It doesn't get much better!
<p>We celebrated Memorial Day weekend with a day of fun fishing with the regular "fun crew"! Uncle Al, Devon, Amy, and I met at the dock at 7 AM. Well let's call it 7-ish as everyone was running a bit behind except Al. We loaded up and fired up The BEAST. We didn't know what we were going to fish for so we ended up with 26 rods on board! Winds were calm and the seas were flat. Oh Boy!
Our first stop was to try and get some Hardtails but they were a bit slow and we only put 5 or 6 in the well. Next stop was to see if we could coax some Ballyhoo into riding along with the Hardtails. Only 4 would succumb to the baited hooks, so I threw the Calusa net until we had about 18 or so in the well. OK… we took a vote and the first stop was to try for some Permit.
Arriving at the wreck and no one is around. So much for the crowded holiday weekend we had anticipated! First drop and Uncle Al has a hook up, and Amy too! Amy's fish gets totally sharked and Al's fish is running to the surface. It's either a Permit racing away from a shark or a Cobia! After a few more minutes the fish gives up and rises to the boat. Cobia it is!
Next drop and Allen again gets a hook up and Devon gets a strong bite on the speed jig. Both of them are dancing around the boat and Al's fish gets heavy. Uh Oh! Yup. Devon brings his fish up about the same time as Al and we have 2 more Cobia. Well, Al had a small piece of his left. We released Devon's fish and tossed the remains of Al's fish over as well, hoping to satisfy the toothy fish below.
Back at it again and the action is HOT! Amy gets a hook up and loses the fish to the wreck! She's getting frustrated so I lowered the underwater camera and she and I were enjoying ourselves watching the occasional Bar Jack swim by. Amy look quick, a Sailfish just swam through. She saw the last half of it as it moved out of frame. Crap, there goes a Sandbar shark. Looks like we are going to be in for more chewed up fish. Meanwhile Devon gets hooked up again and works the fish up to find it is another Cobia. This one is only 32" so we released it as well. Al gets another fish on a speed jig and it is the dreaded Barracuda. Another drift and Devon gets a bang on his speed jig again. Nice fish! This has some weight and after a few more runs it gains about 300 pounds. Maybe not, it's still there. There's that extra weight again and now he is pulling up a lot less dead weight. Crap! A beautiful African Pompano became brunch for one of those sharks.
OK, enough of that! We donned the trolling gear and began a quick hunt for some Dolphin or Wahoo. With a full moon occurring just 2 days before, we were not counting on this as a productive deal. I headed for deep water and then circled into another wreck to try for some Mutton's. On the way, one of the deep rods goes off. Wahoo? No, another Barracuda.
A fruitless troll led us to the wreck and we stowed that gear and got out the bottom rods. Dropped a live Ballyhoo and Bada boom, I'm hooked up! If this is a Mutton, it has some shoulders. Finally we see some color about 100' below and it sure doesn't look like our target. Maybe a Grouper? Not even close. It's a small Amberjack. We rarely catch wreck donkeys on a live 'hoo! We made a few more drops and nothing much was happening on the Mutton bite. What's next? Let's give one of our deeper wrecks a try
A few minutes run time and we arrive on site. 2 rods go over with bait and Devon flips over his speed jig. One, two, three…Triple hookup! These are wreck donkeys for sure. After several fire drills we manage to get all 3 aboard, vented and released 2 of them. Ok! No more of that! Let's go back and see if the Permit want to play.
Back at our morning spot we begin to get excited. Only one boat on site and we can overhear them telling each other they see them. We found them, 100 yards away. Amy drops the cam… Yup, she saw them! A nice tight school and feeding! I've hooked up many Permit but always pass the rod off to one of my customers, so the crew want to see the Captain get one. Chomp chomp! Hooked up! The fish is racing to the surface with a shark hot on its butt! With the drag at max pressure I muscled the fish to the boat and Al takes a gaff shot! As the announcer says at the soccer game. SCORE! It's not a big one, but it IS a Permit.
I'm going to try to load this short video Amy took. Maybe it'll work!
Next drift and Devon hooks up and tries to get Amy to take the rod. She's not in the mood, I guess, so Devon fights the fish. Done deal. So far we have managed to boat 2 for 2.
Once again, another drift, and Uncle Al is grunting. The fish runs for the surface and suddenly a massive splash. Missed him! Al is muscling the fish and the shark makes another attempt. Almost, but not quite! We boat the fish and find that the Permit barely escaped the jaws of death.
A few more drifts and things slow down a bit. We had 2 more hook ups but no catches. No sense in playing with these guys only to feed the sharks. The vote goes to try some live baiting as the afternoon draws toward evening. We put the gear away and break out the live bait tackle. Devon and AL put out our normal 4 line top spread with one down rod, so off we go. Time passes by and nothing is happening on the surface. Devon and Al stayed busy on the speed jigs, boating a small Bonito and a Bullet Bonito. The down rod goes off! About time! Uncle Al takes control of the rod and works the fish up. A sport model Kingfish comes boat side and catches some steel.
This group is tired. We had a Memorial Weekend Potpourri. I guess you could say we had a Wreck Grand Slam. I must tell you, that was a "FUN" day and well worth the price of admission! We turned The BEAST toward the barn and made the run. Another good point to this day… We had 2 cleaning the fish and 2 cleaning the boat. NICE!
By the way Folks… We will be taking reservations now for Cubera season. Book early and often!
There is NO oil in S. Florida!!!!!
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.