By Captain Jay
Every once in a while throughout your life you happen to meet a person that you or everyone who knows them considers them to be a “lucky” person. The kind of person who is one of those people that more often than not they happen to fall into good fortune. Maybe not always in the wealth kind of situation, but just lucky. I have never really considered myself to be one of these extraordinary people, but I have met a few from time to time. One in particular I believe is my friend Bruce. If you have read any of my blogs over the years than you probably have heard his name mentioned before. When it comes to his luck of fishing, I believe he has quite a bit. From the first trip we ever fished together I believed that the fish gods might have a soft spot for him. We have and continue to have some pretty amazing trips together. And not just on one boat, or with just one captain, but with whomever he fishes with. His passion is definitely bluewater fishing, and more than ever, tying into billfish. I couldn’t tell you how many trips we have left the dock with him, but no matter the conditions, he always seems to come back to the dock with a very nice catch. I would like to say that it is mostly because of us… But I think his luck just so happens to rub off on us. Most recently mr. lucky happened to be in town for just a short trip and booked a couple trips with the Outer Limits and the Mr.Z.
First, let us set the scene. The weather was gorgeous, with temperatures in the lower 80’s abundant sunshine and a light NE breeze. The northern side of the Gulfstream was located about 15 miles south of Key West roughly in about 700 feet of water. Cory and I had an afternoon trip on Saturday with our buddy Tony and within minutes of coming up on the current edge we hooked into a big Bull Dolphin. Not 5 minutes after that fish a 250 pound Blue Marlin was in the spread beating to baits with his raspy bill. We never got a solid hook up on that fish but it was very promising to see to say the least. Anytime you raise and get a shot at a Marlin, in my eyes, is a good trip.
The next day was Bruce’s turn offshore. The day started off pretty fast. As soon as we pulled back the throttles, we were hooked up with Mahi. Not many but it was a good start to be 5 minutes into fishing and have fish in the box. The next few hours proved to be humbling though as our search for offshore deities was uneventful. As we worked in the area just west of our previous days Blue Marlin encounter, the ocean started to come alive on the surface. Small schools of Skipjack Tuna popped the surface, birds stared working all around the area, and the Flying Fish were abundant. The first nice fish came in just after 1pm in the afternoon. Crashing a lure the big Bull bent the rod with extreme force and after about 50 yards or so of drag screaming came unglued. Eager to get into a few more of these nice Mahi we worked the area very extensively. Within a few minutes of that bite I spotted a Frigate bird circling low on the water, which is usually a great indicator of Dolphin fish. As we chased the bird we could see the schools of Flying Fish being chased out of the water by the big Mahi. Then, all hell breaks loose. First a big Bull weighing 40 pounds crushes the short rigger, then another the same size crashes the center rigger. Two more big Mahi come in from the other side and come into the spread but do not eat. Now we have multiple big Dolphin on at one time, with just Cory and Bruce and still more fish behind the boat. Within a minute or so unfortunately we pull the hook on Cory’s fish. As Bruce settles into the battle Cory pitches a live bait to another big Mahi behind the boat and is immediately hooked up again. Diligently working the majestic fish, Bruce gets the better of the Bull and into the box he goes. Once the fish are on ice we set forth again with the same intentions. Not long after we are hooked up again with another big Dolphin. This time it is a big Cow and within a short time she meets the icy Bull who was just chilling out in the ice box waiting for some more company.
Now with our heads held high and our chests stuck out we keep on our same path. Having listened to the marine radio there were very few boats this day that had any luck. The general consensus was that fishing all around was extremely slow, so we felt very fortunate to have been into some great action. This is when it gets REAL! Having worked in the area west of yesterdays marlin siting, we continued along the current edge towards that spot when the short rigger again is crushed. This time there was no siting, no inclination of a bite. Just line screaming off the reel at impressive speed. 100 yard, 200 yards, 300 yards and not showing any signs of slowing down. In less that 30 seconds the Penn 50 wide was almost empty of line. Now with the boat in full reverse we worked as hard as possible just to get a few yards back. Normally in this situation the captain will “J hook” the boat and run back towards the fish in parallel to try and gain back some line. I did not have this luxury as there was barely enough time to pull back the throttle. After the initial run we were able to get a small amount of line back on the spool and luckily keep the fish from making another screaming run. Back and forth these two went at it for quite some time. Not having seen the fish we suspected a nice Blue Marlin, but when offshore you never know what you have at the end of the line. Twenty five, maybe thirty minutes go by and we finally get a glimpse of the beauty as it comes airborne a few times 100 or so yards from the boat before diving again and going back deep. Short of strength by now Bruce had just enough left in him to work the beast close to the boat. Once the leader hit the tip of the rod we were able to breathe easy and Cory took a wrap on the leader. Healthy and full of color we wasted no time in getting back our hook set and reviving the fish for a great release. What a great fish, and a great day…
What Is This? Groundhog Day?
Now after some good libations and a good nights rest, Bruce again is at the dock in the morning ready to go offshore. This time he is accompanied by his friend Jeff and they are on the Mr. Z. The conditions were pretty much identical from the day before, as was the fishing. Not long after putting baits in the water the twosome was hooked up to a pair of big Mahi. Once again putting the arms to work the fish were brought within gaff’s reach and an icy box. Then just as the day before the rigger screams off line. “Blue Marlin On!” as the fish greyhounds out of the water away from the boat. Having arms of jello from his previous battles, Bruce takes a break for this one and Jeff is the man in the chair. Over two hours pass as the crew works on the fish. Staying deep for the majority of the fight, this Marlin in particular did not want to give up. By now, Jeff is wiped out and so is the fish. Finally the crew is able to see the Blue Marlin and Steve grabs ahold of the leader. What a day for Bruce and Jeff. Almost the exact catch from the day before. Awesome!! Two days in a row with two different boats and almost identical outcomes. I would say that is luck if I have ever heard of any.