Saturday, February 26, 2011

John Rutikus Two Day Trip

John Rutikus joined us for two days and wanted to try for sailfish or whatever was biting. He and a few friends met at the boat after a long night and were ready to try their luck. Wes and I figured our best bet was to kite fish near a shipwreck where we saw some sails at the day before. As soon as we got set up we got a nice mutton snapper on the surface and we knew there had to be more. Wes and I set a couple lines down and began getting steady action with the muttons. Just before noon we got a double header sailfish on the kites and the day was looking better and better. After a few more snappers we caught two big sharks, back to back and the guys enjoyed this very much. Just before the wind died we caught another sail on the kite and this meant that everyone had caught a nice fish. We caught a few more snappers and a couple of kingfish and decided to call it an early day.

The next day we decided to change it up a bit and trolled offshore to look for some of the tuna that had been out there. It didn't take long before we started hooking up and the tuna were all nice size and boy did they fight. We were catching them on small lures and when we would hook up they would take a lot of line. This meant for a tough battle for our guys who were coming off their second big night in a row. After getting almost two-hundred pounds of the strong fighting tuna our team had enough and we came in a little early. It was a fun two days of fishing with these guys and the catching was pretty good also.

Record Sailfish Day

Our friend Captain Kevin Nakamaru from Kona, Hawaii was staying with us for a couple days while he was in town to speak at the Billfish Expo. Kevin is a great fisherman who we look up to and have a lot of respect for. Two years ago we caught eight blue marlin and six big yellowfins in a single day fishing with Kevin on his boat Northern Lights. Last year we stayed with him for two weeks and got a bunch of blue marlin, spearfish and tuna. He made time to fish one day with us on the L&H before returning to Hawaii. Wes and I caught bait in advance so we were able to get an early start. Debbi, James, Laurel, Kevin, Wes and I left early in the morning and hit the edge at sun up. Conditions were good, with a brisk north wind and a little bit of current. After getting set up we hooked a double header sailfish on the kites and everyone was happy. We set back up and immediately hooked a triple. After releasing these fish, I took the L&H back inshore and spotted a pack of sails tailing down sea. Our team casted baits at the tailing sails everyone was hooked up. We had five fish on and sailfish were jumping everywhere behind the L&H! After some great angling and a lot of backing down, we released all five of them. By now it was only 8:30 in the morning and we already had ten releases. For the next few hours the fish kept tailing and we picked away at them and got some nice dolphin. By noon we had twenty sail releases, but our bait supply was getting low. My friend, captain Neil Orange Jr. was coming home from a tournament in the Keys and offered to give me his bait. We pulled the lines in and met up with Neil to replenish our live bait supply. After running back offshore and getting the kites back out we immediately caught a double. By now the wind switched out of the north east and the fish stopped tailing, but we continued to catch them on the kites. The bite slowed down a little but we were still getting plenty of bites. Later in the afternoon, Laurel and James joined me in the tower. I ran down to get something and as soon as I got to the cockpit a sailfish grabbed the right middle. I picked up the rod and hooked the fish. James backed the boat down after my sail and Laurel came down to grab the leader. This made me a very proud dad and I felt so very fortunate to be blessed with such wonderful children! We continued to catch fish and got another triple header just before sunset. This put our final talley for the day at thirty-three sailfish releases, some nice mahi, and a hammerhead shark. This was the most sailfish ever for the L&H and the most anyone has ever caught out of our marina. Best of all it was a wonderful day with family and friends and a fishing trip we will never forget!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Huge Tuna Day

Troy Wartons and a few of his friends were in town for a party and decided to do a little fishing. They did not care what they caught, but just wanted some action. The edge was slow so we decided to go offshore and try our luck. After a little bit of trolling we found some birds over feeding tuna. There were tons of tiny minnows hiding under the sea weed and the tunas were having a field day. The fish were in a frenzy and biting everything in their path. We started getting double and triple headers and everyone was having a ball. As we got further south, the sea weed, the bait, and the tunas started intensifying. I would drive the L&H through the seaweed, blow out all the minnows, and there would be hundreds of tuna exploding behind the boat! Wes and I quickly figured out that the more rods we had out, the more tuna we would hook. Before long, instead of doubles and triples, we were hooking seven or eight tunas at a time. The fish were not real big, mostly five to ten pounds but it was so much fun! Blackfin and skipjacks were coming over the side faster than you could count. Wes was like a machine in the cockpit, constantly boating and unhooking fish. As the fishbox on the L&H began to reach the top I knew we would have to do the unthinkable and leave em biting. Our friend Kevin Nakamaru was coming to town so we were excited to have fresh fish for him and with a high demand for tuna at the marina none of the fish were wasted. Our final talley was seventy fish and several hours of work rerigging, respooling, and reorganizing, but it was a day we will all remember for a long time to come!

Big Mahi and Sailfish

George Frederick is a good friend who had a great couple of days last year with us. This year he couldn't make it, but he sent a few of his friends to try their luck. After getting the bait we ran south to find the current. As we approached Triump Reef I saw a couple frigate birds that were on fish. As James and I looked into the water to see what was chasing up the flying fish I heard one of my favorite sounds. It was James's little voice full of excitement "Big Dolphin Dad!!!" he cried out! At first I saw one, than another and another, all big fish. It was a big bull and four cows. Wes hooked the first couple as James raced down the ladder and began hooking fish. In a matter of seconds, big dolphin erupted out of the water in all directions from the L&H. After some good angling and coaching from the boys we put all the fish on ice. The bull would later weigh in at forty-four pounds and the others from twenty to thirty! After everything settled down I decided to run back to the north where the sails were biting good. With the kites up we caught two nice tuna and started releasing a few sailfish. At the end of the day we got covered up with sails two different times and ended up coming back to the marina with ten sailfish release flags flying! It was a great day and I am sure we made our friend George proud.

Biting At Ocean Reef

Our friends at the Ocean Reef Club invited us down for a half day. We were scheduled for a three hour trip and with a thirty minute run in and out there wouldn't be much fishing time. John Dudas was fishing here earlier in the week so I called him to get some advice. He gave me some numbers to start at, and we ran right there. As soon as we set out the baits we got a big sailfish and that took the pressure off. Then we got a nice twenty-five pound kingfish on the kite. After we put the king in the boat we got a big blackfin tuna and everyone was very happy. While fighting the tuna we got out deep so after boating our tuna I began to back slowly inshore. Wes left a flatline out and with the bait dragging off the bow something grabbed it and was off to the races. After a tough battle Wes gaffed the thirty-five pound wahoo and we could not believe our luck. Shortly after setting up again we started getting big kingfish one after another. The fish were twenty to thirty plus pounds and we were catching every one that bit. Seven kings that averaged over twenty-five pounds along with a few more sailfish releases and it was time to head back. When we dropped our group off and made the long trip back to Miami, Wes and I agreed that it was some of the best fishing we had seen in a while!