By Capt. Adam Peeples
When I head offshore for a day of fishing my wife, Cadence, almost always says, “I hope you catch a big one today!” Catching a big fish is probably every captain and angler’s goal on any given fishing trip. We obsess over gear, baits, weather, moon phase, lucky shirts and hats – the list goes on. One thing that often gets overlooked, however, is the actual battle of man versus fish.
When it comes to your average charter customers or other inexperienced anglers that I take offshore, one common theme emerges: most have never realized how much work is involved in catching a large game fish. Fighting a fish in a stand-up harness from a center console has its own unique challenges – complete with advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, it would be preferred that everyone who straps into a stand-up harness has prior experience, but we all must start somewhere.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of putting many rookies into the harness for their first battle with a swordfish, marlin or tuna. I always start the same way: by explaining the entire process, from hookup to endgame, to the angler. Ideally, this conversation takes place prior to fishing, as I believe this allows their brain to process the information and better prepare them for the ensuing battle. One point of emphasis is the physicality of fighting big game fish in a stand-up harness.
As my operation is based in Fort Walton/Destin, Florida many of my clients are on vacation. I make a point to stress the importance of staying well hydrated the day before the trip. I also ask them to please refrain from hitting the local watering holes too hard the night before. Preparing for what could be an hour plus battle in a standup harness is like getting ready for a 5k run. Showing up dehydrated and hungover is a sure-fire cause for the angler to end up “tapping out”, failing to finish the fight.
After we have thoroughly discussed the details of the fight, I like to get the angler fitted into the harness on the boat. Prior to fishing, I will strap the angler into a rod and put some pressure on the rig so they can feel what it will be like to have 20 or more pounds of drag pulling on them during the fight. This process will also help to identify any uncomfortable points on the harness that may need to be adjusted.
This is also a great time to teach the technique involved with a stand-up harness. Five minutes of practice in the harness pays dividends for the angler when they have an angry fish on the other end of the line. Proper technique in the harness will keep the angler in better shape for longer fight times and could be the difference between the angler catching the fish or calling it quits beforehand.
Safety is critical when someone is strapped into a harness with a fish. Keeping a hook knife attached to the harness is a must. Also, someone on the boat is always tasked with spotter duty. The spotter will shadow the angler, provide water if needed, and in the event the angler loses their balance, they are there to make sure the person strapped in doesn’t fall overboard.
Ensuring the angler understands how to easily unclip from the harness is another critical safety precaution. There are many stand-up harness options available. My personal preference is a harness without closed d-ring style lug clips – which could become a safety issue with getting someone out of the harness. The angler should be able to unclip from the harness lugs quickly and easily.
Once we achieve a hookup, the strategy of fighting the fish from a center console will vary depending on the species. In most situations, I like to position my angler near the stern on either the port or starboard side.
My goal as the captain is to keep the line near a 45-degree angle away from the motors. From this position, I can easily motor forward in a slight turn to help the angler gain line or make a slight turn away from the fish to help the angler stay tight if needed. I typically fight fish on the port side of my boat, as it is the side nearest the helm and allows me a good line of sight on both the angler and fish.
Fighting a marlin from a center console requires a lot of boat driving, and I will move the angler around often during the fight. A swordfish or tuna requires a little less boat driving, and I can generally keep the angler in the same position throughout the fight.
Fighting fish from a stand-up harness on a center console is an effective way to land virtually all big game species. When used with proper technique, a stand-up harness allows the angler the ability to stay in the fight for the long haul. As with all big game fishing tactics, practice and preparation are key to success.
Do you have any comments or questions for us? We’d love to hear from you.
Boss Man Chronicles: Profiles of Boat Owners
The Boss Man Chronicles tells the story behind boat owners and the operations they make possible. In this, the first installment, we showcase 88-year-old Ron Rule who owns the Fuujin, a 54-foot Viking based in Los Sueños. Rule still catches blue marlin stand up…
By Ric Burnley
Ron Rule got bit by the marlin bug on a trip to Orange Beach, Alabama in the 1980s. “We were buying a boat and figured we’d do some fishing while we were visiting,” Rule remembers. He was living in Michigan at the time and wanted a boat to fish the lake. While in Alabama, Rule entered a Mobile Big Game Fishing Club tournament. He fished three days and almost won top prize. “We never took the boat to Michigan,” he laughs.
Rule named his new boat Fuujin after the Fighting Fuujins – the Fourth Fighter Squadron of the US Airforce. The squadron is named for Fuujin, the Japanese god of the wind. During the Korean War, Rule flew with the Fourth as a rear seater. “My job was to navigate the plane through bad weather or at night.”
After Rule left active duty, he spent 29 years in the Air Force Reserve. When he wasn’t defending the nation, Rule worked his way up the corporate ladder until he was recruited to take over control of United States Playing Card Company, makers of the famous Bicycle and Aviator brands. “I turned the company around and eventually bought control.”
Once the business was in the black, he sold it back to the investors and retired. Rule’s golden years didn’t last long. “My son, Brad, suggested I buy a company, so I bought a hamburger restaurant.” He’s built the chain to 75 stores and Brad runs day-to-day operations. Rule laughs, “I get the best of both worlds, my son runs the company and I come in a couple times a month.”
This arrangement leaves Rule with plenty of time for fishing. After a great run in Orange Beach, Rule sold his boat. “I went fishing in Costa Rica and decided I wanted my own boat.” He had a 54-foot Viking built and shipped to Golfito in 2009. “The boat has never known any other water.” In 2012, Rule hired Captain Jimmy Kitchell to run the new Fuujin. The team has fished in some of the biggest tournaments, but these days they focus on smaller events and fun fishing. “Ron has been fishing tournaments for 40 years,” his captain explains.
Kitchell calls Rule his boss and mentor, and stepfather. “I introduced him to my mom and the two got married!” Kitchell laughs. He says Rule is a dedicated angler. “He fishes all day holding the line,” Kitchell marvels.
Rule is tough, too. On one fishing trip, a sailfish charged the boat and jumped into the cockpit. “It hit Ron on the shoulder and bounced off,” Kitchell says. Rule had black slime on his shirt. Kitchell chuckles, “He’s John Wayne in a pair of Tevas.” If that endorsement were not enough, Rule is also 88 years of age.
The team recently took a trip to the FADs off Costa Rica where they released 22 marlin in two-and-a-half days. “That’s a real load!” Rule gets excited. The crew lucked into a calm weather window during a full moon. Kitchell adds, “Ron caught 12 of the fish. He was standing by his rod until the last minute.”
Rule remembers another trip when they released 42 sailfish. “There’s no better fishing than Costa Rica,” Rule says. After ten years fishing out of Los Sueños, he still loves the area and people. “We like to go out and fish, it’s a great place to have a good time.”
Most recently, Rule has become involved with Freedom Alliance, an organization that gives veterans meaningful experiences. Fuujin, along with a group of Los Sueños boats, hosts wounded warriors for fishing and relaxation. “It is good for them and good for me,” Rule says. For the moment, when a big fish is on the line, everyone forgets everything and focuses on the action. Later, the memories help to ease the pain. “These guys have seen some bad stuff,” Rule says.
Rule enjoyed the experience so much he hopes to host Freedom Alliance veterans at his recently-purchased ranch in Montana. “We have a stream called Fish Creek,” he says. The ranch also offers accommodations for therapeutic horse riding.
At 88 years old, Rule hasn’t stopped exploring. “People asked why I bought a ranch when I don’t know anything about ranching,” Rule laughs. “I tell them, ‘That’s why I bought the ranch!’” Rule takes that attitude to every endeavor, which explains his passion for offshore fishing. “It’s always interesting,” he says.
The latest American Custom Yachts 68 is getting her final touches. Look for her to be chasing marlin in the near future!
The timing couldn’t be any better! As white marlin and blue marlin take up residence at the canyons off the mid-Atlantic coast, the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor is in the final stages of planning the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor Marlin Tournament. Hosted by Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey, this year marks the 53rd installment of this event making it one of the longest running billfish tournaments on the east coast. The Yacht Club of Stone Harbor has a rich history dating back to 1911 and this event is always popular with members, guests and tournament anglers alike each year. Various awards will be up for grabs including 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Boat, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Angler, Top Female Angler, Top Junior Angler (16 and under) as well as 1st and 2nd Heaviest Tuna and 1st and 2nd Heaviest Dolphin. 1st and 2nd Place Team Award will also be presented and teams will consist of up to four boats each that will be picked lottery-style at the Captain’s Meeting. The Warren Buckingham Memorial Trophy will be presented to the angler with the Most Outstanding Catch while the Walt Hendee Captain’s Award will be go to the 1st Place Boat captain.
As noted earlier the beautiful Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May will host the tournament and also serve as the event’s designated weigh station. Those needing dockage for the event should contact Paul Hoffman at 609-884-0199 to reserve a slip. The tournament gets underway on Thursday, July 25 with a Captain’s Meeting and Cocktail Party from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor located at 9001 Sunset Drive in Stone Harbor. Fishing days are Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27. Cocktails, music and dinner will be provided overlooking the infinity edge pool at Canyon Club Resort Marina after each fishing day. The Awards Banquet complete with cocktails, dinner and music is set for Sunday, July 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor.
All boats must sail and return through Cape May Inlet and may not pass the inlet’s sea buoy prior to 4 a.m. on each fishing day. Fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and daily catch reports with released billfish information as well as any tuna or dolphin to be weighed must be at Canyon Club Resort Marina by 9 p.m. on each fishing day. There is no limit to size of tackle, number of lines, teasers or anglers. There is no minimum weight for tuna or dolphin and all billfish including white marlin, blue marlin, sailfish and spearfish will earn 100 points per release. All point ties will be broken on time of catch. The 53rd Annual Marlin Tournament is a billfish release competition with all entrants considered good sportsmen and their fishing (catch) reports will be accepted in the sportsmanlike manner and honor in which the tournament is held.
Whether you’re new to big game tournament fishing or a seasoned veteran, the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor 53rd Annual Marlin Tournament is a great opportunity to connect with new friends or renew old ones. With a modest entry fee of $2000 which includes admission to all events for tournament participants, this family-oriented event is a low-keyed fun tournament you’re sure to enjoy. Come join us for a few days of friendly fishing competition, camaraderie, hospitality and fun!
For more information contact Jamie Diller at 609-827-0020 or Aaron Hoffman at 609-412-3778.
June means summer. Summer means tournaments. Nothing says tournaments quite like InTheBite.
Grab a copy of the latest June Issue, hitting the docks now!
by Elliott Stark
Ask anyone who has ever spent much time fishing in Venezuela and the conversation always goes the same way. It starts with an exclamation. “I love Venezuela. The fishing is…” They then spend the next few minutes spinning outlandish-sounding tales that would seem farfetched were they not similarly repeated by other captains who fished in Venezuela. Stories about having multiple blue marlin, multiple white marlin and a sail or two in the spread at the same time. Stories about weeks filled with multiple double slams.
After talking about the fishing, they then transition to “The people are…” The next few minutes describe the hospitality and friendliness of the Venezuelan people. Most also provide recollections of some of the amazing fishing talent that gathered to fish the La Guaira Bank. The captains who fished there were too many and too influential to mention here.
Next, inevitably comes the expression of regret. “What a shame what has happened there…” After the almost mournful statement of sadness, whoever is doing the talking will usually recount the lead up of events that resulted in their departure. The story usually involves describing a fair bit of back and forth – “The fishing was good and the experience was so great… but it just wasn’t safe any longer…” There is usually an underlying sadness in these recollections – it seems as none of those who spent a lot of time fishing in Venezuela ever actually wanted to leave. Most describe their eventual departure as being forced out by circumstance.
After the stories and the expression of sadness at having to leave always comes the same thing – “I sure hope it gets better. I’d go back in a second.” Most anyone who has ever spent time in Venezuela, it seems, dreams of one day returning. With the return of political and economic stability there will be a trail of sportfishers steaming south from all over the United States, the Caribbean and Central America. This stream of boat traffic will be matched in size and franticness of pace by only by the Spanish Armada (Columbus first visited Venezuela in 1498).
What’s Happening in Venezuela
Before going any further we must make one thing clear. While most of those reading this may have only thought of Venezuela as it relates to fishing, everything else pales in comparison to what is happening to the people of the country. Venezuela is in the midst of a crushing economic depression and a humanitarian crisis of historic proportions. There are shortages of food, medicines and other basic necessities. Crime rates have sky rocketed, the country’s public health care system has collapsed. There are reports of mass hunger. By some estimates, 80% of Venezuelan households lack access to sufficient food.
Economically, the country is gripped by one of the worst economic depressions in the history of Western civilization. The country is experiencing hyper inflation of its currency of disastrous proportions. The International Monetary Fund estimates that inflation will reach 10,000,000 percent in 2019. Yes, that’s 10 million percent. (Inflation is an economic term that describes the increase in prices for goods and services and a decrease in the purchasing power of a currency. To put this into perspective, at 10,000,000 percent inflation it would take $10 million dollars in cash to buy something that costs one dollar.) The result of such hyper inflation makes money near worthless. It is also causing a shortage of cash (because people need to carry a backpack full of cash, and wait for hours in line, to buy a loaf of bread and some eggs).
The situation is so bad that is has caused a mass exodus from the country. The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that some 3.4 million people have emigrated from Venezuela since 2014. This is the highest rate of fleeing from a country in modern history – higher even than from people leaving Syria.
President Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998. Upon his death in 2013, his hand chosen successor, Nicolas Maduro, took power. Chavez nationalized the oil and gas industry in Venezuela, forcing out private industry. Populist social programs designed to redistribute wealth and corrupt moves to pay for military support lay at the base of the regime’s popularity. Between these programs, state sponsored television and intolerance (jailing and worse) of political dissent, Chavez’ regime was able to maintain control.
With the continued tanking of the Venezuelan economy – now recognized as the world’s worst performing economy, and the shortages of food, medicine, and other necessities, support for Maduro has waned. A challenger – Juan Guiado (a 35-year-old leader of the National Assembly from La Guaira) – has named himself interim president. The Venezuelan Constitution states that the President of the National Assembly has the authority to take power in the absence of a legitimate president. Guaido and his supporters claim that when Maduro changed the elections and the rules last year – invalidating his claim to victory – this mandate was due in 2019. Guaido has consolidated support from the many factions that oppose Chavez/ Maduro’s regime within Venezuela and has been recognized as the legitimate leader of Venezuela by 65 countries – including the US, the European Union and much of Latin America.
While the outcome of all of this is far from certain, it could well be a watershed moment in the political history of the country. Guaido has also provided something that has been in short supply in Venezuela for a long time. A vehicle for hope.
How Did Venezuela Get Here
Venezuela was once, not too long ago, the richest economy in Latin America. The country is blessed by an incredible base of natural resources – including the world’s largest oil reserve. It was this bounty that was central to the stories of boats buying fuel for three cents per liter in Venezuela. Oil – its price fluctuation and misguided economic policies surrounding it – is also at the heart of the Venezuelan economic meltdown.
Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela in 1998. Chavez’ “Bolivarian Revolution” was marked by increasingly populist foreign and economic policies. Much of his emphasis was on distribution of wealth downward – something that resulted in mass popularity. In 2001, Chavez passed laws designed to redistribute land and wealth. In 2005, large ranches and estates were taken by the government. In 2006, Venezuela forcibly nationalized oil and gas, banking and most large industry. With the government owning most large industry, the country lost a majority of its private employment options.
At the time of Chavez’ election in 1998, the price of oil was $7 to $9 per barrel. By 2004, prices soared to upwards of $100 per barrel. With oil producing more and more money, the government of Venezuela (which owned the economy) became less diversified and more and more dependent on the high price of oil for economic health. The country bet its entire stake on oil – nationalization of (government-owned) industry killed manufacturing and productivity fell sharply. Venezuela exported oil and imported nearly everything else – becoming virtually entirely dependent on high oil prices for economic health. By 2012, oil accounted for 95% of all of Venezuelan exports.
Despite the amount of money pouring into the country from high oil prices, the Venezuelan government borrowed heavily from 2004 to 2014. The public debt increased six-fold during this period. In spite of all of the oil money and the funds borrowed, the government did not create a sovereign capital fund or other savings mechanism to hedge against a fall in oil prices.
In 2014, oil prices fell. Because of the country’s high rate of borrowing (and because much of its collateral for loans is tied to the price of oil), capital markets for Venezuela tightened and the country no longer had access to loans. Debt sets in shortly thereafter and cash was soon in short supply. Because Venezuela relied on imports of most everything except for oil, it needed to import food, medicine and other necessities.
Without access to loans, the country did not have the cash to purchase these things. With fewer imports coming in, prices on basic goods began to rise. To combat rising costs, the government established price controls (mandating the price of what goods could be sold for). This cycle led to inflation, the devaluing of the Venezuelan Bolivar (the nation’s currency), and longer and longer lines for increasingly scare necessities. The recession that began in Venezuela in 2013 continues unabated – it is recognized as the largest recession in the history of the western world.
The Political State of Venezuela Right Now
Hugo Chavez died of cancer in 2013. Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’ vice president, was his hand-selected successor. He inherited a corrupt government, a pile of failed economic policies and a situation that was spiraling out of control on many levels. Maduro’s presidency is largely an extension of the Chavez regime. As economic and social problems continued to pile up, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets to protest against Maduro in 2016. In the lead up to the 2018 election, Maduro jailed leaders the National Assembly (Venezuela’s legislative body) and appointed a new governmental body to administer the election.
While Maduro claimed victory, widespread claims of vote rigging and voter coercion opened the door for Juan Guaido – the leader of the National Assembly – to question the validity of the election results and proclaim himself interim president until a new, fair election can be held (something which the Venezuelan constitution grants him authority to do). Guaido, who favors a market economy, was immediately recognized by some 65 countries around the world as the acting leader of Venezuela. The United States and others have made it imminently clear that Guaido should face no harm from the Maduro regime.
While the outcome of all of this is far from certain, Guaido provides hope for a people and a nation who have long suffered. While the economic and social problems and the political turmoil of Venezuela will not be something that can be overcome tomorrow – how Guaido’s challenge to Maduro’s regime will play out is far from certain – there is for the first time in a long time a tangible vehicle of hope.
The eyes of the world are watching. Many displaced Venezuelans around the world are watching. And the sportfishing world is watching too… In addition to the prayers coming from around the world, there is hope for Venezuela.
The Venezuelan Perspective
Rafa Martinez Tovar is a displaced Venezuelan currently living the Dominican Republic. Martinez’ family has been intimately involved in Venezuelan sportfishing for generations. “My grandfather was one of the founders of the Playa Grande Yachting Club in La Guaira. I have been fishing since I was six… and I am 43 now. When I was a child, I remember fishing with the greatest light tackle anglers in Venezuela – Aquiles Garcia, Gildo Bellini and Rafael “Pantaleta” Arnal. They won eight ILTTA (International Light Tackle Tournament Anglers) tournaments – still the most in history.”
“We took our boat to the DR four years ago,” Martinez says, describing the Keep Fishing, a 45-foot Rampage convertible that now fishes out of Cap Cana and Casa De Campo, “and we opened the charter service to be able to cover the boat expenses.”
“I was the third generation of my family working in the family business – the ferry company Conferry. The business turned 60 years old last August and for the first time in its history, it is not transporting people and cargo to Margarita. We used to move three million people a year back and forth to the island. Isla Margarita is home to The Margarita Hilton & Suites (once Hilton’s hotel top performer in the Caribbean for more than seven years), a radio station, a newspaper, the ferry terminal and the Margaritas Professional Basketball team Guaiqueries de Margarita. My grandfather founded the team in 1975 – it was one of the best teams in the Venezuelan Professional League. They took everything from us. That’s why I had to come to the DR.”
When describing the situation in Venezuela, Martinez is somber in his analysis. “A cartel has the country kidnapped. It’s not a single dictator, it’s a whole network. It’s a political mixture that is not easy to untangle,” he reflects insightfully. “I think Guaido is the way to go. It’s a matter of time before things change. We are positive that things will change – it’s when, not if. Six months ago, we didn’t have this view. It’s going to take time, but it’s not impossible. Guaido will reestablish the rule of Law and Democracy in our country.”
“We’ll need our people to come back – many of those who would be prepared for the recovery have left. As soon as the rule of law and democracy are reestablished, lots of our people will return.”
The situation for many Venezuelan ex-pats is understandably sensitive. When I asked if it was ok to publish his name along with the article, he didn’t hesitate. “Go ahead buddy… there’s not much more that they can do to me. VAMOS BIEN Y LA VIRGEN DEL VALLE NOS ACOMPAÑA!!!”
Jose de Veer is another of Venezuela’s displaced sportfishing community. From Puerto La Cruz in eastern Venezuela, de Veer now works as first mate on the 65-foot American Custom Black Gold that fishes out of the Dominican Republic. “All of the problems in Venezuela really effect everyone. I am almost five years living outside of Venezuela – I moved because of all of the problems,” de Veer says.
“I was working as a diesel mechanic. The problems for me started with getting parts through customs. I started to get calls from customs asking for money to get parts out,” Jose describes. “My family owns a 38-foot Bertram, the Doble Linea, that has been fully customized. Our plan was to fish it together as a charter business and live there. Now it sits there idle. My dad doesn’t like to fish without me.”
“My family is still in Venezuela – my mom, my dad, my sister and grandpa. I visited them in August 2018. I hired a guy to dive my boat and he wouldn’t accept money for payment. He said he no longer took money because it couldn’t buy him anything. He wanted some food. I asked him what he’d charge me and he said, ‘A bag of rice, a can of sardines and a bottle of rum.’ That’s what I gave him. It is really sad – people don’t believe me when I tell them about it.”
“It’s the same way with fuel. It’s less than penny to buy 500 gallons of fuel – the tip is more expensive than the bill. The people are really, really hungry. It is really bad now,” he describes. While fuel may be cheap, the basic necessities are increasingly scarce and expensive. “My dad used to live very well on $150 per week. Now everything is really expensive and it seems like prices are doubling every day. What they air on the news is so sad… and everything is true. The government is trying to get rid of the middle class – they only want rich and poor people.”
“My family just went four days without electricity,” de Veer says, describing the massive country-wide 100 hour black out that occurred mid-March. “They lived on the boat running the generators, with extension cords running to the house (for the freezers). We were lucky to have the boat.”
As for his vision for the future, de Veer shares optimism about Guaido. “I think he’s doing a great job – I hope it works. He’s the only one with the balls to do it. He’s talking to the world,” he reflects. “People are dying without medicine; they are hungry and they are poor. Even if he succeeds, it will need time to change. The situation won’t be solved tomorrow – it will take time, patience. People need a chance to relax.”
Que viva Venezuela.
ITB-Digital contributor Michael Marks of Hawaii was nice enough to write out an account of an epic, unexpected run in with a pack of ravenous bigeye. Check it out… Thanks for the story Michael and keep em coming!
By Michael Marks
The anticipation had been building for a few weeks as a plan was hatched, and the moving parts all started to come together. The crew was solid and consisted of Captain Cyrus Widhalm, part owner of Honey – a beautiful custom 40-foot Buddy Davis, co-owner of Honey Mark Rodrigues, deckhand extraordinaire Nick Watson, owner of the tournament winning El Jobean, Larry Peardon, Brian Cibulka, owner of Relentless and yours truly.
The 4:30 wake up and raw anticipation that comes with the pre-dawn loading up of the boat for a 2-day-overnight trip down to South Point had peaked at about 6 am….and slowly given way to a lot of blue water and zero action.
The opelu at the secret submerged bait buoy were essentially unattainable. They were everywhere, but getting decimated by predators as soon as they bit. An hour and change of work turned into two measly baits.
We resorted to running south for a bit and jumped into ono lane. The run proved to be scenic and beautiful as we skirted alongside the prehistoric looking cliff filled shoreline, but the onos refused to play ball as well. Four hours and not a touch.
As we continued to push south, Captain Cyrus made the call to head outside to “B” buoy. There were some skiffs around, scattered birds and little tunas breaking water occasionally. The general liveliness of the area gave us renewed hope.
We busted out the small gear, rustled up a 4-5-pound aku (skipjack) for bait, bridled it up along with an opelu and sent them back out for a swim. The fish finder showed some serious signs of life. Consistent stacks of medium sized marks down deep that looked like potential tuna, and some big solo marks that looked the part of marlin.
We worked the area. Hard. And after a few hours, and a number of tricky tactics to get the opelu down deep and face to face with the tuna when we marked them, we had nothing to show for it.
The excitement we had first thing in the morning pretty much left us. Frosty IPAs and an assortment of other adult beverages were the only things driving the positivity at this point. All of the other skiffs that were dropping bait at the buoy for tunas seemed to be striking out as well, but Captain Cyrus was convinced that there was just too darn much life underneath us for nothing to happen. Finally, after a number of hours turning fruitless laps around the buoy, he finally proved to be right!
Out of nowhere, a blue marlin showed up directly behind the boat. I mean directly in the props, lit up bright blue and trying to put his bill in the exhaust pipe. Captain and deck hand Nick quietly slid down from the bridge trying not to spook the fish and brought the baits right to it. It turned, ate the port side bait, and then spit it back at us as soon as he felt any pressure, and promptly left. SHIT! Now we had proof there were hungry fish around, but it definitely stung to see one just feet behind the transom and not get bit. [Read more…]