MIAMI, FL – FEBRUARY 14, 2018 –Hatteras/CABO Yachts LLC, a world leader in the construction of convertible sportfishing and luxury motor yachtsfrom 41 to 105 feet, is pleased to announce the reintroduction of the well-known CABO fishing boats brand. The first new CABO model to launch is the CABO 41, which will be on display at the 2019 Miami Yacht Show, February 14-18, at the Hatteras/CABO docks, located at In Water Show Ramp B, Slips 119-126.
CABO 41 Specifications
LOA (with bow pulpit) 42’10”
Transom Deadrise 15 degrees
Displacement (light) 31,000 lbs.
Fuel 550 gal
Water 95 gal
Cabin Headroom 6’3″
For more information on the new CABO line of fishing boats, please visit caboyachts.com.
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!
By Captain Nick Gonzalez
Kite fishing has been met by a number of innovations over the last 10 years. Electric kite reels have gotten faster, more reliable, and easier to use. To compliment these kite reels and increase efficiency, light, high-speed conventional reels with smooth drags and high gear ratios came into the market. A number of different rod manufacturers began making excellent rods with soft tips and moderate backbones that are ideal for kite fishing. In addition, circle hooks became mainstream and a number of different manufacturers make chemically sharpened circle hooks that are tournament legal and very affordable.
Kite fishing is such a specialized method of fishing that even the boats themselves have adapted to corner this niche market. Complex live well systems and rocket launchers are the standard for most boats in South Florida. In this day and age there are thousands of boats and crews that are more than capable of busting out a kite spread. You add all these different variables together and throw in kites designed for every wind speed and you have a system that is applicable to all conditions. Unfortunately, superior tackle won’t set you apart from the competition. It’s the status quo nowadays.
The equipment has become standard but kite fishing is an art that few have mastered. With a 15-knot wind and a 4-person crew, just about anybody can manage a 6-line spread. On the contrary, if you put yourself alone in the cockpit managing 6 kite baits, a mid rod, and a bottom rod while the wind fluctuates from 10-30 knots and squalls of rain push through, can you really keep up? For most mates, the answer is no. For most captains, the answer is no. Throw in a red-hot bite and you’ll see how quickly a perceivably “experienced” crew can be overwhelmed.
There are a handful of boats that seem to always be at the top of the leaderboard. What is the prevailing factor that puts them in that position with such consistency? Do they have some extra special bait? Did someone find a way to cross breed goggle eye with spanish sardines? Do they use tinker mackerel on 10lb fluorocarbon? Do they practice Santeria? No! These crews just fish as hard as they possibly can and have logged thousands of days on the water. The x-factor that many teams look for boils down to that one thing: experience. The best teams have caught more fish and even more importantly, lost more fish than many of the other teams combined.
Experience isn’t something you can buy (with the exception of hiring a top notch crew). How do you consistently win sailfish tournaments? Go fish rain or shine 300 days a year. No matter how big, fast, or expensive your boat is, you will be the underdog if your team hasn’t logged THOUSANDS of days on the water. There are a number of different captains with a long list of tournament wins on their resumes. For even the best captains, the only thing longer than their list of wins is their list of losses. It sucks to lose but failure can be very insightful.
Building experience is a marathon, not a sprint. I’m only 25 years old and in the last 5 years I have spent over 1,000 days on the water. Why does this matter? I learn something new every day. In this timeframe, my crew has experienced some of the worst and some of the best fishing Miami has to offer. I have been blessed with the opportunity to fish with some of the best captains and mates out there. I have witnessed first hand how a crew with thousands of days of experience operates vs. a less experienced crew. There is no comparison. To kite fish properly, everything is a delicate balance. With the right crew, baits are deployed and retrieved faster. Doubles usually turn into triples. Triples often turn into quads.
For a good crew, bait management is the standard, not an advantage. Seasoned goggle eye, threadfin herring, and Spanish sardines are a must. When it comes to tackle, everything needs to be meticulously maintained. You also need a good platform to fish on that has both vantage and speed. Most importantly, your crew needs experience and chemistry. A successful team adapts quickly to changing conditions. They fish regularly so they have a network of reports and know where the fish will be. An experienced crew also has a very high hook up ratio on bites. The best teams don’t just create opportunities; they capitalize on them. When it comes to communication, arguments should be kept to a minimum, instruction should be clear and concise, and criticism should always be constructive. When attention to detail and the bigger picture come together, the results can be tough to beat. There is no short cut to being the best. You just need to get out and fish.
Double Threat Fishing Charters
Here’s a look at our visit with C-Worthy Custom Yacht Canvas. Owner, Carol Dykes, shares why their products are functional works of art.
Ever wonder what goes into making a fighting chair? Tom Ackle, President of BlueWater Chairs shares an exclusive look:
Interesting things from the Miami Boat Show:
Electronics: New Axiom UAV integration by Raymarine –
This new technology allows boaters to connect to their UAV, where they can control and view images directly from the Axiom display. The unique features of the UAV integration now brings a hands-free, aerial view to the water, creating innovative video possibilities for anglers and boaters.
Hook–Eye is a sportfishing underwater camera designed to shoot full HD videos in extreme conditions. It’s advanced design allows the camera to swim like a teaser, staying on top during trolling. The camera is stable up to 10 knots speed and waterproof (case-free) up to 590 feet depth.Engine: New V-6 FourStroke Outboard Lineup by Mercury –
The new Mercury FourStroke and SeaPro outboards are constructed on Mercury’s new 3.4-liter V-6 platform. They’re built to be powerful, light, compact and fuel-efficient. The new engine group features 175hp, 200hp and 225hp FourStroke outboards and a V-6 200hp SeaPro commercial outboard.
Artwork: Custom Fish Mounts by Artist, Kelly Reark –
Native Florida Marine Artist, Kelly Reark, showcased her hand-painted fiberglass fish mounts. These “tattooed” pieces feature detailed work of wildlife and landmarks. Each mount is a one-of-a-kind design, delicately crafted in sepia tones and timeless Floridian style.
Boat: Hatteras Yachts introduces its new GT45X with Flybridge –
The new boat features a state-of-the-art upper helm, full tower, battle-ready outriggers and top-end speed in the mid-40s. It’s quality specs include next-generation electronics, vast storage, and a relaxing and spacious cabin/galley.