8/3 – all-day – This morning I fished with James, Robin and their son Jackson. The ocean was slick calm – so slick calm that I had trouble even getting the bait to hit my sabikis!
We started off playing with some huge sharks behind a trawler – cranking up two MASSIVE 7-8ft duskies (est. 75-125lbs). There were so many sharks behind the trawler that we watched several attack (and eventually eat) a floating pepsi can that one of the shrimpers threw in the water.
The morning bite was very, very slow – we managed a handful of sharks, 1 king and a bite-off. It was then that I jigged up some good baits, including a juvenile false albacore that didnt last 3 minutes of trolling before a big stinky pounced on him. Jackson expertly brought the citation fish to the boat (22lbs) for a picture before we released him – man they fight well!!
Frustrated with the slow bite I decided to check out some more live-bottom to hopefully find some kings or a few bottom fish. Half-way to my destination – I found what I was looking for – a big, well-formed weed line! Within five minutes I found a big school of bailers under a big patch of grass and we started bailing the 2-3lb fish like crazy. After we had a few in the boat, a nice pair of gaffers showed up – as scrambled to put a live-bait out, James and Jackson are such talented anglers that they had both the fish hooked up on 10lb spinning rods before I even knew what was going on!!! Twenty minutes later, we had the 15lb cow and the 12lb bull to the boat – yee-haw!! So we went back to bailing, with 3 fish on the hooks at all times as I ran circles baiting hooks and throwing them in the fish box. We found so many bailers that we started to cull the smaller fish and started searching out the bigger bailers!
After we had 30+ fish in the boat, a really small whaler comes trolling down the weedline – all frustrated that they couldn’t hook a dolphin. So, I gave them some advice and bait and a few minutes later, I hear “look, a big one!” so I idle back over to the patch and put a live bait on a king rod and let it swim under the weeds – within 10 seconds a big cow comes over, rips the bait off the hook, does a big circle and then eats the bare hooks!!! I handed the rod over to Robin and she brought the gorgeous 10lb cow to the boat. After having landed this fish, we decided to stop messing with the bailers and try our hand at flounder before going in. While we ONLY HAD 38 mahi in the box, we caught over 50 (so we got our limit) and the only reason we didnt have 40 was because we wanted to keep a couple slots open in case we saw larger fish on the way in!!!
We flounder fished for probably 30 minutes before calling it quits – landed 3-4 shorts, 1 17″ fish and a beautiful 23″ 4lb 13oz fish that Jackson cranked off the bottom!
1 king, two big flounder and 38 mahi – NOT BAD FOR A 21′ BOAT LESS THAN 8 MILES FROM THE BEACH!!!!!!!!
What a day!!!
8/5am – THE BIG LAKE ATLANTIC. Today, all-day, was honestly the calmest day I can ever remember being on the ocean. It was slick, glassy calm with zero swell all-day. In areas you could see the bottom in 50 feet of water!!!
On this gorgeous morning, I fished again with Gregg Duke but this time he brought his daughter Amanda and her friend McKenzie (I apologize in advance for spelling that wrong). We just wanted to catch some fish and introduce them to the great world of saltwater fishing. In the slick calm conditions, we quickly found a great spanish bite as I light-tackle trolled up numerous strikes landing 8-10 nice 15-20″ spaniards. After 90 minutes of this, we decided to switch tactics to kings in order to try to get the gals on something a bit bigger. In the calm, clear water, kings can be quite hard to fool but we still managed to land two pretty 25″ fish before we came upon the real action of the day.
As I was pulling a bait in, I was greeted by a big school of happy, playful bailer dolphin – LESS THAN THREE MILES FROM THE BEACH. We lost countless fish, landing five cute 1-3lb mahi for the grill/pan.
Amanda and McKenzie made me laugh so hard – screaming bloody murder and squeeling every time we brought a fish to the boat. Keep fishing gals – we need more girls that fish with their dads!
8/5pm – This afternoon I took out John, George and Ryan in search of some big fish and screaming reels. They had fished out of bogue banks before but had been unhappy with the experience – their first nearshore experience was with an operation that primarily trolled for spanish with really heavy rods and big planners and targeted seabass with big rods and big weights. So light-tackle it is!
Again, it was so calm that I rode the entire afternoon WOT, sitting on my leaning post indian style with the boat trimmed all the way up. To begin the afternoon we jigged up a few nice baits but didn’t find any strikes, so I decided to hit another spot and see if I could find some fish. It didn’t take all that long to get a few knockdowns and bring up a nice king from the depths. We quickly went through our baits, landing a few nice kings. So, I decided to jig up a few livies and low and behold – I found a school of bailer dolphin. We landed a couple fish before a ‘cuda chased them away.
So then I found the cigar minnows – a scant half-dozen – that would last less than 20 seconds in the water. Each one was hit and we landed several nice kings, including a 12 pounder and a nice 3lb spanish. However, no matter what else we put out, it would not get hit, period. So, as I tried to jig up a few more cigars, i brought up a nice big pinfish – so i stuck him out there. Ten minutes later, something huge smashed him, emptying 2/3 of a TLD-15 in mere minutes before cutting the 20lb fish! After that, with the sun setting, we called it a day and ran home in the flat calm ocean.
8/2 – Fished with Doug and crew today, targeting kings and eventually flounder. The ocean was nice with only a light NE wind to deal with. I hit one of my favorite king holes to be greeted with a great bite – but gone were the big fish of yesterday only to be replaced by massive numbers of 18-26″ kings. We had countless hookups in 5 hours, going through more than a box of frozen cigars (live bait was scarce today) and landing so many small kings I lost count (upwards of 20). Remember guys – when slow trolling for kings never set the hook – it will only result in a lost fish.
We finished up the day dropping for flounder for a half-hour. We had lots of hookups but didnt get any to the boat – remember, if you don’t wait for a bit before setting the hook, you’ll rarely, if ever, bring one to the net.
8/1pm – This afternoon brought some of the fastest, most productive fishing that I have ever experienced. I took out David, Bridget and Mike (who just took the bar exam!) and were celebrating.
After dodging a bunch of rain clouds on the way out, we found ourselves under our own personal rain storm. No lightening was involved but the rain was that persistent, annoying drizzle that never seemed to let up. Thankfully, we wouldn’t think about it for long. I broke out the sabiki rod and jigged up 6 small, crappy baits in a couple of minutes. Annoyed with the rain, I put the first small cigar minnow out and BANG, it was SMASHED in the propwash before I could react. Fifteen minutes later, a 17lb king came to the gaff. Encouraged by the quick knockdown, I put out a small hardtail that was hit the instant i set the rod in the hold – 10 minutes later, a 10lb king. The third time around, I actually got both lines out without one getting crushes. However, less than a couple of minutes after getting both flat lines set – a nice 8-10lb dolphin crushed one of the baits. As Mike started to battle the dolphin, I cranked in the other line and left it swimming abour 10 feet off the stern. I turned around and heard what sounded like an explosion, someone screamed something, and despite the fact that it was raining, I felt a shower of water rain down on my head. What happened was a massive king came out from under the boat and skyed on the the bait sitting right off the stern. Bridget picked up the rod and 20 minutes later, expertly brought a king that weighed in the mid to high 20s to the gaff. During this time the dolphin threw the hooks but no one was thinking about that – we were all screaming about the big king! After this, the rain stopped and we trolled for a bit with no knockdowns and decided to call it a day as a storm approached from the north.
Besides fishing, I had a ball chattin’ with these guys and I really hope to see them out on the water again soon.
8/1am – This morning I fished a half-day with Henry and his wife Susan primarily targeting flounder. Before we got our flounder rods out, we were greeted by a good number of big spanish mackerel and small kings that would pounce on a free-lined mullet with gusto. During the four hour trip, we landed probably 2 sharks, a couple small kigns and 3 2-3lb spanish. Back to the flounder bite – the bite was steady (when we weren’t playing with the mackerel) and amongst a lot of shorts we brought up five nice keepers. The bait stealers were absolutely terrible today – if you didnt move your mullet constantly it would be chewed to pieces in seconds! We would have been able to put together a great catch if both bait and time allowed. But, as I had an afternoon trip, we left them biting.
7/31pm – Between thunderstorms, Katie and I went fishing for an hour – we landed 3 5-8lb kings, a shark and this nice little 6lb dolphin.
7/31am – This morning I had the absolute pleasure of flounder fishing with John (Dontcatchmany) and his friend Rachel, aka “the fishin’ beautician.” On the way out, John told me that his forum name would hold true and that “the fishin’ beautician” would smoke both of us. The ocean was slick calm and a few rain clouds before anchoring up and dropping down a few lines. The bite was not great but was very, very steady – for Rachel, that is.
Low and behold, she brought up flounder after flounder- she even caught oyster toads bigger than the ones John caught!! I want to ____ that it was not just luck but that it’s because Rachel is a very talented and experienced fisherman – she could out fish a vast majority of my clientele! If memory serves me right, she brought 8 keepers to the boat to John’s 1. He also asked me to add that it was the smallest of the bunch being barely more than 15″ long!