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52 lb bull: Bare Necessities/St Augustine offshore Saturday 5/14

I still consider myself a Big Bender on these forums so I hope it’s OK to share a family trip with you all even though it’s from Florida’s First Coast (NE FL). A number of you have watched my kids grow up doing outdoor adventures out the Big Bend area so I thought you all might like this story & the photos……I always like to tell a story with photos so here goes another one…….
I’d note that this is a good example of “even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while” ………….. we have no clue what we’re doing……..

With the whole family aboard our 24 foot Whaler, the Bare Necessities, we left the dock 45 minutes later than I had hoped for.

Running the “Ditch” to St Augy (Palm Valley)

Clearing the inlet it seemed that NOAA missed the forecast as it was a tad bumpy heading out but at least it was a following sea from the northwest. About 50 miles offshore and in 160 feet we stopped & started trolling east towards the Ledge (two people on the radio said they had flying fish at 160 ft but we didn’t find any). On the VHF a buddy said they went 1 for 2 on sailfish in 800 feet and that they had a gaffer too so we headed east to 860 feet but drew a blank. In 600 feet we did come across a small amount of weed beginning to form up a poor weedline but didn’t pick up anything. With nothing going on we headed back west towards 140 feet where a few people stated they had caught some dolphin & blackfin tuna. On board things are going slow and it took till 12:30 pm for our first knockdown (ouch!!) ….. At the Ledge in 180 feet the starboard flatline gets hit but comes off followed by a hit on the port flatline which pulled drag but came off too. Looking back you could see the head of the dolphin trying to inhale the lure. Casey drops the lure back and we watched him eat it. Once the line came tight it was some very cool jumps by a very very LARGE dolphin!!!!

Fortunately no one was in Casey’s way when this rod went off……………

One of many jumps

Coming in but not gonna hang around long ………..


Not liking the boat…….and exiting the scene

Coming back for another try



After a 20 – 25 minute fight it was pretty whooped when it hit the deck

A fish of a life time!!


Having saved the spot where the strike happened we got lines back out and went back to the area and had a second knockdown. This time it was Kaitlyn’s turn and her phin went 19 lbs at the dock with Casey at the gaff.

Kaitlyn phin

Twenty minutes after leaving that spot we spotted a mylar ballon and turned towards it and had a strike on the propwash lure. I initially thought it was a wahoo but the run was short and we saw it was another dolphin. This time it was the wifer’s turn. Kaitlyn wanted to try her hand at gaffing and with this phin attached by strong hooks on the “Bonito” plug this was the fish for her to try her gaffing skills (probably wasn’t gonna come off). So Kaitlyn got a quick tutorial from Casey about how to & where to gaff.

Everyone is ready

A great gaff shot on her first attempt!!
I have to say she looked like she had done this many times before!

Pat’s phin

We spent another hour on the troll but didn’t have any other knockdowns except for a tiny cuda.


Running in it flattend out with the now southerly wind and it was a pretty easy run in. Casey wanted to put this dolphin up on the JOSFC Blue Water Board so we headed over to Camachee Cove to use their scale to get a weight.

At the Camachee Cove scale it went 52 lbs even (with the tail still on the ground).

As my kids have grown older we’ve been very blessed & fortunate to have enjoyed a TON of fun family outdoor adventures and this will be another one that will never be forgotten!!
A fish of a lifetime!!


Hoo Yah!!


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