Change it up!
<p>We met Norm and Logan at the dock for a ¾ day trip. Norm's mission was to give 9 year old Logan, a S. Florida fishing experience. Devon and I got their gear secured and we cast off the lines. I powered up The BEAST and we made our way out to the bait patches.
On the way, we made an attempt for some Blue Runners which was fruitless. We arrived on the patch and set out a chum slick. The Ballyhoo were slow in coming but they finally showed. Once again, we had a difficult time getting them to feed on our baits and they wouldn't get in close enough to toss the net on. We pecked away at them until we had a dozen or so. Since we had planned on doing various types of fishing that day, I called it a wrap and we headed offshore.
The seas were solid 3 footers and the water was a nasty blue color. We set out our normal spread and sat back waiting for the story to unfold. The first bite came on the down rod and the hooks pulled. The same scenario with the second bite. Devon worked a small speed jig, got a hooked up, and handed the rod to Logan. Logan worked a small Bonito to the boat. A while later the flying fish began showering inshore of us, and were coming our way. A lone Frigate bird was on the deck just 50 yards from our baits when the short flat line popped off. Drop back… and hooked up. Norm was on the rod this time and after a few minutes a "snooter" came to the surface. We managed to get another jump out of the fish and the hook came loose. Bummer! We reset and had another bite on the down line. This time Logan managed to bring in a healthy Silky Shark. They wanted a picture so Devon grabbed the Silky and brought him aboard. Before we could get in position for the photo the shark twisted his way out of Devon's hands and was gone. Anyone who has ever tried to handle a shark knows exactly how strong, even the smallest of them, can be. This is why we normally don't bring any sharks aboard. We had one more bite on the down rod that had the drag screaming, but once again, the hooks pulled during the fight. Hmmm.
I asked Devon to pull the lines as we arrived at a wreck. One drift and I could see the fish on the sonar screen. Second drift and Devon sees the fish well below the surface and presents a bait to them. "He's eating! He's on!" Devon yells as he passes the rod to Logan. Logan works the fish, with some help from Dad, and after about 5 minutes we get a beautiful 20# Permit in the boat.
We made several more drifts but the fish stayed too deep to get a bait to them, effectively. Logan remarked that he wanted a Dolphin, so we packed up the rods and headed offshore.
If I tell you that there were a gazillion flying fish, everywhere we looked that day, it's no exaggeration. We managed to troll up a small Dolphin and Logan was on the boards with a Mahi-Mahi.
We continued on our Dorado hunt. I spotted a half dozen "Black Backs" (Sooty Terns) working the water. I bumped up the throttles and made my way over there and we quickly hooked up another Dorado. This scenario played out several times with 2 Frigate birds joining in and we ended up with 3 Dolphin in the 10# range.
Time has run over and Norm decided to extend the trip to a full day so we could try some bottom fishing on a wreck. Not a problem! I throttled up and we made our way through the now 4-5' seas to our favorite bottom wreck. When we arrived, Devon was ready to go, bottom rods in place and baited as usual. Sometimes, he amazes me at how he does that in rough conditions while running 22 knots. The current was ripping to the north and a 20 knot wind. We managed a bite on each of several drifts. 2 of the bites were cut off, most likely those dreaded "Caribbean Spotted Mackerel". Norm caught a nice Amberjack and Logan pulled up a decent Almaco.
We never got a snapper bite because we just couldn't hold bottom under these conditions. As the day drew to a close we made our way back to the barn. Although we didn't have a banner day of catches, under the conditions presented to us, we did 4 fishing techniques and hooked/caught 6 or 7 different species. I believe we gave Norm and Logan the experience they were looking for.
About The Author: Captain Jim Barlett
Company: Beast Fishing Charters
Area Reporting: Miami & upper Key Largo, , Florida
Bio: Beast Fishing Charters is an offshore, light tackle, live bait, fishing charter. Capt. Jim has been fishing South Florida waters for over 35 years. The BEAST is a 2007 WorldCat 330TE, powered by twin 300 Suzuki's and is a stable, comfortable, center console. Capt. Jim specializes in, but is not limited to, Sailfish, Swordfish, and Dolphin. Wreck fishing and bottom dropping are also on the menu.