Pompano Beach Offshore 19 January 2017
In 110ft of water there were lots of schools of bait both on the surface feeding, and on the fish finder. I managed to catch a hog leg Speedo and all the baby Little Tunny I wanted for bait. First baits out were the live Speedo and a Little Tunny. About that time, I was annoyed by my cell phone that had been ringing on and off for about 25 minutes. I have lost two cell phones on account of water damage while kayak fishing, so even though mine is allegedly waterproof, I don’t like to take it out of the waterproof container unless it is an emergency. A fellow kayaker called to request a fish photograph. At the same time the Speedo bait was eaten by a Barracuda. So I landed the Cuda and photographed Florida Sportsmen angler Cannible’s trophy Wahoo that was taken on a live Goggle-Eye.
After the photos, I was inspired to use one of my a live Goggle-Eye bait. About 30 minutes later, the rod with the live Little Tunny was struck, and I landed another slightly bigger Barracuda.
About 45 minutes after the live Goggle-Eye was struck by a fish that took a long ripping run high on the water. It felt like a large tailhooked fish. The fish had struck my 25lb outfit, and was smoking Sth pulling drag with the current. About 30 minutes later I was in leader range of a weird looking Billfish. The color looked slightly darker, and the head looked funny for it to be a sailfish, but it was staying too deep to tell for sure. Suddenly I noticed a barracuda trailing the billfish. I backed the drag off so the billfish could get away. Then somehow the Cuda got tangled on my line. When I increased the drag, the line was leading to the Barracuda on it’s side, while the billfish was on the other side of the kayak. For awhile I wondered if maybe the cuda had somehow spit the bait out it’s gill and then the Billfish ate it ? I reeled up a bunch of heavily frayed line, and eventually the Barracuda disappeared. As the fight continued, I became more convinced that the Billfish which never jumped was a tail wrapped sailfish with a missing bill. Broken bill sailfish are common, but this one looked like a spearfish.
This fish was determined to stay clear of the kayak. There were multiple brief leader touches, but because of the bill in hand required for credit in the local online kayak tournament, I resisted the temptation to tighten down the drag for risk I would break the fish off on the worn and chaffed line.
The fight wore on for 3 hours with the fish's last push being a strong run straight down to the bottom in 400ft of water. After that, It was a steady wind up to the kayak. The fish had grey mud covering it’s beak, one eye and part of it’s side from where it hit the bottom.
It did not show a spark of life when I removed the stinger rig that was lassoed around it’s tail.
The fish felt stone dead until I grabbed it’s lower jaw, and it chomped down on my hand. The bite did not hurt, and it was a relief to know that I had a shot at reviving this fish.
Normally I would hold the bill while peddling to revive the sailfish, but this poor bill-less sailfish had to held by the jaw during the reviving process.
I peddled along dragging the fish for 15 minutes, and it’s color came back and it started to make some sweeps with it’s tail on it’s own.
While attempting to flip the fish upright, it slipped out of my hands. Initially swimming upright, then flipping upside down, and floating to the surface. I tried to recover the sail for more reviving, but it swam away and eventually swam out of range deep.
It took 2 hours against a Nth current to peddle back to the original fishing area that afternoon. I trolled the live gogs around the same areas of catches in the morning for no bites. I tried one last attempt deep vertical jigging for zilch. After that I was beat from fighting the current so I called it a day and headed in. After relaying the sailfish incident to the online kayak tournament, they have agreed to allow a leader touch to count for credit on future sailfish catches. All my fish were released.