Fish News: The Day After
The Day After
The Don Forman Cobia Tournament will run the entire month of July. For more information on this and other PSWSFA tournaments visit: www.pswsfa.com/tournaments.htm.
July 6, the day after the kayak amberjack trip, we headed offshore. We started at the Finger/Wayne's World area where there was a good deal of life including 100-pound bluefin tuna skying out of the water. We caught 3 of those and pulled the hook on a 4th. We kept the first one, which was 13-year-old Hunter Southall's first bluefin tuna. It later weighed in at 94 pounds. He did a good job fighting the fish on stand-up tackle. Due to regulations, we could only keep the one. We also caught some dolphin and a king mackerel. We then went out to the Norfolk Canyon area and did some bottom fishing and caught a mixed bag. The first fish up was a big blueline tilefish, which was lost as they tried to swing the fish into the boat. I very calmly (this is my story) informed the crew that we had a half-dozen gaffs and a big landing net and to please try not to swing anymore record-class fish into the boat. The very next fish was another big blueline tilefish caught by Chris Boyce. This fish was larger than any of our previous records but was a pound less than the current world record held by Rick Wineman (19lb 14oz). It still is the largest blueline caught on the Healthy Grin so far. Hunter caught his first grouper, a 30-pound snowy. We caught some wreckfish, hake, sea bass, and a couple of 3-pound blackbelly rosefish. 3 of the tilefish were large enough to earn citations. The largest fish of the day was one not caught by Danny Forehand. After fighting the fish for and hour and a half, Danny gave up on trying to get the fish up. He passed the rod to Ric Burnley. No longer a possible record, Ric said that something was going to give. Ric said that he was not emotionally attached to this fish like Danny was. Well what gave was Danny's rod. It broke in two and the line parted. One of these days, we are going to get one of those beasts up.
July 5, Ric has been talking about taking the kayaks to the South Tower (Navy "A" Tower) and trying to catch amberjacks. I really did not think that they were going to be very successful but I thought it would be fun to watch these guys get abused. Nobody had done it before so we were not sure what to expect. I was partly right. It was fun watching those guys get abused but they were very successful. The amberjacks were very cooperative, hitting any live bait, jig, or top-water plug presented to them. They would hook up and off for a ride they would go. A few jacks got them into the tower but for the most part, they just drug them all over the ocean. After releasing the fish, they would paddle back to the tower and start all over again. They did catch an amberjack with some impressive tooth marks on it to remind them that they were not at the top of this food chain. By the end of the day, they could not lift their arms but you would have thought those guys were high on some drug. They are addicted to catching big fish from those little boats. They tried to get me into one of those things but I told them that my yak has twin diesels. When I was not video/photographing them, I was plenty busy cranking on amberjacks myself. Most of the amberjack were in the 44 to 46 inch range. The largest caught was 50.5 inches though a couple of larger fish were lost at boat side. Now that they know it can be done, I guess we will head out again with more kayaks stacked into the back of my Albemarle.
Dr. Ken Neill, III writes a weekly column for The Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association (www.pswsfa.com).