On a recent charter aboard the Outer Limits, one lucky angler had an awesome morning. Jen, from the Philly area, along with her husband and their friends were looking to target Sailfish. The conditions have been conducive for Sailfish fishing, however the water quality to procure Live Bait for us has not. At the beginning of almost every trip during the winter months, we try to catch live bait such as Pilchards, Threadfin Herring, and Ballyhoo. When these baits are unavailable, we switch gears and troll dead bait. Ballyhoo, trolled naturally, and at the right speed can can almost mimmic their live brethren.
Our trip started out with some Bonito bites almost right away. Then, all at once, three lines come out of the rigger clips, all with a Sailfish on them. Jen who jumps in the chair with the first fish, happens to be the only one to catch one as the other two went away. With almost perfect technique she battled the billfish into submission, and once boat side, a healthy release was made to the majestic fish. For years, it was common for fishermen to pull billfish out of the water for photographs, but I have seen too many people who have damaged fish over the years with improper handling, so now, our fish are never hoisted completely into the boat. As the fish swam away, high fives all around, and the spread of baits were deployed into the water again.
As another hour ticked by, the crew was interrupted by a handful more Bonitos and a few Mackerel. Nearing a sunken wreck, the down rigger bait bends down and screams out drag. This now being Jen’s turn again, she jumps in the chair and begins working on the reel. Slightly different from her first Sailfish, this fight was acting more like a Wahoo, staying below the surface. As the fish neared, and having never jumped, like Sailfish love to do, we suspected a Wahoo, but to our surprise up swam a Sailfish. This fish was hooked in the very front of the bottom jaw, which we have seen identical fights from Sailfish hooked this way in the past. Another healthy release and our lucky angler has not just her first ever Sailfish, but also her second. As the boat was tied up in the slip, Jen told everyone that she felt bad for the rest of the group for them not getting to land a Sailfish, but actually she wasn’t because when she goes fishing back home she never catches anything. Well today, you are top hook girl!