This Side and the Other Side
Report Date: May 20, 2011
The tunas are finally here. Iíve been complaining about the lack of big blackfin tunas that usually arrive in April and May and finally in the last week the bigger blackfins are here. Our best afternoon we caught 4 big blackfins and have been consistently catching a few each trip. Average size is around 30 pounds and I have heard of some 35 pounders caught this week. The best blackfin bite has been in the late afternoon with 4 to 6 pm being the best time, although we have caught a few right in the middle of the day.
Besides the blackfins, the sailfish are still here and every trip has produced at least one sailfish bite if not more. The sailfish we have been catching are still of the full grown variety and have been a lot of fun on 20 pound tackle. Live herring and goggle eyes have been the best baits for me.
The kingfish are still around and in decent numbers. The sizes of the fish are still in the 10 to 30 pound range and that can be a lot of fun on light tackle. Live bait has been my choice but plenty of fish have also been caught on the wire lines and trolling down deep. Mixed in with the tunas and kings have been quite a few bruiser bonitas. Not a lot of good for the table, but a very hard fighting fish that can help you hone your angling skills. If these bonitas would grow to 50 pounds, you probably couldnít stop them.
I also made my first summer trip over to Bimini. We were hoping to get in on the mutton snapper bite during the full moon period in May. We have always done well a few days prior to the full moon and have been going with my same customer, Roger, targeting these muttons for quite some years. This year the mutton bite while we were there did not pan out. There was very little current, which made for difficult fishing. We did catch a few muttons every day, but not like it should have been. When the current is light, the trash fish like trigger fish etc. simply destroy your bait before the muttons can come in and eat it. We went through a lot of bait to catch those few muttons, but at least we caught some and they were definitely decent in size. We also went to a new area and went yellowtail snapper fishing. That was simply unbelievable with big flag yellowtails showing up almost as soon as we got there. Not only were the tails thick, but average size was 3 pound and we had quite a few over the 4 and 5 pound mark. These yellowtails looked like small muttons in size. The new spot definitely paid off and the sharks were not as bad as some of the other yellowtails spots that I usually fish. We did run around the corner and briefly looked for the yellowfin tuna. We found one school right off the bait and even marked them on the recorder. We had two bites instantly with one being a shark and the other one was a tuna eaten by a shark. We found some more birds but no other schools of yellowfins. We didnít spend the whole day since we already yellowtail fished all morning and were heading back for the muttons.
Iím really looking forward to the next few months. The boat is in perfect shape and I am ready for more trips to the Bahamas. I have 3 more trips to the Bahamas scheduled so far and am hoping to book a few more for the summer. I also have a few swordfish trips booked as well as a few offshore trips for mahis. Fishing on the edge is still good for tunas, kings and sails so that is another option that is available. So, donít hesitate, take advantage of the summer weather and lets go catch some fish!
Capt. Dean Panos