I wish everyone a safe and prosperous 2015 and want to thank all my clients, friends and family for a great 2014. This past year was my busiest season ever and one of the most memorable ones and none of that is possible without a great set of customers. I had so many repeat clients this year as well as some new ones and we had some great trips this past year. From blue marlin to sailfish and swordfish, wahoo fishing in the islands, tunas, mahis etc. we had a blast catching them all. In 2014 I ran the TopVee/Kimbuktu for the sailfish tournaments and we had a lot of fun and caught some fish. The last tournament of last season we won a considerable amount of money and the first tournament of this year we were in the money again. That canít be done without a great crew and great equipment. Iím looking forward to 2015 and hopefully our good luck will continue.
A few weeks ago I was notified by the TBF (The Billfish Foundation) that I was awarded 2014 Top Release Captain for Atlantic Sailfish. That means we released more Atlantic Sailfish than anyone else in the TBF. That is a huge accomplishment and something I am very proud of. The release of sailfish is very important to our local economy and to the livelihood of that species. We also released every blue marlin and white marlin we caught this year. None of this would be possible without a great group of clients and great crew who work hard each and every day.
Now to get to the fishing portion of the report. The sailfishing off of Miami has been on the slow side these past few weeks. We have managed to catch at least one sailfish on all our trips with the exception of one half day trip and one 3/4 day trip, but we really should be seeing 3 to 5 sailfish per day this time of year. Our best day since my last report we caught 3 out 4. As I have mentioned so many times, catching sailfish is very dependent on conditions. For a while we had green water and no current and when we finally got current we had no wind. To have the banner days you really need all the conditions to be right with north current, blue water and wind. We also need to get some more cold fronts to get the sailfish moving again and actively feeding. Cold fronts will come and the conditions will be right and I will be ready. On the other hand, although everyone wants to have double digit releases including me, I am happy for every single sailfish we catch and release. Sometimes people get lost in the numbers and donít enjoy every fish they catch. Itís tough when you come back to the docks and hear people say we had slow day today and only caught 5 sailfish, when in all reality any day you catch a billfish is a great day!
Besides the sailfishing, there have been some mahis around and our best day we had a few over a dozen while kite fishing for sails. We also went hunting for cobias one day by looking for the rays in Hawks Channel and got lucky enough to find a ray loaded with cobias. We probably caught over 10 cobias and kept three for the dinner table. The kingfish are a bit of hit or miss and so is daytime swordfishing. We went daytime swordfish one full day and dropped for 2 hours another day and never had a bite, so hopefully that fishery picks up soon. We also went back to Bimini for 2 days and did great with the wahoo high speed trolling one day and then caught yellow eyes, queen snapper and a mystic grouper while deep dropping the second day.
So 2015 is here and if you havenít made your fishing plans for the year, go ahead and look at your calendar and lets set up some dates. I have open days both this month and next and am looking forward to getting out with new and old clients and having a great day on the water.
Capt. Dean Panos