Just figured I would let you know how fishing went with the new livewell in the boat, and also how the Bimini trip went (I think I told you I was going when we spoke?).
Well we started on Jug Creek Shoal and chummed up some beautiful-sized pinfish (3-5"), but no whitebait... We didn't absolutely need the whitebait though, since we had about 30-40 live shrimp left in the well from the day before.
The livewell seems to work great, but doesn't drain quickly enough, so I just need to work something out for that yet... But not a big deal. Everything else is great so far with it.
Anyway, we headed out to Marker 4 in the middle of the Harbor to see if any cobies had made it in that far yet, and maybe if there were a grouper or something hanging around in the rubble at the base. I felt bad as we approached because there was an Osprey nest on the marker, and though there weren't any babies, the mommy didn't like us fishing there one bit. So I pitched out a freelined monster shrimp while my friend Derek dropped a medium-sized pin down... After a couple minutes we left, and the Osprey went back.
We ran out of Boca Grande and motored around a little looking for schools of blues or macks, since we really just were looking for some fun action... But didn't see much, so we just came back in to the phosphate dock and got a few (7-8 keepers, one around 5# or so, and 4-5 short fish) sheepies, nothing took the big pin on the bigger rod, but we seemed to be the only people around catching anything at least.
We got bored with that pretty quickly and decided to walk Cayo Costa and fish the lagoon and just explore a little. I castnetted some real nice pilchards off the dock, and looked for snook around there but didn't see any... My good combo (7'6 St Croix Greenwater? rod, and Fin-Nor Megalite reel with 20# power pro-- been the go-to setup for 4 years or so now) fell off the dock into the water and I had to dive after it and then broke it down a little and rinsed it in the freshwater drinking fountain there... Seems to be doing fine so far :)
So we walked with lures around the lagoon, and didn't see a single fish there... We hadn't taken into account the red tide, and the week-old dead fish everywhere made it pretty unpleasant until we got upwind of them.
So we headed out of there around 2, and I think we had an incoming tide and pretty high water, so we went to some trout flats, and caught 20 or so on the first flat, most were around the minimum size but I had no ruler and no real interest in keeping any number of fish like that. I caught one I'd estimate at 19-20", and we kept that one to keep the sheepies company. We just used 1/4 oz red jigheads with a couple different bodies... They probably would have hit anything in the right area in the water column that was moving though.
Anyway, that was that day... Pretty fun, nothing exciting or particularly noteworthy though. Just think, if I had caught a couple real nice fish I could have written about those and saved some time. But nothing really was that spectacular.
Grab a drink or take a break and read the Bimini report that follows here. I don't figure it will be too long, but look at how long the first report turned out.
Well we went to Bimini on a Chalk's seaplane, which was quite an experience... Those things are *loud* but pretty fun.
We didn't have any advance arrangements for fishing, so we were basically at the mercy of our hotel and their contacts or whoever we met on the street. We hooked up with a guy, Captain Jerome (don't know his last name), for trolling. He has a 34 foot Hatteras, which was a pretty nice boat.
It was basically Wahoo season, so we were kind of speed trolling a 3-rod spread, two at 10 feet and one at 20... Just rigged ballyhoo with various skirts on them. It was my dad, uncle and I, and we ended up each with a Wahoo. Mine was the biggest at ~50-60 pounds probably... Man, talk about a fight, those things are great.
I wasn't too pleased with the captain and crew though, they really didn't have much personality and didn't talk to us unless we directly asked a question, and their answers were pretty short and apathetic. We also didn't make arrangements for the fish meat before the trip, and they ended up keeping all the meat from the 3 Wahoo that probably averaged 40 pounds or so. The "string" they "pulled" for us was having a local restaurant cook a plate of it for each of us... At $12 a plate out of our pocket. They broiled it with what seemed like no seasoning at all, and I wasn't happy with that at all... It was at the level that made me doubt it was even our fish (meaning, fish caught that day).
So we paid $600 for a 4-hour trolling trip, tipped a bit to each crew member (captain and two mates), and didn't even keep any of the fish... Which happened to be Wahoo. We did get a good half-day on the water though, and each got a nice Wahoo, and it was a pretty nice boat and equipment, though pretty dated. So that was the first day fishing... We only had one more, due mostly to the weather.
I really wanted to do some of the phenomenal reef fishing that they have in those waters, so we booked a guy to take us out in his 25 foot open fisherman the next day. The weather flared up and we had 20-25 kt winds and 4-6 foot seas, though it was still sunny and pleasant. After the Wahoo incident, we arranged to keep what we want of our catch before we went on the trip.
Well, this ended up being a learning experience in its own way as well. We didn't go with the actual captain, who is supposedly pretty reputable, but one of his friends. This guy was about the most unimpressive person I have ever hired to do anything. He did everything he was supposed to do, but we ended up just anchoring on some patchy live bottom in 30-40 feet of water because his anchor wouldn't hold any deeper apparently. Now, reef fishing in Bimini ought to be pretty good right? Not the case today, it would seem.
The guy put us over a massive amount of grunts, triggerfish, and porgy, with the occasional small yellowtail mixed in. We had the standard store-bought chum block in a bag, set up behind the boat not so well, sub-sub-par tackle (I luckily brought along my Megalite and a Kunnan rod that I could use), and this guy was content with our success with the grunts and occasional yellowtail (he was keeping all the other fish as well, I guess this would be his dinner or he'd sell it off).
We only moved once, and it was to a nearly identical spot. The biggest yellowtail of the day (we got 14-15 or so, and he gave 11 to us as I recall) was around 14" and the fishing was just really pathetic. I can go out of Port Everglades and tie to a bait buoy and do better than that. There was a big cuda that came around though, and I wanted to try him on my 15-20# spinning outfit, but the guy didn't want me to use any of his precious grunts for bait.
The boat was also a 25 foot CC with a 200 hp Yamaha that really struggled to get onto plane, and flexed badly every time we hit a wave.
Oh well though, it was a stellar trip other than the fishing... I'll tell you all about that some other time, as the sister's yelling at me to use the computer (I love coming home from college!)
Anyway, hope the week's gone well so far, I'll let you know when I get back over there.
If you have any questions or comments, would like to book a trip, or would like to submit a story, please email me at email@example.com.
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