And the albie train keeps chugging along. Not sure how many releases so far this season, but 3K sounds about right. Talk about a cooperative fish. Not a single trip in the past two months were they absent or uncooperative. Two things stand out as out of the ordinary this year; 1) A huge size range in the albies. One fish coming over the side could weight as little as five pounds, the next could be fifteen. Ten lbs was the average. And 2) The sharks were out of control. Very annoying to lose the largest fish to the toothy critters. Early on the monster bull sharks were the bad boys, eight to twelve feet long. And nothing that you couldn’t get back to the boat in short order survived. A few of the harder fighters I suspect were blackfin tuna, a serious dissapointment to lose. More recently, smaller spinner, dusky and other assorted sharks have moved in and are small enough to provide some excellent entertainment of their own.
We had some incredible king mackerel fishing in the past couple of months also, with several late afternoon/evening trips rivaling anything in my memory. One evening in particular, we were hooking kings on every drop that we couldn’t do anything with. After the bone jarring strike, they would slowly wind up like a turbine engine, finishing their run several hundred yards out with the reel screaming like skidding tires. The largest we landed that evening was over thirty pounds, but I know several of the others we hooked that didn’t make it to the boat were considerably larger.
Besides a smattering of cobia, tarpon, snook and dolphin, that is about it. Which brings us into the late summer/early fall outlook. The albies will remain into mid September,( thier numbers will start to drop in mid August) which works, because the sailfish and wahoo run that happens in August will be much easier if there aren’t a gazillion albies all trying to eat the flies. The back bays in the ICW around the area have filled up nicely with juvenile tarpon and it’s about time to play with them. And the monster snook that are in the inlets also deserve some attention. That should get us through till early fall when there should be offshore dolphin and skipjack tuna action to be had.
I’m off to Maine for a much needed vacation for a week, but I’ll be back and ready to go the end of the first week of August.