It was a good day offshore today!
We ended up with a mixed bag of fish. The day started out slow. We put our lines in 350 ft of water and started trolling south. There has been a “Rip” or current edge out about 10-12 miles. That is where the best fishing has been. The Rip comes and goes. You can’t always see it and it will form up and dissipate throughout the day. I never really saw an “edge” on the way out. but we did see some Frigate birds gathering out in a little over 700 ft of water.
Frigate birds are a fisherman’s “eye’s in the Sky”.
They have tremendous eyesight and will fly around watching for fish to come to the surface to feed. When the bigger fish chase the bait to the surface, the Frigate bird will swoop down and pick the bait off the surface. If a Frigate is gliding along high in the air, he’s just looking. But when he dives down or hovers near the surface it means something is feeding and that means we have a chance of a good fish.
Today it was easy.
The Frigate birds dove and you could see tuna fish splashing and jumping out of the water feeding. Hard to miss. We went over to where we saw the Tuna jumping and immediately hooked 2 nice fish. Both fish took a good bit of drag, but after a few minutes, we had two big Skip Jack Tuna in the boat. Both fish were between 12-14 lbs. That is big for a SkipJack. The fish were still “busting” on the surface, so we rebaited the lines and went around through them again. This time we hooked 4 fish. It made it interesting because we only had 3 anglers. We managed to get all 4 fish. Again they were big SkipJack Tuna.
And then it was over.
Tuna often feed like that. They will come up to the surface and be crashing bait everywhere you look. Then, just as suddenly as they started, they stop and go back down. So you have to be quick to take advantage of it when it happens. 6 big Skipjack Tuna was a good start on the day.
We trolled around and continued offshore until we found a little bit of Sargasso weed in a line. We followed it to the east and ended up picking up 4 keeper Dolphin out in 800 ft of water. It was getting late and I heard reports of the Black Fin Tuna starting to feed inshore, so I turned the boat north and started working my way back toward Key West.
we had a little less than 2 hrs of fishing time left
and if I trolled all the way back in, it would have taken all of that time to get there. I decided to pick up our lines and run back inshore to try for some more Tuna. We came back into about 300 ft of water and put our lines out. We hooked a good fish right away. It took a good bit of drag and we didn’t want to tangle with any of the other lines, so my mate popped the deep troll up to clear it. As soon as he started winding, he hooked another fish on it.
The fish on the deep troll turned out to be a small Wahoo. My customers had been hoping for Tuna, Dolphin, and Wahoo when they walked up in the morning. Now we had all three!.
The second fish turned out to be a nice Black Fin Tuna, but something bit it about 3o ft behind the boat. It came in with its belly ripped open. We were looking at the bite marks and trying to decide if it was a shark, barracuda, or something else. Turns out we didn’t have to guess. As we were looking at the torn-up Tuna a HUGE Wahoo tried to eat my “Teaser”, (hookless lure we use to draw attention to the bait spread). I had reeled it in next to the boat to avoid tangles. The big Wahoo jumped right next to the boat with the teaser in its mouth but let go with the teaser line came tight. That would have been a great fish to catch, but it was not to be.
We headed home happy with some Mahi, a Wahoo and a very nice catch of Tuna