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4th of July action in Miami

The Palm Beaches to Key Largo

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4th of July action in Miami

Postby The BEAST » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:34 pm

I hope everyone survived the 4th of July festivities with all their fingers and other body parts in tact!

Since my last report I took Tony and his daughters, Britney, Bliss, and Brigitte out for a day of fishing. First order of business was to collect some live bait. We collected up a good supply of Hardtails, and made our way offshore. As I crossed the edge, Devon already had 2 lines out and we immediately picked up a pair of Bonito. These Boneheads were small and we considered rigging them but opted for a release instead. I continued offshore as Devon ran a 6 line spread. It had been a while since the planer rod had a solid hook up but that was not the case on this day. The 50W Tiagra started running off. Several minutes later Tony landed a nice 22# Wahoo.


Within 30 minutes we approached a good looking area and the right rigger crashed. Nice Dolphin! Brittney took the rod for a few minutes and then handed it off to Dad. Devon put the steel to a nice 25# Cow.


The offshore scene slowed quickly and we made our way to a wreck. As we approached the area, once again the planer rod goes off and we boated a nice Kingfish weighing 16 pounds. We made a wide circle around the wreck and the planer rod goes off again but it is one of those dreaded Caribbean Spotted Mackerels a.k.a. Barracuda. Ok, let’s do the wreck!


We made several drops but the fish were less anxious than we were. We did manage get each of the girls a round on the rods. Brittney and Brigitte caught 2 Amberjack in the 25# size, a respectable Almaco Jack and a 12# Kingfish on a speed jig. Bliss is now a nice shade of green. This color change in her had been building since that morning. I got the word as Brigitte is also starting to get the feeling while watching her sister lean over the rail, calling “Ralph”!

Brittney sat next to me on the ride in and told me that for 20 years she never understood the fascination people have for fishing… until today!


We had a group of NYPD, Yalkin (retired), Charlie (Chief), and Frank (Cmndr), for a 3 day adventure with us. Yalkin set up the trip but being a late riser, planned to arrive at the dock each day at 9 AM. This throws a bit of a twist on the day especially for time catching bait. Fortunately the day started off well loading the well with Hardtails. We immediately headed for the blue with Dolphin in mind. The offshore fishing was slow, boating only one small Cuda and 2 “micro” Dolphin, so we headed for the edge. While working the edge we caught 2 large Bonito but even that was slow, so we bee-lined it for a wreck. Now we’re talking! The first 3 fish were 25-30# AJ’s. On one of the following drifts Yalkin says, “Oh it’s a shark!” as the fish breaks the surface 75’ out from the boat. Devon runs out of his shoes for the gaff as he yells back “That’s not a shark, that’s a nice Cobia!” He puts the steel to the fish and a 24# Cobia hit’s the deck.


Each drift thereafter seemed to have the same results, a Mutton head, then one lost fish after the other. Obviously the sharks had now tuned in, so we decided to give it a rest and finish the day slow trolling live Hardtails up the edge. As we were about to pull the plug on the day, one of the Runners gets very nervous and a bill breaks through the water’s surface. Sailfish hooked up! After a 10 minute show with several lengthy acrobatic runs, we tag and released a healthy 40# fish. We applauded Yalkin for keeping a tight line. The fish wasn’t hooked, instead, the leader was wrapped once around the bill and under the hook. Good lasso work, Cowboy!

The next day, 9:30 AM, and we are casting off dock lines. The bait was giving us trouble and we left for the deep with less baits than I‘d like but probably enough for the day. We only hunted Dolphin for an hour or so when the guys decided that they wanted to head back to the wrecks for another workout. OK with me, we’ll use what bait we have. We worked the wreck over with live bait, dead strip baits, and speed jigs. First drop produced a nice 12# Mutton on a strip bait.


We worked the wrecks for the rest of the day until our bait ran out and the sharks got active. The remainder of the tally at the wreck was a 30# AJ, a Sand Tilefish, an Almaco Jack, a small Barracuda, an 8# Mutton and an enormous Mutton head. On the way back in we hit 3 very large Bonito.

Day 3 has them meeting us at 8 AM for an “early” start. Early? Really! The bait catching was horrible. We only had 4 Hardtails in the well. Being it was their last day they wanted to target Dolphin more. We headed offshore and began the hunt. To say the day was slow would be an understatement! Nothing… so we go farther. Nothing… so we go even farther! Nothing… and we are in the 2000’ depths now and only schools of Skipjack. We all agreed that this was a nice boat ride, and the wrecks had been active so we made the run back in. We went to our regular wreck but the only thing getting bit were the only 4 baits we had and we lost all of them to cutoffs. We finally hooked up one of those toothy critters on a speed jig! A nice 15# Kingfish.


I decided that the we should finish up their trip on bigger fish at the Grunt and Sweat wreck! These fish are less picky and will eat a speed jig with reckless abandon most of the time. We trolled the edge towards the wreck and picked up 2 Barracuda. Arriving at the wreck we soon realized that my hunch was correct! We used strip baits and speed jigs and lost several monster AJ’s to the wreck, caught 2 more of those Spotted Mackerel (Cuda), 1 large Yellow Jack, and twin Almaco Jack’s weighing 25 pounds each. Oh yeah, we also caught a nice Mangrove Snapper on a strip bait.


Out of the blue, Yalkin gives me the “word”! He is tired and wants to head for the barn. Yalkin, Charlie, and Frankie said they thoroughly enjoyed this 3 day weekend, catching over a dozen different species of fish. They were a great bunch of guys and a lot of fun to fish with!

Until next time…

Capt. Jim
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