Girls and Fishing

August is over.  Thank God.  I have never seen so much rain this summer.  I think it has rained every day for the last 90 days.  And, I really don't like August in Tally, it is too doggone hot.

Fishing this summer has been tough because of the wind, the rain, and the lightning.  We have tried numerous times, only to be thwarted by mother nature.

50% chance of rain today.  Go figure.  We will try again this Monday morning.  (Labor Day)

On the boat with me this morning is Caroline Cook and Jared Gilman.

I have had a few girls on the boat in the past.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy having women on the boat.  However, I haven't had too many of them that really know their way around a boat.

So allow me to introduce Ms. Cook.  The girl knows how to fish.  She never hesitated for anchor duty, or live bait duty, or even cleaning the boat duty.  (or beer duty).  Heck, she even bought my beers - you gotta like girls like that.

We got a late start.  I really, really wanted to head to Oar Reef to fish for Kings, but with all the large thunder-boomers around me, I just couldn't risk it.  So we stayed in-shore (around 8 miles out) and did our best on the little fish.

I say little fish, but we took a chance and trolled over Rotary Reef.  I have never caught anything trolling over this reef (it is only 24 ft deep).  There are stretch 30's on the line.   I think they bump along the bottom.  30 seconds into trolling, Caroline catches this 26 inch Cobia:

Nish fish Caroline!  Do it again!

A little while later, Jared catches this shark:

You can see how thrilled he is to catch a fish the same size as Caroline's.  NOT!  Go back to teaching him Caroline.  Being a soldier, Jared's favorite part of the day was when I pulled out the .40 caliber and let him shoot towards Costa Rica.  I don't think he hit it.  

And yes, that is rain right behind him. We DID get to see two water spouts emerge from the storm building behind him.

Dodging thunderstorms (as always), we fished Ochlocknee Shoal for trout and sea bass (only 5 feet deep on the shoal).  Thanks Macon for the advice on which Gulps to use on the shoal.  Caroline caught another decent spotted sea trout, and I caught a few small sea bass.  Nothing to write home about though.  We ran out of GULP shrimp, so we decided to head in to the marina for more bait.

We steal some of Robby's bait out of the cooler and start to leave the dock when I look behind me (towards the shore) on the horizon and see a HUGE thunderstorm behind the marina.  I don't like it when I get trapped out there and there is a big storm between me and the marina.  So we sit at the bar and wait - tough way to spend the day, I know.  An hour and a half later, it finally stops raining and lightning, but by that time, we decide to call it a day.  We (okay, they) clean the boat and we head home.  The entire drive back to Tallahassee - it rains.  No surprise there.

Thanks again for fishing with me guys, you both are welcome back on my boat anytime!

Tight lines

Captain Hook

Thank God for Frogg Toggs

This was supposed to be a "guys" weekend in Carrabelle, Florida.  In fact, Gene Griffin had to cash in his 40th birthday party "free weekend" hall pass for this weekend.

Jeff Paul and his son John were supposed to come up from Clearwater Friday night and fish with us on Saturday and Sunday. 

Ryan Brooks and I headed down to Carrabelle / Panacea area Thursday afternoon.  We stopped in at Panacea and put the boat in the water.  It was raining.

We drove to Carrabelle and checked in to the hotel.  It was raining.

We walked down to the bar called Fathoms and had 19 beers and a nice dinner.  It was raining.  Gene arrived around 11 p.m.  It was raining.

We stayed up ridiculously late considering we had to fish the next morning.  My alarm went off at 6:30 a.m.  I looked out my window - it was raining - screw that.  Back to sleep.  We all got up at 7:30 a.m. and drove to Panacea.  It was raining.  It started raining harder.  We went to breakfast up the road and watched it rain.  Conversation at the table, "Hey, if those crab guys in Alaska can fish in -20 degree weather, we can fish in rain right?"  Damn straight.   We return to the dock.  It is raining.  Gene pulls out these things called "Frogg Toggs".  Light-weight rain suits, shirts and pants.  Wow, these things rock!:

We fish for awhile, not catching much.  It rains harder.  Here is what the storms look like that roll through every 20-30 minutes.  Some have lightning, others don't.  Guessing wrong is rather perilous:

Here we are heading into the channel.  Fishing in these conditions is not for the faint-hearted:
These storms are re-occurring about every 45 minutes.  The rain is intense in some of them - but we fish.  We fish the channel and for the first time in two days, I actually see a small piece of blue sky.    It is just to the right of my head.  It only lasts a few minutes, but here it is:

We get in the car and head back to Carrabelle.  It is raining:

Ryan has to head back to Tallahassee, but Gene and I are determined bastards, so we head back to Carrabelle.  We meet some friends of his for dinner.  It is raining.  Service sucks.

My alarm goes off the next morning at 6:30 a.m. It is raining.  Screw it - back to sleep.  We get up around 8:00 a.m. and head over to Panacea.  It is raining.

This part is good:

Back on with the Frog Toggs.  It is Saturday morning.  It is raining.  But after awhile, we see a clearing.  Blue sky.  OMG!  We head out the channel.   We go even further to Rotary Reef which is about 7 miles off-shore.  Blue sky above us, but storm clouds all around us though.  I am very uncomfortable with my decision to be all the way out here.  Almost out of nowhere a storm approaches.  It is too late to head in.  Whew - only a brief torrential downpour for 5 minutes.  Man, those things come up fast!

While we are on the spot, Gene catches his first Cobia.  Nice job Gene, although Jim Pittman's 1st Cobia the week before was bigger I think:  (We can argue about which is bigger at Lake Cue in September).  Personally, I am just happy you guys are catching cobia on my boat.

Now, if you look closely behind Gene's head, you will see yet another storm on the horizon. By the time we get situated after catching this Cobia, this latest storm is much closer and much bigger.  Gene says, "Let's just ride it out Marc.  I don't here any thund...."  FLASH/BOOM!  I say, "We're getting the hell out of here."  Now remember, we are 7 miles offshore.  We start hauling butt towards the shore, but we are at least 20 minutes away from making the channel marker.  Meanwhile, the storm is on my port side and getting closer and closer.  When I look to my left I see a lightning bolt and a solid mass of blue-black rain and nastiness.  The wind has picked up considerably.  Look straight Marc, don't look left, don't look left!  I can't help it, every few minutes, I look left.  The storm is huge and is now only a 1000 yards to port and bearing down hard.  900, 800, 700, 600, 500.  Well, you get the idea. 15 minutes later we make the first channel marker and the rain is just to our left - and we have to turn hard left to stay in the channel!  That's when all hell breaks loose.  The storm catches us.  I can't see a damn thing it is raining so hard, and rain hurts like hell going 40 mph.  We make the next channel marker, turn hard to starboard and out-distance the storm by a few feet.  Ever see those action CGI movies where all the destruction is directly behind them and they are just barely escaping it?  Yep.  It was just like that.   So we are now 30 seconds ahead of the storm from hell and heading in when we see a 16 ft Carolina Skiff heading OUT of the channel.  The lady in the bow actually starts waving nonchalantly at me!  Holy crap, I just spent 20 minutes with my sphincter puckered trying to outrun this raging storm and they are heading into the teeth of it - in a fu**ing skiff.  I give them the "turn-around now or you are sure to die" hand signal.  As I blow by them at 40 mph, I turn to see the wall of rain hit them.  They immediately turn around, punch it, and start following me.  One less boat for Sea Tow to rescue.

We get back to the dock safely, although it did kind of feel like we cheated mother nature some. I don't like fooling with Mother Nature - I think she keeps tabs - especially on fishermen.  It is raining at the dock.

We return to Carrabelle and make this video for your viewing amusement:

Gene and I wake up Sunday morning and head back to Panacea.  IT  IS NOT RAINING!  We do get some fishing in Sunday morning but we have to head in early cause of storms.  When we return to the dock, it is raining.

 I gotta give it to Gene and Ryan, those boys have heart. 

Jeff Paul - I know you and John were looking forward to coming up, but trust me - NOT coming up was the right decision.

It is Sunday night, I am safely home now.  It is 9:26 p.m. 

It is raining.....

Capn Hook.

Pittman on Cobia Fire!

On the boat today is just Jim Pittman and me.  Everyone else had to work.  What's it like to work on Friday anyway?  It must suck.

Marine APP calling for 1-2 ft seas today, but as we head out I see the "whoop-de-doos" on the horizon which I now know are white caps past the channel markers.  Huh?  Those aren't supposed to be there.

We start heading offshore but we stop at a small "tripod" structure just outside of Ochlocknee Bay.  We cast several times looking for Cobia.  Something is big down there cause it keeps hitting Jim hard.  I actually get him on the line - turns out to be a small shark.  I hate those damn things.  I don't think Jim is a fan either:

While we are at the tripod, the winds pick up considerably.  Now, there are white-caps EVERYWHERE.  WTF?  Supposed to be 1-2 today.  These are more like 3-4.  Frickin weather.

We go hide in the bay.  We catch nothing but stingrays and catfish.  Now I remember why I hate inshore fishing.

After a few hours, the wind starts to lay down so we make another attempt.  No way dudes (and dudettes if any women read my blog).  Waves out here are 5-6 feet.  In fact, one comes over the stern and swamps us.  Easily a 6 ft wave.  Scared the hell out of me.  Frickin weather is so unpredictable out here.

As we mosey back in, we notice a few small boats hanging out in an area that is only about 5 miles offshore.  Nowhere near the 20 miles where we were originally headed, so we cruise by them slowly.  The wind isn't as bad here.  As we get close, my fish finder goes crazy with structure.  So we drop anchor.  I'm pretty sure I have finally found "Rotary Reef."

We spend the next few hours here and Jim catches Cobia after Cobia on frozen squid.  The boy is on fire!  Who knew Cobia liked squid?  I was always told they loved live bait but I have a fresh pinfish sitting on the bottom of one of my rigs and they aren't touching him.  Ain't nobody eating live shrimp, gulp shrimp, or gulp squid either - only frozen squid.  Fish are weird.

Because the damn government requires Cobia to be something like a minimum length of 139 inches  in order for a recreational fisherman to actually keep one (don't get me started), we have to throw all these beautiful fish back.  But hey, I had fun watching Jim, and I KNOW Jim had a great time catching them. 

Nice fishes Jimbo.

As a Captain, I learned several things on this trip:  I learned that the spot where Jim and I were fishing is excellent and not far from shore.  There is structure everywhere there.  I'm very excited about that.  I learned that Cobia love squid.  I learned that blue runners love sabiki rods.  I learned to trust my gut and not to test mother nature.  I learned that being a better Captain REALLY DOES require a lot of time on the water.

We didn't return to the dock with a lot of fish, but it really was a great day fishing.

Hey, taking the family to Italy next week for summer vacation, so no blog for awhile. 

Who's next on the boat in July when I return?

Cap'n Hook

You did NOT just eat that!

May 10, 2013

My apologies.  I got busy at work and got behind on my fishing blogs.  I know, I know, I don’t have my priorities in order.
This will be a VERY short blog. You'll see why in a sec.

On the boat today is Ryan Brooks and Matt Hansard.  Matt is our corporate accountant. He is the one who decides how much we can write-off in respect to “boat expenses”, so it is important to keep him happy.

Smooth winds and seas today.  In fact, the conditions today are even nicer then they were last week.  We should catch a lot of Kings today on Oar Reef.  They sure loved those bananas we sacrificed last week!
We get out to the reef – no problems.  We start trolling – no problems.

Ryan pulls out a banana.
I laugh. 

We all know the banana routine now - Bring a banana, throw it overboard, catch a big fish.  It's that simple.

Ryan peels the banana....................................... and starts eating it!
He starts eating it!

He doesn’t throw it overboard, he starts eating it!

Oh my god!  I turn to him in amazement and say.  “What the f*ck are you thinking dude?”  He responds, “Come on Marc, you are too damn superstitious.  My banana has nothing to do with catching fish.  There are no “Fish Gods" that must be given sacrifices - besides the banana has potassium that my body needs”.
We caught nothing the rest of the day in perfect conditions.

End of blog. luck would have it, shortly after Ryan throws in the banana, we get stopped by the police.  I get stopped so often by them now though, I'm starting to think they just like having their morning coffee with the Geeks 1 crew.  The badge and the .40 caliber weapon really get their attention when they pull alongside.  Russell is the man!

End of blog.

Wait, wait……In all fairness to Ryan, HE caught two AJs - neither of them keepers.  He caught one Amberjack on 12 pound test on my bass spinning reel.  I told him that there was no way he could catch that large of a fish on such small pound test.  He loosened the drag and 20 minutes later, both he and the fish were exhausted, but the fish was in the boat.  I bowed to him, as promised.  If you look closely, you can see that he still has a small banana remnant left on the side of his mouth.

Doesn't anyone eat oranges anymore and what the hell is potassium?!
Have a fruitful day folks!
Cap'n Hook.

Slayed Em

Only three of us on the boat today:  Russell Paul, Gene Griffin and me.  The rest of you boys had to work on Friday!  Go figure.
Short blog this time.

I didn’t even bring any small rigs today.  Marine APP is calling for 1-2 ft seas and no chance of rain.  I haven’t seen that APP show seas that small since last year.  It has been extremely windy here for months and months.  Man, did we get beat up fighting the waves two weeks ago in that Rock-the-Dock tournament.  The slamming of the boat up and down forced me to go see a Chiropractor.
But not today!  As we leave the channel, no white caps.  I like it I, like it..

45 minutes later – we reach Oar Reef. 50ft of water – not too deep, but I really like this reef.  It is becoming my favorite.  I’m learning some good spots on it.

The big question:  Have the Kings arrived from South Florida yet?  That is why we are here.
A little something different today as we are going to try to use a downrigger for the first time.  Thank you, Major Mike Wood of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, for the gift.  I plan to put the ribbon fish lure that went through my finger two weeks ago on that downrigger.  That is probably a better place for it, you think? So we put out:  One red stretch, one ribbon fish on a downrigger and one teaser (skirt) in the middle.

Russell, of course, immediately pulls out a banana.  “Thanks for the tip Jeff Paul,” he says.  (You would have to read my last blog to understand).  So he throws the banana in the water.  No kidding, exactly one minute later – ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, the trolling line goes nuts.  Large ass grouper.  I’m a little disgusted.  I call in to Rock Landing Marina to see if we are absolutely, positively in Federal waters.  I call several times – no answer.  Oh crap, I don’t think my VHF radio is transmitting.  That is bad.  But then Sea Tow answers, plots my coordinates, and yes, we are in Federal waters by one mile.  Back in goes the grouper.  You just have to cringe.  I really do need to vent soon through my blog.

I find out later that the marina FORGOT to turn on their radio.  Oops.

I promised to make this a short blog.  So suffice it to say, we had an amazing day fishing.  We caught lots of Kings and lots of grouper.  I know it’s a good day when I'm eating a sandwich; the trolling line goes crazy; and I lackadaisically say “Hey, one of you guys get it, it’s probably just another damn grouper”.  And it was.
Normally, I place pictures throughout the blog, but since we caught so many damn fish, here are a few of them all at once.  My favorite is Gene Griffin holding the one by the tail.  That was Gene's first Kingfish and it was huge.  Nice fish dude.  Russell was no slacker either though:


You can see why we returned smiling.  Most productive offshore fishing trip yet.  Getting better bitches!  Nice job crew!

Have fun out there.

No accidents to report this time out!  :-)
Captain Hook.

Captain Hook

It was a long weekend – warning - this will be a relatively long blog.  And please don’t eat anything while you read this.  You'll understand why in a moment.

The “2013 Rock-The-Dock Fishing Tournament” in Panacea, Florida event was this weekend.  Scheduled to be on “Geeks 1” this weekend are:  Nick Sloan, Jeff Paul, Gene Griffin and me.

Gene and I spent the night down there Thursday night so we could get a "practice" day in before the tournament started on Saturday.  You know, just so we wouldn't do anything stupid during the tournament.

Friday morning – 7 a.m.  As soon as we head out, it is clear we won’t be going far.  The wind is HOWLING!  4-5 foot seas.  Ain’t no way we are headed out to the reefs 20 miles offshore in this wind.  So we fish the bays.  We don’t catch much.  As the day goes on though, the wind starts to lay down.  At 1 p.m., the waves subside enough for us to attempt a run out to “Oar Reef”.  I am dying to practice trolling with the big rigs, the new ribbon fish lures, and the new planers.  I can’t wait to see if the Kings have returned.

Although it is still pretty choppy, we make it out to Oar Reef without trouble.  I reach up to grab one of the big rigs that are in the rocket launcher above my head, but I lose my balance and instead of grabbing the pole, I grab the hook on the lure.  The hook goes right through my finger and burrows in.  Now, you may be thinking, big deal, people hook themselves all the time, but have you ever seen the size of a King Mackerel ribbon fish lure hook?  Here it is being removed from my finger at the emergency medical center in Tallahassee Friday afternoon:

Ouch. Indeed. 

2.5 hours that damn hook was in my finger.  It was a long boat ride back in.  I was so glad when they finally removed it.  So I get a few stitches, a tetanus shot (which hurt all weekend - and my finger didn't), and we head back to the coast to re-join the festivities.

We all drink a few beers Friday night (I have more than a few).  Hey, I blame my finger.

Saturday morning, we try it again.  Mother Nature says, “No Way”.  4-5 foot seas in the morning, but we know it will get better so we hang out in-shore fishing and biding our time.  Around 1 p.m., we head out again to Oar Reef.  Very, very choppy, but we make it there eventually by doing 10 mph.  My crew tells me I am not allowed to touch anything that has a hook on it.  To be honest, I am perfectly fine with that. 

Here is where the blog starts to get interesting:

We throw out the trolling lines.  We fish for 15-20 minutes – nothing.  Then Jeff says something about eating a banana.  I tell him there better not be a damn banana on my boat.  He asks me why, and I explain that bananas are bad luck on boats.  Honestly, I'm not sure why either. Slipping? So he takes the banana he is holding, and instead of eating it, he throws it in the water.  It isn’t 15 seconds later that – WHHHHHIIIIIIIIZZZZZZZZ, the trolling line goes crazy and we catch our first King of the day.  I’m sorry Jeff that we didn’t take a picture of him, I really should have done that for you.  But he was a nice big fish everyone - trust me.  My family intends to eat him tonight.

We begin trolling again.  Nothing.

Jeff finds another damn banana.  “Get that f*cking thing off my boat”, I yell.  He throws it in the water.  15 seconds later: WHHHHHIIIIIIIIZZZZZZZZ, the trolling line goes crazy.  Gene hooks into an 18 pound grouper.  Here is that picture:

We are in Federal waters though, so we have to throw him back. That sucks!  Don't even get me started on fishing regulations these days.  You know, come to think of it, I think I will dedicate an entire blog to that subject sometime in the near future - just to vent.

We start trolling again.  Nothing.

I know you aren’t going to believe me, but Jeff finds another f*cking banana hidden in a different cooler.  Was he a monkey in a previous life?  You know where this is headed right?  He throws it overboard.  You guessed it, 15 seconds later: WHHHHHIIIIIIIIZZZZZZZZ, the trolling line goes crazy.  Nick reels in a 13 pound grouper.  Here it is:

Sorry for the fuzzy pictures, but my cell phone lens apparently, is coated with salt water.  We got very wet headed offshore due to the waves.

Fishermen, by nature, are a superstitious bunch.  Now I understand why.  If you fish with me, please do not bring bananas on my boat! Or if you do, please prepare to throw them overboard. Chumming with bananas.  Who knew?

K Tower isn’t far, and I have an ongoing war with the Barracuda that guard that particular tower, so we head over there.  I am up on the bow throwing a large eel on a spinning rod,  Gene is also on the bow throwing a large silver spoon, with a weight and a triple hook. Jeff and Nick are near the stern bottom fishing.  I get a barracuda to attack, but he immediately bites through the line.  Man those guys have sharp teeth.  Current Score:  Barracuda 4 - Marc 0.

I am minding my own business, when WHACK - something hits me in the side of the head, and I feel something rip through my ear.  I go down hard, hitting the bow face first.  It doesn’t knock me unconscious, but I know I am hurt and I'm pretty damn sure it was Gene’s lure that hit me and sliced through my ear.  The only question I ask myself as I lay there, “How much of my ear is remaining?”   In my head, I visualize the size of the hook that was on the spoon he was whipping through the air.   I get up to my hands and knees.  Blood is dripping from my ear onto the bow - not a good sign.  Gene comes over and very calmly says, “It’s just a scratch!”  But I know how hard it hit me, so I'm not really believing him.  In fact though, it really was just a scratch.  The weight is what hit me in the head, not the hook.  The hook only sliced the very tip of my ear.  In fact, it barely grazed me.  But Gene and I are both thinking, “Thank God”.  At the speed in which he was whipping that large lure off the boat, it could have easily torn my entire ear off, or worse, had it hit me in the back of the head.  Well, let’s not go there either.  For some reason, we decide to immediately stop fishing K Tower.  I’m not sure who is shaking more, Gene or me.  It is one of those moments when you keep thinking to yourself, “What if?”  But that didn’t happen.  Gene apologizes for the umpteenth time.  Time to keep fishing.  

Did we miss a banana somewhere?

Believe it or not, I consider myself to be a very safe Captain.  I don’t drink on the boat, I don’t head out in unsafe conditions, I study the weather, the tides, I keep the boat well maintained, I read.  I do all the things I am supposed to do to make sure that I, and my crew, stay as safe out there as possible.  But guess what, off-shore fishing is inherently dangerous.  Bad things happen out there very quickly.  There are LOTS of sharp things flying around.  If anything, I re-learned that being overly conservative is not just being a wuss, it is a necessary virtue for being an offshore Captain. 

We head into State Waters and catch ANOTHER 13 pound grouper trolling.  This one is legal, so he goes into the cooler.  It is now around 6 p.m.  The weather is beautiful and as we head in, I have my “moment”.  

You know, that moment when it all comes together and everything is just right in your world.  Jeff had taken over the driving for a little bit.  I was relaxing on the back seat.  The sun was setting, the temperature was perfect, we had fish in the cooler, I still had both ears, and I was returning from a productive, yet physically challenging day of offshore fishing with my close friends.  So I said, “Gentleman, I am calling this my moment”.  And it was.  Perfection.   It is why I love to fish.   Thank you gentleman, for your respect, for always asking me if I needed anything, for giving me that moment and for being a great crew:

There isn’t much to write about for our Sunday.  The wind was even worse.  I really did feel for you out there 30 miles offshore Robbie - I don't care how big your boat is.  There was no way my bay boat was going to make it offshore so we headed over to St. Marks for some inshore fishing.  We caught lots of small trout, some catfish, some ladyfish, and some other junk fish, but nothing to write home (or in a blog) about.  Pretty much why I don’t enjoy inshore fishing much anymore.  Still, it was another beautiful day and we caught fish.  I didn't hear any complaints.

We wrapped up the weekend at the bar with a lot of oysters, a few more beers, and here I am back at work Monday morning.  Dammit.

Stay safe out there folks.  Thank you for reading.

Captain Hook. 
(My new nickname at the marina.  I’ve been called worse!)

New Fishing Season


Hey guys (and ladies?):

My brother Russell says he actually reads these blogs, so I will continue with them!

Fishing season is coming, fishing season is coming!  I can't wait.  I got sooo tired this winter staring at my fishing poles in my garage wishing I was actually using them.  Yes, I admit, I casted out into the yard several times.

Jim Pittman and I went out on Saturday.  We spent the night at the coast - we bonded.  I hadn't taken the boat out in a couple of months.  It was filthy.  A couple of people gave me crap about cleaning it BEFORE I took it out.  But hey, I am used to getting crap at the dock.  This is my 2nd year as an offshore Captain.  Things are gonna be a little different this year - I'll explain exactly what I mean towards the end of the blog.

Last year, about this time, I thought the end of the channel was a long way.  This year, not so much.  In fact, my GPS was acting up on Saturday, but I still had every intention of heading to K Tower without it.  I have both my phone as a backup and even if that didn't work, I am now very comfortable using my compass to guide me offshore and back.  Who's your Daddy!

So Jim and I headed out Saturday morning.  Not very windy heading out - that is cool.  I really want to see if the Kings are running on Oar Reef.  Oar Reef is 5 miles short of K Tower.  I  caught several Kings there last year so I am pretty confident of my waypoints. 

We troll for 45 minutes there, nothing up or down that reef.  Hmm.  Perhaps I am pushing fishing season a bit here in late March.  I am on my boat though!  That rocks.  We can see K Tower (5 miles away) from where we are so we head over there. 

There were live pinfish in my bait trap next to the dock (another small trick I learned last year), so Jim starts fishing the bottom, next to K Tower, with live bait.  For months, I have been anxiously waiting to see if these new huge spinning reels and the plastic eel I have on the end of the line attracts Cobia.  So, I start casting the eel.  After 15 minutes, both Jim and I are fishless.  Eventually, he attracts some odd looking fish (let's call it a crapfish), and he throws it back.  I have a bottom line down but I am also still casting the eel.  I am about to give up, when you guessed it, WHAM!  I set the hook.  At first, he doesn't seem very big, but as he gets closer to the boat he decides to run.  Fish never like the sight of the boat do they?  Holy crap, he starts taking line fast.  I tighten the drag even more.  80 pound test on a spinning reel bitch, you ain't breaking this!  I fight him for 15 minutes; Jim helps me with the net and we get him in the boat.  Amberjack.  What a great fight!  My first AJ.

Not huge as Amberjacks go, but still a decent-sized fish.  I had no idea the AJ would hit the eel. Good to know. I was expecting a cobia.  Nonetheless, in the cooler he goes.  At this point, the wind is really starting to howl and the swells are running about 4 feet.  Time to go.  I have learned that, just because the sun is shining and the weather is warm, the wind can still get very scary out there 20 miles offshore.  I have also learned that the DIRECTION of the wind is very important.  I knew when we were heading offshore that we were going INTO a SW wind.  On the way back, I knew the wind would be at our backs and therefore, the ride would be much smoother.  It was.  Swells hitting your stern are much more desired than swells hitting your bow.

So what do I mean about being a better Captain?  Well, on Saturday, when Captain Vic returned to the dock, we discussed how much the wind was a factor.  Captain Vic is the most experienced in-shore charter Captain in these parts.  That boy knows how to catch fish.  Because of the wind though, he had "no keepers" for the day - not even a single rock bass.   Geeks 1 - one keeper AmberJack. I beat him, albeit by one fish.  First time that has ever happened!  Go me.

So that's pretty much it for today's blog.  Rock-the-Dock is April 27.  I'm getting ready.  The Kings should be running by then.  Let's go catch em boys!

Captain Paul