After not fishing since late March,
after being at the hunting camp for a week and in the boatyard for almost 4 weeks, the Southbound had its first charter on Sunday. The day was beautiful, East wind about 10mph. The seas were beautiful. The blue water was just outside the reef. I spent the ride out staring at my gauges, but anytime you do any type of major repairs, you better pay close attention to your gages. They will tell you if you got it right or not. Everything was good. We headed offshore looking for Tuna, Wahoo, and Dolphin.
As I mentioned,
the blue water was in close, but the current was going west, which is good and bad. West current and east wind are going in the same direction, (when you talk about wind, it’s the directions it is coming from. When you talk about current, its the direction it is going), that makes the seas comfortable. Unfortunately, east wind and East current, while making the waves bigger, would be more conducive for catching Dolphin.
We headed offshore
and hooked a good fish almost immediately. Unfortunately, it got off just behind the boat, so we never saw it, but I think it was a Black Fin Tuna by the way it was fighting. It doesn’t really matter, we didn’t catch it. We did get a nice Black Fin Tuna in the same area a few minutes later, which is another reason I think the fish we lost was a Black Fin Tuna. It was nice to “get on the Scoreboard” early.
We were fishing in about 200 ft of water
and working our way east along a very slight “rip” and hooked a couple of Bonitos and another Black Fin Tuna. I found a small sargassum weed line and was following it East when 3 small navy workboats came upon me. They hailed me on the radio and informed me that they were conduction “operations” in the area and I needed to move off 2 miles.
Now, this doesn’t happen often,
but we do have a pretty big military presence here in Key West so it’s not unheard of. I understand they have a job to do, so I don’t bother to argue. The sailors don’t need it and you’re not going to win anyway. They never tell you what the “operations” are, but again it doesn’t matter. They asked me to move at least 2 miles east, so I just reeled my lines in and started running to the east.
It turns out
that the “operations” consisted of an incoming US Navy submarine. I’m not sure what the Sub was doing but we see them in the area from time to time so it wasn’t that big a deal. What was a bit of a big deal was the reason I figured out the Sub was coming in. As I ran to the East, approximately 1.8 miles from the Navy workboats, (yea, I didn’t go the full 2 miles), we saw a frigate bird working the water. That is usually a sign of fish feeding activity.
So we slowed down
and put our lines out. We hooked a good fish on the deep troll almost immediately and as we were fighting the fish, I looked up and saw a pole cruising through the water about 150 yds away. Not a boat: just a pole. it was about 6 ft high and moving at a steady pace. Pole = submarine periscope. Yup, the navy workboats made me leave the area I was fishing in because there was a Sub coming in and sent me directly into the path of the incoming sub. I’m sure I was much too close for comfort. Generally, Navy and Coast Guard vessels prefer you to maintain a bit of distance. 150 yds are not enough, but it’s hard to stay away from a ship that is underwater.
I turned off as soon as I saw the periscope,
in truth, it was pretty cool to see, but we had a good fish on and honestly, that was more important to me. The fish turned out to be a nice Wahoo. Not a monster, but a decent fish, about 18-20 lbs. We only had a 6 hr trip and it was getting late. I was pretty far to the east,(thank in part to the Navy sending me East), and considering I had turned west to get away from the Sub, I kept going west the rest of the day.
We did have a few more bites in shallow,
but never landed any more fish. We ended up with a couple of nice Black Fin Tuna, a decent Wahoo, A couple of Bonitos, and released a Barracuda. It was an OK day. A few quality fish and a cools Sub sighting. To be honest, it just felt great to be out on the water. I’m not used to not being on a boat for such a long period of time. I guess I’m spoiled. I’m not sure when my next trip is, but I hope it’s soon