by Captain Jay
During a recent trip aboard the Outer Limits, Jim Robinson and friend George Koroluck along with their wives had a day they will never forget. Jim, who booked the charter explained that he was not necessarily an avid fisherman, but his buddy George was. As the group stepped on board we decided on a game plan where as we would stay close to the reef edge and look for more “bites” as opposed to looking for big fish. What we got however was BOTH!
The day started off flat calm, I mean glass flat. Variable winds had laid the ocean surface down to not more than a slight ripple which was exactly what they were looking for. With a cold front expected to hit by late afternoon, all of the local fisherman were keeping a keen eye as to when it would be approaching Key West waters. This was no weeny cold front either, 30-35 knot gusts were expected on the leading edge, and with this knowledge obviously nobody wanted to get caught in that. Our hope was to fish for six hours, leaving at 8:00am and return by the mid afternoon in hopes to beat out the front.
The fishing started off somewhat slow for everybody who was fishing that day. The radio chatter was quiet as not much was being caught. As we worked our way to the southwest of Key West 15 miles or so the bites started happening. The down rigger went off first and the catching had begun, a Kingfish was gaffed and thrown into the box. A few minutes later, another, then again another. Add a few Cero Mackerel, and Bonitos to the list and now we were doing just fine. as we approached Cosgrove Shoal light, the Kingfish were chewing the baits off everything. Within just a short time we had our limit of nice Kingfish, which is two per person, in the fish box. Now being that we were right off the reef edge we had decided to work our way up onto the reef to try for some Mutton Snapper, which proved to be a bit tough as the reef was gin clear. Looking down the water was so transparent even the small reef dwellers, such as Porkfish and Grunts, could be seen on the bottom in 40 feet of water from the side of the boat. A few Mackerels and a couple big Barracudas kept the crew busy on the reef for some time. After a nice stretch of reef trolling we headed back to the bluewater yet again to make some time and troll back east with the eastbound current. Having not fished much deeper than 200 feet of water, we worked our way out to the 250-300 foot range and look for a Wahoo or Blackfin Tuna. As we worked our way east I noticed a really good mark of baitfish on the sonar suspended about a 100 feet below the boat. Just then the down rigger rod pops and doubles over. The reel’s drag screams off yards by the second, 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards the fish seamlessly rips off. Finally slowing down, George jumps into the fighting chair and begins working the fish like a pro. Smoothly lifting the rod toward his chest, and cranking the bent rod toward the fish, George was into the fight of a lifetime. Almost 25 minutes passes and the monster is close: a massive Wahoo. Just a few short yards now separate George and this beast. Working with short, smooth pumps he edges the fish within gaff distance and the behemoth is brought on board. The mammoth Wahoo is lifted up and pictures are taken quickly and into the ice chest he goes. A great way to end the trip, and with weather approaching,we head toward home to clean it all up. Once we are back to the dock, we hoist George’s Wahoo on the scale, 53 pounds and 63 inches, what a fish for George, and a great day for the whole group!
Then just as we are cleaning up the boat, the cold front finally approaches with wind gusts close to 40 knots. Looks like we made the right call after all!