It seems the movie “The Bucket List” has made its way to the fishing world here in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. We get many requests now for certain kinds of fish and today, with previous guests Jeff and his son Joel, the request was for a Sailfish.
I personally didn’t think Jeff was old enough to have a bucket list but none the less the customer is always right. On previous trips, they had always shared the charter with others but today, just in case the right fish came along, there would be no sharing and the fish would be theirs, providing he graced us with his presence. So off we went with but one prey in mind, an Atlantic Sailfish.
Grey skies and a bit of chop on the seas were our conditions as we deployed the kites and waited. Lately, small Silky Sharks have been around in numbers. These fish are fun to catch but we’d rather they not eat our “live baits”. They are quick predators and there is no stopping them once they have the bait in their sights. Joel was called upon to deal with these as Jeff saved his strength for “the right fish”.
A rod and reel began singing out and since all we’d seen was the small sharks, Joel was in the chair doing the fighting. This time however, the fish we’d hook was a Sail! He let his presence be known by the jumping, twisting and everything else he could do to escape. And it was a quite a show as the fish easily tore the line off the spool.
Joel tired quickly after dealing with the small sharks and now Jeff was in the seat and had his first feel of what his bucket list item felt like. Rod bent, instructions given, he did an excellent job angling the fish closer to the boat, only to watch the fish easily swim away taking the precious line that had taken more than 20 minutes to retrieve. This fish was not quite ready to come to the boat.
Now, just a note… It is common practice that when you hook a fish as we did, you leave the kites and other baits out, so essentially, we’re still fishing. And it just so happened that another, smaller Sailfish had eaten a bait and was now jumping out behind us. This can make things complicated as you do NOT want these 2 fish next to the boat at the same time. So we loosened the drag on Joel’s fish and just let him take all the line he wanted while we dealt with Jeff’s Sail.
And so it was, we boated Jeff’s fish first for pictures, measurements and releasing the fish. We then released Joel’s fish boat side when he finally retrieved all that line and amazingly, our time was up and headed home. For whatever reason, Joel is featured in the picture with JJ. I guess Jeff was too spent.
It doesn’t always go this way but today it had. After 4 trips with us Jeff finally had his Sail, something we had apparently instilled in his mind by mentioning that Sailfish season begins in November. I found they planned their entire trip around this fishing expedition.
I might also add… They loved our new home here in Hollywood, Florida. I’m sure we’ll see them again soon.