A Quick But Successful Swordfish Trip

My buddy Stephen called me wanting to take his new Grady White Marlin 300 out for some fishing.  With schedule constraints on both ends we ended up with a last minute departure at three in the afternoon aimed at a little sunset wahoo fishing and then on to overnight sword fishing.

Things started out rough when I realized I had forgotten the swordfish baits in the rush to get to the boat.  Fortunately we were able to pick up some Baitmasters sword squid on the way out the pass.

We made it out to the edge and put the high speed wahoo baits in the water, but after a couple of hours without a bite we decided to pack up and head south to the sword grounds.  I rigged up a couple of squid during the run.  Stephen’s Grady rode well and has a good bait rigging station that let me work while underway.  Rigging your own baits is a lot harder than just buying pre-rigged, but when you catch the fish it gives you a bit more satisfaction to know you built the right presentation.

Lines in a little before 9Pm.  We picked a spot based on how we thought we would drift and after a bit decided we liked how we were moving over the deep ocean bottom contours.  We sat back and had an adult beverage and some fried chicken and waited.  About 80 minutes in the shallow rod clicked a few times.  We reeled up a few cranks, dropped back a bit, but no further movement on the bait.  Maybe just the wave action?

At about 90 minutes as we were discussing relocation plans, the deep bait rod started clicking.  One click, two, three, stopped.  Hmm.  Played with the bait a bit bringing it up and dropping back and the clicker starts going again.  This time a little more consistent pull so we start cranking and fish on!  Woo Hoo.

Stephen belted up and settled in for the fight.  (Video Link at the bottom of thread) All smiles at first.

But as the fight wore on there were not as many smiles and I started to hear some grunting.  40 minutes in Stephen was putting the heat to this fish with about 25# of drag on the 80W reel.

Some might say that is too much drag on a swordfish, but the fish is in the boat after a 90 minute battle 🙂

Well, at least part of it.  He really did not fit through the door and way too heavy for me and Stephen to get over the gunnel.  We turned him up on his belly and started tugging and eventually were able to get it to slip through the door and into the cockpit.

The fish is a stud.

In fact, it would not fit in the fish box or the fish bag even with the bill cut off.  So, we set about the business of improvising.  Now he sleeps with the fishes 🙂

The happy angler selfie.

With the fish iced on deck and more sword than we could eat in a month of Sundays, we decided to head for the hill.   Got sporty on the way home as we passed through a pretty ugly lightning storm.  Got back in about 3:30 AM and sidled up to a friend’s boat from which we could get some additional ice while we waited for the scales to open.

Weighed it in at 235#.  Cleaned that baby and back home by 8 a.m. That is an efficient trip.

Here is the action on video:

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Until next time, catch ’em up!

 

Family Fishing Time

The last month has not seen a lot of bluewater trips, but more importantly, it has been time for fishing with family.  Our cup has runneth over with family visits and we have done a decent job of getting folks on the water.

Niece and Nephew Jennifer and Jason got on the snapper.

And the AJ too!

Nephew Will found the bull reds:

Nephew Brian was acting captain leading the next generation into battle.

Great niece and nephew Bella and Charlie taking in the sights.  The porpoise were putting on a show.

Lines in!

And Fish ON!  Good job Katie.  Pretty nice catch for inside the bell buoy.

Brian did make it offshore with me, Logan and John and was stoked to get his first AJ.

John found a stud.

I got a nice one too.

The highlight of this trip was finding a large piling, maybe twenty feet long, floating almost vertical in the water.  It would poke up about two feet and then slowly sink back down below the surface about as far.  Man, it would have made a bad day to hit that, but eagle eye Logan picked it up before it was an issue and we made a few passes.  The p-nut dolphin came out to play so I was throwing a small jig on a trout rod when a wahoo came up and pounded it.  He took about 2/3 of the braid on the reel in his initial run and then the hook pulled.  It was exciting while it lasted.

Radar on the FNP went down so I made the leap to upgrade all the electronics to Simrad.  I am in the process of doing the install now so I will post up some pics of the work and the new gear over the next couple of weeks.

Until next time, Catch ’em up!

Finicky Tuna Demand Subtle Presentation – Or Not

Continue reading “Finicky Tuna Demand Subtle Presentation – Or Not”

Cobia!

It’s that time of year on the Panhandle.  Cobia are migrating west along the beaches and the tournaments are in full swing.  If you have never done this, it’s a unique fishery.  It’s all sight fishing for big fish.

Boats move down the beaches with two, three, six, eight people in the tower looking for cruising fish.  Towers range from thirty foot tall welded works of art costing tens of thousands of dollars to step ladders lashed to the bow of a jon boat.  You do what you need to to participate in this adventure.

Once a fish is spotted an angler in the tower casts a bait to the fish.  The bait of choice is a live eel.  Failing that, a grunt, or pinfish, or other medium size bait fish.  If that does not work, a jig, or a shrimp, or whatever works.

The captain may maneuver the boat following the fish for feet, yards, maybe miles while all the offerings are made until the fish eats or disappears under the waves.   Once hooked up the rod is lowered down from the tower on a pulley system and retrieved by the angler in the cockpit and the fight engaged.

This week I was able to get out with the boys on InstiGator, a proven Cobia killing machine with a tournament winning and hardened crew.  The trip did not disappoint, yielding this 61.7 pound beast for angler Big Rick.

While this was an awesome fish, the current first place fish is an astounding 98.8 pounds.

There was plenty to go around so I decided to pull together a little creole cobia treat for dinner.

Yum, that is some good fish.  The recipe:

Garlic, onions, chives, chopped fresh tomatoes, bell pepper, chili pepper, celery, shrimp shells (remove after the sauce simmers for a while) a cup of wine and a cup and a half of water all sauteed and then simmered for about thirty minutes.   Seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme.  Fish is just dredged in flour and pepper and cooked for about four minutes with a bit of oil in a hot skillet and then put in the sauce to finish.  Saute a few shrimp in the same pan and add to the mix.  Garnish with green onion.

Good stuff.

Hope you get out there and catch ’em up!

How to Crimp a Mono Leader

Sorry its been a while since I posted, but lots going on, most of which unfortunately has not involved fishing.  I was prepping to get back on the water this spring and thought some folks might like a little primer on how to properly crimp a leader, so I made this little video.  There are few things more frustrating than hooking up a nice fish only to have the crimp connection fail.  I had it happen once on a nice tuna and have not allowed a repeat.  Hope you find this video helpful.

In the video I eyeballed the right slot in the crimping tool to match the sleeve I was using.  I have done a bunch so was pretty comfortable I had the right size.  I highly recommend that you follow the recommendations on the packaging until you get the feel for the correct pairings of leaders to sleeves and sleeves to crimp tool slots.  Its important to use the right sizes to assure a proper connection that is not so tight that it damages the leader, but tight enough to assure the connection will not slip under pressure.

Good luck out there, and catch ’em up!

P.S. Please enter your email in the box on the right margin to subscribe to my blog.

The Yeti Swag!

 

If you have been following the blog you know that I ran a little give away for followers.  It was a choice of Yeti cups custom powder coated and etched to the winner’s specifications from Precision Powder Coating.  Click on that link and you can see all the cool stuff they do.  Josh was really nice to offer up the custom powder coating and etching at no extra charge.  The winner was Adam Owens of Pensacola and here is what he designed and Josh produced for him:

 

 

Arrr, a pirate’s life for Adam!  Very cool.

 

You can sign up to follow (who knows I may do another give away) by putting your email address in the window over there —>.

It will send you an email asking you to confirm you want to follow.  Make sure that does not end up in your spam.  You need to click on the link in that email to activate notifications of future posts.

Until next time: Catch ’em up!

What do you do when you can’t fish?

Well, I get real itchy when I can’t fish.  Can’t sit still.  Have to do something, and this winter was tough.  Between windy and rainy weather and waiting on parts and mechanics, I had to find things to do other than fish.

I did all the usual boat and fishing tackle chores, my honey do’s around the house, some volunteer time, this blog, but still there was a hole to fill. So, I decided to do something nice for my wife for Christmas.  Build something with my own two hands. I knew she would like that even if it turned out terrible.  After all, this is the woman that bought me my deep drop rod and reel, my fishing kite, my jigging rod, even an awesome fillet knife set.  In other words, she supports my addiction so seems fair I do something special for her.

Well, I have literally never none any woodworking.  Perhaps a bit of rough carpentry, but nothing really challenging.  So, why not just jump in head first?  We had some plastic planters on the deck for vegetables and herbs and they were falling apart.  What I knew she would like was a large wooden planter box to replace those.

No problem.  I looked for plans for something like she needed, but nothing really hit the mark, so I sharpened my pencil and designed something myself.

If there are any woodworkers reading this, please stop now and come back when I post about fishing.  You will laugh and snort your drink up and out your nose if you proceed.  I can probably fool the rest of you and make you think I knew what I was doing. 🙂

So, I built this:

I was shocked, it actually came out square and did not collapse when I filled it with dirt!

Anyway, I gave her this for Christmas.  It was quite a challenge assembling it on the deck while she was out on Christmas Eve and hiding it until the morning.  She may have sneaked a peak, she isn’t telling.

She liked it so much she asked me to make a twin for Valentine’s Day. While I was flattered, I was not sure it was a repeatable exercise. Regardless, I decided to give it a shot.  It all came together in the end.  We call them “The Twins.”

I think I may have actually gotten some genes from my machinist grandfather that skipped my lawyer father’s generation.

For anyone interested in the detailed how to of the build, it’s all on video. Again, woodworkers of the world, please close your eyes.

Hope you enjoyed this on a rainy winter day and I hope you get out there and catch ’em up!