Anybody who’s been fishing enough knows that you have your slow days, ok days, and then there’s the days it all comes together. You have to take the good with the bad in this sport and learn to work with whatever conditions are present.
We had one of those good days the first of April. We started that day by finding the gulls bombing on a slicked-off morning, which meant pilchards. We sabiki’ed 75 or so pilchards and caught just as many, or more, in the cast net.
Then, we pointed it offshore towards the Islamorada Hump. I was hoping to live bait some larger blackfins on the hump, but that wasn’t the case. We pulled the feathers to try and locate the tunas, but all we picked up were two schoolie dolphin. So, I told my mate, Justin Baker, to rig up for an amberjack drop and we sent a blue runner to the bottom and came back up with a 40 lb. AJ. The hump was getting overly crowded, so we ventured further offshore to look for some weed or birds that may be on some mahi. We ran a mile or two south of the hump and started trolling in 650’, where there was some scattered weed. We got jumped pretty quickly and landed two more schoolies.
We then trolled for an hour or more with nothing. Just when we were starting to get a little worried, we spotted some birds on the horizon, so we headed towards them. The birds were on a very thick piece of coiled up rope that was loaded with life. Just what we were looking for! Justin was firing pilchards left and right and we caught ten more schoolies to make a baker’s dozen. There were also five or six small wahoos circling the rope that we toyed with for a bit, but with no luck. We hooked one on monofilament, but it was short-lived; we couldn’t entice a bite on the wire leader. Also lingering tight to the debris, was a fat triple-tail. We pitched it a pilchard, but he had a tough time catching the bait, so Justin wound it in, snipped off the pilchard’s tail and recasted to the triple-tail, and it sucked it down no problem.
With a nice looking fish box, we swung the fence and ran to the 1500’ ledge and made a few swordfish drops. Not long after hitting bottom on our first drift, we had a good bite, but didn’t connect. No bite on the second drift either. However, just as we were winding up the bait from our third drift, we had a pile-on bite--the rod doubled over and started going the other way. I knew it was a decent one the way he immediately scoped up and sounded, and then repeated three or four times. Two hours after the bite, we were able to sink some steel and bring aboard a 200+ lb. broadbill and back to the barn we went.
This was definitely a day not to be forgotten, and one of those days we’re truly grateful for, when “it all (just) comes together”.
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