As each week moves into the next we can see the winter season slowly dissipating into the much warmer summer season. Run & gun, bird chasing and trolling for the Doradoís will overtake the more fuel friendly live baiting of Sailfish and Kingfish. The absolute beauty of this short transitional period that we call spring is; many of the less glamorous species have infiltrated the areaís reefs and wrecks. They are Gamesters, none-the-less! My last couple of trips had everybody grinning and reaching for the Ben-Gay and the frying pans.
Tom Migliaccio, better known to us a ďTrolling TomĒ, had rounded up his brother Jim, sister-in-law Michelle, and their kids Christine and Cameron for a day of catching. Yep! I said catching!
We left the Marina at the crack of 10 AM, Tom hates mornings, and proceeded to catch some bait. The Hardtails were scattered and we grabbed what we could and headed offshore for some Ballyhoo. The Ballyhoo didnít get the memo, because many of them had missed this late morning appointment. They were TOUGH! We got enough bait of all types to go fishing, so off we went. First order of the day was to try and locate some Dolphin. Devon loaded the rods with our traditional spread and we trolled off into the blue on a search mission. Most of the Dorado have been caught in less than 600í of water with the 450í line being the hot zone according to the boats that got into them in the morning. By the time we got out there the bite was cold. After about an hour we called off the search and decided to give the wrecks a try. As we were pulling lines the deep rod lit up with a nice Schoolie and quickly we had 1 in the box.
Keep in mind that Toms brother and family still reside in Michigan so the wreck fish weíve been catching will give them a memory not soon forgotten. The AJís are tough and they gave Jim and Michelle a few eye opening battles. Several attempts and several lost fish but we did manage to catch 3 of these fish, one of which was a very respectable 48 pounds.
We decided to switch tactics and see if the Permit were here yet and willing to eat. Yes Sir! We had several bites losing one to the wreck and missing another bite or two. Two of the Permit were not so lucky as we boated fish of 10# and 17#.
With only about an hour left we decided to make a quick run to see if we could get the kids on some Muttonís. Cameron and Christine, got to tug on a Mutton Snapper single handedlyÖ with a little coaching. They did great, the fish box looked good, and the Migís were all smiling. A good time was had by all!
The next trip was a group of 5 guys. Jerry, Sean, Mike, Matt, and Bill met us at the boat about 8:30 AM. Since there were so many of them, we wanted to keep these guys busy and sore. Several of them had never lifted anything heavier than a 9 iron on the golf pastures. So guess where we took them? Thatís right, to the Grunt & Sweat wreck. Each of these guys got to wrestle several of these Jacks and the AJís were winning this battle. They were unexplainably strong that day even with reel drags at the point of being hammered down, they were still taking line and wrecking us. They were so voracious that we told the guysÖ let the lead hit the bottom, take up 3 cranks on the reel, and HOLD ON! The fish followed the script to a tee. I lost count of how many hookups we had but they bit everything from live bait to speed jigsÖ with reckless abandon. We only managed to boat 4 of these brutes that day. Amazingly, the Amberjack we have been catching have had very few worms and are definitely delicious, fresh out of the smoker
With the seas being a bit on the rough side we didnít think we had a shot at any Permit but we gave it a try anyway. Boy was I wrong. We hooked up 3 fish and boated 1 nice one that stretched the Boga Grip to 30 pounds. Good lord these fish are strong on spinning tackle.
Almost completely out of live bait now, except for 2 Ballyhoo, Sean decided to call it a day. We talked him into making a couple of quick Mutton drops before we packed it in. We dropped the 2 remaining Ballyhoo, got 2 bites, and 2 Mutton Snapís in the box. Done deal.
This is the season when it can be called catching, not fishing!