Sunday, May 7, 2017

Fishing Milestones

I went fishing with Ben, Adam (Ben’s father), and Ben’s grandfather on Adam’s boat. They knew that I had never caught a Mahi Mahi before and they wanted to take me out to catch one.

We went out in the morning to haulover and government cut to try to find some live pilchards. We kept on searching, but nobody there had them, people only were selling herring. We were waiting and seeking, until finally Adam found out that there was someone with pilchards at bear cut, the north part of Key Biscayne. We drove as fast as we can to get to bear cut as fast as possible so we could start fishing.

Bear cut is a very interesting place. There are many interesting mangroves and even a very rare fossilized mangrove reef that are home to many ecosystems and creatures. It is a place full of bait fish like pilchards and would be an amazing place to inshore fish, but we weren’t inshore fishing. We fishing way offshore in 400-900 feet of water for Mahi-Mahi.

Once we got our bait, we went out to the sea to find birds. The birds know where the baitfish are, and where there is baitfish, there’s big fish. We found one and we followed it around. But, the waves were big. The wind was pretty high so it pushed the water and made it almost impossible to fish. It was clear that we had to go back in and wait for the wind to die down. We called the plan a “reset.”

While everyone was getting set to go out again, Ben and I were using live pilchards hooked through the mouth to catch huge jacks that were ambushing baitfish around the pilings of the dock. We dropped one down and were waiting anxiously. I felt the pilchards trying to swim fast, which means it was scared and was being chased by a big hungry jack. The bail was unlocked. When a big jack took the bait, the slack in the line tightened up and you can feel it on the line. We locked the bail and reeled in. As the slack in the line decreased, the rod bent violently. The fish put up a really hard fight. It went around the boat. It was hard to reel in. The jack took line. The fight was thrilling, until I finally brought it up. I caught a huge jack! It was my PB, or personal best-sized jack! it was huge! It swallowed the bait with the hook because we kept the bail off when it ate the pilchard, so we cut the line right next to the mouth to release it. This gave me a good feeling about the reset. We kept on trying for more jacks. We had two more bites, but they cut the line off on the piling.

Time came to go back out on the water. We left out of bakers haulover inlet and looked for birds. The plan of the reset was to wait for the wind to die down, and that is exactly what happened. The waves weren’t rough at all. We were ready to fish! 

We were still looking for birds, but we couldn’t find any. Because we couldn’t find any birds, we went to an area that Adam knew about, and set out trolling lures with rigged ballyhoo. Trolling is putting bait out far in the wake and it imitates fish following the boat. The bait is dragged by the boat. We set out the lines and waited. I was determined to cross Mahi Mahi off of my fishing bucket list.

After a little while of waiting, we finally had a bite. Ben and I reeled in the fish that we had felt was very heavy and tough. Finally, we brought it up to the boat. We caught a Barracuda! I have wanted to catch a Barracuda since I had started to fish! Barracuda are known for being ravenous, apex predators of the sea. They are long and sleek and have teeth so sharp that they sometimes can cut through line when they take the bait. I was tremendously excited for catching this fishing milestone, but Adam and Ben on the other hand, were not. They were disappointed because they were looking forward to a Mahi Mahi, not a Barracuda. Some people think of Barracudas as pesky “bait stealers” because they can mess up gear or be a let down of excitement when fishing for other game fish. We moved on and tried to go for my first MAHI MAHI.

We kept on trying as we kept on trolling. It was becoming a bit frustrating until Ben and his grandfather spotted a Mahi-Mahi jumping. Adam slowed down the boat and made a small turn, and we were all getting ready for the potential fight.

The rod bent and Ben gave me the rod. I reeled in as hard as I could. I was using 30 lb. test line to reel in this incredible fish at 800 feet of water. But of course, this was at the surface of the water because we were trolling. It was a fun fight, and I couldn’t believe it when my first Mahi-Mahi came right up next to the boat. Adam gaffed it and brought it on the boat. I had caught my first Mahi! I could hardly believe it! Mahi-Mahi’s are great eating fish and are found offshore in florida and the eastern Caribbean. They can also be found near San Diego, CA and other places up the Atlantic US coast, but they are most popular in Miami. Mahi-Mahi are very colorful and are also known for their magnificent appearance. This is another catch I will never forget.

We kept on trying, but we caught nothing. To complete the trip, we saw sea turtles on our way back to the dock. This was a really fun trip and I will never forget it. I greatly appreciate everything Ben, his grandfather, and Adam for taking me out and letting me catch my first Barracuda and Mahi-Mahi!

After this trip, I can now cross off “Mahi-Mahi”and “Barracuda” off of my fishing bucket list, two fish that I have wanted to catch my whole life since I heard about them. I look forward to many more trips like this in the future. Stay Tuned! More trips, tips, and tricks coming soon.

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