Today we had a six hour party boat walk-on trip. The weather was a little over cast this morning with a good breeze out of the north, along with a 2-3 ft. swell out of the south southeast. We left at our usual time of departure at 8:00 a.m. and went out to the area we fish around 20 miles on the natural bottom or rocks of coral. On our way we noticed that there was a lot of the sargasso grass on the beach and in the water. Some of it made up real nice grass lines which hold bait and then draws in other fish like dolphin, Wahoo, tuna, king mackerel and other top water fish. Wouldn’t you know it didn’t take long and there were reports from other fishermen that they had caught some black fin tuna on the weed lines while trolling out to their fishing holes. We didn’t seem to get a line out to troll, but we did get a drift line out when we stopped to fish. The mingo’s and white snapper were biting real well. After fishing a couple of places and moving around we got a big bite on the drift line and a big fish on a two hook rig at the same time. Not knowing what either fish were till the one on the two hook rig popped up did we know we had two black fin tuna on at once. I guess you could say the fellow with the two hook rig applied too much pressure and lost that one but we did manage to get the other one in the boat. As Murphy’s Law would have it the same fellow who lost the first one, hooked a second one before they got the one on the spinning rod in and he lost the second fish he hooked as well. It was pretty exiting the for several minutes to say the very least, one person going around the boat with a spinning rod and another in the back hooking up and losing them faster than you could tell what was going on. Nevertheless, we are grateful to get the one we did. Now I can’t wait till tomorrow, we’ll be ready.
Every day that we get to go fishing is a blessing given to us. The ability to get out and relax and enjoy our friends and the good weather along with some good fishing is priceless. I am pretty sure that we all will look back on these days and say what a great time we had back then, I’m glad we did that.
Yesterday we had a small group of people, almost not enough to go out. Thankfully we did and it was wonderful. The weather was perfect, the seas were calm and the fish are biting like crazy. Yesterday, we had a 6 hour trip with 14 people on a “Walk On” trip on our big boat the 65 foot Bonner, Emerald Spirit. The temperature outside was around 68 in the morning and moved up to around 72 during the day it seemed. We generally ride for about 1 ½ hours out and fish for a little over two hours and then return to the dock after a full 6 hours. Even though it’s still early in the season we did catch a couple of King Mackerels on our last trip down deep on a regular two hook rig for bottom fish. That means they are here but just not up in the water column around the surface yet because of the water temperature is still so cold. Even still we did put out our trolling lines on the way out and on the way in. No bites yet; any day now! As usual the bottom fish were biting great and we caught lots of Vermillion Snapper(Mingo’s), White Snapper, Trigger Fish, Lane Snapper and even though they are still closed Red Snapper that we properly vent and release back. There are more Red Snapper out there than ever before and continue to get bigger and multiply tremendously. We expect a season like never before with huge Red Snappers on every trip in season.
We are going out on a two day trip this weekend and I’ll have a first hand report to give you when I get back. Check back Monday to see what all we caught!
Good Weather and Good FishingMay 8, 2008 in Action Charter Service, Fishing Report, World Championship Red Snapper Tournament
Once again we enter the fishing season with some good weather and the fishing has been great. We’ve reported to you on the start of the season and how it looked like it might be a sign of better things to come and so far it hasn’t let us down. The offshore action is picking up trolling out around the rigs like the Marlin, Beer Can, Patronius, and even the Ram Powell. Some 60lb.
Yellow Fin Tuna and small Black fin Tuna have been caught on each but are still moving around from rig to rig depending on the current and wind direction. Most are being caught trolling with small Ballyhoo and soft head lures wile there have been a few caught with live bait on a kite or chunk fishing. The other day one of my buddies told me that as he was trolling by one of the rigs early in the morning the Rainbow Runners suddenly showered out of the water toward the rig.
This could only mean one thing; the man in “Blue” was after them. He knew there was a Blue Marlin chasing the school for a morning snack. “They’re here”.
As for the bottom fishing, it hasn’t slowed down at all. If any thing it’s gotten even better due to the water temperature rising and the bait fish showing up more. The Red Snapper are bigger and more plentiful than ever before for as far back as I can remember and I’ve been here for 48 years in this Gulf Coast area. Thanks to the efforts of the National Marine Fisheries we now have so many fish that if they don’t let us have back our fish limits and Total Allowable Catch you can look forward to seeing swimmers being eaten alive like Piranha from the Red Snappers. Yet still they say that the Fish Stock hasn’t rebuilt itself from “Over Fishing”.
The Wahoo and King Mackerel are biting good trolling. We use a #2 Plainer with a 3-4 inch Drone spoon either plain silver, Hot Pink or Chartreuse. It depends on the clarity of the water that day and how much sun light there is. When we troll for Wahoo we use a pair of 9/0 Penn reels with wire line on a Bent Butt Deep Drop rod. Then we put a 16oz. to 48oz. trolling weight in front of a lure that is around 24oz.
Sometimes we change that up a little and use a soft head in front and over the top of a skirt with an 8oz. lead in the head for a different effect at a slower speed. Generally we troll between 13 and 18 knots. This is why we use all of the heavy line and weights, to get the lure down far enough for the fish to see it. Let me tell ya, “It Works!” We troll out to our fishing holes in the morning and then between spots and back home again every day.
The Scamp and Grouper bite is still going strong as is the Magnum B-Liners (Vermillion) or (Mingo). Some of the Scamp as big as 18lbs.and the Mingo’s as big as 5.5lbs. The Scamp are biting small Pinfish and Squid and the Mingo’s on Squid. The Trigger Fish are showing up as well in good numbers.
All in all you can’t ask for it to get any better that that. We are all looking forward to the Federal opening of Snapper Season on June 1st. That is when the “World Championship Red Snapper Tournament” starts. There will be a First Place Prize of $25,000.00 and it pays out thru 10 places, Tenth place being $1,000.00. I can’t wait. We’ve always placed in the top ten coming close to the big money, but not yet. Maybe next time. Call us and let us take you out for a chance to win.
It was early in the morning with a light fog hanging over the water and a cool nip in the air. You could see the horizon starting to get a little brighter to the east. The marina was quiet except for the sound of the wheels of a fish cart rolling down the dock as my deck hand pushed it full of bags of ice towards the boat for our trip that day. He had been there extra early that morning anticipating an exiting day of fishing and couldn’t wait to get ready to go. As I walked up to the boat I noticed he already had all the fishing poles out, rigged and ready. “Good morning Captain!” I said yes it is. He knew that we would probably have a day of fishing to remember today because just as I do, he checks the weather and hears all of the latest fishing reports and knows that the fish are biting good and we have the perfect forecast for the next several days.
I was looking forward to the trip as well because I knew that some of my good customers from Chattanooga Tennessee would be there. They are a group of guys from their local Baptist Church and even though they live in Tennessee, they are very experienced fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico. That meant I could expect them to be as excited as we were. As I got on the boat and opened the wheel house door to put my stuff down, I heard the chatter of voices coming from around the corner of the building in the parking lot. Sure enough, it was them and they were an hour early. Seems they couldn’t wait to get down to the boat either. As they filed on down to the boat we said our good mornings and loaded up, laughing and talking about who is going to get the “Big One” today. The day was off to a great start.
We left the marina around Six o’clock and headed out the pass at Orange Beach, Alabama. I told them we would stop and get some live bait out about twenty miles and then continue offshore to start our day of bottom fishing. We already knew there were some Amberjack and Grouper biting out about 35- 40 miles so we had to have some good bait. Usually we have some that we catch at the marina, but this time of the year the “Pinfish” are still a little scarce, so we use what ever we can get off shore.
As we cleared the pass my deckhand put out the high speed trolling lines. We usually run about 16 knots and troll with heavy trolling weights (16-48 oz) in front of a heavy lure (24-36oz) and we use wire line on the reels. All of this gets the lure down deep enough to still have it presented good to the fish even at 16 knots. After all, Orange Beach, Alabama, is home of the “World Record Wahoo”. We catch a lot of Wahoo trolling in and out to our fishing holes as well as King Mackerel, Dolphin and some times even a Blue Marlin. You never know.
After stopping and catching some small White Snapper, Mingo’s (Vermillion), and some Sand Perch, we were off again to head out to the deep water. Typically, the fish are in deeper water earlier in the season because the water temperature is still around the mid 60’s. When the temperature comes up to 70 something, they will migrate into the shallower waters. Knowing this I had a plan. Head on out to the deep water first and work my way back in.
Later we would even go try to get our Red Snappers in Florida waters, as it has not yet opened in the Federal waters. After arriving to our first destination it was clear the day was going to go well when we dropped our lines in 180 feet of water and every one got bites rite away. The Big Mingo’s and Big White Snapper were on fire. We caught around 50 to 75 pounds off the first hole and people were beaming excitement. We headed over to the next hole as every one regrouped and got something to drink, baited there hooks and waited for me to stop the boat. It didn’t take long for them to get back into the groove after waiting for a year to come fishing again.
On our next stop, I noticed what appeared to be the familiar markings of Amberjack on the fish finder. I told my deckhand to put down some of the live bait that we had caught that morning and see if they would bite. He dropped the bait down anticipating an immediate strike, but it didn’t come so he handed off the rod to a “new comer” and continued to take off fish from the others. About ten minutes went by when all of a sudden we heard this yelling “Help me!” We all looked over to see this new guy who had never been out in the Gulf of Mexico before trying to get to his knees as the fish is trying to pull him overboard. That’s when I knew that we were truly blessed for the day. After a fifteen minute struggle with the fish, I looked back and saw my deck hand reach over the stern with gaff and make one clean swipe and pull in over the railing an Amberjack around 35lbs. Every one cheered and high fived and patted him on the back. This was his biggest fish he had ever caught. He set the rod down and slumped down to his knees with exhaustion. That was surely a memory that he will have for the rest of his life.
As we continued to fish we caught several more Amberjack and a few Gag Groupers as well as some Scamp. We fished several holes in the area doing well on all of them and then decided to put the trolling lines back in the water and head back into Florida waters to see of we could catch some Red Snappers. Although trolling didn’t pay off that day for us, I heard that there were some others who did catch a Wahoo and a few Kings.
We arrived in Florida waters and noticed that there were many boats on all of the public reefs as well as a few private and after careful consideration I decided to see if one of my “Personal Private Reefs” had some fish on it. As I expected it was loaded with nice fish.
It didn’t take long and we caught our limit (2 per person) and were on our way home. What a day! Every where we went that day it seemed like we had a little “Divine Intervention”? We did have the preacher on board. As we headed back to the marina I could hear every one talking about what a good time they had and were already talking about booking another trip.
The whole day proved to be a complete success. When we pulled back into the marina there were friends and loved ones waiting on the dock for us to arrive. We rounded the corner of the dock and they began to wave and shout with excitement. As I backed into my slip I thought to myself how lucky I am to have had such a great day with friends and family out on the water all day. I think the picture says a thousand words.