By Captain Jay
Wow! What a great start to February we have had. I’m talking nothing short of amazing!!. The Weather has been just awesome, and the fishing has as well. This truly is the perfect time of year to come to Key West. Sunny, with highs in the upper 70’s!! What more advice do you need. Picture this. You sitting on the back deck of a beautiful sport fishing boat, enjoying the sun, the light breeze, and the sounds of the ocean with not a worry in sight, when all of a sudden, “FISH ON!!” That monster Wahoo grabs the bait and screams the drag. You jump in the fighting chair and begin the task of fighting the beast. Like tug-o-war, back and forth you go un tip finally you begin to have the upper hand. Now, your arms are beginning to get tired, yet the prize is so close. The mate diligently works from one side of the boat to the other ready with the gaff. Then just as you think you cannot crank the reel one more time, he sinks the cold hard steel of the gaff into the fish, grunting as he lifts the beast over the gunwale. Later as you relish in the glory, you enjoy the fruits of your labor as the delicious bounty is prepared and served exactly to your liking. Yes, this can happen, and this most certainly should be happening to YOU! If not, you are seriously missing out on a trip of a lifetime.
Take this for example. On February 7th, John Olesh along with a group of friends from my hometown of Englewood, FL went out for a 3/4 day with Mr.Z Sportfishing. The weather could not have been any nicer. 1 to 2 foot seas mixed with a high of 80 degrees and abundant sunshine made for perfect boating conditions. The fishing however started off very slow. Working offshore on some scattered weed lines proved to be uneventful. Deciding to try back in a bit shallower, the crew got exactly what they were looking for. All at once numerous rods doubled over screaming line. First the deep bait, then the rigger, then the bridge rod. Now for the craziness. First fish comes in; big Wahoo. Then the next fish; another big Wahoo. Now the last fish to the boat, “No Way!” a White Marlin!!. Two Wahoo and a White Marlin all at the same time! Now thats awesome!! Then adding another big Wahoo to the cooler, this crew had a superb day for sure!
Husband and wife; Ed and Lori from Chicago got to experience some fun and exciting fishing themselves last week as well. Being no stranger to fishing in Key West, Ed has fished down here twice a year for almost 2 decades. Yet his wife Lori has not had as many opportunities as he. The goal was however to catch Lori her first Sailfish. Outer Limits Sportfishing was up for the task. We headed out to the reef first to try and catch some live bait. With 3 throws of the 12ft cast net the live wells were blacked out with some of the prettiest Ballyhoo that a fisherman could ask for. Having heard of a few Sailfish that have been pushing bait along the reef edge I worked the boat to the west along the drop. Not 200 yards ahead I noticed some Ballyhoo being driven to the surface. “Sailfish,” I yelled. With a quick pitch the bait was atop the fish and got its attention. A few swipes at the bait and this Sailfish took the bait and started jumping. After only a few seconds though the Sailfish was off the line and we were on the move again chasing the massive school of Ballyhoo, which now was numbering in the thousands. Two more baits were let out behind the boat and another Sailfish appeared. This fish however was very hungry and instantly Lori was hooked up to her first Sailfish. Screaming drag persisted as the Sailfish did its best to spool the 20lb spinning gear, jumping and tail walking away from the boat. Relentlessly Lori worked the Sailfish over and finally with a little help from the boat Lori’s first Sailfish was leadered and next to the boat. The fish was promptly released and after a round of high fives the baits were once again set back out. Not but a few minutes later Ed was hooked up himself with a Sailfish. Just like the first this fish worked all it had to try escaping before finally again succumbing to the leader and was released healthy and swimming. Along with the Sailfish bites the tandem continued to crank in bent rods. Cero Mackerels, Barracuda, and Snapper kept them both busy winding in fish. We spotted even more Sailfish again and again pitching baits to them but with little luck as most of these fish had blinders on. Many times as a Sailfish chases a school of bait they get so in tuned to the school they rarely get excited about your single bait landing near them. After three or four turn downs we found another who was willing to tussle. Lori again had the luck as the biggest Sailfish of the day grabbed hold of her bait and gave her the full experience. Screaming off line quicker than she could reel, we had to back down on this fish with a bit of speed before the 7 1/2 foot Sailfish spooled her reel. Wave after wave came crashing over the stern as we finally got some line back on the spool and the fish calmed down. Another 20 minutes of sheer excitement followed as Lori worked this fish over like a pro. Now with leader in hand we bid this grand competitor a thankful farewell and the fish was released. What a day. Not only did Lori catch her first Sailfish, but TWO! Add getting a chance to pitch at 5 others and numerous other bites throughout the day and I call that a great trip.
The blue water is in very close to the reef right now bringing with it some fine catching. Sailfish, Wahoo, Blackfin Tuna, Kingfish, and even a few decent Mahi have been the main attraction. With this closeness also means a very short running time. 30 minutes to the fishing grounds is pretty nice. So get down here and come let us show you what great fishing is all about.