We are beat up from the feet up. Last week we fished the Miami Kiwanis Dolphin Tournament placing 6th overall out of 208 boats and 2nd and 3rd Ladies prizes. Sharon, Amy, Devin, and I jumped in the vehicle right after the ceremonies and prize payouts. Departing on a high note we drove 14 hours straight through to Morehead City, North Carolina to fish The Big Rock Marlin Tournament. We arrived at 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday and began preparations to fish the following morning.

We cast off lines at 5:30 AM on Monday morning to make the 40-mile run to the selected area. Dropping in 11 hooked lines and 4 teasers we began our day at lines in call, 9 AM. We covered all the water we could before lines out at 3 PM and boxed 3 of 4 Dolphin in the 15-22 pound range and missed 1 White Marlin. The White had hit a rigged squid and even though we did a major drop back the fish refused to double back and eat. Inspection of the bait proved a sold strike as the squid had a hole through it where the White had struck it with his bill. The second day Tuesday was uneventful. We ran 80 miles north to Hatteras Canyon and calm, placid, seas only yielded 1 single 15 pound Dolphin for us. Day 3, Wednesday, was rough and the winds were howling. The winds were blowing 25 knots and the seas were 7-8 feet. We had another 2 hour run out to the day 1 spot and we were so glad to arrive. Riding the big seas at 26 knots in the 330TE WorldCat was not too bad in the beanbag chairs in the rear although we did arrive wet, even with spray curtains and rain gear on. We once again covered water only to find 2 Dolphin again in the 15-16 pound range. Then at 2:30 PM about 30 minutes before lines out I spotted the big dark shadow by our purple/black Ilander/ballyhoo bait. As the shadow grew into a visible Marlin I yelled, “Fish up”! This Blue Marlin was in the 300-350 class and was eyeball to eyeball with the bait. Just as I was readying myself for a drop back if necessary the bait shot out of the face of the wave and “Big Mama” spooked. She launched herself as well and then vaulted out of the water one more time off the starboard quarter. I reached over and pegged the throttles to try and head her off hoping to excite her one more time into an instinct bite. Nothing doing, we never saw her again.

Thursday and Friday we chose for our lay days as required by tournament rules and with our backs against the wall, we decided to go for broke. Seas on Saturday were mild and we gambled on a 90 nautical mile run across the Gulf Stream to a suspected temperature break. We arrived about 10 minutes before lines in and set up. Everything looked good with an abundance of flying fish, squid flying out of the water like flying fish, birds, weeds and later a current rip as well. Things could not have looked better with all this healthy water. Someone forgot to tell the fish! We jumped off 1 large cow Dolphin on the long rigger, which looked about 35 pounds. That was the extent of our day. What the heck, we gambled and it didn’t pay off. This wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time it happens.

The tournament had a 400-pound or 110-inch criteria for weigh in and there was only 5 fish weighed in for the 6 fishing days. The tournament winning fish didn’t come in until 10:30 PM on Friday night so only the die-hard or those not fishing Saturday got to see it. It was 613 pounds and the others were 567, 505, 473 and 422, respectively. A 52-pound Dolphin, 45-pound Wahoo, and 69-pound Tuna won the largest fish in their respective categories.

We had a blast fishing with our friends up there but all the fun ended as we loaded back into the car and drove the 14 hours back to Miami, arriving this morning at 4:30 AM.

Now, let’s touch on our fishing scene here. The news traveled fast to North Carolina of the 81 pound Dolphin caught off our SE Florida coast. I saw pictures of this fish and it was a spectacular specimen. If everything goes right this pending fish will be a new Florida state record and possible IGFA 30# class record as well.
The Dolphin have been good and near shore. Smaller fish are fun and good table fare and the larger Bulls and Cows are still hanging around for those anglers looking more for the sport of it.

It sure beats sitting on the couch and watching others catch fish on the TV fishing shows!

If catching some Dolphin by day or Swordfish by night is up your alley, by all means, give us a call at Beast Fishing Charters. We will sure do our best to get you “hooked up“!

Capt. Jim