<p>Cubera season started off a bit slow this year, even though the moon phases seemed to be perfectly in line. Opening day of mini lobster season we took Todd, Fernando, and their boys, out to give the Cubera a go!
The day started out with an unexpected delay in our 3 PM shove off. We motored out and got a handful of baits and then blasted out to the patches to see if anyone left us some bugs. Devon slid over the side and in an hour or so, came up with 9 good baits. That should be plenty, so we headed out to do some 'Tailing.
Arriving on our Yellowtail grounds we put out the chum and began dropping lines back. We managed to get quite a few legal 'Tails and just before the sun set, Fernando brought in a good'un. The fish was 26 ˝ inches long and weighed 5 pounds. Nice!
Darkness falling, we headed out for the Cubera. To make a long story short, we dropped baits, and marked fish on the recorder, over and over again. The fish were there for sure but they had other things on their minds, obviously. Finally, after some frustrating hours of repetitive fishing, we got a bite on one of the live baits. It was short lived as the fish can unpinned. When we retrieved the bait is was obvious that it was our target species that bit. We fished past quitting time and never did catch one of these big snappers. This is not the start I had expected! It grew very apparent that these fish had a stronger sexual/mating drive than their appetite. After thinking about it, I wouldn't stop mating, to grab a sandwich either!
Devon and I felt really bad for Todd and his son since they flew here from Jersey just for this. It's fishing! They were there for sure but no matter what we did, even with little tricks and techniques, you can't make them do what they don't want to do. Sorry guys! At least there was Lobster and Yellowtail for dinner.
I was sitting home on Saturday afternoon looking at the weather. Lobster season opened on Friday and it was supposed to rain all day on Sunday, which it has! I picked up the phone and called one of my best friends, "Uncle Al", and my good friend, Harry! "Hey Guys, what's up? Feel like blasting out for some Nasty's tonight?" The answer was a resounding… He!! yeah! We met at the boat in less than an hour and unleashed The BEAST. Stopping to quickly take on some fuel, we began discussing the game plan.
We powered up and cruised out to the patches for some crickets. Since this was a last minute deal we needed to get bait quickly. Al went over the side. In less than an hour he collected us a dozen, fat bugs! OK Boys, Let's do a quick, one chum block Yellowtail session. Arriving in the area we set out the chum and shortly thereafter began bailing, nice, fat, keeper 'tails. With things going so well to this point, all I could hope for was a better performance at Nastyville! Uh oh! Hold your tongue Capt. Jim. Storms are moving offshore to the north and southwest. The north storm was a bad one with frequent lightning cracking down and making its way slowly toward us. My radar showed it to be 2 ˝ miles from us. I hoped this storm would play itself out so we wouldn't have to take an intermission to run from it. Thankfully the north storm began falling apart. We packed up our 15-18 Yellowtail and gear, then made our run to Nastyville.
When we arrived, the north storm came over us and we donned our rain gear. No electrical displays, thank God! As we waited for the rains to dissipate , I scouted the area. The winds went slack, the sea was slick, the current was slow, and the air was heavy with moisture. There were fish marking everywhere and all hope was that it wouldn't be a night like the last outing.
We worked the area for a solid hour and then some, without a single look. Then I heard Al start yelling, "Uh… Uh… take it, eat it!" BAM… Fish on! Al has his hands full working this fish and has to throw the reel into low gear to move it away from the bottom. It's coming up now and when it breaks the surface we see a respectable 27 pound fish. Wow! It's about time we broke the ice. Cubera 2010! First fish of the season for us and In the box it goes.
The bite was on, unfortunately, we missed the next 3 fish. Just like that, the bite quits and we are back to square one, putting primo baits in front of preoccupied fish. Are you kidding me? Look at this sonar, Mate! Can you believe that none of those fish are hungry?
With a bait well full of prime bait we decided to stick it out until we couldn't take it anymore. I kept looking for areas and places that I haven't put a bait in yet. Several hours pass and I hear Uncle Al say, "That's a bite." A second later, he cranks the reel about 3 turns, and it's game on. This fish has some shoulders and Al drops into low gear again. The fish is stripping 25 pounds of drag, repeatedly! This fish never said quit, continually fighting Al until it came over the side. Good job Uncle Al. The fish tipped our scales at 42 ˝ pounds with double canine teeth on both uppers and one of the lowers. Now that's a brute of a Snappa!
We worked the area for a little while longer but the bite never resumed. We hit the "I'm getting really tired" wall and reluctantly called it a night. Unfortunately for Harry, he didn't get on the boards with a catch. Although he only had a few brief encounters with El Nasty that night, he has caught them with me before and he will again!
We did what we came for, going 2 for 5, limiting us out with a 27 and 42.5 pound fish. Everyone on board was spent, so I pointed The BEAST toward home and boogied.
If doing a charter with us to catch Cubera, the King of Snappers, is on your list of things to do… remember that the season can be short (30-60 days). Get your dates together and give us a call ASAP to reserve them. Weekend nights, especially, tend to fill up very fast.
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.