Offshore Ft. Lauderdale Sailfishing (Post from the angler)

Filed under: Fishing Reports

Captain Josh

Mark and I had a great time fishing on the Never Enough.  While fishing is the main target on a charter, the captain can make or break the experience.  I have been out on the water with many guides and there are only a small number that stand out.  I fish with Mike Bassett at Born and Raised Charters down in Islamorada and he and I have developed a friendship over the six years I have been fishing with him.  We have been out dozens of times and we always look forward to each other’s company.  I hope the same will develop over the course of time on the Never Enough.  Here is my write-up of the little boat that could.

It seems that the boat captains really believe that size matters.  The parade of big boats striking out in the mid-morning sunrise had their tall tuna towers, enclosed cabins, and huddled clients preparing for the sailfish quest.  Outriggers, mates, baits, and all the accoutrement of finding fish were at the ready.  Impressive was the flotilla.  The Never Enough gliding by them and around them in the flat waters of the ocean’s entrance must have made the captains chuckle.  Fishing for sailfish is for the big boys and can’t be done properly by this little boat buzzing about.  But Josh knows that he who laughs last, laughs best.

Once you clear the jetties and hit the ocean proper, all boats look small and insignificant.  It was a day of strong currents, a wind from the NNW blowing 15 to 20, and six foot waves where the currents and tides meet.  In 120 feet of water, Josh set out the kites and the goggle-eyes.  The bait danced on the surface below the orange streamers while Josh steered the boat, kept the baits just on the surface (no easy task), gave some training to Sam, and entertained us with good stories and chuckles.  Mark and I tried to get our sea legs and ride the roll.  Within 15 minutes, the near bait was hit by an explosion of a sailfish.  Chaos ensued.  Josh barking orders to Sam, grabbing the rod to set the hook as the line popped off the kite clip, getting the rod into Mark’s hands, making sure that Sam started the boat forward to get into the chase, line screaming off the reel, the fish lit up and making a hasty retreat to the deep waters, running to get the other line out of the water and reel in the kite so that lines would not tangle, all in 30 seconds.  Once over, Mark settled in for the fight.

The excitement of the first minute of a sailfish bite and hook is often followed by the arm wearying labor of keeping the line tight and playing the fish.  There is little doubt who is in control in the beginning.  The fish is in charge and takes line when it wants.  The angler’s only job is to feel what the fish is doing and respond to the underwater movements.  Josh was now in his element.  He gave words of encouragement, reminded Mark to keep the line tight, and followed the fish with a mastery of the process.  The smile on Josh’s face and the joy in his voice told the tale of his love of this part of his day.  A fish well hooked, apologies accepted for barking orders loudly, a client bent into the task of bringing the fish to the boat, and the small pleasure of getting on the radio to tell the big boats that he had a hook-up and a bent rod.  Daily victories can be some of the most exquisite.

The fish did not come easily.  After 20 minutes the battle shifted to the fisherman and not the fish.  The slow crank to the boat, three feet at a time, would bring the fish into view in the background of that deep blue color.  The fish came in tail first.  It was wrapped in a snare of it’s own making and solved the riddle of the strangeness of the fight.  Josh reached over the side, grabbed the fish by the bill, and slid it gently onto the deck.  Monofilament leader wrapped around the tail was quickly cut away, pictures were taken, and all haste was made to revive the fish and put it back into the water.  Smiles, handshakes, and a fish swimming away into the rolling waves was a scene not shared by the big boats that day.  He hooked another for me in the next 15 minutes and the battle ensued once again.  Two for Tuesday was Josh’s gleeful shout into the radio.  Silence from the other captains and I assume some deep felt respect for Captain Josh, Sam, and
the little boat that could.

Thanks Josh and Sam

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