You never know what will happen on an all-day fishing trip here in Fort Lauderdale. Our group today had fished the afternoon the day before with poor results, my day off. So when they showed up to the dock on the absolutely gorgeous day, a few things were straightened out, since I was the new guy. LOL
Dan was the first of the party I met. We want edible fish he said even before we had been introduced. I already was aware of this as Darren had fished him the day before and we had already formed a plan for our outing. A fresh fish dinner was on our schedule for these folks and we had all day to fill the plates.
Along with Dan came Scott, Brad and Amanda. Their food and beverages were loaded which included a bottle of Crown and we were off for our day. The weather was absolute perfect. Clear skies, light winds, calm seas and a perfect temperature. You get that at the end of March.
Trolling was first up and as soon as we began, the first 2 baits out each were eaten by Bonitos. Well, that didn’t take long and our group was already happy to be catching fish and an improvement from the day before. All except Dan who mentioned that Bonitos weren’t very good to eat. Dan would turn out to be quite the character on this trip.
We continued on and caught a few Kingfish, all small ones. When it comes to eating Kingfish, the smaller, the better, as they have less oil in the meat. A few more Bonitos followed and all in all we had ourselves a pretty good box of fish. Even if our deep drop plans didn’t work out, food had been provided.
As we neared the midpoint of our trip, we made our move to provide a bit taster treat for our guests and headed to deeper water and some fishing with the electric reel. Black Bellied Rose fish and Golden Tilefish were our target. This kind of fishing is done with an electric reel because of the depth we have to fish in, between 600’ and 900’ of water with a 6 to 10 pound weight attached. It’s a chore just to bring the rig up with nothing on it, much less with fish.
Our first drop offered us quite the surprise. In almost 800’ of water fishing the bottom, only a few bites were shaking the tip. As our prey was retrieved, a surprise showed up along with the 2 Rosies we’d caught… A very large Dusky shark! We threw a few pieces of cut bait in to keep him interested and asked if anyone would like to catch this large creature. The response was YES!
So Darren quickly rigged a bait and pitched it on the right tackle to this shark that was hanging around waiting for more food. And who gets the call to fight the fish first? Amanda. Little Amanda who might weigh 100 lbs. Maybe.
Dusky sharks are quite rare, they have been protected for years here in Florida. This one was one of the largest I’d ever seen, they usually are around 6’ to 7’ in our area. Amanda was in the seat using the bucket and fighting this fish with some help from all. Dan was jabbering about something, Scott was observing and Brad was taking pictures of his fiancé fighting the fish. It took a while but soon enough we had the fish boatside for pictures, measurements and release.
Now, just a note here. Many times when we fight fish, I do not have time to snap a pic or 2. In these cases, I always ask the guest to send me the shots they took. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. I would find out soon enough that Brad had every intention of giving me what he taken. 8 videos and over 100 shots, presented to me at the dock on a thumb drive. Talk about a photo service!
Once the shark was released we went back to what we needed to do. A new spot got us some Rosies and 1 Golden Tilefish to add to the bounty. Plenty for dinner tonight and tomorrow. And Dan was finally quiet and happy.
We’re always fighting the clock to provide fish on a half day trip but an all-day fishing trip gives us ample opportunity to do many things. Now let’s take a look at that thumb drive…