10/11 Lower Keys big bait bridle testing

As there seems to be swarms of little Bonita from the edge of the reef to the wrecks and I am assuming beyond, I figured just like the big fish following the pilchard schools around, there should be some really big fishies chasing all the Bonita. I prepped some bridle rigs the night before, kevlar cord from my assist hook set-ups, 7/0 circle hooks, and a bait needle made from some thick wire.

The plan was to head southwest out to the reef, drop lines just outside the reef and hopefully pick up a Bonita right off the bat and then rig it up and slow troll it out to 300'. From there head east using the wind and tide to push me along. That would give me about three miles of drift before I ran into the Kendrick wreck. There I could see what kind of activity was going on as well as being a guaranteed place to pick up a fresh bait before trolling back to the reef and back to the launch.

Reality, it was pretty rocky all the way out. Made it out to the reef and dropped lines and headed out. Unfortunately, unlike my last few trips where I couldn't get a hundred feet outside of the reef before catching a Bonita, I made it out to 225' before I had a take down. It was a bit heavier than I wanted and when I got it close I was surprised to see the dark back. Surprise, surprise the Blackfins were back. Got it to the side of the yak thoroughly played out and tailed it. At that point, I was thinking about the sashimi, the pan seared steaks, an in your face text to me buddy, and good post fodder. I got the trebles out without inflicting any self injury, and readied to pinch the gills to bleed it out. As I held it up in my left hand, I started to get my thumb and forefinger into its gills when it decided to use it's vibrator reserves to start shaking. As it slipped out of my hand, and slid off my leg I snatched out with my right hand and grabbed a fistful of water. Sh#t.

For the umpteenth time in my fishing career I scolded myself for not paying attention to what I was doing, while trolling for nothing out to 300' and then 3 miles west. A lot of time to think.

Fortunately, Kendrick was stacked with bait and fish. The fishfinder was lit up from the top of the wreck at 250' to 100'. I could look down and see schools of Jacks roaming just below. I spent an hour pulling Almaco's off the bottom, and half a dozen Bonitos mid-column. Spent about an hour drifting a rigged Bonita for nothing, but with so much activity it was probably not going to stick out very much. I was happy with the testing though as I never got sharked on any of the fish I pulled up. Another thing is that the current dropped considerably. Waaay more manageable. I could actually stay fairly vertical and hit bottom. Plus no sharks.

Trolled my way back to the reef and at 243' got a solid take down which turned out to be my redemption. Thought it was a muscled Bonito but saw the black back and was stoked. This time all finishing prep work was done while pressed under both my legs and two hands transporting to the cooler.

Got home, had a great dinner, mocked my buddy, and wrote a post. Good day.
Youtube - KEY WEST KAYAK FISHING https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkGY6yxE8kogYHKXisMhA2w
All About The Bait Store - http://www.allaboutthebait.com/

Replies

  • wellcraftwellcraft Posts: 1,333 Officer
    good job catching dinner!
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  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,751 Captain
    Nice report, good pics & well plated.
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • piner_wahoopiner_wahoo Posts: 3,563 Captain
    nice
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  • jakedgejakedge Posts: 1,303 Officer
    Well done!
  • kayakerinkeywestkayakerinkeywest Posts: 489 Deckhand
    10/14. Made a second attempt today to try and do some live bait drifting. Ran out to the edge of the reef and dropped lines. Picked up a Blackfin at 240'. Hit the Kendrick and did five drifts. Ended up with one cut off. No Bonito at all. ****. Decided to try a deeper wreck at 400'. While heading to the Saufley, I spotted some birds so kept on running out to 500 and chased them down. There was a little surface activity but very sparse. Still though, each time I ran through an area where I had seen some action I hooked up. I guess it was a school of Skip Jack Tuna as I ended up catching and releasing six of them. Good fun but not the bait that I wanted. Got back to the wreck and first drop got tagged twice by something too big. You can kind of tell right off the bat with some fish that your going to lose. It ended up either straight up breaking my braid or something cut me off as I was pretty far off the bottom after the second hit. After re-rigging I did a drop and my lure stopped at 100'. Love it when they get hit on the way down. It takes a bit for the brain to connect on why the line has stopped coming out when you are not even close to the bottom. It turned out to be another nice blackfin. It was getting late and I wouldn't have much time to drift a Bonito anyways so cruised on back. Water was nice, not mirror like, but way manageable. Another good day on the water. I'll keep trying for the elusive Bonito and hopefully get on to something with it.
    Youtube - KEY WEST KAYAK FISHING https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkGY6yxE8kogYHKXisMhA2w
    All About The Bait Store - http://www.allaboutthebait.com/
  • NorthernNorthern Posts: 875 Officer
    Great reports. Really enjoy the pictures, details and insight.

    You have a lot going on out there..... especially for using a kayak as your fishing platform.
  • Bill WelderBill Welder Posts: 92 Greenhorn
    Kayakerinkeywest,
    We came by you Tuesday when you were around 300'. We picked up 4 blackfin starting about 400' and then ran to the other side of the ups and downs. We headed back with all the frigates at 450'. The fish were still there. We lost a big blackfin to a wahoo. We saw you and moved east.
    I have to say I have never seen anyone in a kayak chasing tuna in 450'. :hairraiser I would venture a guess that you are a much younger man than me.
    www.CaptainBill.net
    Island Charters
    "Key West...Where the weird turn pro"
  • kayakerinkeywestkayakerinkeywest Posts: 489 Deckhand
    Kayakerinkeywest,
    We came by you Tuesday when you were around 300'. We picked up 4 blackfin starting about 400' and then ran to the other side of the ups and downs. We headed back with all the frigates at 450'. The fish were still there. We lost a big blackfin to a wahoo. We saw you and moved east.
    I have to say I have never seen anyone in a kayak chasing tuna in 450'. :hairraiser I would venture a guess that you are a much younger man than me.

    Hey Capt Bill. Nice having company out there. I just got into a school of Skipjacks and Blackfin on the wreck. I knew that Wahoo would be out there. That was my primary target. I just wasn't able to catch a Bonito to save my life. I guess next time a Tuna sacrifice will have to be made.

    I get quite a few drive byes while out there. A lot of the big charter boats swing by to take a look on their way back into Key West. I think I get mistaken for a Cuban refugee boat or possibly a Dolphin holding debris pile.
    Youtube - KEY WEST KAYAK FISHING https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkGY6yxE8kogYHKXisMhA2w
    All About The Bait Store - http://www.allaboutthebait.com/
  • kayakerinkeywestkayakerinkeywest Posts: 489 Deckhand
    10/14 Had some friends that wanted some Tuna so hopped in their boat (my kayak gets a bit tight with more that just me), and headed out of Key West. Water was like a lake with no breeze. Made the run out to my fishing grounds and did a bit of trolling on the way. Picked up a couple of Bonito but with the water so clear and calm didn't expect much. Made a couple of passes at the wreck at 300' but just got sharked so we decided to head out to the Saufley. Just as we arrived we picked up a Blackfin on the troll. Jigging resulted in a few lost jigs to unstoppable beasts more Bonito and a nice Blackfin. We left with some sore arms and some nice meat in the cooler. They were pretty happy and I was stoked to be able to get them on some fish. Looks like deeper the better. Too bad the wind is going to go to crap for the next week plus. Oh well, inshore/flats we go.
    Youtube - KEY WEST KAYAK FISHING https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkGY6yxE8kogYHKXisMhA2w
    All About The Bait Store - http://www.allaboutthebait.com/
  • davidgiddavidgid Posts: 250 Deckhand
    man nice reports, thanks for sharing!
  • woodytoowoodytoo Posts: 296 Deckhand
    Fun reports to read for sure! Nice job out there!
    Bo G.
    Woody Too, Parker 2520XL
    Lil Woody, Carolina Skiff JVX16
    St Pete and Big Pine Key, Fl
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