The weather was rougher than NOAA had forecasted this weekend, but Devon and I managed to get 2 trips out anyway. As we were preparing the boat on Saturday afternoon, one of our Dock neighbors asked if we were going out. “Yes, for Cubera, why?” I asked. He said “It is not good out there!” I wasn’t worried, after all, fishing in lumpy seas is the main reason why I bought my 33’ WorldCat.
Our trip Saturday was a repeat customer from the Saturday before. Yes siree, George is hooked, but this time he brought Mike and Carlos instead of Santi. They arrived a bit late and we unleashed The BEAST. The winds were brisk and the seas a bit bigger than we had hoped for. At our lobster spots, we found cloudy water and visibility was less that 10 feet. That makes for tough buggin‘! Devon is an excellent free diver and collecting crawfish is usually easy for him, but not on this day. 90 minutes and 3 locations later, we only had 4 lobster. They just weren’t there! Great, wonderful… crap! We did manage to catch a half dozen Bar Jacks while Devon was in the water.
We bagged that part of our bait collection and headed for the Yellowtail spot. We had the winds pushing against the current. The Tails were not willing to play into our game plan either but the Speedos came up thick. Mike and Carlos worked on Speedos and Devon and George kept trying for the Y-tails. I dropped a rig to the bottom and, BAM, up comes a 27 inch Black Grouper that ate a dead Silverside. I tossed it in the fish box. The sun setting now, we decided to go with what we had, 4 bugs, 3 legal Y-tails, 6 Bar Jacks, and a butt load of Speedos.
We made the run to the Cubera and began hunting them down. We located them deeper than the week before. I motored into position for the first drift and we dropped our baits. Carlos and George were up first. In less than 2 minutes, KABOOM, Carlos’ rod doubles over! He is in the fight of his life. At first he was pumped up, but his fish was giving him BIG trouble. Carlos got a second wind and yelled “You’re coming up!” I think I heard a muffled Cubera voice from down below say “Yeah right, like hell I am!” This tug of war went on for longer than most other Cubera battles and at least twice, Carlos was about ready to give up. We knew for sure that this had to be a good fish and Carlos was finally gaining on it. At last, we got the lead to the boat and Devon grabbed the leader. The fish went under the boat and around the lower unit. Devon scrambled back to the dive platform and grabbed it. Devon let’s out a yell, “Oh my God!” He’s straining as he gets the fish out of the water and up and over the transom. THUD! All types of words and phrases were being uttered. I remember distinctly, George blurting out “Holy Jesus… Mother of Pearls! Whatever that means? This wasn’t a good fish, my friends, this was a Miami MONSTER. Comments were buzzing around the cockpit, as well as guesses on the weight. We realized that the Boga Grip only goes to 60 pounds. Wait! I have a digital scale that I use to weigh fish during tournaments and it has good accuracy. We hooked it up and Devon and George teamed up to lift it off the deck. The scale settles at 74.5 pound. Holy Jesus… Mother of Pearls! Devon and I have been trying to break our 50# boat record but we never expected to best that mark by almost 25 pounds. See, it just goes to show you it’s not a fairy tale, there are sea monsters. Pretty work, Carlos!
The rest of the trip is an adrenaline blur. The Cubera’s were snappin’. They were hitting everything we put down, on every drift. We went on to catch 7 more, fish between 25 and 35 pounds, releasing all but the monster and one other floater. George has the hang of it, catching 4 himself. At 10:30 PM, the bite shut down as if someone had flipped a switch. We packed it in after 2 more fruitless drifts. I pointed The BEAST to the west and headed home. At the dock we were buzzing again and George said he was going to call me early this week, to possibly book again this week. He’s hooked… a Cuberoin addict!
As I am writing this I just got a call from George. He said that they took the fish by Crook & Crook on US1 and weighed it on their IGFA scales. It weighed a touch under 76 ¼ pounds on their scales.
Sunday night, Dave came, solo, to fish with us. He’s an English transplant who loves to fish speed jigs. He brought 3 of his nice jigging rods and a bag full of speed jigs of all types. His goal was to catch a Cubera on a speed jig… at night.
We turned The BEAST loose and we headed out for bait. What a difference a day can make. The seas were better than Saturday and the visibility on the reef was excellent. We were very relieved as the bugs had returned to our favorite spot and we grabbed our 12 Lobster in short order. As we headed south to fish for Yellowtail, we were comfortably calm in knowing that we had enough ’primo’ baits, regardless of the baitfish bite. The Y-tails were non-compliant once again, but the Speedos came. I quickly caught a dozen of them and Dave and Devon teamed up to boat 3 Cero Mackerel and a large Bonito. We pulled the hook early, not waiting for dark, since Dave could fill the time, jigging.
We arrived on the Cubera spot and I checked things out. The fish were in the same vicinity as the night before. Dave worked his jig and quickly caught a Horse Eye Jack. The game plan this night was to drop one live bait and let Dave work his jigs. 35 seconds into the first drift and the bug gets crushed. Fish on Dave! He jumps on the rod and brings up a head. Sharked! A huge bite mark and the fish is gone behind the gills.
The current is mild and the fish are scattered out so the drifts are longer. Bam! Dave’s jig gets hit and he wrestles up another Horse Eye Jack. Next drift and the bug gets taken again and Dave is into a nice fish. Yahoo! A 40 pounder slaps the deck. We put this fish into the box because we couldn’t get a good release on it. We decided at this point that we would release all but possibly one more small one.
The night went on with non stop action. Dave jigged up a 10# Kingfish and missed or lost several other bumps. I was amazed that these jigs even work well at night. Suddenly, about 9:45 PM he gets hooked up on the jig. “Aw, another Horse Eye” he says! As he gets the fish to where I can barely make it out in the water, the live bait rod doubles over. Now he’s perplexed, being the only angler and 2 fish on. Knowing what eats Lobster out there, he hands me his jigging rod to finish off the Jack and takes the fish on the bait rod. Well looky there! As the fish on the jig makes a circle and comes into the spreader light, and there it is, not a Horse Eye Jack, but instead a 25 # Cubera on a speed jig. Dave works the other Cubera up and it’s a respectable 30# fish. After a few quick photos, we revived and released them. The bigger one takes off quickly but the smaller fish is a floater, so we fish it out of the water and toss it in the fish box. Now, at our boat limit, we decided that anymore caught would be quickly photo’d and dispatched back in the water. Good plan and it worked.
We ran out of Lobster and the fishes appetites had slowed down only a bit but we called it a night. On the ride back to the barn, Devon and I recapped our weekend and Dave plugged in his ear buds on his I-phone, relaxing to his music on a beautiful moonlit night. He deserved it, after single handedly working over 7 Cubera’s from 25 to 40 pounds, a Cubera head, 2 Horse Eyes, and a Kingfish and working a speed jig for hours. Good job Dave!