As many of the population of the Northern United States, wait, I mean the Northern Hemisphere, is hunkering down through cold winter days, the Florida Keys has been quite consistently warm throughout this winter. Steady temperatures in the mid to high 70’s have kept tourists coming and the fish biting. This warmth has also kept some other normally short term visitors to the Keys from leaving; the Mahi-Mahi. Generally the Mahi you tend to see in Keys waters in the fall and winter are here for only a brief period as they migrate south during this time of year in search of warmer surroundings. Consistent water temperatures of 75 to 78 degrees and an abundance of food, such as Flying Fish and Ballyhoo, have kept the Mahi moving through Keys waters for months. Now not everyday are a bunch of Mahi caught like in the summer months, but some very respectable Bulls and Cows have been brought in by Keys anglers, along with some nice school fish and gaffer size Dolphin as well. Which brings us to our main fish tale.
Two Years in a Row
If you recall, on January 2, 2014, the Outer Limits chartered by Allan and Tatiana, from Moscow, got a huge surprise as Allan bested a 42 pound Bull Dolphin (What A Great Way To Start Off The New Year – 2014 And Things To Come). This was an amazing start to an awesome year for Outer Limits Sportfishing and its clients in 2014. Now, we fast forward exactly one year to the day, only a different group of clients, but another amazing trip nonetheless.
January 2, 2015, the Clements family from the Indianapolis, Indiana area set oiut on the Outer Limits for some killer offshore fishing. 78 degree temperatures and almost identical water temps, combined with breezy SE winds had the crew heading south looking for the edge of the Gulfstream current. We were 18 miles from Key West, and after a few hours of trolling with barely a nibble I was beginning to contemplate “plan B” and start heading north to shallower waters. While glassing the seas with some of the best binoculars money can buy, I caught a glimpse of it, the “yellow brick road” as many fishermen so like to call it. A massive weed line made of Sargasso and debris, streched for miles and miles as far east and west as the eye could see. As we approached the line i could see all the signs of a fish haven. Tons of bait fish could be seen along with birds, such as Frigates, Gulls, and Terns up and down the line. No sooner than making an easterly turn on the north side of the line and we were hooked almost immediately with 2 Dolphin. As we worked the line, we were consistently hooked up with Mahi every couple hundred yards or so as we released a number of smaller fish and kept a few more. As the day progressed and the box filled up, we passed by a floating crate that held a number of bait fish, and we were blessed with a few Wahoo as well. I decided to make a another pass by the crate only this time from the other side of the line and the flat line got crushed immediately by a big Mahi, then the rigger went down as well. As the line came tight on the rigger the fish on the flat pulled the hook and we were left with just the one, the right one! The line peeled out as a huge Bull came airborne next to the weed line. Ashley climbed in the chair and the fight was on. For more than 30 minutes this fish tested Ashley as well myself, as the Bull jumped back and forth across the weed patches, getting massive clumps of Sargasso on the line. If you have ever been in this position you know how tense it is and how easy it is for a big fish to shake the hook in the grass. This large amount of grass on the line creates unwanted drag and abrasion from small crustaceans on the line, making the potential for breakage very high. Not the case toady though, as the stars were aligned for Ashley and the Outer Limits, and after a tough battle Cory finished the job with a great gaff shot. High fives all around and we headed to the dock. Once offloaded the Bull was put on the scale; 40 pounds!
What a great fish for Ashley and a great day for the Clements family. Not to mention another big 40 pound Bull for the Outer Limits on January 2nd to start the new year! 2015 is going to be another great one, come down and make it special with the Outer Limits.
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