Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Good Day For Drew

Drew came with us on the L&H with just one request...he wanted to make sure his guest had a good time.  Drew usually is lucky and today was no different.  We got bait quickly and with a nice east wind blowing, I decided to go straight to kite fishing.  Soon after getting set up we got a bite on the left long kite bait, then a sailfish on the right middle kite bait and finally the deep line bent over from the pull of a nice fish some one hundred feet below.  With only two anglers, it was touch and go at times, but we quickly released the sail to make life a little easier!  All of the sudden the fish on the deep line came to the surface and I could see that it was a nice cobia.  Jim had the angler back the drag off on the kite rod (the first fish we hooked) and we went for the cobia while it was still on the surface.  I maneuvered the L&H close and Jim made a great gaff shot.  Time to concentrate on the last one of the triple.  After a tough battle, I looked down deep into the clear, blue water and could hardly believe my eyes!  We had been fighting a big african pompano!  Normally these fish are caught close to the bottom, but this one came all the way to the surface to eat one of our live baits dangling from the kite.  Jim did a great job with the scrappy fish, on the leader, and put our prize in the boat.  Again, we reset and again we had more action!  This time a double of sails for Drew and his fishing companion.  Both fish were released to fight another day!  After making a quick loop offshore our team put the kites out one last time.  We saw another sailfish and got a nice mahi for Drew to take for dinner.  It was a great half day trip, and yes, both Drew and Kevin had a good time!

Andrew Gets Sailfish/Swordfish Double Header

I have been fishing with Andrew for a long time.  He has never caught a swordfish and wanted to do so very much.  On the day we planned to go sword fishing, the winds had picked up to over twenty knots.  Normally a trip out to the sword grounds would be out of the question, but Andrew was determined to get out there so off we went.  After a long, rough ride offshore we reached our destination.  The seas were eight to ten feet and it made it very difficult to fish.   Shortly after we got the sword line set, the boys put out some baits on the surface (just in case).  As everyone tried to hold on and stay comfortable a sailfish came up and ate one of the baits we had just put out.  Normally we fish for sailfish from ninety to one hundred eighty feet of water, but this one took the bait in eighteen hundred feet!  It goes to show that a fish can be anywhere, at anytime, and it pays to be ready.  As the sailfish took line from the big fin-nor spinning reel, the sword rod bent over with the weight of a fish nearly a half mile away!  Now we had a double header!  It was very challenging for me to hold the boat in position to fight the sword up from the depths as well as keep the L&H from being rocked too bad from the big waves.  Twenty minutes later, Andrew had his first swordfish in the boat.  It was now time to chase his fishing partners sail that now had over four hundred yards of line out!  I spun the L&H to chase the fish bow first through the big waves.  Backing down was not an option, it was simply too rough!  After a very tough forty-five minute fight we had the sailfish in the boat!  It was a great accomplishment to catch two different billfish at one time, something that very few boats in our area have ever done!  After taking a few photos, we iced down the sword and made the long rough trip back to port!  It was a great catch and I was very happy for our friend Andrew.  It also proves that when you go fishing on the L&H, one can never be sure of what might happen!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Girls Get 11 Sails

Annie and Laurel were back at it again.  This time they enlisted the help of Laurels big brother James!  Catching eleven sailfish in one day is an accomplishment for even the most seasoned of pro teams but for a ten, fourteen, and eighteen year old crew it is something to be proud of.  On this day the weather was windy and rough but the fishing more than made up for it!  The morning started off great with a few nice mahi's.  Soon after the mahi's were resting comfortably in the box, a sail grabbed the right long and we were off to the races.  Annie did her usual stellar job and just like that we had the fish released and the baits back out.  I felt confident that we were going to keep seeing fish as the conditions were great (aside from it being very rough)!  As the L&H continued to drift north, sailfish continued to come to the kite baits and Annie continued to make it look easy catching them!  By early afternoon our young anglers had released seven sailfish, all of them singles.  If we were to reach double digit releases it was paramount that we would find a multiple.  With only a little bit of fishing time left in the day I scanned the water, looking for anything that would give us that extra little boost we needed.  Then, offshore of us I saw a group of three sailfish tailing to the south.  It would be nearly impossible to get the kite baits to these fish so I quickly maneuvered the L&H into position for our team to cast to the fish with spinning rods.  Like a well oiled machine, the crew got three baits out to the three fish.  I'M ON! I'M ON! I'M ON! echoed up to the tuna tower from the fishermen down in the cockpit.  All three sailfish took to the air and went strait offshore melting line off the light spinning outfits.  I started backing offshore and water poored over the transom as Laurel got her fish first.  James had his fish under control and seconds later Jim grabbed the leader and released our nineth sail of the day.  By now Annie was getting low on line so I had to turn and chase her fish to avoid backing into the rough sea.  Annie gained some much needed line back as we continued to chased the fish down this time going forward.  I was able to get upsea of the angry sail and spun the maneuverable, L&H  hard so we would be able to coast down the big waves.  The fish came up jumping again and this time Jim was able to grab the leader on a nice sail for the tenth time of the day!  We put the baits out once more and right away we were hooked up!  Annie made quick work of this fish, the eleventh one for the L&H!  It made me very happy to see our young anglers fish like pros today!  A day I will not soon forget:)

Andy Greenfield Stays Busy On A Half Day

I have been fishing with Andy Greenfield, on the L&H for a long time!  Andy always takes a full day, but this time, the day Andy wanted to go, only the morning was available.  I knew we would have to fish fast with the time we had.  I stopped on the way home, the day before, to catch bait and it would prove to help out a lot.  Andy was at the boat with his guests bright and early so off we went.  A quick stop at the marker to net some pilchards and we headed out!  The kites were up only minutes after sun rise and we started getting some nice sized kingfish immediately!  Then from the tower I saw a big spray of flying fish and did my best to get lined up with whatever was chasing them!  "Be Ready" I yelled down to the cockpit, as I knew that any second, whatever was chasing those flying fish would be on us.  Then it happened, mahi mahi started eating everyhting we had out.  Everyone worked great together and our team soon had a dozen nice mahi's in our icy hold.  The kingfish continued to bite and soon we had six nice sized ones in the fishbox with the mahi's.  One of the guys had a big shark on the deep line for a while but it was jsut too big and eventually broke off.  The youngest angler of the group had his heart set on a sailfish, so I moved out a little deeper for the rest of the trip.  Just before it was time to head back in, the sail we were after came to the left long kite bait.  The young boy was now hooked to his first sailfish and it was jumping all over the place.  He battled the sailfish like a pro and had the fish at boatside in short order.  We took a few photos and set the tired sail free.  We headed for the dock, where we cut filets for the hungry fishermen!  It was a great trip for Andy and everyone else on the L&H that day!!!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jim Lidell Gets 20 Sailfish

Jim Lidell and his son Darrin have been fishing with me for the past few years and we have had many great trips including a nice blue marlin, but nothing could compare to the day we were about to have.  Unfortunately today Darrin was unable to make it, so Jim was joined by his wife and another couple.  I had fished the day before with Louis Isasis, owner of the beautiful 68 foot "Jichi"  and we saw more sailfish that I have seen all season so I knew right where they were.  We got bait and headed for the area where we had seen the fish the day before.  The conditions looked great and I just knew it was going to be a big day.  Jim and Trav put the kites up and set out the baits.  Before they had everything out we got attacked by a hungry pack of sailfish.  Within seconds we had five sails on and jumping all over the place!  Unfortunately we were very unlucky with the "five bagger" and were only able to release one of them, losing the other four for a variety of reasons.  Not worrying to much about our "bad luck" I raced the L&H to get back in front of the pack of hungry sails.  As soon as the first bait went out we were on!  Our team continued to get sailfish bites the entire morning catching some and losing some.  Double and triple headers were the norm for the day, not the exception!  By noon time we had released eleven sailfish out of twenty bites!  With a strong current we were now several miles from our original starting point and I decided to run back and reset at the same place we had started our day.  As I rode the tower looking for more fish, Jim came up and said "Eleven sails on our first pass, were off to a great start cap!!!!!" and he was right.  When the L&H  reached the area where we started the morning, we were greeted with a triple header only minutes after baits went out.  As the afternoon wore on, we continued catching and catching and catching sailfish.  By late afternoon our talley was nineteen sailfish releases out of thirty-four bites!  I desperately wanted to get number twenty!  As I scanned the horizon for just one more fish I saw what I was looking for.  A sailfish was free jumping over a half mile away, but the only problem was that there was another boat between us and the free jumper.  Fearing this was our last shot I decided to make a very bold move!  "REEL EM IN THE AIR"  I ordered the crew and turned the L&H with the wind and punched it!  This was very dangerous because there was a good chance the kites could fall in the water and break and we could possibly ruin hundreds of dollars worth of gear.  I pushed the throttles hard and the big motors roared to life!  I had to maneuver around the other boat, get in position to bait the free jumping sail, keep the kites up while going with the wind, and do all this before the baits died from hanging in the air.  Somehow everything worked and I got to the spot where I thought the sailfish would be!  "Drop the baits in the water" I yelled from the tower!  The guys dropped the baits and the Instant the left long hit the water, the sailfish was all over it.  "I'm getting a bite"  Jim shouted with enthusiasm!  The sail took the the air and I was in hot pursuit.  We backed down fast and less than a minute Travis grabbed the leader and released the Twentieth sailfish of the day unharmed!  It was such a great feeling and down in the cockpit everyone was going bananas!  It was another wonderful day for Jim Lidell and the L&H!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Max Has Great Day

Our friend Max Puyanic joined us for another great day of fishing on the L&H!  The weather was very nice and conditions were starting to improve so we decided to try for a sailfish.  Max loves to catch sailfish more than anything so we spend a lot of time doing it when he is with us!  After we got some bait we started fishing right out front.  After about forty minutes we had a nice sail come to the kite bait.  The fish circled the bait with it's sail up and then ate the goggle eye!  As he has done so many times before, Max did everything right and had the sail at boatside for a few photos and a good release!  Soon after we added a couple snappers on the deep line and our day was off to a good start!  Just before lunch time, Max hooked another sailfish on the kite and just like the first one everything went according to plan.  About an hour later the third sailfish of the day came racing up to the short kite bait!  The fish gobbled the bait and was off to the races.  This sail was determined not to let us get close, but after a tough battle we were able to get the leader and release the tired sail.  The conditions for cobia fishing were good so we pulled in the lines and headed over to look for them.  We had not been looking for very long when I rode by something that looked promising.  As I turned around to investigate further, the cobias came up from the bottom and they were all nice ones!  Cobia are muscular brutes and they do not give up without a fight.  Every fish we boated was over forty pounds and boy do they fight.  We stayed with the school until we had our limit and let the rest swim off.  Max was very tired and very excited about the catch!  We decided to head in a little early and everyone went home with big smiles and big bags of fillets. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Annie Gets The Cobias

Our friend Annie Holcombe was back for another day of fishing with us on the L&H.  Annie is an accomplished angler who has caught nearly everything that swims from Miami to New York.  My daughter Laurel always joins Annie when she fishes on the L&H and this time my wife Debbi came along as well.  The day started off kind of slow with very little action on the surface, so we decided to head south and try some bottom fishing.  At the first spot we began to get some bites and before long Annie boated a couple of big amberjacks.  We hit a few more spots, catching more jacks and a nice snapper.  At one of the wrecks the girls landed two nice size blackfin tunas on baits that were fished closer to the surface.  As the day wore on the conditions for sight fishing (clear water and good sun light) continued to improve.  I mentioned to Annie that I thought we should spend the remainder of the day looking for cobia and she was happy to do it.  We searched the clear, calm waters for a while without any success and I told Jim and Deb who were in the tower with me that we would give one more pass before heading home.  As I steered the L&H toward the channel leading to our marina, Jim tapped me on the shoulder and very calmly said "MOTHER LOAD"!
Looking almost directly into the sun, Jim had spotted a big school of very big cobia several hundred yards out.  I backed the L&H down hard after the fish and it seemed to take forever to catch up with them, but when we did it was open season!  Our team began to catch these big, strong fish one after another.  Laurel and Annie were both hooked up on the bow as we followed the school in reverse.  After a half hour I could see Annie's fish and knew it was a good one, over sixty pounds.  When I saw Laurels fish I could not believe my eyes.  The fish she bad been batteling for nearly a half hour was no more than twenty pounds (or so I thought).  How could such a small fish give my daughter (who holds four IGFA world records) such a difficult time?  As I peered deep into the water I found the answer I was looking for.  Somehow she had two cobias on the same line, the twenty pounder that I saw first and thirty feet away, swimming just off the bottom was a much larger fish of over fifty pounds.  My daughter Laurel had been fighting two cobias, totaling over seventy pounds, on a twenty pound spinning outfit!!!!!  As usual, Jim came through for us and was able to untangle and release the smaller cobia.  Laurel made quick work of the tired fifty-two pound fish and Annie subdued hers (a sixty-two pounder) a short time later.  After that we headed for home with our limit of cobias and a very happy and tired fishing team!