I received a phone call from Josh Bailer whose friends were in town. They had but one afternoon available to fish before they had to fly out that same evening. He had 3 days to put this together and wanted to know if we had that day available for him. We did and of course we said sure! I never recommend doing a ½ day because it’s like putting handcuffs on Devon and me. Half days still require the same run time to and fro, and it limits your fishing time to 3 hours or less. We are not clock-watchers but they had a flight to make at 9 PM so we had to be back by 6 PM for sure. We do realize that people often have time constraints and a ½ day is all they have time for. We do our absolute best to accommodate them and make the day successful as well.
Josh and his friends, David and Scott, arrived and we loaded them aboard. We shoved off the dock at 1 PM and headed into the Bay. I stepped on The BEAST and made way for one of our favorite bait stops. The Hardtails were there and willing to play with us. We spent about 20-30 minutes collecting 15-18 baits. That’s plenty! I quickly turned the bow towards the offshore water and spanked those 600 horses into a gallop. I conferred with Josh about going to the Grunt & Sweat wreck to show these Oregonian Salmon fishermen what S. Florida fishing was all about. He agreed.
I arrived at our destination and the seas were fairly calm but the current was moving quickly to the north. Devon readied one of our larger baits and I quickly sent it down. While I monitored that rod Devon sent down one of our new speed jigs. Less than a minute passes and Devon says the bait isn’t dropping, so he flips the bail and it is game on! Scott takes the rod and we know almost instantly that we have a tuna type on the line. A few minutes later and we lift a nice little 5-pound Blackfin into the boat. Sashimi! We ran up and set up for another drift. Where are the big’uns?
We drop again but the current is really moving and we’re having trouble controlling our depths. OK shut this drift down and regroup. Devon put on a much heavier weight as I settled in on our drift point. I lowered the Hardtail and Devon sent a speed jig down. KaPow! The down rod doubles over and Josh grabs hold of it. This fish is no slouch and Josh is struggling. More than a ¼ mile from the wreck and we are finally seeing some color. Holy Guacamole! Look at the size of that Almie! The fish thuds to the deck and we have a beautiful 30-pound Almaco Jack joining the sashimi football in the fish box.
The wind was coming up and the seas were growing. The next trip through the drift line and Bam, the speed jig gets nailed again. C’mon, no Bonito, be another Blackie, Sure enough, David winds in another 5-pound football.
It seems that with every pass we are producing a fish, but not this time. Bam! Boom! We have a double folks. I don’t even remember who caught yet another Blackfin, but I do know that Scott took the bait rod. This was an adult AJ for sure. He fought and fought this fish the suddenly passed the rod off to David. WHAT? David put some fresh muscle into the rod and the fish was moving up. The fish was almost visible when Scott retakes the rod. No way! The fish comes aboard and jerks the scales down to the 42-pound line. For your information… Just before we took the picture of Scott with this fish, Devon and I revoked his man-card!
We made a couple more drifts, missed a fish on the jig and lost a live bait and hook to a toothy critter. The seas were getting larger and the marks on the sonar were disappearing with each drift over the wreck. We decided to make one last drift so we sent down a live bait and had 2 speed jigs going. Bingo! Double on the speed jigs! Lines were crossing, over under, forward backward, and we’re still on. The fish came to the surface at the same time. It was the Blackfin twins, Soy and Wasabi. These fish were the 10-pound brothers of the previous 3. Good job guys!
With about 45 minutes left we decided to end the wreck fishing on a good note and pull some tried and true plastics around for some Mahi. There wasn’t any debris in the water and no birds in sight. As time was running out we had a knock down and hook up. It was a micro Bonito. As we were reeling it in we see some small Mahi chasing behind it. The right rigger went down and the right flat hooked up too. The Dolphin on the rigger line was smallish but when the other fish jumped we knew we had a keeper. Scott had empty hands so he grabbed that line. One more jump and it was gone. The Bonito worked its way loose also but Josh brought the small Dolphin in. We could tell by looking at the fish that he was about ½” short of legal so Devon tossed him back in to grow up.
Now we were running a little bit over on Josh’s time schedule. Devon and I quickly squared away the gear and pushed the throttles down to a fast cruise. We discussed the afternoon‘s action. One thing that impressed us were the vertical jigs we had just gotten from Jesse at Victory Lures. The 3 oz jig was a daisy that afternoon, catching Tuna on almost every drift. In 3 hours or less of fishing we tallied 5 Blackfin, an Almaco Jack, an Amberjack, a Dolphin, and several other good bites. You got to love it when a plan comes together!
When we arrived back at the dock, Devon immediately took the fish to the filet table. He made filets quickly and precisely, wielding his filet knife like Zorro! The trio thanked us and grabbed the bags of Tuna and Almaco Jack, leaving us the Amberjack. Great! No seriously, that’s great!! Tomorrow night I’ll be snacking on my smoked Cajun Spiced Amberjack. I can’t wait. My mouth is watering already!