Well here we are again in mid July and it is time for our annual East Penn Fishing trip to Bimini in the Bahamas.
Every year East Penn invites some of their best clients/ customers/friends for an all expenses paid 3 day fishing trip off the beautiful water of the Bahamas.
This year East Penn had brought a couple of celebrities along word famous fresh water fisherman and T.V. celebrities Roland Martin and Jimmy Houston.
Truth being told some of us Captains kind of rolled our eyes about having these guys here to take pictures with and to have them autograph the photos. (MAN WAS I WRONG)
These guys were great to hang with and shoot the #%&* with. I think I was one of the first ones to get a picture taken with them and I hope some time soon our paths pass again.
These guys would start talking about all their fishing stories and things that had happened to them in the past filming and fishing and they would just have us in stitches laughing so much.
We arrived on a Friday and then we fished 3 days with a group that flew in, then another group flew in and we fished with them for 3 days, and once again a last group flew in and another 3 days of fishing.
Everyday the anglers on one boat got to fish on another boat the next day so we had a different group aboard the Hooked Up each day.
Oh yeah, and did I forget to mention there were three little tournaments which gave all of us incentive to kick some butt while we are out there fishing.
I must admit that the competition consisted of a few boats that like the Hooked Up that fish everyday and are quite good at this fishing thing.
This year we had Thomas Flyer, Sea Hawk and Wild Life all out of Miami, Florida and than we had the Hooked Up and the Local Knowledge out of Fort Lauderdale. Then we had the smaller but yet much faster boats that could run to find the fish the Sharkys Machine #1 and the Sharkys Machine #2 both out of Ft Lauderdale.
Aboard the Hooked Up we had so many different anglers from all over the world that I never did keep track of everyone’s name but I did keep track of a few that caught some amazing fish and FISHING WAS GOOD!!!
Our first day of fishing started out with a group from Mexico and fishing was going along pretty much how we expected it to go with us catching a few barracudas and mackerels on the reef and then off shore we went looking for some dolphin fish.
All of a sudden out of nowhere this 400 pound plus Blue Marlin darted up behind our right short bait took off with our lure.
When I say line was screaming off the reel I mean it was smoking and within 20 seconds we were down to lees than a half a spool and we were using a big 80 wide reel with 100 pound test for line.
Then just as quick as it had started it was over and the fish was gone.
(RATS AND DOUBLE RATS)
As it turned out the line had broke. Now as fisherman we know fish are going to get away but that’s just not supposed to happen but it did and we just had to get over it and try again. All we could figure was there must have been a bad spot in the line.
The following day we decided to troll off shore and work our way down to the south.
Once again we were picking at the barracudas and mackerels on the reef as John and Jerry from San Antonio, Texas were having a few cold ones and just enjoying the day.
After a few laughs and a few fish later we decided to just go for broke and off shore we went in search of some dolphin fish or maybe a billfish.
We were trolling with 2 big 80 international reels filled with 100 pound test line with 2 big marlin lures real close to the boat.
We also set out 3 more lines with little bonito strips on them hoping to catch some dolphin fish for dinner. We had 2 20 internationals’ with 30 pound test out of the riggers and I had the same up on the fly bridge set way back.
And that’s when we got our second shot at a blue marlin only this time not on one of the big reels, we got him hooked on a little 20 international that was up on the bridge with me.
John jumped in the chair and the fight was on. We knew that the chances of us catching this fish on this light tackle were slim to none but all the same, at this point we were connected and we were going to give it our best shot.
After about 15 or 20 minutes I noticed that John was covered in sweat and was starting to reel a little slower. I also noticed that every time he would reel, the rod would turn back and forth. I knew the gimble had come loose on the bottom of the rod so we had that going for us!
15 or 20 minutes later J.J. and I heard John say something about some one else trying for a while
That’s when these words just came out of my mouth and right into John’s ears.
(Come on you pale white softy, you can do it) Don’t know for sure what it was about calling him a pale white softy that did it but he let out a big laugh and seem to have gotten his second wind.
Another 20 minutes later John had his first blue marlin to the boat, in fact we found out it was the first time John had ever gone fishing in his life!
We slid John’s 180 to 200 pound marlin into the boat for a quick measurement to have a replica trophy made of Johns first fish ever, then we just slid him right back out the door to fight again another day.
After some hand shaking and some high fiving we proceeded to use a bunch of 4 letter words explaining to John how people fish their whole lives trying to catch a blue marlin not to mention of such light tackle.
The cold ones were flowing well that night while we were celebrating first place but we still had one more day to hold on to it.
The following day we had a bunch from Mexico. While I did not get all their names I did a couple and I’ll get to that in a minute.
Well as you cam imagine after losing a blue marlin a couple of days ago and catching one yesterday well I guess you can say that all of the boats started getting blue marlin fever.
So today we headed right off shore with the exact same spread of baits that seemed to work for us the last couple of days.
As you can imagine there was a lot of chitter chatter on the radio and yes I had to put my 2 cents in about the blue marlin so at this point everyone was busting my chops about using up all my luck and so on.
That’s when it happened, another blue marlin on my high line again and just like that we were Hooked Up. Enrique jumped in the chair and I jumped on the radio.
At first this blue marlin was taking some line and at the same time no one on the radio believed we were Hooked Up again. Then Enrique started gaining line and one of the other boats saw us spinning around trying to ease another blue marlin on light tackle to the boat.
J.J. reached out and grabbed the leader and YES we now were holding on to first and second place. While it was only about a 100 pounder it was a blue marlin all the same on light tackle.
Then we ran to a deep drop off on what we call the ledge and hooked into a big bottom fish. Carlo jumped in the chair and the fight was on. 10 minutes later up popped this big 36-pound amber jack.
Captain Mike aboard the Local Knowledge said he was going to stab me in the heart with a bill from a fish and Captain Brian on the Sharkys Machine 2 said it was all due to J.J. And that was how the bantering went on the radio for the rest of the day.
The saying on the dock was (Thank God For J.J.) I just don’t get any respect but that’s ok I put us all on these fish and those jealous Captains can’t take that from me. (LOL)
Then we heard on the radio that the Wild Life was hooked up into nice blue marlin and they had hooked the fish with a 50 international reel so these guys had a good shot at landing this fish and that would for sure knock us out of first place.
But as it tuned out Jimmy Houston and Roland Martin were filming right next to where the wild life had hooked up so they passed the rod over to be caught aboard Roland’s boat where the film crew was. They ended up finally getting this 250 plus blue marlin to the boat. Way to go guys!!!
We don’t know for sure what was going on off Bimini but all of us were just glad to be here while the bite was on.
The boys on the Thomas Flyer had spent the last few days running a good 40 to 45 miles to the north searching for tunas. While they had managed to catch a few they now seemed to get the blue marlin fever everyone else was getting.
And Captain Mike aboard the Local Knowledge managed to leave all of us captains scratching our heads as he hauled in monster grouper after monster grouper all in the 70-pound range.
While the Sea Hawk did a great job keeping all their anglers busy catching Big Barracudas, Mackerels along with a bunch of bottom fish.
Sharkys Machine 1 spent a lot of time fishing the bottom and producing lots of big amber jacks and yellow tail snappers. And last but not least Sharkys Machine #2 with Captain Brian at the helm spent his time running around off shore and it seemed that he was the only boat that found dolphin fish every day.
The following day we went off shore again. That’s right, looking for anther shot at a blue but all we ended up with was some dolphin fish and a hand full of barracudas.
Again the next day off shore catching about 6 or 7 dolphin and once again more barracudas but at this point all of us Captains had about enough of Captain Mike throwing all these groupers on the dock.