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When you fish for a living,

One thing you learn is every day is different. You can fish in the same place, with the same baits and lures going the same speed and one day will always be different from the next! Always! I have said for years that the only thing consistent about the fishing is that it changes every day. We had an excellent day today. My customers had gone on the Gulfstream party fishing boat on New Year’s Eve and had a blast. They caught Grunts, Snappers, and one Keeper Red Grouper,(last day of grouper season). So today, they wanted to try for bigger fish offshore. We always had the Reef to fall back on as “Plan B”, but I had hoped we would catch Dolphin, Tuna, Wahoo, or Sailfish and not have to fish the Reef to get bites.

To be honest,

I was concerned, there had been a few Dolphin around the last week or so which is unusual this time of year, but not a lot and not consistently. There should be a good number of Wahoo right now, but we are not catching any and I’m not hearing of anyone catching much. Sailfish have been around and we have caught and hooked a few in the last week. This IS the time of year for catching blackfin tuna, but on the last few trips, I have not heard of them biting.

but, like I said, every day is different, so you go out and put your best baits out and try your best. I wanted to go west, toward an area called “Boca Grande Bar”.  It is an area where the outer Reef, also called the Bar comes to an end and it can be a very good place to fish. There are also a couple of wrecks close to there.

One is a sunken Submarine.

It has been there longer than I have been in Key West,(42 years), so I don’t know the story of how it got there. I have been fishing it for over 30 years and had some great catches on or near it. The other wreck is called “The Secret Wreck”. It’s not a secret anymore, but years ago, few people knew about it. It was found by Capt. Joe Mercurio, Sr back when he was a commercial fisherman. When he found it it was loaded with Red Snapper and Capt. Joe did quite well fishing it for years. Nowadays, everybody knows about it, but it still produces some good fish from time to time.

I didn’t fish yesterday, but I spoke to some of the other Captains and to be honest, the reports I got regarding fishing to the West, were not encouraging. I heard there were plenty of Bonitos. Bonitos are fun to catch but not considered good to eat. They are sort of a “crappy Tuna”. We keep them for bait as they are excellent for shark fishing and make great cut bait for reef fishing. I also heard there had been one Sailfish and a few Kingfish caught down at the end. All in all, it was not a stellar report.

But I just had a feeling I should go west.

The weather was great, with calm seas and sunny skies. So we headed to Sand Key Lighthouse on the reef. once past the Light, we turned west and started trolling. I passed over another wreck, it is a sunken PBY Airplane, also known as the “Flying Boat” because it could land on its belly on the water. That wreck is also “before my time” so I don’t know the story of it either, I have caught Tuna, bonito, Barracuda, Sailfish, and Wahoo on and around this wreck, but not today. Not even a bite!

I kept trolling west, without much going on. We did catch a small Bonito a few miles further West, but it wasn’t one of our “target species”, it wasn’t big and it was all alone. I had 5 customers on board, one Bonito was not going to cut it!

Still, I kept going West

Call it “Captains Intuition”, also known as “dumb luck”, but I just had a feeling that West was best today.          And I was Right!

Small Boy with mahi on a gaff

Gaffer Mahi

About 4 miles West of the Sunken PBY Airplane,

we hooked a nice Mahi, not a monster, But definitely a “Gaffer”. It was big enough to feed everyone in my group so that took some of the pressure off. We hooked a second fish while fighting the Mahi and I thought it would be another Mahi as they travel in groups. I was wrong, it turned out to be a nice black-fin tuna. That was just fine with us as that was the “Second Species” we were looking for. I kept fishing the area and we ended up hooking 3 more fish in the same area, but unfortunately, we only boated 2. Sorry to lose a couple, but 2 Gaffer Mahi was better than anything else I had heard of up to this point in the day.

Once I got to the “End of Boca Grande Bar”

I started working back and forth between it, the “Submarine wreck” and the “Secret Wreck”. We picked up some more Mahi, Some Bonitos, and a very nice 16 lb blackfin tuna Before the Day was done. I had a much better day than my buddies who fished that area the day before, but tomorrow is another day and I’m sure it will be different. It’s fishing and one thing I have learned in over 36 years is that every day is different

We headed home with a happy group


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