Report Date: March 7, 2023
In my last report, I stated that this was the best sailfish season we have had in Miami in the past 5 years and that is the truth, and it keeps getting better. The past few weeks we have had some very consistent sailfishing. Not only is it consistent but we did have our first double digit sailfish day catching 15 sailfish in one day. The best part about it is we have been seeing sailfish every day even if the conditions are not just right. This past weekend we had flat calm water, no wind and very little current but we still caught 2 — 5 sailfish every day and one day we saw over 15 freejumpers, so we know that there are fish around. This is great news as we have had many happy customers lately.
We did have one trip that will be remembered for a long time. We started off catching a couple of sailfish at the beginning of our trip. Then from the corner of my eye I see a big explosion on the left long kite bait. We were in 180 ft of water of a spot we call the Diamonds. Within minutes we had this fish screaming line of the reel and staying on top. At first, I didn’t know exactly what we had on, but after a minute or two and by the way it was fighting it could only be one thing and that would be a big yellowfin tuna. We hook 5 or 6 yellowfins a year here in Miami but by using only 30- or 40-pound leader for sailfish, these tunas have small teeth and wear through the leader quickly. And the yellowfins we get are not on the small size and are typically 100 to 150 pounds. The size, the small teeth and the fact we fight them on 20-pound light tackle is the reason we don’t land many. I personally have caught over a dozen big yellowfins in Miami but that is in a 30-year career. It’s been about 5 years since we landed our last one and wouldn’t you know it was hooked in the exact same area. After about 5 minutes and once we cleared all the baits and bought the kites in, I was able to finally get a good look at the fish as it was running on the surface, and I guessed it to be about a 100-pound yellowfin tuna. We had a very good and very accomplished angler on the rod and if the fish was not gut hooked and risk wearing the leader out on its teeth, we stood a great chance of catching this beast. After one and a half hours we had our first dart shot on the fish. A dart is the only way you are going to be able to land them because if you were to grab the light leader you would break them off instantly. Unfortunately, we missed on the first dart shot and the fish sounded again. After 30 more grueling minutes the fish came up but every time, I would charge it to get close for a dart shot the fish would sense the boat and dive back down. After 5 or more attempts I finally decided just to creep up on it slow and at the last second charge it so Billy would have another shot at the dart. We did that and got the dart in her. Even with a dart in her back and a hook in her mouth she dove back down another 400 feet and fought us for another 20 minutes. Finally, after two and a half hours and 12 miles later we boated the fish in 850 feet of water. We got her on board, and I estimated her at 125 pounds. Not a bad estimate as it was 124.6 pounds on our digital scale back at the dock. All I can say it was an epic battle where everything went right. The fish was gut hooked and we should have lost it, but the leader was wedged in the crease of her jaw and was not allowing it to rub across her teeth. We also had an awesome angler that had not only patience but knew exactly how much pressure to keep on the fish. This angler has caught plenty of big bluefins and yellowfins in his past, albeit none on this lighter tackle. All I can say is what a great fight, a great fish and a memory that I will never forget.
I am so excited about the next two months. Not only is the fishing good now, but it is only going to get better. If you want to go sailfishing, now is the time to get in on the action. Now is also the time to start planning those trips to the Bahamas for the tunas. April — July is the time with April and May being the best before the sharks arrive.
Give us a call and let’s set it up!
Capt. Dean Panos