Oak Bluff Monster Shark Tournament
Would you believe I had to wear a jacket to fend off the cold air on 4 fishing trips this month. One day I needed a sweat shirt and a jacket till after 10 in the morning.
I spent the week from July 15 through the 22nd on Cape Cod. I started out with some sight seeing and a nice cruise off Connecticut with the Lapnow boys.
Then Steve Nichols and I loaded up his Dusky 256 and towed it out to Cape Cod.
We spent our first day on the water in the pursuit of bluefin tuna. It was a great lesson in navigating by radar. The fog was thick enough to keep visibility down around 50 feet for a couple hours.
When we reached the fishing grounds we saw a basking shark and a couple pods of whales. We caught over 30 big bluefish from 10 to 18 pounds. We could have caught bluefish all day, but they are hard on the tuna rigs. The bluefish we did catch were welcome aboard. We would be using them for shark bait over the next few days. The one thing we did not see was bluefin tuna.
The next day we tracked down some of the gear we needed to go shark fishing and hooked up with our junior angler, Sean. We shark fished for about 3 hours and caught two blue sharks and we were all confidant that we had fought a mako shark for about ten minutes before we had a line failure.
The next day was a genuine tourist treat. We went by ferry to Martha's Vineyard to register for the Oak Bluff Monster Shark Tournament. The scene was one of all kinds of boats packed into a small harbor, wall to wall snack shops, tee shirt stores, bars, gift shops and cheerful people. The excitement in the air was full of hope for catching giant thresher sharks, porbeagles and makos. Fishing boats of all styles bristled with heavy tackle.
Way to soon it was 3 AM and time to go shark fishing. Winds were around 20 knots and the fishing grounds were about 45 miles away. 15 year old Sean, his dad Mike, Captain Steve and I loaded Steve's Dusky 256 and headed out to sea. I stood radar watch as Steve and I shared ideas of how best to cover 45 rough miles as soon as possible. Steve did a great job of coaxing his tough Dusky 256 out to the shark grounds. We managed to cover those 45 miles in about 3 hours. Half the distance was in seas as high as 10 feet.
It was a busy day with our catch being 8 blue sharks up to about 175 pounds and a 100 pound mako shark, all released to fight again another day.
The best fish in the fleet was a thresher over 535 pounds. This fish would remain the biggest of the tournament. The top mako of the tournament was also caught on the first day. It weighted in at 246.
Day two of the tournament was a complete reversal of day one. The seas were nearly flat calm and there was no wind. The air was chilling at about 60 degrees at first light.
Our day started quick with a strike on the long float bait. Mike jumped on the bucking rod as our youngest angler, Robbie cleared tackle along with his brother Sean. I got the honor of being first to see this powerful mako clear the water and do a complete flip in mid air before crashing back into the sea.
The fight was variable as the mako came to the boat and seemed ready to quit. Then it charged off for a couple more jumps. The fish came quietly back to the boat and then burned off a hundred yards of line off against 20 pounds of drag.
The end came with smoothness that could only come from a great team. Mike fought the fish to within wiring range, I wired the powerful fish within gaff range and Steve drove the big flying gaff through the back of this mighty sharks head with perfection.
The flying gaff secured to the spring cleat and two tail ropes tied off to the stern cleats kept the guest of honor in her place as high fives ran through all of the crew.
Jeanne and Twig always seem to score
We missed on bite and added a nice blue shark to our releases on this slow day for all the fleet. Spike TV camera crews came by to record the boating of our fish. And thousands lines the seawalls as our 226 pound mako was hoisted ashore at the weigh in.
Clean up and celebrating the second largest mako and second place junior angler from among 260 boats filled the final day of my summer vacation.
So back to south Florida and South Beach fishing. My old friends, Gary Leff and his family joined us for some evening snook fishing on Monday and Tuesday. Grandson Cory caught 8 snook, a tarpon, a barracuda and a jack the first night. Granddaughter Sari and Cory caught 5 snook, 1 tarpon, 4 barracuda and 2 jacks the second night.
Armondo caught the big red
Wade and his lady caught 5 bonito, 3 barracudas, a mutton snapper, an almaco jack, a 75 pound shark and 2 king mackerel. It was a thrill to watch the sailfish jump, but a bummer when he threw the hook.
Saturday it was another sail that got away, when the leader broke. It was slow fishing with 2 kings, a bonito and an amberjack to show for about 5 hours of fishing.
Saturday evening was a little better, producing 3 jacks, 2 barracuda, 1 king, 2 bonito, 1 small amberjack and two big snook.
Sunday daytime fishing stayed slow. We caught 5 small amberjacks, 2 kings, 4 bonito and a 12 pound red grouper.
Sunday evening we had a good night with a barracuda and 10 big snook fishing with Dan, john and David.
David caught his best snook
We have got to get out for snook or swordfish while the weather stays calm and the fishing hot. e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't miss our Swordfish seminar at Dusky Sport Center on August 9th at 6:30 PM. Call 954-922-8890 for more information about the seminar.
Watch your foot!
Jeanne and Twig always seem to score
About The Author: Captain Bouncer Smith
Company: Bouncers Dusky Charters
Area Reporting: Fort Lauderdale to Miami out to Bahamas
Bio: CAPTAIN BOUNCER SMITH is experienced in every aspect of the sport of fishing, in South Florida as well as a variety of ports in both North and South America, he has devoted his life to sharing fishing with others, through his radio shows, magazine articles, seminars, and on the water. Bouncer has been running boats out of South Florida since he was 19, working on them since he was 15. He shares his love of the ocean and fishing with children and adults from the novice fisherman to the tournament sportsfisherman.