As it usually does this time of year, calls for trips have dropped off considerably. It’s always been like this, for unclear reasons. Probably people just finishing summer vacations, getting kids back to school, preparing for the holidays. Not sure why, but that’s the way it is. It wouldn’t be as maddening if it were not for the fact that the fishing is nothing short of stellar this time of year. The variety of fish is crazy, from the mullet run/bait migration in progress inshore, to fabulous bottom fishing, to offshore action. Really entertaining stuff, and no one to go do it with. Since I can’t stand it all going to waste, I have managed to get out solo once or twice a week.
Dolphin action following the tropical storms in late August was, and continues to be very good. Average size has been less than ten lbs, but there has been no shortage of them, and a decent amount of bigger fish in the mid teens to thirty pound range have been around. The offshore tuna action has really heated up in the past couple of weeks with small blackfin tuna just about everywhere outside the reef edge. I spanked them pretty good one day last week, releasing over twenty of the two to five pounders, with a couple of the larger ones invited home for dinner.
Larger pieces of debris have also been holding wahoo, and much to my surprise while sinking a large streamer deep under a bamboo tree a week ago in search of a wahoo, a sixty some odd pound sailfish ate my fly over a hundred feet down. This was a first for me. I’ve gotten sailfish for customers doing the bait and switch thing, but I’ve never personally caught one. And this was only the second sailfish in twenty years to be hooked up on a deep fly. He gave me quite a show, clearing the stern of the boat on the first jump and proceeding to tear up the ocean for about thirty minutes when I released him. I tried to take some video, and of course the camera case is in the deepest reaches of the console. Must have looked pretty comical, sailfish going ballistic, and only the fly rod visable as I dove into the console to get the camera. I got a couple jumping shots, but it was pretty tough to pull of decent filming while fighting the fish.
The ¬†mullet run/bait migration started very early, late August, and has been going on ever since. Tarpon, snook, spinner sharks, big jack crevalle and other assorted predators all crashing the bait schools. The first waves of our winter players showed up, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish and spanish mackerel going crazy on all the easy prey. Add in the reef action consisting of snapper, grouper, assorted runners, juvenile amberjacks and king mackerel, and I just may go crazy with no one to go do all this with….