Hitting the docks now— The December issue wraps up 2018 in style! Grab your copy today, available in both print and digital.
DECEMBER 13, 2018 FISHING WIRE –
Beginning January 1, 2019, all Atlantic highly migratory species tournaments will be required to submit catch summaries.
An Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) tournament is a tournament that awards points or prizes for catching Atlantic highly migratory species (i.e., swordfish, billfish, sharks and/or tunas). All Atlantic highly migratory species tournament operators will be required to submit an HMS tournament catch summary report within seven days after tournament fishing has ended. Most of the catch data in the summary report are routinely collected in the course of regular tournament operations. NOAA Fisheries uses the data to estimate the total annual catch of highly migratory species and the impact of tournament operations in relation to other types of fishing activities.
Existing regulations require operators of Atlantic highly migratory species tournaments to register four weeks in advance of the tournament. Operators must provide contact information and the tournament’s date(s), location(s), and target species. Tournament registration can be done through the Atlantic Tournament Registration and Reporting system.
Tournament operators can also request educational and regulatory outreach materials from NOAA Fisheries at the time of registration.
Here are some boats of interest sold this November. Congratulations to both the buyers and sellers.
Note: Final selling prices are not displayed.
2011 42’7” Viking
Engines: Cummins QSC 8.3 Zeus
List Price: $695,000
Sold Date: 11/9/2018
2013 50’ Viking
List Price: $1,395,000
Sold Date: 11/15/2018
Sold By: HMY Yacht Sales
2000 55’ Viking
Engines: MAN 2842LE
List Price: $539,000
Sold Date: 11/27/2018
Sold By: HMY Yachts
by Dave Ferrell
Capt. Peter B. Wright, a guy that’s caught quite a lot of giant marlin, often says that the best fishing teams aren’t determined by how big a fish they catch…It’s how many they catch that matters. Wright’s logic says that you can’t determine the exact size of the fish that takes your bait, but you can control how many bites you get, and how many fish you successfully capture out of those bites.
Therefore, it is the team that can get a bite, catch a fish and then redeploy the baits quickly to get yet another bite that usually comes out on top in a numbers-based release event. It is for this reason that any team that places in the top five of an east Florida sailfish tournament can probably be plopped down in any of the world’s billfish hot spots and be kicking butt in no time at all. Fishing for sails in Florida is a numbers game. Those who play it seem to be getting faster and more efficient with every passing season.
Change is Good
While it might not seem like it to those close to the sport, a lot of things have changed over the years for those targeting sails. Not too long ago, it was wire leaders and split-tailed mullet that caught all the sails from West Palm to Key West. These days its dredge fishing, circle hooks, 40-pound fluorocarbon leaders and live-bait kite fishing that dominates the scene. When the bite gets hot, usually during the winter months, double digit days become commonplace and good crews can really rack up the numbers. Catching double digit Florida sails is not as easy as many people think…Atlantic sails can be finicky on the bite and only a tight-lipped white marlin is harder to hook than a petite Palm Beach sail.
Two changes are perhaps the most profound. For one thing, we don’t keep them anymore. That leaves a lot more of them available for you to catch. “The first Miami Billfish Tournament was a one-point-per-pound event. The second year it was a hybrid with points for release and killed fish,” says Capt. Ray Rosher, owner the Miss Britt out of Miami, Florida. “Later on, we all complained bitterly when we were forced to use circle hooks in the tournaments. Now we would pay double to get to use them…sometimes, change is good.” Those two changes alone, the advent of the release ethic and the use of circle hooks, probably contribute as much, or more, to today’s double-digit numbers than any learned technique. Besides knowing how to kite fish, of course.
The practice of fishing live baits on circle hooks, dangling the baits just at, or below the water’s surface, is probably the most effective way to catch good numbers of sailfish, especially if they are concentrated in a certain area or depth. Capt. Bouncer Smith, who charter fishes his Bouncer’s Dusky, out of Miami, is an expert kite fisherman and has seen quite a few innovations in the game. “I had a customer one time that was watching me struggle with some helium balloons on a calm day. He decided he was going to help me out and invent a kite-shaped helium balloon,” said Bouncer. “He tinkered with the idea for a couple of years and tried to come up with a helium-filled kite that measured 36 x 36 x 4 inches. It had a lot of potential, but it never came to fruition.”
“Probably the two most notable things I’ve seen recently are the use of Mylar dredges in the kite spread and the use of underwater lights during the daytime,” says Bouncer. “They will take a dredge teaser, fill it with Mylar strips with ballyhoo or some other baitfish imprinted on them, and then hang it under a bullet float in between two kites.” Wave and wind action bobs the loaded dredge up and down and brings fish into sight range of the kite baits. “Guys are also strobing their underwater lights during the day to get fish’s attention as well,” says Bouncer.
“I usually use a sea anchor most of the time so that requires power fishing. This winter I plan on hanging one of those mylar dredges right underneath the center console. I think it will do well underneath the boat,” he says.
Not one to stay comfortable in the way he does things, Bouncer is willing to give anything a go if he thinks it might bring more action. “At one time, we put some underwater speakers out to see if they would attract sails and get them to come to the boat. We played the same noise that scientists use to call sharks [low frequency, pulsed, white noise], but it didn’t seem to work for us,” said Bouncer.
“I’m waiting for the day when a guy pulls his kites in and starts flying his lines out on a pair of drones! Can you imagine that? Not having to worry about the wind? Just two drones sitting out there at the perfect height…not even having to watch them? That would be the cat’s meow,” says Bouncer.
Good numbers only breed more innovation, as crews try to catch just one more fish than the guys in the next slip. Few work harder at trying to catch more fish, quickly and efficiently than Rosher. On top of his charter boat operations, Rosher also owns R&R Tackle – a company that manufactures all manner of innovative tackle and accessories. Most of the products he sells came about by trying to fulfill a need that he encountered on his daily outings.
Even so, he doesn’t make or sell either of his first two picks for recent great sailfish innovations. “One of the big changes,” says Rosher, “is the use of super-fast electric kite reels to retrieve the kites. Consequently, these reels have taught the guys the benefits of speed. We all have a basic understanding of how to take care of our baits, make the proper rigs, set up for a drift correctly etc. Now, it’s become a lot like NASCAR, where the quickest pit crews get the cars around faster. In fishing, the crew that gets the bites, and then redeploys quickly, catches more double and triples…and wins more tournaments,” says Rosher.
Rosher uses Hooker kite reels for several reasons. “I believe they are the fastest kite reels out there,” he says. “I don’t have experience with a lot of the other brands, but these are pretty fast reels. Guys used to be happy just having ANY electric reel, now we have these ultra-fast ones that can clear big marks. This allows you to put four clips on a kite line instead of three, which allows you to fish four lines on each side. And all four clips can fit on one kite reel.”
Even something so seemingly insignificant as a kite clip can become an item of intense scrutiny in Rosher’s quest for increased speed and efficiency. Rosher’s newly designed M2 clips are a fraction of the weight of traditional clips and excel on day’s with very light winds. “They work in all winds actually, but they really help on calm days. Even if you are using helium assist, kite lines will sag on calm days, and any added weight makes them sag even more. If your kite line is sagging and you get bit, a fish can burn through your other baits in an instant. Elevation is your friend in kite fishing. If your kite isn’t sagging you can lift the other baits out of the water and then get another bite. These clips allow you to fish more clips on very calm days.”
The additional clip also gives you the option of putting more baits out when one gets bit. “If the long gets bit, you can advance the other two baits and add another short. This puts a new bait right back into the spot where you got the first bite and results in a large number of doubles and triples,” says Rosher. “During a recent event we had some pretty tough fishing, but we got a bite on our right long – our shallowest bait. We backed up on it and caught it. I decided to put all of our stuff out a little shallower. By the time we had caught that one fish, all of our baits were up in our little tubes and I was moving an 1/8th of a mile back up in front of the pack. We ended up catching seven of them and doubled the next boat. I’m not trying to be some kind of braggart either, I’m just saying that good team work – speed and efficiency – wins tournaments.”
Advancements in kite design also allow you to spend more days on the water. “Kites have improved significantly,” says Rosher. “With both Lewis and SFE putting a lot of emphasis on light and heavy wind models. The ultralights really help if they can keep me from having to blow up a balloon with helium.”
As always, picking the right reel for the job is critical, especially when dealing with the long distances and light tackle commonly used when targeting sails with kites. “All of my reels are designed specifically for live bait sail fishing. Which means they have to have a high speed retrieve and very consistent drags. The reel I use is the Penn Fathom 40 NLDHS (Narrow Lever Drag High Speed). It retails for $249 and that’s very reasonable…I’m currently on my third season with the reels on my boat. There are others that do the same thing, but these are the ones I can talk about because I use them every day.”
Details Make a Difference
Nowhere was it more evident on how far Rosher will go to improve efficiency than when he talked about the design on his new rigging needles for live baits. “We like to bridle our live baits when kite fishing and we use a needle that we made to use with our specific bands,” he says. “Instead of a hole, it has a restrictor that lets you snap a band in place quickly and easily. It’s a synthetic needle [not metal] with soft edges so you can’t snag or damage a band. I tried to make them of metal, but I couldn’t make them as soft as I needed them to be. These are plenty strong enough to do the job, plus I can round the edges and flatten the sides to keep them from rolling around on a flat surface.”
“Our rigging bands come in two sizes, ½-inch and 1 3/8-inch, in either black or clear. They are made to our exact specifications because it’s really hard to get that sweet spot of being strong but not too strong. They need to hold the bait, but then let it go away on the hookup. You don’t want them to stay too well attached. I saw in Australia how those big baits tied on with 130-pound Dacron wouldn’t come off and the fish would come up shaking its head, throwing the whole thing away.”
It’s no secret that boats frequently placing near the top of most sailfish tournaments in south Florida use pen-raised live baits. Rosher, who does quite well in tournaments, is known as a master at raising and keeping live baits. “I put all of our focus on products that I needed…things I couldn’t find out in the marketplace. Our bait pens come with a food tray in them, and we even sell food…wet or dry. Our double fine mesh bait nets allow you to transfer large amounts of live baits very quickly, without damaging the slime layer. They even have a clear plastic bottom that holds water to keep them lubricated, but also fools the baits into swimming straight into the net instead of trying to avoid it.” Rosher even makes small bait tubes for pilchards and goggle eyes that feature adjustable, individual flow controls and that allow you to store bridled baits ready for deployment as soon as the boat stops.
Old School Too
Kite fishing might have inched ahead with more recent sail fishing innovations, and that’s just fine for traditional troll fisherman like Tony Huerta, owner of the Lo Que Sea. Huerta and crew are regular top five finishers in many of the most prestigious marlin and sailfish tournaments in south Florida and the Bahamas. Huerta chuckled when I asked him what, if anything, he’s been doing differently over the last few years that he thought might have improved his odds.
“We are doing the exact same things. We might pull a bigger dredge on tournament days – triples or even quads, but nothing much is different. We’ve got a blue and white dredge on one side, and a blue and black on the other. We still pull green squids and a blue and white express with a mackerel in it. We prospect one side, all day long, even in sunny conditions. A lot of boats use high speed reels, but we still use TLD 20 two speeds. I think a lot of anglers pull the baits away from the fish with the high speeds. There’s really not much to it…run them over and hang on to the ones you see,” he says.
Oh, if it were just that easy.
An interesting man in many contexts – Captain Bouncer Smith catches quality fish of many species (from swordfish to tarpon to sailfish and snapper). Here’s the full Old Salt interview with Capt. Bouncer at his slip in Miami Beach Marina.
For more on Bouncer’s story, check out the December Issue hitting the docks this week!
Born in South Miami and a third generation native, Kevin spent the last 20 years photographing the world of high fashion and other elegant subject matter. As an avid free diver and lifelong water-sports enthusiast, Kevin has now turned his lens underwater, capturing the beautiful, exciting – and at times dangerous – world that belongs to a vast collection of undersea creatures. Kevin’s new artwork invites the viewer to pause and take a moment to see the silent, yet thrilling, oceanic marvels that few rarely glimpse.
Kevin Dodge’s work has been featured in numerous international magazines and media. His creations are in the collections of Coca Cola, Ford, IBM, Dell, Budweiser, Hyatt Hotels, Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson.
Kevin’s current oceanic art can be seen in a series of limited-edition prints he describes as Ocean Blue, celebrating the mysteries of our oceans and the beauty within this seemingly silent world.
“Creating this art has allowed me to capture the extraordinary moments when I encounter beautiful, yet wild, creatures and share these experiences with others.”
When Kevin is not shooting on location, he works from his studio in Delray Beach, Florida. His first love is spending time with his children and creating lasting memories. He is a staunch advocate for ocean conservation and hopes to share this desire for good stewardship with future generations.
View more of Kevin Dodge’s artwork by visiting:
2-for-1 Christmas Special!
ALICE TOWN, BIMINI – (November 26, 2018) — Wahoo Smackdown X, hosted by the historic Bimini Big Game Club Resort and Marina on November 8-12, 2018, saw 23 boats competing for more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. Out of the 23 competing boats, 22 teams landed fish, bringing 152 wahoo to the scales in the process.
The team from Who’s Your Daddy took top team honors with 16 fish weighing a total of 231.5 pounds, taking home $15,000 in cash winnings.
Second place was the Blitzsea Team earning $7,500 in cash winnings, an 84.7 pound monster. They weighed 21 fish for a total catch weight of 206.4 pounds.
Team Murderize, out of Freeport, Grand Bahama, finished third, taking home $2,500 in cash winnings, with a total catch of 11 fish with a total catch weight of 193.6 pounds.
The team from Little Giant caught the largest wahoo of the tournament at 50.7 lbs.
Tournament festivities included live local entertainment nightly, a cocktail reception poolside for the Captains Meeting, a cookout on day one of the tournament, and a closing awards party on the great lawn, featuring a buffet, live entertainment and a full open bar.
Sponsors for this year’s tournament include American Beverage Marketers www.masterofmixes.com as the Title Sponsor, Bahamian Brewery and Beverage (Sands), artist David Dunleavy. Tropic Ocean Airways, Caza Offshore, Live Wire Tackle, Flanigan’s, CS Custom Lures and Bimini Big Game Club.
Date: Friday December 14, 2018 through Saturday December 22, 2018
Location: Cobb’s Landing at Fort Pierce City and Marina
Address: 200 N Indian River Dr, Fort Pierce, Florida 34950
RULES & REGISTER ONLINE
KICK OFF PARTY: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14TH @ 7PM
SAT, DEC. 15TH — SAT, DEC. 22ND
4:30-6:30PM @ FT PIERCE CITY MARINA or FISH HEADS of STUART
SAT. DEC. 22ND @ 7PM
SAILFISH AND MEAT DIVISIONS — FISH 2 OF 8 DAYS
SAILFISH DIVISION $1500.00 • MEAT DIVISION $500.00
NOTE: Entry fee will be disbursed as follows.
50% of entry fee will be donated to research for Glioblastoma
50% of entry fee will be returned to winners.
*Party, food, liquor, music and door prizes will be paid for by tournament sponsors.
New Construction Updates From Bayliss Boatworks –
November was a month full of details for our second GameBoat, the 62′ GameChanger.
Upon entering the salon, it’s clear that GameChanger’s final days in Wanchese are upon us. The salon sofas were fit and installed at November’s end, their soft white surface a perfect contrast to the darker, bold veneers in the upper level space. The four-inch teak flooring in the galley received her final top coat this month, adding another layer of shine and protection. The dinette table was installed as well – a solid teak masterpiece, and a brilliant addition to GameChanger’s upper level corner space.
On the lower level, soft goods are in – from padded panels to carpet and mattresses. The final details, though small, are adding much to the quality of the interior. The padded headboard is installed in the master stateroom, adding a punch of color to bold teak cabinetry. Wall paneling is drawing attention to stateroom valences, while mattresses are giving shape to bunks in each stateroom.
Sneak peeks of the galley and companionway on GameChanger
Moving outside, the cockpit is a hub of activity, as it always is in these final days: the teak has been sanded, while final components like the tackle center, halyard tubes, and rod holders have been installed. Earlier in November, our paint crew placed the finishing details on GameChanger’s exterior, with final clear coats on the toe rail, transom, and drip molding. Her boot stripe and bottom paint were applied, too.
GameChanger will be christened on Friday. Look out for final photos, video, and more details!