Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jim Knapp Crushes Em Again

Jim Knapp and his nephew Lad fished with us last June and had an incredible day with snapper, grouper, jacks, dolphin, wahoo, tuna and a big swordfish. He really wanted for Lad to get a sailfish and there had been some around so I felt pretty confident. When Jim and I were planning the trip he told me, "I would love to get ten sails, but we really need to get just one for Lad". After getting the bait we set up on the edge and with a good north current and east wind the conditions were right. Right away, Lad hooked a nice twenty-five pound mahi on the kite and the fish jumped and jumped. Jim's young nephew did a great job on the dolphin and after we put the fish in the boat I was sure Lad could handle a sailfish. After a couple nice kings, Jim hooked a sail on the right long and Jim's brother in law Paul hooked one on the left. After a tough battle, we released both fish and Lad had caught his first sailfish. Everyone was so happy and the pressure was off. We ran back to the south and caught a couple more sails and a bonita. As the afternoon wore on the seas got bigger and the sailfish started biting better and better. By 2:00 in the afternoon we were up to eight releases and double digits seemed within reach. Jim was doing a great job watching the baits all day and didn't miss any fish. On the ninth sail a strong gust of wind blew both kites in the water and as the L&H retrieved the kites the fish pulled off. I ran back to the south to get back in front of the fish and as soon as Freddie got the baits out we hooked a double. We were able to release both fish and Jim's wish of double digits came true. Our team put the baits back out and Jim released another sailfish for good measure before we headed for home. With the L&H sporting eleven sailfish flags back at the marina it was our best day so far this year (of 2011). Thanks alot to Jim and his guys for doing a great job and congrats to little Lad on releasing his first sailfish.

Monday, January 17, 2011

High School Friends Get Biggest Cobia In Years

Louis Landi, Josh Agresti and I grew up together. We went to middle and high school together and were friends growing up. Today, Louis's brother Carmine joined Josh, Louis, James, Wes and I on a great half day trip. We got an early start and the bait came easy. Once we hit the edge and got the kites up we started getting kingfish bites. They would jump out of the water on the bait, but they were hard to hook. We managed to get seven of them in the boat and then Louis hooked a nice sailfish. The fish fought hard and showed beautiful colors when it jumped. Louis did a great job and we got the fish to the boat for some photos and then released it. After the sail we went offshore looking for dolphin. Before long we found some birds and a nice school of mahi. The fish were not biting great and would grab the bait and spit it right back out. We ended up getting most of them and I was feeling good about how the day was going. While trolling south we hooked some hard fighting bonita and the guys had good fun with these fish. Louis and Josh wanted to get some snapper, but the current was just too strong. The water was clear enough to look for cobia so we gave it a shot instead. After a short while we found some fish just outside the dirty water. I told Wes and James to hook as many as they, can as fast as they can, because I knew we wouldn't be able to stay with the fish for long. Josh, Louis, and Carmine were all hooked up and our team was working like a well oiled machine! Wes was hooking the fish, the guys were fighting them and James was doing the gaffing. Josh was fighting a fish and when I saw it I couldn't believe the size. We had five keepers in the boat already and only needed one more to get the limit. After a while, James came to the tower and asked "How big is it Dad"? I told him if it was fat it could go eighty. The fish stayed down and Josh did a great job putting maximum pressure on the fish the entire time. After thirty minutes the fish came to the surface and we could see it was foul hooked near the gill plate. I feared the hook could pull out at any second. Josh stayed smooth and did an outstanding job. Finally we got our chance. The fish came to the surface and I leaned hard on the throttles in reverse! Wes reached out as far as he could and made a great gaff shot. At that moment the big cobia turned toward the bow and with the momentum of the boat still going backward, Wes was pinned against the forward corner and stretched all the way out. He refused to let go of the gaff until James was able to get the second gaff in. Together they muscled the giant cobia in the boat! Back at the dock the cobia would weigh in at 82 pounds! What an outstanding catch! It was a terrific day fishing with my friends and a day I will not soon forget! Thanks Alot!

Lots Of Fish For The Ellis Family

John, Richard, and James Ellis along with Mark Meranda fish with us every year. They are great guys who enjoy catching anything. I always enjoy fishing with them because they are always happy and know how to enjoy the day. After catching bait we stopped at a wreck and got a few bonitas and a nice king. With better conditions down south we pulled the lines in and made the move. After setting back up we came across a nice school of dolphin. The fish were on the kite at first then we started getting them on the spinners. Everyone was hooked up and fish were coming in the boat fast and furious. In the middle of the dolphin school, Mark hooked a sailfish on the kite, but unfortunately the fish jumped off. With dolphin in the fishbox, things were looking up. We decided to try another shipwreck and got a big amberjack right away. After a couple cudas we ended up losing a few nice fish. James had a big african pompano on for a while, but somehow the leader broke. When the action slowed, a shallow reef was our next stop. The barracudas were relentless. There were snappers there, but the cudas got the bait as soon as it hit the water. Our team was getting them three and four at a time until we finally had to leave or run out of bait. James and Wes put the kites back out and we were soon rewarded with a sailfish triple header and a skipjack. All four of our anglers managed to catch their fish. We put the lines out again and Mr. Ellis got a beautiful twenty-five pound blackfin tuna. It was a great ending to the day. As we were taking in the lines, Mark pulled up a nice snapper. The L&H team had alot of variety and a lot of action. A great time was had by all. Thanks again to Mark and the Ellis family.

Bazen Family Two Day Trip

Richard, Sidney, Sandra, and Mike Bazen along with Kent Carrawag are from South Carolina and fished with us last year. They are a great family and we enjoy fishing with them. On the first day of the two day trip the fishing was slow and there were lots of boats on all the spots. We got a sail, a couple kings and the boys got a bunch of cudas and a couple mutton snappers for action. When the wind turned west the bite shut off so we decided to catch bait for the following day.

On day two our friends got to the boat early and with the bait already in the well we were the first boat to the edge. When the very first bait went over the side, Sandra got a sailfish and we were on our way to what would be an outstanding day of fishing. After releasing a few more sails (before 8:00 am), Kent hooked a nice wahoo on the left long kite bait. While Kent was fighting the wahoo, we hooked three sailfish. Our anglers did a great job (including Sidney who was on the bow all alone for most of the time with his fish) and we caught everything out of the quad. We added a couple more sails, plus a few nice kings and decided to go look for the cobias. The conditions were great for sight fishing and after about forty-five minutes of searching we found what we were looking for. Over the white sand off Key Biscayne there were at least thirty cobias, all on the surface. This was probably one of the biggest cobia schools I have ever seen. What was even more amazing was that the average size of the fish was over forty pounds. James, Wes, Kent, and the Bazens were hooking and fighting fish nonstop. We caught our limit and released a few others. With four fish over fifty pounds the fishbox was nearly full. Somehow, during all of this, Sidney landed on the bow again. Sidney and James fought two big fish up front for a long time. A friend who was on another boat told me later how neat it was to see the young fishermen both hooked up on the bow of the boat while everyone was so busy in the stern. Both boys eventually landed their cobias much to the delight of their proud papas! After the mayhem we put the kites back out, caught another sail (to give us a total of nine for the day) and a couple more kings. Back at the marina, people came from up and down the dock to see the catch. It was truly a great trip and it couldn't have happened to a better family. Kent Carrawag and the Bazen family are great people, and I truly believe that great things happen to great people! Thanks again for everything and we can't wait to see you in April.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Two Day Family Trip Pays Off

Bernice and Alle Culbertson and Bill, Gary, Maggie, and Dave Schambach joined us for two days of fishing. They have fished with us before and are a very close family. The first day was challenging, because we had alot of nice fish on but for one reason or another they kept getting away. Broken lines, broken leaders, pulled hooks, you name it, it happened. We even lost a big fish after the rod broke. On the second day all of that changed. Right off the bat we started getting some nice kings and with fish in the fishbox things began looking up. After landing some kings and mackerel, Bernice got a beautiful thirty-eight pound wahoo on the kite! This was her biggest fish and everyone was so excited. We caught an almaco, a dolphin, and a couple cudas and then Alle hooked a big sail. The fish took alot of line and we chased it offshore. Alle did a great job getting the line back and finally we were able to release the fish. Later on we got a nice snapper on the bottom and now had a good variety of fish. Just before heading for home, Maggie hooked a nice fish on the deep line. The fish pulled hard on the bottom and then came to the surface. From the tower I could see it was a cobia, and a big one. Maggie worked the fish closer and Wes placed a perfect gaff shot. The cobia went crazy, but Wes was able to muscle the fish in the boat. Back at the dock the cobia would pull the scale down to sixty-two pounds! Just before taking in the lines, Dave got a nice blackfin tuna on the kite. It was a super ending to a great trip! It was very nice fishing with a family that is so close, as family is the most important thing me. Thanks alot everyone, look forward to seeing you again soon.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Good Fishing For Andrew

Andy Greenfield has been fishing on the L&H for as long as I have. Over the years we have had many great days and today would be one of them. Andrew, Greg, Jay, and Alberto made quick work of the bait and we were off to try the edge. As soon as we put the kites out we had a double header sail and released both fish in short order. When we got reset, it was only a matter of minutes before we had another sailfish. Again, we released this fish and were off to a good start. With the baits out again, we caught a few nice mahi and then the kingfish started biting. As fast as the bait hit the water we hooked a king. In the middle of all the king action, Andy hooked a sailfish. The sail headed for the horizon and the L&H backed down in pursuit. After a tough fight, we released our fourth sailfish of the day. When we reset, our team got their limit of kingfish and it was time to try for something else. The plan was to go and look for cobia. After some time searching the clear waters, me came across a big school of the cobia we were looking for. All of the guys did great with multiple hookups and we caught our limit. Andy got the big fish of the school, a fifty-seven pounder that put up a great battle. It was a fun day on the water with a lot of laughs. Thanks loads to Andy and the boys and we look forward to seeing you soon.