Sunday, February 27, 2011

FISH ON! MY FIRST SAILFISH!

Well we finally ironed out the problems with the cell phone to computer glitch. This was my first Sailfish in the Keys, I have been waiting for several years to catch a fish like this on light tackle, 25# test line on medium weight spinning rod.

We were trolling with live Ballyhoo most of the afternoon when this fish struck the bait and after waiting the prescribed 5 seconds of runoff, I set the hook. Immediately I thought that my hook had snagged a coral head, my line was taught and I felt no movement; then a very slight jerking motion that was still immovable. More time passed, several minutes in fact, should I cut the line...is there a fish on after all???? Soon the fight, that would last the better part of an hour, was on! Typically green (just hooked) Sailfish jump and contort to shake the hook, not this fish, it stayed deep until the last 15 minutes then surfaced. Then and only then were we sure that it was a Sailfish.

Having caught the Sailfish off of Molasses reef I was not worried that the fish was going to entangle in some dive boat or a dive boat buoy, the fish, however, had different ideas. It was not long after I hooked the Sailfish that I realized that it was headed to the reef and a myriad of dive boats. Tony, seeing what was about to unfold backed down hard on the beast in an effort to allow me to recover some of the line that was lost during the initial run. Having done that allowed me to finally land the fish, take a quick F..... up picture and get it back in the water to insure it's survival chances.

Wish we had better pictures, you just have to use your imaginations and trust me that the whole experience was awesome!
My first Sailfish aboard Triple Diamond

The hor long fight is on

Takes two to handle a whopper

Happy Angler!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Barry, The Barracuda

Caught on a Clark spoon while trolling across  Frenchman's Reef
One of several Barracudas that we caught while trolling the reefs on the way home the other day. Three and a half feet long, photo courtesy of John; thanks for cutting off my head and the fishes tail. Exciting stuff, especially after our earlier day's catch, Still waiting to see what we caught? Coming soon, technical problems! This was a catch and release, the fish survived to fight another day, don't let the gaff scare you, it was in non lethal territory.

Fish was caught on 15# test line, a medium weight 7' 4" Ugly Stick and a Clark Spoon as the enticement.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Back On LEE MARIE

My cousin Paul and his wife Ginny showed up on my doorstep on Wednesday, so arrangements were made to take Paul, who is an avid sailor himself out onto the Florida Bay. Thursday we set sail for an "around the block" sail that was to last about three hours, we had a great wind out of the SE and after meeting up with my friend Roland, who, by the way is always ready to take a sail, we screamed around our designated course.

Setting out

Arriving home to more company

Sunset at dinner, later that night
I called Roland before we went out and we agreed that a reef would be in order, meeting in front of his house, with one reef tucked in, I noticed that when Roland came out he was under full sail. AHHH, out came the reef and we were underway; not two minutes later I observed that  Roland had tucked in behind some mangroves to tie in a reef, hmmmm, should I do the same, Nah, Paul and I agree that this trusty little craft would be fine under the present conditions. For three hours the two craft sailed merrily along and making, I would guess, about five and a half to six Kts., we ended the journey in front of my dock and all was good. Another satisfied customer! Paul was at the helm all day and was spent by the time we arrived home, just in time for cocktail hour and a Korean beef rib,"KALBI" dinner.

A Banner Day On The Reef! Sailfish, Little Tunny and Barracuda

Proud fisherman

Batting clean-up
Wednesday's Atlantic weather forecast called for NE winds 5-10 Kts with waves 1-3', I called my friend Tony and arrangements were quickly made for a fishing trip. We decided to fish the reef while we caught bait for Sailfish fishing later in the day. While fishing we caught yellow tail and Barracuda, 4' on light tackle, great fun.

All was good, were were catching big fish and it was time to document our catch with my camera, click, click, click ; while reviewing our recently captured images, I realized that I had forgotten to load my disk. Ugh, with great luck so far and things looking good offshore, I was totally disappointed that we could not document our day.

John's "Little Tuna" actually "Bonito"
Euthynnus Alletteratus

"Little Tunny"
Part of the mackerel family
Aha! We came to the realization that we had our trusty cell phones, each equipped with cameras, not all was lost. The following pictures were taken back at the dock, the remainder from the cell phones, will show up in a later post. I'll keep our catch a secret until then, can't wait to show you what transpired.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

John In Action...Coming To A theater Near You.

video
Take 1...John catching a Crevalle Jack!

A Toothy character Arrives On The Scene

Just a small flesh wound!

One of four times that we fed this shark
Late in the afternoon a couple of hungry sharks showed up to give us more excitement than be bargained for, as we reeled in our catch, several times we only wound up with just the head attached. On two occasions, however, John and I both hooked up with a shark and fought them for several minutes each, if we were prepared for this, I would have put one of the fish on a hook with wire leader and we would have been able to fight the shark to the boat. Alas, 20#  leader does not fare well in the mouth of a four foot shark.

John From Tenn., A Fishing Machine!

Today was going to be too light for a good sail, so I decided to take John, my neighbor from Tenn. out on a Back Country fishing expedition. He packed the lunch and some beer, water and chips, while I prepared all of the necessary fishing tackle, gased up the boat and made sure that we had all the required equipment to have a successful trip. John, as I expected, showed up promptly at the designated time, and we were off.

All of these fish were caught on light tackle, 7' Med-Lite rods and Power Pro braided line, all artificial bait. The light tackle and the natue of the species of fish caught provided us with some great action.

John with a nice Crevalle Jack, they seemed to get larger and larger as the day went on.

Joh's Lizzard fish, Paul call this the seagoing Gecko.

A nice Lady fish, called the poor man's tarpon, some of the one's we caught today weighed in excess of two and a half pounds.

Action all day long, Lady fish, Crevalle Jacks, Pompano, and even several sharks that we hooked as they stole our catch.

Me, with a nice Jack
We stopped at a few of the places where I have caught fish in the past but they proved to be fishless. After a couple more stops, it was off to the Klondike, were it seems, there is always some sort of fish willing to bend your pole and provide you with some excitement. Bingo! The rest is history and the pictures and the video will help to explain the day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Yellow Tail In For Maintenance And A New Trolling Motor

Motor mounted on the bow with a quick release bracket

In the up position for running

I can still use my bow lifting strap

Chillin, admiring the bay and my efforts

Change the oil, and back in she goes
I put the flats boat on he dock yesterday so I could change the lower unit gear grease and add a much needed and wanted Trolling motor to the bow. When out in the Back Country you are often scouring some very shallow water for your prey, poling from a platform mounted over the motor, is the traditional method but that gets old very fast and is for the youngsters.

Back Country Again, Never Tire Of This Stuff

Skip's Action Craft

The other boat


One of the large Lady fish we caught
 Skip and I went out in his 22' Action Craft and Wayne and Tony went out in Wayne's boat. Skip and I bent our rods all day with some giant Lady fish while Tony, Wayne and someone named Jimmy searched for the wily Permit, they saw two but no action of any kind. The wind was up and so was the temperature. An enjoyable day no matter how you slice it.

End Of A Great Solo!

In the Lee of Swash Key

Looking to the East, waiting for the full moon to rise

Sailing among the Mangroves

Sun nearly set on the horizon

Waiting to see the Green Flash, not tonight!
Went out the other day for a day sail, wind NNE 15Kts bay mild chop and full sun. Sailed around Nest Key, saw only two boats the whole day, both were sail boats that admired Lee Marie while she sailed by with one reef and a bone in her teeth. The following pictures were taken at various times during the sail and reflect how the Bay changes from hour to hour or from Key to Key.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dolphins on Florida Bay at Sunset

Dolphins at play, on the Florida Bay!
These Dolphins were photographed by a friend of mine while spending the night on the Florida Bay. Rose Thompson got these shots while she and her husband JC were anchored off Eagle Key to watch the most recent full moon.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wayne's World

Photo courtesy of  Skip aboard Shoo-Fly
Check this out at: http://www.connecticutsaltwaterfishing.com/

Spirit of Bermuda Update

I was recently presented this commemorative bag of sawdust that was collected from he construction of the Spirit of Bermuda. Roland Barth who is on the Board presented the gift.

The Latest group of Bermuda school children to benefit from the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, which owns and operates the School Ship, Spirit of Bermuda.


 If you have followed my Blog, you know that I have written, posted pictures and praised the foundation that owns and operates the School Ship "Spirit of Bermuda". Here is a update on that ship and the work that the Foundation performs.

Spanish Mackerel



  Here is some information on the Spanish Mackerel we caught.*

Florida Fishing - Species




SPANISH MACKEREL

Regulations

12" minimum size limit; no closed season; 10 per person per day limit

General Information

This species is highly migratory. In general, schools of fish move northward along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast in the spring and make the return trip south in the fall. An open water species, Spanish mackerel spawn offshore of Florida beginning in April.

Distribution

This species is caught somewhere in Florida every month of the year. Year round action occurs in extreme south Florida including the Keys. In the spring the migration begins and anglers along both coasts start seeing the fish show up as the ocean waters warm up. The schools of mackerel follow the warming trend and by June are commonly caught in the northern Gulf of Mexico and off the Jacksonville coast.. There will remain here, especially in the Gulf, until the fall when the first cold fronts send the fish south for the winter.

With mackerel being migratory and swimming in schools, anglers may find them around in huge numbers one day and nearly gone a day or two later. You can catch this species from the surf, off ocean piers and from a boat anywhere from inside the passes to a mile or two of shore along the Atlantic coast or five miles offshore along the Gulf of Mexico coast. The Florida Bay also produces fine catches of Mackerel, at various times of the year.

Tackle and Techniques

Medium duty spinning or bait casting tackle with 6-12 pound test line is suitable. Use a heavy monofilament leader or a small diameter wire leader. This fish has a mouthful of small sharp teeth that can cut a monofilament leader.

A good way to locate the schools of fish is to look for birds such as pelicans and terns. If you see groups of them working a small area it's a good indication that they are feeding on a school of baitfish. In the absence of the birds, look for a large patch of disturbed water. That's also an indication of the baitfish. If mackerel are around it's a good bet that they will be under the baitfish and feeding on them.

Another way to locate schools of fish is to troll with a spoon or jig. Even at a slow speed you can cover a lot of water in a short period of time. Eventually you will find some fish if they are in the area. When you hook the first fish continue to work the area. Being a schooling species there will be more than one fish around.

Bait

Spanish mackerel like live shrimp or baitfish. Hook the bait and free-line it in the water column. For trolling or casting a spoon or jigs work best. If you see the fish but they don't seem to be hungry try changing to a smaller sized bait or lure.

Secrets to Success

* This species segregates itself by size. When you encounter a congregation of trout, chances are real good they will all be within an inch or two of each other. If they are too small, move on and look for the bigger ones.

Afternoon Delight

Sea Trout, picture by Skip
Yesterday, at two thirty a neighbor of mine and I snuck out to the Back Country for a couple of hours, we did very well indeed. We were supposed to go out ocean side with Wayne and Tony but in the morning Tony put us on hold because the wind on the reef was blowing about 17-19 Kts. At ten o'clock Tony and I spoke again and he and Wayne decided to go out to see if they could troll something up, personally, I am not fond of going out in seas in excess of five feet in height. They caught a large Spanish Mackerel and lost of couple of rigs for their effort, they had fun though.

John and I buzzed out to a familiar spot and we managed to hook up with some nice Sea Trout, Mackerel, and Bluefish action. John was happy with his adventure and I was pleased that he was able to finally catch some fish here in the Keys.

I would love to have had my camera on board but alas, when the time came to capture some good memories, my camera was sitting peacefully on the kitchen counter.

Florida Spotted Sea Trout Regulations: Not less than 15" or more than 20" (statewide) except one fish over 20" per person. 4 per harvester per day South Region 5 per harvester per day N.E. and N.W. Regions.


Season Closure: Nov. & Dec. S. Region / Feb. N.E. and N.W.




Our mate for the day!
SSSSShhhhhh

Sunday, February 13, 2011

BEER CELLAR! Just Like Wine You Have To Have The Correct Beer To Pair With Meals


My current selection of beers
From left to right Guiness Extra Stout, since 1759 a  robust beer that is enjoyed at any time of the day and that will stand up to a great burger, ribs or lamb. Next, Vinyl, from South Burlington, Vt. This beer is 5.1% and is called a "Spring Seasonal" brew, a Lager. The Hefeweizen! Next, Demo, 6%, "Limited IPA On Tour".Next, Fish Tale ORGANIC India Pale Ale, 6.5%, Ingredients: water,organic barley and Hops. Truly a great IPA. And last of all Flying Dog "Raging Bitch" IPA, considered one of the bes India  Pale Ales in the country. In the back there is a few beers from Mexico and a Samuel Adams Cream Stout.  Oh, I forgot about the 9 abeer called "Not Quite Pale Ale", it has a slight hint of orange along with some of the characteristics of a Pale Ale. All are great and when served with seafood, meat or poultry, you can't beat the combination.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Voila! There Be Fish In That Bay, One Mile From My Dock And Plenty Of Them!

Mackerel
Got a little head while fishing today

This turned out to our best fishing day since Paul arrived. We caught our limit of very large Sea Trout and a combination of Spanish and Cero mackerel. We caught a fish on almost every cast, the fish ranged from 18-19" each,  Amazing, until a three and a half foot Barracuda moved in for lunch. The last picture is of a Mackerel that I was reeling in, the Barracuda had different ideas.

Awesome last day for Paul!     As always, click on any picure to see a colse-up.

A Chance Encounter

Since  this was Paul's last day, we decided to go fishing one more time. I invited one of my other friends, Tony, to go but he declined, he went to the ocean side with his close friend Eddie from NJ. Anyway, after an inauspicious start which produced no fish for the freezer went set out for home.

Roland hoisting a beer to a good day

Add caption

IBIS, tucked in nicely behind East Key

Brendan begged us to take him aboard, we refused, it is any ones guess what happened to him
Along the way I spied Roland, who was supposed to be sailing off shore today, tucked n behind East Key, having lunch with his sailing guest Brendan. As it turns out, Roland and Brendan were planning to sail ocean side for a couple days, however, the weather did not cooperate and after some anxious hours at sea, they sailed back to the comfort of Florida Bay. Here are the pictures of them tucked in nicely behind East Key enjoying a beer and lunch.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Turn About Is Fair Play


Sailing through Butternut Key Cut

Taking each other's pics

This sail was for the birds
Green Eyes, turns the camera on Lee Marie. Rose is the Photog, JC is the Skipper! We were returning from where they were going.

Paul's Last Sail But Not His Last Day On The Water!

Whale Back Key foreground, Porjoe in the background

Paul soaking in the awesome nature of the Key's

Porjoe Key

"Sail set looks good", a Mark Beaton sail




Green Eyes and her crew JC and Rose Thompson
 Today, temp 75 wind E 10-15 and partly cloudy, a great combination for a sail on the Fl Bay, especially for Paul's last sail before heading back to NJ.

Got in touch with Skip and Wayne while sailing, Skip fought a 150# Tarpon for about one hour and forty minutes, on 10# test line.  Way to go Skip, Wayne, however, was looking for Permit fish, no luck.

Paul and I will be heading out early tmorrow morning for his last day of fishing before he heads home on Friday morning.

The lucky few in NJ will be getting a fresh supply of Key West Pink Shrimp, Oysters from East Point, and an ample supply of smoked fish. Paul knows how to take care of his friends!