About two months ago we caught a 100 plus pound yellowfin tuna. Although we catch yellowfins in the Bahamas, they are not frequently caught in Miami. Since that tuna, I have only heard of one other yellowfin caught. It was caught by a charter boat farther up the coast. Well about two weeks ago, we were fishing down by Fowey Light and there was a decent sailfish bite going on. Quite a few boats were fishing that area and almost all of them including us already had caught a few sails. We had all our baits out when there was an explosion on the long right kite bait (goggle eye). The fish run straight south and then east just like a sailfish does, but we all new it was not a sail since line was melting off the 20 pound reel quite fast. We started giving chase and tried to get back line. Most of the yellowfins I have caught here race to the east but then eventually start to dive deep. This fish did exactly that but then all of sudden started racing on the top and started to tail down sea. It did this very erratic pattern for a number of times and although I thought we had a tuna on, I started second guessing myself. Eventually the fish settled down deep and we started slowly working it up. Again we had new 20 pound Sufix line on the reel and with the new Eagle Claw hook, I felt confident on getting this fish. Over an hour goes by and eventually we got the fish boatside and eventually boated yet another yellowfin tuna. This fish was about 95 pounds and a very respectable catch on 20 pound test. It has been a few years since I have caught yellowfins here in Miami and now we got two in just one season. We caught some more sails that day and I guess we had the lucky crew on board because they had fished with us the prior day and caught their first daytime swordfish as well.
We had another lucky crew with us today. Michael and his brothers had fished with me in the past quite a few times and they brought along one of their buddies from Nebraska. To say Michael and crew have some good luck is an understatement. Our first charter together we caught 22 sailfish in one day. Today started off red hot as well as we had just gotten the spread out and we already hooked our first sailfish. The next couple of hours we ended up hooking two doubleheaders and one more single. It quieted down mid-day until we saw a huge leatherback turtle swimming on the surface loaded with 30 to 50 pound cobias. We hooked two of the cobias and landed them both. Another lull in the action and then we caught another sailfish. So far we were having a banner day. Almost ready to leave we hook one more fish on the long kite bait (goggle eye) and as the fish jumped it was definitely a billfish but not a sailfish. My first yell was that it was a white marlin, but it looked too big. Maybe it was a small blue marlin. As we fought it I could clearly see the round dorsal and pectoral fins and knew it was a huge white marlin. We got the leader quite a few times and after 45 minutes had this huge white marlin next to the boat. This whitey was 125 to 130 pounds. After lots of video both underwater and on top we let the white marlin loose and watched it swim away. It been at least 5 years since I caught a white in Miami and I was clearly very excited. In the next few days watch for the video as the guys are going to send me the raw footage and I will edit it into a nice video.
In the past two weeks we really have had some great days fishing. A few cold fronts rolled through and we have had a few days catching quite a few sails. Our best day was 10 followed by 9 and then by 7 and 5 or 6 has been the norm. On the days of the cold fronts we have seen the sailfish tailing down sea and have been able to pitch baits to them and get them hooked up. A tailing sailfish is a sailfish that surfs the swell and usually happens when you have a strong north wind and strong north current. One day my mate and I were looking for cobias in shallow water but the water was too dirty so we ran back offshore. As we crossed the reef we saw a dozen tailing sailfish in 50 feet of water. We pitch some baits to them and hooked a couple. Definitely a neat site when you can sight cast to a billfish.
Although not every day can be like this (we actually did have one half day trip were we hooked sailfish and lost it and that was the only sailfish of the day) the only way to have banner days like this is to go fishing. With a little luck, lots of preparation, it could be your turn!
I only have a few days open in late March and April (my favorite month to fish in Miami) is already half booked. Giver me a call and lets set up that trip and see if we canít have one of those banner days.
Capt. Dean Panos