By Captain Jay Miller,
Well folks what a long time since our last blog. the time screams by when so much is happening. Now, lets get to the nitty gritty. As far as July was concerned the fishing was hit or miss at best. Some days we were doing very well with Mahi-Mahi, a few Wahoo, and the occasional Billfish, as other days we only found very few bites. Many of these days were primarily smaller fish that either weren’t interested in our baits or weren’t even large enough to bite. These small fish however have brought a good food source for many Billfish such as Blue Marlin, White Marlin and a few Sailfish. The first two weeks of July were not all that great for Billfish throughout the fleet, with one Marlin or sailfish caught every couple days. When I refer to the “fleet” we are talking 30 or more boats fishing offshore every day. This equates to quite a lot of opportunities for Billfish to eat… and very few bites. But then, a change in the dynamics of the moon, and the bite was on.
That Full Moon Bite Again
If you have read any of our prior articles reguarding the full moon and its effects on the Billfish bite not only in the Florida Keys, but all over the world, you will recall that many experts believe these fish are quite a bit more active during the week prior and the week after the height of the moon. The full moon this July was deffinitely a good time for Marlin bites, with the Mr. Z’s neighbor, the Triple Time, striking first. The weekend before the full moon, Captain Joe Mecurio and mate Kyle caught a 75+ pound White Marlin on 30lb. test tackle. The next day, the Mr. Z ups the ante by catching a Blue Marlin on 30lb test. “Lady Luck” proved to be a good thing as angler Christine Cureton battled the beast to the boat, and mate Steve successfully released the fish healthy and swimming. Then, on the very next day, which is now Tuesday, the Mr. Z adds another Blue Marlin release as angler Melissa Putnam released another healthy fish during the annual Bondi-Putnam RPOF fishing tournament. Now, on Wednesday the tide turned to the Outer Limits, and angler Rob Mills battled a 200lb Blue Marlin for 45 minutes as mate Cory leadered the majestic fish boatside for some great photos. Another healthy release as the fish swam away to hopefully give another eager angler the same oppertunity as Rob. What a start to the full moon!!
Coincidentally the full moon fell on the day after the annual Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament. This three day event is held every year in the third week of July and also coinsides with the annual Heminway Days, a celebration of the the life and works of the author Ernest Hemingway. This week is a very busy week in Key West. Many people come down for many of the daily activities suurounding the Hemingway Days as well as many avid anglers who are vying for the title of most Marlin releases, as well as trophies for largest Dolphin, Wahoo, and Tuna. Most years the tourney boasts as many as 75 boats, yet the ecomomy has been tough on the tournament schedule and many anglers cannot afford to compete as they did in past years. This year 31 boats competed in the tournament. Many were local boats with some travelling from as far as North Carolina, and Texas.
Thursday started the touney for both the Mr.Z and the Outer Limits. The Mr.Z just like years past was once again one of the sponsor boats for Bacardi, which distributes Drambuie, the tourney’s major sponsor. The event was not one of predicted hopes as very few Billfish were released. The first day was met with a bit of disappointment and bad weather as only one Marlin was released. Day two was not much better as only 1 Marlin and 2 Sailfish were released with a few other fish lost to pulled hooks. Day three was money for the Mr. Z. At 10:30am a Blue Marlin crushed an Aloha Lures “Mongo”. Angler Troy Anderson took control of the rod and fought the fish with perfection. Mate Steve put the final touch on the leader and the crew got the release on video. High fives all around as this fish moved the Mr.Z into 3rd place with only a few hours left to go. Two other Marlin were caught after the Mr.Z ‘s release, which left 4 boats in a tie for second. The tie breaker goes to whoever catches the fish first, second, and so on. This secured the Mr.Z in 3rd place. Captain Curly McGinn and mate Steve Liberatore stood tall at the awards ceremony as the two received their beautiful trophy. What a week for the Mr.Z as they released three blue marlin in 5 days!
Not Done Yet
A few days after the Mr.Z’s last marlin, and three days after the full moon, the Outer limits strikes once more with a bang. With Captain Jay Miller out of town, Captain Curly took the helm for the day. Mid day once again the Aloha Lures “Mongo” gets crushed by a Blue Marlin. At an estimated 350 pounds, the predator screamed drag as the Suffix line peeled off the reel with ease. After a hard fought battle, the beast was brought boat side. First mate Cory did his magic on the leader and the fish was released unharmed.
An awesome job done by both boats in July! For a month that is primarily slow when it comes to offshore fishing, these boats have proved to be two of the best sportfishing opperations in Key West.