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May 15, 2008

Spring in Miami

A potpourri of fish to be had!

Stefan Jahn and his wife Silmara came to Miami all the way from Germany once again after having a good time in December despite the blowing winds. Once again they brought the heavy winds with them. The water was beautiful and clear but the sea conditions were somewhat rough.

Day 1, and the wind was blowing stiff from the east with seas of 5 feet. We collected our bait and made our way out to the Sweat & Grunt Wreck. The drift was tough but we managed to get a good drift line and hooked up to our first Amberjack. These fish are brutes! A minute or two into the fight and he made a power run back towards the wreck. Pulling 80# braid with 26#'s of drag was nothing for him? he's gone. The very next drift had equal results. Stefan was amazed at the raw power of these AJ's remarking that they were much stronger than the 55# Wahoo he caught here with us in December. The next drift resulted in the usual bite but a slow steady pull which had Stefan bent over for the better part of an hour. The fish would give and then he'd take line. Just as we thought that Stefan was gaining the upper hand, the fish would let him know that he was not about to give up easy. Finally, his back giving out, Stefan gave the rod to my mate, Devon, to finish the fight. I gave Devon the nod which meant put it to him and make it or break it! He hammered the drag down and put the muscle on the fish for another 15 minutes and we finally saw color. Yep, exactly what we thought! A shark in the 200# class. The fish came boat side momentarily and then popped the leader. Stick a fork in Stefan, his back was aching and he was done wreck fishing for now.


We pulled out the trolling gear and decided to give the Dolphin a run. I targeted the same area where we found that 50 pounder a week or so ago. Voila! We grabbed 3 Schoolies and then a lone Cow hit the long rigger. A good battle ensued but Stefan was victorious and we slapped this 35# Cow into the fish box. With time running out we decided to try for a Permit. As per usual the fish were too strong for the 50# braid on spin tackle and we went 0 for 5 to the wreck. We tucked our tails in defeat and headed for the barn.


Day 2, was more of the same but Stefan opted to forego the Amberjack and try for some Muttons instead. We had a few Mutton bites but were slow to get on the rod. Each drift thereafter was, you guessed it, Amberjacks. These 3 fish were smaller in the 20-25# range but still gave Stefan and Silmara a good tussle.


As we were wrestling the last AJ a Frigate bird dove down to the deck about 100' away from us. Always alert, Devon pinned a live bait on the 20# spinner and tossed it out. "It got picked up!" he yells and jams the rod into Stefan's hands. A good hook set and a nice "gaffer" Dolphin of 15# shoots into the air. Stefan worked the fish to the boat and a smaller fish came with it. We baited that fish too and ended the melee' with both Dolphin in the fish box.


I decided to give a quick troll back to the Permit wreck to see what else we could dredge up. A nice Kingfish bit the planer rod and we boxed him too. He tipped the Boga grip at 16.5#. Another bite on the flat line and the reel is absolutely screaming, but by the time Stefan pulls the rod free from the rod holder and adjusts it in his belt the fish was gone. My guess was a very big Bonito or a quality Blackfin Tuna. Oh well, we'll get 'em next time! As we approached the wreck area the short rigger drops and we have another Schoolie on. What? Something is trying to eat our Schoolie. 2,3, 4 times it knocks the 6# Schoolie out of the water and then we see it... a very large Barracuda, a.k.a on The BEAST, the dreaded "Caribbean Spotted Mackerel" . On the last attempt the 'Cuda takes to the air, missing once again, but almost landing in the boat. Stefan was amazed and stopped reeling. I yelled, "Get him in the boat, before we have an angry set of teeth flying into the boat with it!" One quick yank and the Schoolie thudded into the splash well as the 'Cuda was setting up for the next attack. Not today Bud! The BEAST - 1, Barracuda - 0.


Time growing very short now we got after the Permit. High seas, and meandering Permit made the fishing tough. Finally we got a bite and the fish took Stefan into the wreck. I looked at Devon with a huge question mark on my face. We can't stop them! Many more attempts and we couldn't get a bite, finally Devon went to a really small bait and hooked up. Stefan had the fish turned and coming. He slowed down to enjoy the experience? OOPS, not good! Same outcome, once again!. As we headed for home, Devon and I looked at each other... We love AND hate these fish, equally!

Capt. Jim