spot. As the afternoon progressed we started getting more and more tuna bites. Ed, Barbara and even Barbara's father got in on the action. The Grace family released a couple more sails and we were looking good. With most of the tuna close to thirty pounds, I asked Ed if he would mind if my daughter Laurel got one. The IGFA record for female small fry was twenty-six and I was confident we could beat it. A short time later, a big blackfin jumped out of the water on the left middle kite bait. Laurel grabbed the rod, reeled tight, and hooked the fish. The tuna raced offshore on the surface, taking a bunch of line! After that the fish went deep, but this tuna was no match for Laurels determination. After fifteen minutes her brother James had the leader and we gaffed the fish and pulled it in. The tuna would later weigh twenty-nine and a half pounds! Another pending IGFA record for Laurel! The Graces would finish the day with a few more tunas to give us nine total for the day and a lot of smiles.
Day two would prove to be a little slower, but we still managed a few snappers, a few kings, four amberjacks and three tunas. It was another great time spent fishing with the Grace family! Thank You both so very much!
Gabriel Baber had fished with other boats from our dock with very little success. So after seeing one of the catches from the L&H he decided to try his luck more time. On a half day fishing we got some nice kings, amberjacks, bonitas, and a triple header of big blackfin tunas. With good success on a half day, Gabriel quickly booked us for a full day trip. With a late start on the full day I felt the pressure to get a bunch of fish and keep Gabriel happy. We got bait and tried a few shipwrecks. Commercial boats were on the spots, but we were still able to get our limit of nice amberjacks. I ran the L&H south to a spot where there had been some tunas. The conditions were great and we put up three kites, some flat lines and bottom baits. It was hard to keep up with all the lines out, because we kept getting bites. Snappers on the bottom, kings on the flat lines and big blackfin tunas on the kites. After some nice snappers and our limit of kings, Gabriel got a real big sailfish that we kept for a trophy in his new house in Key Biscayne. As the afternoon wore on we released a couple more sails and started to concentrate on the kites and fish for the big tunas. With three kites holding three baits each there was still a lot going on. It was some of the best tuna fishing we had seen in a few years. Blackfin tunas from twenty-five to thirty-five were jumping out of the water on the kite baits giving us some outstanding bites!! It was so much fun to watch, we didn't even seem to mind if they got off. When the tenth big tuna of the day hit the fishbox, the lid would not close and there was no more room! It was time to go home. Back at the marina, another captain and his mate (who were fishing in the same area) watched as the L&H unloaded the catch and all they could do was shake their heads in disbelief! Needless to say Gabriel was pumped up and now he calls us to go fishing whenever he is in town.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Trevor and Martin fished with us for two days last year and they caught a bunch of nice fish. They had high expectations for this years trip and I knew we had to produce. We got bait easily and ran to the south. There was a nice color change where we set up and things looked good. As soon as we put out the baits the guys started hooking fish. The action was great with nice size kingfish, bonitos and big barracudas. The kings were biting on the kite and in no time we had our limit. From there the L&H moved to deeper water and we dropped two big live baits near a shipwreck. Almost immediately both rods bent over. Trevor and Martin muscled the big fish to the surface and Mike was able to add two big amberjacks to all of the fish we already had in the fishbox. We stayed at the wreck until we had our limit of the big amberjacks. After that our plan was to do some trolling with artificial lures and we were rewarded with a mahi and two tunas. As the afternoon progressed we searched for the permit. As luck would have it we managed to catch a nice permit for Trevor and a nice permit for Martin! These two guys seem to come when the fish are biting and they know how to catch em! Thanks again for another great day and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
Annie and Greg Holcombe have been fishing with us for a long time and besides being great people to fish with they are very lucky. Today Greg could not make it so he sent his daughter Annie to try her luck. We looked for the permit for a while and finally found a very big one. This fish amazed us with its size and strength, but nevertheless was no match for the terrific angling abilities that young Annie Holcombe possesses! She battled the fish for a very long time and applied maximum pressure to the fish when necessary. As the permit got closer I could see its enormous size and hoped the fish would stay on. When we finally got the fish within range Travis was able to fully extend with the gaff and place a great shot. The permit would weigh in at over forty pounds and was one of the biggest I have ever seen. After everything settled down the L&H began searching again and soon I found another large permit. Although not as big as the first fish, it was a very big one. Again we battled the fish for a long time and again our team successfully boated a permit close to forty pounds. From there we moved to a shipwreck and found amberjacks that were biting. We caught our limit of these, including a sixty pounder that Annies friend (and my daughter) Laurel caught all by herself. The girls were doing a great job catching fish today and I was loving every minute of it! In the afternoon we did some trolling and caught a couple dolphin and two nice tuna. Today the girls proved that they could fish as good as the boys and with the size of some of the fish they put on the dock, maybe even better!
I always enjoy seeing the Bazen family because they enjoy the water and are a pleasure to have on the boat. After getting a late start on the first day we caught the bait and started heading to the south. I wanted to try and get them a permit as this is one fish the Bazens have not caught yet. After a while we found a nice fish and Mike took the first shot. The permit made several spectacular runs and was a great fighter. After a tough battle Mike had his fish and our trip was off to a great start. We found another big permit and the team was able to boat this fish as well. From there we put the kites up and found a nice king and a few sailfish. It was neat to watch as Richard, Sidney, and James kept all the baits in position while waiting for a bite. When the fish came, the boys were doing everything from dropping back, hooking and fighting the fish all the way to the release without any assistance.
The second day was again great fishing with our friends. Sandra and Kent got into the action as well. Again we were able to catch some of the elusive, hard fighting permit! We also released three more sailfish, and got some nice kings, bonitos and a big amberjack. Again the boys showed how much they have learned and progressed with their abilities to do just about anything on the boat. It was a fantastic two days of fishing with our friends who make the days we spend together on the water so enjoyable for me!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
With calm seas all week it was a perfect time to fish for a few hours with my family. My sister Elyse, her husband Trey, and their children Nathan and Lea, along with my mom and dad jumped on the L&H. When we got offshore we were greeted with a stiff wind and choppy seas. I knew that our time would be short and we had to make the most of it. We ran down south to a ship wreck and in no time we were pulling up big amberjacks. Deb ran the boat while James, Trey, Nate, and my dad and I did the fishing. In short order we had our limit of these big fish and my dad even managed to hook one on a jig. It was great fun, but the boat was rocking a lot and we had to get moving. We ran for a little while to see if we could find a permit. After a few minutes my dad hooked a nice fish that took us offshore. The permit is a truly spectacular fish to catch and a fish that every one loves to get, especially my dad. He did a great job on the big fish and after a great fight we put his thirty-one pound permit in the boat. Now it was time to get one for Trey. From my perch in the tower I spotted another big permit. James threw the bait out there and the fish grabbed it. The bait came out of the fishes mouth and the permit was now determined to finish the meal. It charged after the bait on the surface making for an exciting strike. Trey hooked the fish and the fight was on. During the battle I went inside to get something and saw four year old Lea watching her dad through the salon window. "My dad has a big fish" she told me. "He sure does" I replied. Trey got his big fish much to the delight of every one onboard and we headed strait for the marina. I had a great time fishing with my family! Thank you so much for a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Christian and Quinn fish three days with us every year and this time they invited famous swordfish captain and author Linda Greenlaw and her brother Chuck. The first day our plan was to get some action so we hit a shipwreck right off the bat. Every one caught an amberjack and the gang was happy pulling in these strong fighters. From there I ran way to the south to an area where the permit sometimes gather. As we got closer I could see alot of boats looking for the permit, but not finding them. I wondered if we had made the long trip in vein. I quickly found a few fish away from the other boats and in no time Christian was hooked up to a big one. After a tough battle Christian had his fish in the boat and then it was Quinns turn. Again I found the fish away from the other boats and Quinn boated another permit nearly the same size as the first one. From there it was time to get Linda a sailfish. We put the kites up and soon thereafter Linda was fighting her first sailfish. We released the sail, caught a few bonitas and kings and decided to call it a day.
The next day we went offshore looking for a sword. The first drop we had a good bite, but the fish pulled off. After a couple drops with nothing we were running out of daylight. On the final drop the rod bent over and we were hooked up. Captain Linda has caught thousands of swords, but this would be her first one daytime fishing and she was very excited. When the sword came to the surface it was lit up and racing all over. It wasn't very big, but a keeper none the less and we put it in the boat! After boating the sword, the sun had set and as I ran to the south, Mike spotted a big fish making a wake on the surface. I followed the wake and when we got close I could make out the fish and it was a big dolphin! James threw a bait out and the big bull swam over and engulfed it! Christian took the rod and the L&H backed down in hot pursuit of dolphin as it raced away on the surface. It was only a matter of minutes and we gaffed the biggest dolphin the L&H has caught in a couple years. Back at the marina the dolphin would weigh in at forty-eight pounds.
On the final day of our trip we left late and came in early. It was a fun day, but very slow paced where every one was just taking it easy. Linda got a nice permit and we got some blackfin tunas trolling with lures. It was a great three days of fishing and I would like to thank Chritian and Quinn for making it all possible!
Danny Huebsch fishes with us whenever his travels put him in our area. He has been fishing on the L&H for a long time and I have had several great trips mating for Danny when John Dudas was running the boat. It was important for me to have a good crew for Danny so I took my friend Mike Welter along. We met at the boat early and got a good start on bait before a lot of the other boats even left the dock. When we hit the edge Mike ran the boat and I worked the cockpit. With no wind we had to use helium to keep the kites aloft. We got a sail right off the bat and for the next couple hours Danny stayed busy reeling in fish. At one point we had a bait just feet behind the boat and a sail came up chasing the sardine all over the surface. When Danny hooked the fish it took off jumping like crazy! It was so exciting to see that fish tearing up the calm ocean. After some nice dolphin, another sail, and a few kings it was time to find Danny his first permit. Danny has caught a lot of fish on the L&H, but the permit is one of the few fish that has eluded him. The conditions were great for sight fishing and in about thirty minutes I saw the fish we were looking for. Mike made a great cast and the huge permit engulfed the bait and was off to the races. The fish took a lot of line and refused to come up. After a great job of angling I could see what was taking so long. It was one of the biggest permit I have ever seen. We finally were able to get the fish in the boat and back at the dock, Danny's fish would weigh just over forty pounds! On the way in Danny got another permit over thirty pounds, just to put an exclamation point on what was a great day of fishing on the L&H.
Our friend Frank Koenig invited his friend from Germany to fish with him one afternoon. Frank wanted to show his friend a good time and catch some big fish. After we got some bait I began heading to the south when I spotted a free jumping sailfish. I moved in front of the fish and in short order we hooked five of them. One of the fish jumped off but we managed to release the other four. A little while later we stopped at a shipwreck and the amberjacks and blackfins were there. As soon as we got down to the bottom the big amberjacks would bite and Frank and his buddy stayed busy lifting these big fish from the depths. While this was going on blackfin tunas were in our chum on the surface. We got a couple tunas and lost some to the sharks. With fish biting on the top and bottom at the same time it was difficult for the mate to keep up. He kept saying "There is too much going on", but Frank was enjoying it. When we got our limit of jacks we pushed in shore and got a few bonitas and another sail. It was a good afternoon of fishing and best of all Frank was able to show his friend a great time on the L&H!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
James Salerno and a few of his friends booked us for a half day one afternoon and they were happy to catch anything. We started heading out and found a school of cobia right away. The water was so clear it looked like a swimming pool and I was able to get a great shot of the cobias from the tower with my cell phone. After the cobias our troops were pumped up because they had already caught more than they had on other boats and we were just getting started. We hit a shallow wreck and got a couple of big barracudas for the guys. While riding in the shallow water I saw a couple of nice permit. The permit is one of the most exciting fish to catch. Usually they are difficult to hook, they are strong fighters, and are very beautiful when they come to the boat. After a bit of coaxing we were able to hook a nice permit from the bow. There was some structure near where we were fighting the fish so we decided to fight the fish from the bow the entire time. As the fish got close, my son James ran and got the long gaff. After a tough battle, James was able to lay down on the bow and reach down and gaff our prize. It was the first permit of the season for the L&H and a fish everyone was very proud of. It was a great afternoon of fishing with some beautiful fish to show for our efforts!
Wes had not been fishing for a week or so because of an infection in his finger. I had been using my brother Fred or Mike Welter but they were both busy today so I took my twelve year old son James as first mate. Victor Delatorre and his friends booked us for a full day and since Victor likes to get eating fish I knew what we needed to do. The baitfishing was tougher than it had been, but we finally got enough and made our way to the south. Our first stop was at the edge of the reef where we had been getting some snappers. The wind was light and we put up the helium and got some bonitas and a decent kingfish. When the action slowed I decided to run offshore and look for some dolphin. A few miles out there was a weedline with dolphin on it. At first, just a few fish then it started getting better and better. James did great with the dolphin, making great casts to get the first fish hooked, then working quickly to get the school going. The dolphin were mixed sizes, some that were too small to keep, but plenty of keepers and a few bigger fish. For almost three hours we stayed busy catching dolphin and James never missed a beat, doing as well or better than any mate twice his size. Finally the weedline diminished and it was time to try something else. At the shipwreck we were hoping to get a snapper or cobia for Victor and his gang, but today it would only be amberjacks. Again, James worked with precision, keeping baits going down and fish coming up. Before long we had our limit of amberjacks including one fish close to ninety pounds. James would hook the big jacks, hand the rod off, and then grab the leader and pull the fish all the way up to the gaff. He made his father very, very proud. We ran back to the north and put the kites up for a little bit. James needed a break so he ran the boat. We caught a nice sailfish and headed back to the marina! It was a great day for everyone, but I think I was the happiest of all, being able to fish with my boy as first mate and have a box full of fish to show for it!!!!!!!!!!!!
Marc Iacovelli is one of the long time customers who has been fishing on the L&H longer than I have. Marc used to fish with John B. Dudas and his son John Louie (These two captains taught me nearly everything about fishing on the L&H). The resume that Marc has from fishing with the Dudas's is incredible! Giant tuna, marlin, cobia, unlimited dolphin, tournament victories and the list goes on and on. Needless to say there isn't much that Mr. Iacovelli hasn't seen or done, but he still gets excited with every fish. Today Marc was accompanied by his son and a couple of his peers. The objective for the day was to get a sailfish for everyone. We started the day out castnetting pilchards and when my brother Fred made a perfect throw over a big school we soon had several hundred pilchards in the baitwell. This one throw of the castnet would play a huge effect in the success of our day. From there we stopped at the bouy and acquired a few larger baits before making the run to the south. As we ran toward triumph reef, Fred spotted a couple frigate birds about two miles offshore. When the L&H slowed down by the birds, I spotted a couple nice dolphin and the team made quick work of these. About fifteen minutes later I spotted a nice blue marlin tailing down sea. I moved ahead of the blue and Marc pitched a big blue runner infront of the marlin. The billfish would race over to the runner as if to attack it then turn away at the last second. We repeated the process a few times before Fred dropped back a twelve pound dolphin. The marlin lit up and raced right to the dolphin, but turned away. It was a beautiful blue marlin and everyone on the boat got a good look at it. From there we hit the edge and put the kites up. Right off the bat we missed a sail and then started getting attacked by bonitas. The bonitas were ravenous, eating everything as soon as it hit the water. Between bonitas we managed to get a couple kings, three mutton snappers and a couple dolphin. Early in the afternoon we raised a couple sailfish on some pilchards we were chumming with. Fred and Mike kept throwing out pilchards and sailfish kept coming up from the deep. Soon there were six sailfish chasing the live chum all over behind the L&H. We hooked one of the sails on the kite and managed to hook three more by casting spinning rods to them. There is no doubt in my mind that if we didn't have so many pilchards we would not have hooked all these sails. We had what we needed, a sailfish for everyone, now we just had to land them. Freddie, Mike and Marc did great coaching the young boys and after forty minutes of fighting the quad we were able to successfully release all four sails! It was great to catch all the boys a sail on a day when the rest of the boats in the fleet didn't catch four sails combined. We finished the day with a few more dolphin and headed back after another successful day of fishing on the L&H for Marc Iacovelli!
Ricardo Nagan and his family fish with us on the L&H frequently. This time they teamed up with Jim Nolan and his son for what would be another great day of fishing. Our plan was to concentrate on eating fish and action for the day. After catching a few baits the snapper fishing was first on the agenda. The snappers would bite good for us right off the bat and in thirty minutes we had thirty of these tasty fish in the L&H's icy hold. From there we traveled to the south in search of larger quarry. After a bit of a slow period our team found good action around a shipwreck. Soon we had several bent rods and smiling faces for everyone. A nice tuna was first to come in followed by several hard fighting amberjacks. The youngest Nagan family member (the smallest member of our team that day) was having great fun with the jacks and was especially proud of the size of the fish he was catching! As soon as we had our limit we left the amberjacks biting and headed back to the north to search for more fish. From the tower I spotted three big cobia tailing in the deep water. When the cobia tail offshore in the spring they are much more difficult to catch than the fish that inhabit the shallow waters during the winter. It seems that more often then not, you may get only a quick shot at these tailing fish before they swim down to the depths, never to be seen again. Nonetheless Mike Welter, my mate for the day made two great casts and hooked two cobias before the third fish took off. After a tough battle on the spinning rods we boated both fish, each weighing in at nearly fifty pounds! I was very excited with these cobias because of the degree of difficulty in the catch. On the way home we caught a few barracudas just to round out what was already a terrific day of fishing.
The Guabeka family had been our friends for several years, so we were happy when they booked a trip with us. Karene, Josu, Josu Jr. (7) and his sister Amaia (6) jumped on the L&H with high expectations for their first offshore fishing trip. After getting some bait and everyone familiar with the tackle, our first stop was a shallow reef to try for some action. Barracudas were swarming at the reef and in no time mom, dad, and both kids had caught several of these fish. I told Amaia that we would catch some pink fish next, so the L&H pushed further offshore to target some snappers. As soon as the baits hit the bottom the snappers would bite. In no time the pink colored fish started coming in the boat much to the delight of six year old Amaia (along with the rest of her family)! After landing enough snapper for dinner our plan was to try for something larger. I steered the L&H even further south to a deep shipwreck and as soon as Wes dropped the big live baits down they were devoured. This time it was big amberjacks that were coming in the boat. These fish fight hard, much stronger than anything our team had encountered so far that day. Before long, dad and his troops landed the limit of jacks and we were headed for home. On the way, Amaia, caught a couple of small blackfin tuna that would become sushi later that evening. It was a wonderful day of fishing with the Guabeka family, and I am sure they will be back at it again soon!
Monday, March 28, 2011
Tom Kuljis is great to have on the boat. He is an excellent angler with light or heavy tackle, he is happy to catch whatever is biting and best of all he is a pleasure to be around. When he booked us for three days, I knew the fish were going to be in trouble! The first day Tom invited his cousin and right off the bat we got a double header sailfish. After that, Tom got a couple nice blackfin tunas on the kite. When the wind died we decided to go get some cudas for action. The cudas were chewin and Tom and his cousin caught twenty five of these fish mostly on light tackle. After the cudas, it was time to try a shipwreck. At the wreck the guys got a couple of big amberjacks and we came in a little early.
The second day Charlie Reynolds from Fin-Nor Reels came along. Charlie gives us all our reels so it was important to have a good day. Tom was perfect to have on the boat with Charlie so I was excited. After the bait fishing (it took a long time today) we put out the first line and raised a sail. I moved to the south to get back in front of the fish and we hooked a triple. After releasing all three sailfish, Wes put the baits back out and we got another sailfish. While fighting the sail, Tom got two nice blackfin tuna. By now the light was good so we ran inshore and found some cobias right away. The fish were not biting great, but we managed to get three nice ones including a fifty-one pounder for Tom. From there our next stop was a shipwreck where the amberjacks were biting. In no time our limit of jacks came over the rail, including three fish over fifty pounds that Tom got on spinning rods! As we made our way back to the north, I found a big dolphin. The fish was not hungry, but Wes finally convinced the fish to bite and Tom had the twenty-five pounder in the boat in short order. We stopped at a spot on the way home and got about fifteen nice snappers so everyone would have some dinner. After some cudas at the cuda hole, the L&H pulled into the marina with a full fish box and sailfish flags flying!
On the final day we got a late start and did well with the snappers. We looked offshore for a while, but only found undersized dolphin. We hit the wreck and were catching amberjacks when Tom hooked something much bigger. He put maximum pressure on the heavy tackle and finally got the fish to the boat. We could hardly get the fish over the side and with good reason. Toms Amberjack would later weigh in at one hundred and two pounds! It was a great fish and a great ending to three fun days!
My dad and our friend Max are in the same business, so Max was kind enough to invite my father on one of his trips. I grew up fishing with my dad, but he is so busy with work these days that he does not get out fishing as often as he used to. We got bait and ran to the south to find some nice water. It was a beautiful day with just enough wind to keep the kites out. After setting up we got a few nice dolphin and some kingfish. We had been on a dolphin slump with Max lately so I was happy to see these fish. We continued to get action and when the L&H got close to Fowey my dad got a sailfish. It was really nice to have an easy day because both guys were enjoying talking business and the fish were doing their part. When the current took us closer to Key Biscayne the sailfish started biting better and better. We had a couple of doubles and it was great to see my dad and Max each hooked up. We caught several sails and lost some. We even lost a few sailfish just feet from the leader, but it didn't matter because everyone was having a good time and if we lost one, another would be along soon. I want to thank Max a lot for giving me the chance to enjoy a great day with my dad, and a great day it was!
I have been fishing the Bob Lewis Billfish Tournament for many years. Captain John Dudas has won this tournament several times on the L&H. This year the directors made it a one day event. I fished on the Jichi and the boats owner, Louis Isaiis would be the captain. We also had Albert Castro, Ricky Q, Hannibal, Jeff V, and my son James. With the fishing so good the previous two days I knew it was going to be a great day. In the morning when I was loading the bait, I took a lot more than we usually do and everyone was asking me what I was doing. "You will see," I told them. "Today we will go through a bunch of bait! As soon as we put the lines out We got a double header sailfish. I got one and Albert got the other. The entire morning we could hardly keep the lines out between the sailfish and the dolphin. By noon we had caught ten sailfish and fifty dolphin! Thankfully in the afternoon the dolphin slowed down, but the sailfish kept biting. Captain Lou kept us on the fish and made all the right moves. Louis is one of the few boat owners who can actually run the boat he owns, and he is very, very good at it. I have fished with him for three years and he is an excellent angler, captain, and he knows how to stay with the fish. As the afternoon wore on I found myself catching most of the sailfish that came up. I usually don't grab the rods, but today when a sail came up I would get it. I finished the day going a perfect ten out of ten sailfish! When the day finally ended we had a box full of over fifty dolphin, two tunas and some kingfish. We ended up with twenty-one sailfish to get first place and set a new tournament record (the old record was set on the L&H over a two day period). I was awarded top angler of the tournament for my efforts, an accomplishment I have never achieved before. The MVP of our team today was James, who stayed behind the scenes and kept rigging and rerigging our tackle. We went through over a hundred leaders and two hundred plus baits in an eight hour day!!!!
After telling my brother Fred about the three marlin we saw and all the mahi he lined up a charter so we could get back out the very next day. The wind blew twenty-five from the north east again and the bait was very hard to get. Finally we got enough and made the rough wet ride back to the south where we had such great fishing the day before. We had three mates today, Freddie, Wes, and Mike Welter and they would barely be able to keep up. From the time the first bait went over the side it was non stop action. We were seeing a lot of sailfish and the dolphin were relentless. At one point we had three sailfish come up after a dead blue runner on the kite. When I moved to the south and put more baits out five more sailfish came up. After a while the dolphin were so aggressive that kite fishing became impossible and the guys just started casting out spinners. The fish were all nice size, eight to twenty-five pounds. By noon we had sixty dolphin, a bunch of sails, and sea sick customers. The guys begged us to go home so we started slowly making our way back. It was too rough to run, so we rode the tower and just watched as countless dolphin and sailfish tailed by the side of the L&H. It was unbelievable fishing and our trio of mates did awesome and worked great together! I want to thank my brother Freddie for getting us out there, because if it wasn't for him I would have been at the dock!
Every year Ross Fisher books us to fish some of his friends who are airline pilots. Ross is a great guy and I look forward to this trip. Today was very windy out of the north east, but I knew if we found some current the fishing would be good. After getting bait we ran to the south and when we got below Fowey the current stared going and conditions looked great. We got a couple of sailfish right off the bat and then some mahis. With the north east wind and north current it was very rough, but our gang did great holding on and fishing in the rough stuff. Just before mid day I saw a big billfish tailing down sea. "White Marlin!!" I shouted as the fish got closer. It circled the right short, but didn't eat, then it came to the left middle and was ready to bite. It was a beautiful sight to see the marlin all lit up attacking the kite bait. Some how the fish got the bait and not the hook. I ran to the south and found the marlin tailing again. I stayed with the fish for several minutes, but after casting twenty different baits it became obvious that it was not interested in anything we had. I was very discouraged, thinking to myself that we might not see another one of those for a couple years since white marlin are very rare here. After we put the baits back out we got a few more nice dolphin and another sail. Then, just after lunch I saw a big blue marlin tailing, but this fish wasn't going to eat. The ocean was alive today with the strong wind and the gulfstream close in. Later that afternoon while holding on for dear life in the tower, I could hardly believe my eyes. It was another white marlin tailing down sea! I moved the L&H in front of the swimming marlin and when Wes threw the bait out the marlin charged it and engulfed it. The white marlin raced away and I put the L&H in hot pursuit! I wanted this fish bad and water quickly filled the cockpit as we backed into the heavy seas! I had put more water in the cockpit of the L&H than ever before and when we got the leader I eased off. It was a spectacular fight with the marlin jumping more than twenty times. The fish finally went down and after a tough out to sea battle, we got the marlin back to the boat. Unfortunately this fish could not be released so we kept the ninety pound white for a trophy! It was an unbelievable day of fishing and a day that reminded me a valuable lesson that I learned from John Dudas. Never get discouraged and always keep trying no matter what happens.
Jimmy Hewes has been fishing on the L&H longer than I have. He fished with John B. Dudas and his son John L. and has great stories about the old days. Jimmy booked the boat for two days, but could only fish one of them. The first day we started out kite fishing, but luck was not on our side. We had sailfish bites one after another, but they kept getting away. In a couple of hours we ended up going one out of six on sails and a couple nice kingfish. We needed to change things up so I decided to go look for the cobias. My brother Fred, my son James and I searched for the cobias over the white sand. After a while, Fred shouted "There, There!!!". It was a nice school of fish with a lot of good sized ones. Fred and James went to work on the cobias, but unfortunately some of the bad luck was still with us. We lost several nice fish, but in the end we were able to get the limit. Everyone was happy and after getting bait for tomorrows trip we made it an early day.
The following day was almost the complete opposite of the day before. With Jimmy Hewes on the boat we could do no wrong. Every sailfish that came up we hooked and landed. We got two singles, a triple and were fighting another when I saw a freejumper inshore and to the south of us. Fred raised the baits in the air and we moved to get in front of the sail. From the tower I could see the fish below the surface and there were several of them. By now the sail that was already hooked was several hundred yards out. When we were ahead of the pack of sails Fred dropped the baits down and within seconds there were sailfish on every bait. As soon as the baits hit the water one of the sails would rise up and eat it. Everything got hooked and we found ourselves fighting five sails instead of just one. It was an aggressive move to try and bait more fish while already hooked up, but it paid off big time! After a while we managed to release all of the fish, it was a great feeling! After that we moved out a little deeper and got a couple nice tunas. In the afternoon we fished by a shipwreck and got a nice black grouper that we released along with a big bull shark. It was a great two days of fishing and we made a lot of anglers very happy.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Andre Pachon and his wife Judy are lucky fishermen. They seem to defy the odds whenever they go fishing. Andre is on a quest to catch all of the billfish of the world. A couple years ago he booked us for three days to get an atlantic sail. The very first fish of the trip was a ninety pound white marlin ( the first one I had seen in a couple years) he went on to get plenty of sails. When he called to say he wanted to get a sword I knew the odds were not in our favor. He only had one day to go, there had not been many swords around, and I myself had not been swordfishing in over a month. Nevertheless we headed offshore to try our luck. Wes took his friend Robbie along to help if we hooked something big, a decision that would make the day for us. The conditions were good, but after three drops we had not had any bites. Finally on the fourth drop the rod began to bounce. A few seconds later, the rod bent over and Andre was hooked up to his sword! The fish fought hard on the bottom and then swam strait to the surface. I knew it was a big fish. After twenty minutes Andre had the leader and I could see that it was a big, big sword. I watched from the tower as the swordfish would go down, then come back up, time and time again. Andre put as much pressure as possible on the fish and Robbie got a good shot with the harpoon. The fish bolted off and the harpoon line flew out of the basket! Wes did great unwrapping the harpoon rope from Andre's line over and over. After twenty more minutes the fish was close again. From the tower I could see the big sword, with his head pointed strait down and the giant tail coming up, slowly kicking back and forth. Wes reached out as far as he could, but I feared that if he gaffed the fish in the tail that he would get pulled over. Finally, Wes was able to get a good shot with the gaff. Robbie got a second gaff in and I raced down from the tower to place a third! When we pulled the fish in the boat we realized the size. With the tail barely in the transom door, the bill was inside the salon! We ran home and celebrated the whole way! The fish ended up weighing five hundred and six pounds, the biggest ever on the L&H!! Another billfish for Andre, and in grand style.