Fishing during the day has taken a swing. We went from catching decent sized school Dolphin and a few nice "gaffer" & "slammers", to catching "peanuts" that aren't much bigger than the replicas they sell at the marine stores. There seems to be plenty of them but that is of little consolation when most won't reach the legal bag limit size. The Blackfin Tuna have been in good supply and offer some delicious table fare, whether it is sushi style, seared (my favorite) with wasabi or simply boiled up for tuna salad.
The Beastie Girls and I fished the Miami Kiwanis Club Dolphin Tournament on the 3rd. This tournament was a 4 fish aggregate so the "BIG" fish is not as necessary as 4 "good" fish. We decided against making the long run down to the SE deep in the Keys because it appears that the fish that normally held there the last 2-3 years are not using that area at the present time. We have switched up our usual game plan and are going out of the mainstream tactics for this one. This is what needs to be done to win these tournaments. It's always a gamble but usually the extra hours of watching sea temps, current flows, eddies, rips, weed stacks, and just plain old planning are necessary. With the countless numbers of boats and anglers down here in the Miami/Keys area which steadily pound the Dolphin day in & day out, thinking "out of the box" will usually reap the reward. I guarantee you of one thing, I have never been one of the conventional thinkers when it comes to fishing.
We covered 125 miles on this day of fishing We fished up to 35 miles off in 3000' depths and as close as 250' depths just off the edge. We trolled some weedlines, we did some run & gun, searching and working birds. Sometimes it is just instinct that takes over and makes a Captain suddenly pull back on the throttles and say "Drop 'em back, right here". That happened twice on Saturday and the results were good. The Beastie Girls finished a respectable 20th out of 160 boats and captured the 2nd and 3rd place Lady Anglers positions.
We had a fun day fishing and also entertained a large pod of Spinner Dolphin riding and playing in the wake of The BEAST.
Things didn't work out that great on the 17th & 18th during the Homestead Kiwanis Club Tournament. The winds changed to the SE, the currents picked up a little stronger and the fish had moved once again. The Beastie Girls fished long and hard for 2 days and only managed to snag 5 short Dolphin and 3 Bonito while covering about 200 miles of ocean in those 2 days. At weigh in it was apparent that those who made the LONG run to the SE fishing off Marathon paid off as the fish had moved back into that area, once again. Some really nice sized fish and big aggregate bags came from that area those days. As the old saying goes we were " a day late and a dollar short" in this 2 day venture.
Once again, during this Homestead Tournament we got covered up with the largest pod of Bottlenose Dolphin I have ever seen. As far as we could see were these beautiful creatures and they wanted to be our friends for well over an hour riding in our wake, swimming off the bow, and playing games swimming through the tunnel of my WorldCat. We couldn't get rid of them. Unlike fishing up north where the Porpoise and Tuna feed together, here it is the death knell for fishing while in a herd of Porpoises. If I sped up, the game just got more intense and they played even harder. Finally, after an hour, they left us alone but completely killed our fishing during a peak feeding time.
All proceeds to these tournament are used by the Kiwanis Clubs for the youth of our community. So the money was well spent, regardless. We'll get 'em next year!