Download your ROFFS fishing forecast hot spots while offshore with the free mazu SportFishing app. The detailed sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll, current and altimetry charts in the mazu SportFishing app, combined with overlaid ROFFS data is a powerful tool. Elevate your offshore angling with access to ROFFS comprehensive descriptions and information directly through the app. Visit www.mazu-marine.com for details!
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…]
Download the FREE mazu SportFishing app and you can view and download your ROFFS fishing forecast hot spots while offshore. ROFFS data is digitally overlaid directly onto detailed sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll, current and altimetry charts in the mazu SportFishing app for iPad. Captains and crew also have access to ROFFS comprehensive descriptions and information directly through the app. Visit www.mazu-marine.com for details and to download the app!
Ensure a trouble-free maintenance experience with Bye Bye Barnacle. The systems need to be flushed every 1 ½ months to avoid buildup of marine growth especially in warm waters and warmer climates. The flush unit is plumbed into the supply and return manifolds of the air conditioning and refrigeration systems. The flush unit is plumbed to on board fresh water system for filling and pumped overboard for draining contents overboard.
Check out this video tutorial on Bye Bye Barnacle by AugustWorks:
Bye Bye Barnacle is currently the only proven permanently installed flush unit on the market.
- Save thousands on yearly flushes
- Flushing takes mere hours, not all day
- 1-year warranty on flush unit
InTheBite Dock Talk— The new Mazu Marine Sportfising App: An all in one marine solution for satellite imagery, boat monitoring, staying connected offshore and much more. The Mazu system consists of an App and a hardware system that can be used anywhere– the hardware makes it possible to stay in contact while beyond cellphone coverage. Learn all about the wide ranging system and their great introductory offer as well as the many reasons Mazu can be a great addition to your boat.
Here’s the full Old Salt interview with Capt. Sam at the Fort Pierce Inlet.
by Dale Wills
Singer, songwriter, newspaper columnist, book author, duck hunter and longtime captain – Sam Crutchfield can catch most anything that swims in fresh or salt water. Were that not enough, Capt. Sam is also proficient in Morse code and was bitten by an alligator while wade fishing for bass in a Florida lake. Captain Sam Crutchfield is an outdoorsman in every sense of the word. When speaking with Sam you could hear about most anything – a play by play story of a big blue off Walker’s Cay or about any number of adventures in Florida or the Caribbean. Today, at the age of 79, you can still find Capt. Sam at his local boat ramp fishing in the Indian River Lagoon and along the Treasure Coast beaches almost every morning. “You can never get a missed day of fishing back,” he says gently.
The Young Captain Sam
Born in 1939 in Polk County, Florida, Capt. Sam Crutchfield was hooked on fishing by the age of six. His father had a little boat and motor and would run out of Camp Mack on the Kissimmee River targeting big bass on shiners and artificials. His favorite holes were the Polk County phosphate pits, which according to Capt. Sam, “made the bass really big.” It was here that Sam caught his largest bass to date – a 17.2-pound whopper. Sam recalls how the incredible bass fishing during his youth has changed. “I remember the day they started dredging the Kissimmee to create the canal to Lake Okeechobee. It broke my heart, and it’s never been the same since.”
After high school, Sam joined the Coast Guard. “I enrolled in Radio School with the plan to relocate to Fort Pierce to be on the Ft. Pierce inlet. Upon completing my training, I quickly realized Ft. Pierce did not have a radio position. I then selected Jacksonville Beach Coast Guard station to be my new home.” Back then, radio communication was Morse Code (which Captain Sam can still encode today).
Captain Sam’s two day on, two day off schedule in Jacksonville was ideal. “Hunting and fishing was easy with my schedule. In the fall, I would hunt ducks on the land currently developed as the TPC Sawgrass Golf Club in Ponte Vedra, Florida. It was one of the best flyways you could imagine. Widgeon, pintails and teal were so prevalent,” says Sam. “In the spring and summer, I would fish the Jacksonville pier in which I witnessed over a half-dozen fifty-pound kingfish caught.” Sam is careful to note that his biggest kingfish, caught off of Ft. Pierce, tipped the scale to 67-pounds.
A Career in Sportfishing
After his service in the Coast Guard, Capt. Sam finally moved to Ft. Pierce to attend Indian River Community College – and fish. During this time Sam started mating on charter boats. This was the beginning of a lifelong sportfishing career.
Crutchfield earned his captain’s license in 1966. “I started running a small 19’ inboard charter boat with a 70-hp named Lucky. We mostly fished the Ft. Pierce inlet and Indian River Lagoon for snook, tarpon, trout and redfish. I was lucky to be mentored by Capt. Rollin Matheson at the time. He was a big influence on me when I first started,” Sam recalls. “We used all conventional tackle with wire leader. I remember when the first spinning reels came out. Eagle Claw introduced ‘cat gut’ as a type of mono and the spinning reels were awful. They got their names ‘spinning’ because they would spin the line up in a mess.”
A couple of years later, Crutchfield upgraded his boat, purchasing the Lucky Too, a 23’ T Craft with a 225-hp inboard Chrysler. The boat was equipped with two big live wells and two fishing chairs and could take a party of four fishing comfortably. Then, in 1973, he upgraded the boat again with a 30’ T Craft also called Lucky Too with a CAT 3160 diesel engine.
“My charter business progressed to mostly offshore fishing then.” In 1976, Sam purchased a 40’ Warren O’Neal-built boat out of North Carolina. The boat was originally built for sportfish legend Omie Tillet and is still in charter service today out of Oregon Inlet. During the late 70s and early 80s, Captain Sam built a steady charter business from Ft. Pierce which evolved into a world class operation booking clients in the summers to fish out of Walker’s Cay in the Bahamas.
During the fall, Sam was dialed into duck hunting around Lake Okeechobee and Louisiana – when he wasn’t charter fishing his local Ft. Pierce waters. Sam also mentioned he forged a great relationship with his dock partner and friend Chip Shafer during the height of his charter career. “Captain Chip’s friendship has meant a lot to me over the years, and we are still fishing buddies today,” says Capt. Sam.
In 1985, Capt. Sam retired from charter fishing, making the switch to private boats. His first private position was working for Charlie Campbell on the Escape, a 53’ Hatteras out of Stuart, Florida. “I had the opportunity to fish and help Charlie with his hunting ranch in Okeechobee. It was ideal, but short lived,” recalls Captain Sam.
Around 1988, Capt. Sam switched gears again and accepted a new captain’s position on the 53’ Hatteras Lillian B. The new job allowed him to return to Walker’s Cay on a regular basis. The position evolved into working on a second family-owned boat, a 60’ Hatteras called Silver Streak. Captain Sam would split time on both boats. This lasted until the early 90s.
Captain Sam recalls many evenings sitting around the dock at Walker’s where he and so many others were, as Sam puts it, “living the good ole’ days but just didn’t know it.” The dock parties at Walker’s and Captain Sam’s love for music eventually paved the way for Captain Sam’s next career – in the music business.
In 1995, Sam finally traded the ship’s wheel for a microphone, jumping full time into his singing career. Captain Sam recalls how Walker’s Cay charter captain Billy Black and friends – and the nights of singing and playing guitar on the dock after fishing – influenced many of his songs. Most of his lyrics were conjured up in the shadow of the iconic Walker’s Cay scale. If you like fishing even a little bit, you can’t help but enjoy Crutchfield’s songs like Trollin, Ugly, The Mullet & The Mackerel & The Ballyhoo and Big Game Fishin’.
“I really enjoyed making music, but didn’t realize that once you start making albums, every year you need to come out with another and another. I decided to quit making music after 13 albums,” Captain Sam recalls. (If you are interested in buying one of Captain Sam Crutchfield’s CDs for the boat, give us a call at InTheBite).
A Lifetime on the Water
Captain Sam’s lifelong interest in fishing proved to be one of his best decisions. “Through the years there were good times, bad times, sad times, and most of all, the wonderful times when good folks got together on a fishing boat to share the fun and excitement of sportfishing,” he says. “Recently on a morning fishing trip a young fella yelled ‘Hey old man, have you fished here all your life?’ ‘Nope,’ I answered. ‘Not yet!’”
Satellite communications are perfect for offshore sportfishing when faced with no other alternative once away from land-based cellular/GSM networks.
Explorer Satellite keeps you equipped at sea, selling systems and service that work even in the most demanding weather and sea conditions. Depending on the application, one or several solutions may make the most sense.
Learn more in this edition of Dock Talk with Explorer Satellite owner, Andy Cool –
Thomas J. Hilton– Last fall, the NASA server went down for a couple of weeks which left us without any chlorophyll shots during that time. After listening to feedback from our customers, I directed our techs to expand our chlorophyll images to ensure this doesn’t happen again!
When you click on the chlorophyll button, you will see 4 options – simply click on the best/latest shot and it will pull up with full functionality. The upper left image is our original chlorophyll (NASA Modis Aqua), the upper right is the same image from but from the NOAA server (in case the NASA server goes down again). The lower left is NASA Modis Terra and the lower right is NASA VIIRS. So, now we have 2 different servers, and 3 separate satellites shooting at different times of the day to provide the most coverage possible!
Learn more at www.Realtime-Navigator.com
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!
Although South Florida has been crowned Sailfish Alley, the 3rd Annual Billfish Bash saw saw big sailfish release numbers out of New Smyrna Beach just 100 miles north of Fort Pierce. Lo Que Sea took 1st place with 22 releases and 17 on the second day; Bonna Vear came in 2nd and Hall Pass took 3rd. Congratulations to all!
1st Place Boat Team – Lo Que Sea
2nd Place Boat Team – Bonna Vear