Our trip had been mind blowing so far to say the least. To be sure, things were only going to get better! Now on day four we were fishing offshore again on the Catch 22, the flagship of the Bud N’ Mary’s fleet.
To this point we had successfully caught fish both offshore and inshore on fly. That being said, we really wanted to catch dolphin on fly. If it wasn’t going to happen today then it just wasn’t happening period. Hence this was our last shot.
Of course the fact that we were going out on one of the best boats in the Atlantic gave us a great chance. That being said, it is still fishing not catching.
Into the Atlantic on the Catch 22
Trolling along you always have the “what – if’s” in the back of your mind. Consequently, trolling is a very exciting prospect. The fertile waters of the keys are legendary. To put it another way, any fish that swims in the Western Hemisphere can be caught in Islamorada’s waters.
As we were trolling I was thinking, “what if we catch a wahoo, or a sailfish or a marlin, that would be cool”. In light of these thoughts, I was starting to dose off in the cabin.
Sailfish on the Catch 22
I was awakened by all my friends yelling excitedly, like something crazy was happening. Because of this, I got up to see what the hoopla was all about. At that time, the mate had a ballyhoo in the water, “sailfish, we’re gonna hook up”, he said. Roughly two seconds later we were on and the mate handed me the rod.
When I felt this fish on the line, I could tell that it was different from any other fish that I had ever fought. The sailfish could only be described as a live wire, and similarly, losing the fish could have dire consequences. If I lost the fish, then I would be crushed.
After a battle that featured screaming runs where I felt the raw power of the fish, I finally got him to the boat and grabbed the leader. Finally, it was a caught fish.
In contrast to how I felt when I caught my first tarpon, this was even more incredible.
In contrast to the old days, billfish aren’t brought onto the boat anymore. Today, they’re broken off at the leader boatside. Consequently you might not get that perfect pic, but the fish lives to fight another day.
Certainly a great start to our trip, but we still had to put fish in the cooler so that we could start whipping flies. Eventually, we accomplished this, but first we landed a yellowfin tuna and some nice sized dolphin.
Now with fish in the box, we were finally in full fly mode. Our captain spotted a school of dolphin and stopped the boat game on.
The process was thus… Firstly we teased them behind the boat with bait and started. Secondly, we began making our casts. Thirdly, we would hook up. Finally, gaff.
Jarek was the first to hook up.
In contrast to sailfish, dolphin come aboard. This is because they are a sustainable food source.
After Jarek landed his dolphin, we then all got shots and made them count as we all hooked up. On this day, The fly of choice was a big chartreuse cobia/dolphin fly tied by Ron Aldrich. It was certainly a departure from our normal small flies we would throw to snook!
Certainly got to thank Ron for the tie and Jarek for putting the boys on.
We had a great day out there. But most importantly, we all caught dolphin on fly, one of our main goals.
It was without a doubt the best day of offshore fishing that I have ever had. Without a doubt, a special thanks is well deserved for the mate “Delaware Dave” and our captain for the day Captain Hunter Barron.
To put it another way, these guys worked their asses off to get us those dolphin on fly shots.
Following the awesome day offshore we cooked all the dolphin and tuna ourselves in a number of ways. Not surprisingly, it was all amazing.
For booking information please contact Bud N’ Mary’s.
Until next time, Tight Lines.