I did not know most of my customers
until they started to fish with me. Many have become more friends than customers over the years, which is one of the true blessings of this business. I’ve gone to dinner with many, gone hunting with a couple,(invited by others, but couldn’t get away) and even gone to dinner in Copenhagen, Denmark with another. Sometimes, people, you know from other parts of your life book a trip. It always makes boat Captains/owners nervous because of the “Curse of Friends and Family”.
I want to catch great fish for all my customers,
but when you have personal friends or family members on board, there is just a little more pressure on me to “produce” good fishing. Truthfully, most of my customers, friends, and family don’t put as much pressure on my mate and I as we put on ourselves.
Today, we had a local family
that has become both friends and family with my wife and I. We have a saying, “They are not blood, but they are family”. Their two sons are regular members of my wife’s “Saturday Night Sleepover” and the boys and their dad have been up to my hunting camp with me. Both boys got to drive my swamp buggy, (what is cooler than that when you around 10 yrs old?). Along with the family, was one set of grandparents. They have been hearing stories about my wife and I and the adventures we’ve had with their family for years now, so, yea, I needed to have a good day.
The boys brought their fishing rods.
They were Christmas gifts from me and they wanted to catch fish on them. They are pretty light setups, so we decided to try Snapper fishing. Snappers would be perfectly sized fish for their tackle and make for a great family dinner afterward. Unfortunately, when we got to the reef, the current was much too strong to anchor and bottom fish. We had to change plans. We headed offshore to try to troll for dolphin. Plan A wasn’t going to work, Switch to plan B- Pressure just went up a notch,
There was a beautiful weed line
in about 650 ft of water. We were not the first boat on it, but it wasn’t crowded yet so we turned west and trolled along it. We got a decent number of bites, but it was all small, undersized dolphin or small jacks. No keepers. We followed the weed line for a couple of miles and time was getting short. We had no big fish and no keepers for dinner. After a quick conference with the father, we decided to abandon the search for dinner and go back inshore looking for bonitos and barracudas. Neither is an “eating” fish, but both pull really hard and the boys would have a lot of fun catching them. More pressure- Plan B worked sort of, but on to Plan C. Still worried about the Curse of friends and family.
I ran inshore to about 250 ft of water
and started trolling around one of the local wrecks. We started hooking up bonitos from medium to large size. Both the boys were having a blast reeling them in and honestly, That is what the day was all about anyway. We caught about a half dozen bonitos in relatively short order and were getting ready to head home. I decided to troll along the lines of lobster traps.
The lobster fishermen
have just started putting their traps out. Yesterday was the first day they were allowed to “soak” them. The can’t pull them until Aug. 6th. Each trap has bait for the lobster inside, but it also puts out a scent in the water and sometimes that can attract other critters, especially fish. It can be like a giant line of chum.
We trolled along one line of traps
in about 130 ft of water when the deep troll line went off, (deep troll is a line held under the water by a large lead ball with a release clip). The fish took a lot of line. At first, I was thinking it was a Wahoo. I’ve caught many big Wahoo this time of year along the reef. One of my young anglers was on the rod. It was the heaviest rod we had out, but he did a great job fighting the fish.
It turned out to be a bull dolphin about 10lbs
A perfect way to end the day!. We had caught a bunch of fish, the boys had fun and now the family had enough dolphin for a great family dinner!. It made everyone’s day. It was the biggest fish of the day, it was dinner for the family and it allowed me to push the “Curse of Friends and Family” away to another day. I always love to finish strong!
P.S. On the ride back to the dock, I invited the whole family up on the flying bridge with me. As we crossed the reef the view was amazing. Clear blue water and you could see the bottom in 70 ft of water and they saw 3 sea turtles on the way in. It was like driving through an aquarium, a very big aquarium.