The final push of sailfish happened about a week or so ago. Sailfish season is typically November through May and April can be an outstanding month, and it was. The middle of April, we saw the best sailfish action of the year. Our best trip was catching 17 out of 18 hookups. Talk about a great percentage and a great amount of hookups. The one fish we lost that day was from a broken line so what an outstanding job the anglers did. We also had 3 or 4 days in a row catching double digits. During that period we also fished the Fisher Island Sailfish Tournament and ended up in third place catching 11 sailfish that day. As is typical as the sailfish season is winding down and the fish start to push out of the area, we often see them in big packs and it is not uncommon to have two, three, four and sometimes even five sailfish on at one time. Although sailfish season is winding down, there are still some fish that remain and also fish that will still be pushing through the area. The end of May is what I call the end of the season, but we still catch sailfish year round, although not as many.
We have also seen a greater amount of kingfish in the area. Spring kings are often big in size and everyday you hear of a 40 or even a 50-pound kingfish being caught. We haven’t caught any over 30 pounds but have had a few bigger ones on. The one fish that is still missing is the blackfin tuna. We should be catching them on a regular basis by now, but I have yet to see any bigger ones this year. We did catch a few in the 15-pound range, but the bigger 30 to 35 pound fish have definitely not shown up yet. Instead we have been invaded by huge schools of bonitos. Although they are a lot of fun to catch, for people seeking fish to bring home, they are not good table fare.
One fish that is excellent to eat is the mahi. This past week, we did a 4-day trip to Chub Cay in the Bahamas. Our primary goal was to troll the “Pocket” for blue and white marlin. This is the time of year that this area does produce some billfish, but also produces a large amount of decent size dolphin. Using lures, we trolled the “Pocket”, and we did have one blue marlin on, but the fight was short lived, as the fish didn’t stay glued for very long. On the other hand, we did rather well with the mahis. The mahis you catch there are almost always between 10 to 30 pounds, and very rarely do you see a schoolie there. At one point we saw some birds and trolled to them and were surrounded by a school of mahis and all of them were 15 plus pounds. Chub is a great place to fish in the spring and I hope to get back there next year again.
Since we are on the topic of the Bahamas, I have several trips planned already for tunas, muttons, and yellowtails in Bimini and am still planning on going to Andros for the tunas. If you are interested in either Bimini or Andros and need more information, contact me as soon as possible so I can make all the arrangements needed. We are also getting ready to enter mahi season and soon will be hunting in the Gulfstream for the big schools of mahis. I have already heard of mahis being caught in the Gulfstream on a regular basis. With summer soon approaching now is the time to plan your trip!
Capt. Dean Panos