Sunday, May 28, 2017

Keys Fishing With Sam - 200th Fish

This was an awesome weekend of fishing on Duck Key with my friend Sam. We got there right after school on Friday and left Sunday afternoon. We fished on their boat, the Rodfather, and we fished on Friday and Saturday. You can follow Sam on Instagram @SBN1266. This weekend was very memorable and special.

Day 1-Saturday:
We woke up at 6:30 a.m. to get ready for fishing. Once we were set with our supplies and sun protection and water, we set out near the Alligator Reef Lighthouse to fish for blue runners and snapper with Sam’s father, Rob, an experienced fisherman, Dave, and Sam’s sister Marielle. Dave helped a lot during the day. You can follow him on Instagram @munstersfishing.
The water was extremely flat and clear. We could easily see the bottom of the water, which was 50 feet down. We put out the snapper chum and waited. There was no weight on the line, so Dave told me to jerk the rod up and down with the bail open to have the live shrimp sink. I left the bail open and waited for the Mangrove Snapper to take the bait. When it did, the line peeled off the reel. I then locked the bail, reeled in, and hooked the fish. I used this method to catch many of the fish I caught this trip. The Mangrove Snapper fought hard, and I brought it in. I did this again with a new shrimp. I locked the bail and set the hook, and reeled it in. I caught another Mangrove Snapper! Next, I dropped a live bait, hooked in the back, down 20 feet. A blue runner took the bait! I reeled in and caught it! Meanwhile, Marielle caught a blue runner and a snapper. After this, we went in and dropped Marielle off. We were going to fish for Mahi Mahis.
At the dock, I used some of the live shrimp to fish. Because it was high tide, lots of fish were there. A big school of Dog Snapper and Schoolmasters would come up and take the bait once I put it in the water. I caught four consecutively by dropping the shrimp in the water, keeping the bail unlocked, waiting for the fish to take it, then locking it and reeling hard. Sometimes, I would reel in too fast or the fish would not be hooked yet. After those fish, I had caught 198 fish in my life. I was ready for the Dolphinfish.
The fish has three main names. Mahi-Mahi is its name in a hawaiian language. Dorado is its name in Spanish. Dolphin, or Dolphinfish most likely came about because of the fish's early scientific classification in the genus dolfyn. It is called Mahi-Mahi or Dorado on the West Coast in Southern California and Mexico, but it is widely referred to Mahi-Mahi or Dolphinfish on the East Coast. They have vibrant colors such as yellow, green, and blue. They are normally found near weedlines  or long strips of sargassum in the ocean. They are great eating and a famous gamefish.
After about 10 minutes of searching for weedlines, we finally found a good one! We set out trolling lines and cast out a jig to catch any potential Dolphinfish. Sure enough a Mahi took the jig with a big jump. Fish on! I fought hard and brought it into the boat. I caught it! Right after, we saw a Mahi Mahi swimming under the weedline near the boat. Sam cast out the jig on the spinning reel and enticed the fish. It took the jig and he set the hook. He reeled in and he had caught it! 2 fish so far. We kept on going along the weedline, and one of the trolling rods bent and the line peeled out. I was one fish away from my 200th fish. I took the rod and reeled in. I stopped reeling in when it jumped, because it would make it easier for the fish to throw the hook out. Mahi Mahis are smart fish. I reeled it up and brought it in. My 200th fish is a Mahi Mahi! Next, Sam caught another Dolphinfish. We set off to a new spot after this because the fish weren’t as big as we hoped. Other boats had caught the bulls, or the big males with a square/rectangle-shaped head.
Fishing was very slow for the next few hours. We tried  are different spots, but we had no result. One time, there was a flock of birds that were diving and eating baitfish. This means that big gamefish were probably chasing the baitfish from the bottom of the school, too. The bait ball and the birds were moving so fast, it would have been really hard to catch the fish. Because they were moving so fast, it was probably Skipjack Tuna that were eating the baitfish. After about 5 hours, we decided to try to deep drop. Deep dropping is using an electric reel to drop bait 700 feet down. We wanted to catch big Groupers and Snappers. The bait would be whole squid on multiple hooks on a rig with 3 way swivels. We deep dropped right next to the hump, an underwater limestone mountain where lots of gamefish can be found. Normally it is crowded on a weekend. Just as we were about to deep drop, A school of Mahi Mahi swam near the boat.
We immediately baited our spinning rods with squid. The water was so clear that we could see Dolphinfish 15-25 feet away. Sam, Dave, and I cast out our lines and kept the bail open. We could see the Mahis take the bait. When I saw one take my bait, I flipped the bail, reeled in, and set the hook hard. Fish on! I reeled in and brought it up. I caught another Mahi! It was my first Bull Mahi! Right after, I picked up another rod and set the hook. I caught it! I ended up catching 3 more Mahis there. Sam caught 4 Mahis there and even Rob got to reel one in when Sam and I were busy with our fish. One time, I hooked a bull and I was about to bring it up but because I gave it too much slack the fish got off the hook. We tried deep dropping when the school of Mahi went away, but nothing took the bait. We decided to call it a day offshore by then, and we drove in.
After washing the boat, Sam and I used live shrimp to fish off the dock. It was low tide, but we still caught many Dog Snappers and Schoolmasters. Two of the fish I caught were Irish Pompanos! I caught 12 of them off the dock, and Sam caught 3.
I ended the day catching 26 fish in total, only 3 less than my record for most fish in a day. My record is 29 at Pier 60 in Clearwater, Fl. This was an extremely fun day, but the weekend was not over.

Day 2-Sunday:
We woke up at 6:30 a.m. again so we could set out fishing early. We found a weedline but it only got our lines tangled in sargassum. We decided to go to the lighthouse to fish the clear water and patch reefs for Mutton Snapper and whatever else would bite. On the way in, we saw a jumping Sailfish! This is a fish on my bucket list, and we might have tried to catch it if we only had live bait. I will catch it one day.
We arrived at the reef. Right under the boat, there were Filefish waiting to steal our squid. I tried to bring it away from them, but I reeled in to late. I hooked the filefish. It didn’t fight hard, but it was surprisingly heavy. It had many teeth. It wasn’t the fish we were hoping to catch, but a fish is a fish! We had nibbles, but they started to go away. We saw other boats coming in, too. It wasn’t a great day for fishing.
I fished at the dock, too. I caught a pinfish, but that’s it. I saw the fish, but they didn’t bite. It just wasn’t a great day for fishing. I ended the trip with a total of 219 fish caught in my life.
On the way back, we fed the Tarpon at Robbie’s near Islamorada. It was awesome. So many big Tarpon were waiting there for the fish. I ate a hogfish sandwich there, too. It was great!. On Friday, the day we arrived at Duck key, we ate at Angler and Ale. The fish taco was amazing!

I had an incredible time catching fish this weekend and I hope to come down to the keys again. Stay Tuned and Tight Lines!

No comments:

Post a Comment