Spring is definitely getting closer as we are seeing a lot more variety in the fish we catch. Sailfish are still on the top of the list and they have been around in decent numbers. I fished the Miami Billfish Tournament last week with a charter that came all the way from Finland to fish this event. Petrie and Anders had never caught a sailfish or had kite fished before. They wanted to experience a US tournament, catch a few sailfish and have some fun. Well we accomplished all that and more. We hooked 25 sailfish with them and caught 15. That placed us in 6th place Outboard and 11th place overall. We were in contention almost to the very end. We actually hooked a triple header 30 minutes before lines out on the 3rd day that would have moved us from 11th place into 4th place. Unfortunately we didn�t catch those fish, but it didn�t really matter as both these guys and I had a great time.
Besides sailfish, the kingfishing has been pretty good with some nice size kings thrown in the mix. The beginnings of the big spring kings have shown up and there has been a good amount of 20 and 30 pounders around. In another few weeks we should start seeing the 30 to 40 pounders.
We also wait for spring, especially late April and May to start seeing blackfin tuna. The blackfins have also started showing up and we have already caught quite a few of them. We have had a few days that we cloudy and raining and that is when we had the best blackfin bite. Blackfins like low light conditions which is why a lot of people target them in the very late afternoons as the sun is going down.
We haven�t seen a lot of dorados yet and hopefully they are coming soon. The reports from the Keys, where they are seen first, has also not been very good. Hopefully they are just a bit late and are on their way.
We also did a swordfish trip at night. It was actually part of a noon to midnight trip. We caught some sailfish in the afternoon and then went out to the Gulfstream to target swordfish. With only a few hours to fish, we were hoping for the best. We hooked and caught a shark first and then caught a decent 60 inch (LJFL) swordfish. With the latest craze being daytime swordfishing (mostly with electrics), it was refreshing to catch one using the traditional method of night fishing and with a conventional reel. Even a 100 pound swordfish can really fight very hard on an 80 wide conventional reel. It was a rewarding trip as we did catch two different billfish in one day.
This is the time of year that we start offering late afternoon trips. We can start at noon and fish until dark or we can do half day trips were we can start at 4:00pm and fish until dark. It seems that the best action often occurs in the late afternoon. Just the other day on that noon to midnight trip, we did not see a sailfish for the first few hours and then around 5:00pm we started seeing them everywhere. The same holds true for the tunas � late afternoon seems to be the best. Springtime is a great time of year to fish, so don�t miss out.
Now is also the time to plan your summer sword trips (day or night or both) and also to plan your trips to the Bahamas.
Capt. Dean Panos