I went the wrong way today!
As the Captain, I always ask what my customers want to catch. Depending on what has been going on the last few days, I will always make a suggestion too. Once we have decided on what to fish for, then I have to decide where to go. Sometimes fishing up to the east of Key West is better and sometimes fishing to the West of Key West is better. Somedays, straight South of the harbor can be red hot. Depth is also a consideration. Somedays all the best fish are caught in a few hundred feet of water. Somedays you have to go out 10 to 15 miles. That’s where being the Captain comes in. I have to decide What and where gives my 1st Mate the best chance of catching what my people want.
Somedays it’s easy
If people are not concerned with a particular type of fish, I can usually get good action on one of the many reefs that are South of Key West. But when they have a particular fish in mind it gets tougher. A large part of my job is actually time management. If I go in one direction looking for a particular fish and I don’t find it, I have to have time to try something else. I have to leave myself time for “Plan B”. On full-day trips, we may even get to plans “C” & “D” if time allows. Generally speaking, if I’m working on any plan other than “A”, my stress level is up!
Today, was the first of 3 days my customers had booked, so I could take a chance. I knew I had two more days to recover from a bad day, but I still hate to have a bad day! The last time I fished, there had been blue water and East current up to the east of Key West so I decided to head up that was. When I got outside the Harbor, I turned Southeast. I was hoping for Sailfish, Tuna, and maybe Dolphin. Once I got offshore, the water was not as blue as it had previously been and the East current was gone. Having blue water and East current is good for fishing, Not having them is not usually.
Sometimes you just have to keep going to find the Bluewater and current,
so I kept trolling East. I was listening to the VHF Radio and talking to the other boats and pretty soon, the boats to the west of me, The boats that went Southwest from the Harbor, were starting to catch fish. “Radio fishing” can bite you in the A&&.. We all listen to each other, but just because some other boat is catching fish, does not mean that you will catch them if you get near them. Sometimes, it is just better to keep going and find your own fish. But then again, sometimes it’s not! The trick is to know when to keep the faith and keep going and when to bail on Plan “A” and go to Plan “B”
I fished up to the east until about 11:00 am. That was the halfway point of the trip and we didn’t have a fish in the boat. I had gone the wrong way today and it was time to suck it up and try to salvage the day. The water to the east still wasn’t blue and the other boats were starting to catch more fish. So we turned the Southbound around and headed back to the West. Fortunately, the current was going West and I sped up a bit, but it still took over an hour to get to some pretty water. Now it was noon and I still had no fish in the boat.
My customers were great,
They were just relaxing and enjoying being on the water. On the other hand, I was stressing to the max. It was a beautiful day and they were originally scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 21, but the weather forecast was not good and I was able to push them back a day. Good thing as Tuesday was 20-25 knot winds and 6 ft Seas. it would not have been fun. Today was much nicer.
Once we got to the better-looking water,
I decided to go up on the Reef and try to get a few quick bites and get the “skunk” off the boat. We caught 3-4 nice Big Barracudas, a big Yellowtail Snapper, and big Cero mackerel in short order. Some of the pressure was off. We caught a couple of big fish and we had enough fish for dinner! We headed back offshore looking for a Sailfish, Wahoo, dolphin, or tuna. I was “late to the Party” and I knew it. There had been a lot of fish caught in the area, There was no telling how many were left, but I had to try.
We ended up catching
A couple of “keeper” Mahi. Not a “crush” but a couple of nice fish and now they had plenty of fish for dinner and some to take home. Tomorrow is another day and I have the same people. I’ll have a better plan