“Absolutely the wildest stuff I’ve ever seen”. I’ve heard that phrase a bunch of times in the past month. I can’t do justice with written words to describe the melee’ that has been happening in the area around Palm Beach, and even video would only scratch the surface.
Huge schools of bait have been everywhere, small sardines mostly with small pilchards and glass minnows mixed in. And everything under the sun just hammering away at them. Sailfish, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, jacks, bluefish, ladyfish, tuna, false albacore, sharks and barracuda. And when I say the bait has been everywhere, I mean from horizon to horizon, tens of thousands of birds diving and chasing bait fish that have been pushed to the surface by an equal or greater number of predators. Bait fish showering across the surface, explosions as far as the eye can see.
The bad news is I’ve been in the process of moving into a new house in Jupiter Fl. and have had almost no time to enjoy this spectacular show. And the few times that I have been in the middle of this insanity, the video camera was not in attendance. This past Tuesday was the most recent. With my customers onboard, we saw schools of sardines so tightly packed by rampaging Spanish mackerel, the top of the school of bait was being lifted out of the water and the uppermost bait fish was suffocating. Drifting past, I was able to reach out with just the dip net for my live well and scoop up a full net of sardines. I’d turn around and throw the whole thing as far as I could and instantly there would be a hundred mackerel in the air. The few remaining baits would cluster around the boat trying to hide, and as the wind pushed us away from the main school, the mackerel would follow the boat until they had picked off every last straggler. Then, after I had dropped my guys off, I went back out to watch the show some more before heading home and was drifting along when a huge pod of bait tried to use the boat for shelter from a school of about two thousand jack Crevalle in the eight to fifteen pound range. The attack went of for half an hour, with the boat centered in an acre patch of foaming white water, jacks crashing, minnows flying. The sound was deafening. Like standing next to Niagra Falls.  The deck of the boat was covered with hundreds of minnows that had jumped in attempting to escape. And I am just kicking myself for not having the video camera.