The Boat comes out of the water today…big-time bummer. But I have to say, this has been one heck of a season! Although working at a small start-up kept me off the water more then I can remember, this was a banner year.
The season started with trips to St. John and Virgin Gorda/Anagada with the wife and some friends, catching some BIG bones, baby Tarpon, and a slew of huge (and tasty) Yellowtail Snapper. The trip highlight was donating my floating line to an 8’ Hammerhead on a shallow flat. AWESOME trip. The season ended in early October with two banner days OTW catching 6 SBFT (little 20 to 25 pounders) on the long rod on Saturday the 2nd, and then cruising to Tillies, P-town, Situate (to re-fuel), and back to the Mack on Sunday to find a pile of SBFT feeding on krill…although we easily had 3 times as many shots then the day before, we never hooked up. Meanwhile, e-sea-e was a few miles away, having trouble finding’em, and managed to hook three and land one. It just goes to show that you never know what’s gonna work. But all-in-all, this was a phenomenal two days OTW, and a great end to a fantastic season.
Season highlights include:
Getting numerous calls and camera-phone shots from JJ, Capemike, FireFly and others telling me exactly where the fish are, and how readily they’re feeding, as I’m walking into a client site a thousand miles away. Ouch! Thanks guys!
Catching my first 50+ pound striper on a popper (Riptide’s Albie Medicine to be specific) on the same day my dad caught his first in the same range. This was the best surface feed of big stripers I have ever seen North of the Cape, and we were all alone out there!
Catching another 50+ pounder on a fly (my Rapala scale goes to 50#, so I don’t know how heavy), on an early morning solo run. This was my first 50+ pound striper on a fly. It was then I said to myself this season can’t get any better… man was I wrong.
A few weeks after this, I get word from JJ that he just boated his first SBFT of the season, and then all hell breaks loose! Most of the early season hunting was with a few of us in separate boats hunting’em down with Joe, JJ, Ric, Dale, Tom, Ron, Eric, The FirstLight guys, the list goes on…and a few joint trips with FireFly. We had a bunch of skunk trips at first with fish just off the bow (really frustrating!), but once we figured the game out, it was FISH ON! I think all the original MackRT guys caught SBFT this year. The teamwork was unbelievable.
On the Sharkin’ front, I had plans to do a few shark trips this year, but work, weather, and tunafever kept it to one trip. But it was a great one: Capemike and I set up the mother of all slicktastic chumlines… Mike managed to catch his first and second big bluedogs on this trip. The first almost pulled him in. It was a Beastly 8’er on the same spinning gear most guys use for 20# stripers. The shark put on an awesome surface display for most of the fight; Mike got one hell of a workout, and prevailed in the end! No Mako this year, but what a day!
The best day on the water was almost exactly two months from the above-mentioned day with my dad, when he finally caught his first SBFT. 73 years old (probably in better shape then most of us), after so many perfect shots with no hook-ups before this day, he makes a perfect cast into the frey and hooked up on his first cast…running around the boat, playing the fish out like the Old Man of the Sea, he got it boat site an pulled her in. I’ve never seen him happier! He was absolutely wrecked, but grinning ear-to-ear. Attached is a picture.
As a final note on the season, I want to say thanks to JJ for some solid tips, thanks to FireFly for a few great calls, one in particular that turned a bluefish day into an epic SBFT day! And thanks to RT in general, what a great site - tips, ideas, help, and most important for me this year, a taste of what’s going on while I’m stuck in landlocked places like Ohio!
Well, the boat’s out…Time to head south
Tight lines and singing reels!