Playing with Dollies!

    Playing with Dollies!

    Jon came to town for another mental health day and he only has one thing in mind; an easy going day on the boat! We loaded him aboard and turned The BEAST out.

    We decided to forego the Hardtails because Jon likes catch Sails, Dolphin, or Blackfin this time of year and the worms have been easy. We didn’t have too much trouble catching our bait and we were after the blue water fish in short order.

    As we reached the edge, I felt that something wasn’t right. Crap! There was only a trickle of current to the north and the seas were too calm to suit me. As it turned out, the conditions were not right for the fish either. Oh boy! We’ll give it a valiant effort, regardless of the circumstance. About 30-45 minutes passed and we finally had a fish come in. The fish ate the right rigger and Jon was into a decent little “eater” Dolphin. Nothing out of the ordinary happened during this struggle, just as we had expected, because Jon is an accomplished angler.

    We did manage to catch one more Mahi that could have been a bookend to the previous. Then the struggle really began. Unknowingly, struggle would be the key word of the day! We went quite a long time before we even had a looker come to any of the top baits. We did happen to have a few cut offs and misses on the down rod but we couldn’t manage a hook up. My guess was that these fish were probably the small Cero’s that have been around. We finally had a couple of Kingfish sky rocket out of the water on 2 of our top lines. Of course, they missed the hooks while cutting off the baits with surgical precision. The time goes slowly and nothing is working even though I am definitely in a good area. We are fighting to keep from falling into a coma. On this day slow is proving to be a profane 4 letter word. Finally, Devon catches a glimpse of a green/yellow flash by the left rigger. We hear the snap as the rigger clip releases and Jon is into another decent Dolly. He gets to work on this small bull as a little cow takes another line. Jon quickly brings the bull into range and Devon pulls the critter aboard. We snapped a quick picture of Jon with his fish while he is playing out the other one. Jon is batting 1000 in the dolphin department.

    It seems as if the fishing has picked up a tad in the later afternoon hours. I continued to hang in that area and worked it inside out. We were about to nod off again when the down rod sounds off. The clicker is hollering at us and it’s a fairly nice cow dolphin. Jon is on the rod and BAM! The right rigger line gets hammered. Big Bull, Big Bull! The fish makes a few jumps and spit’s the hook. Where’s Jon? He’s still on the cow. I’m bringing the bait back in as the bull comes screaming into the spread and nails the flat line. Did he? The line isn’t moving. Wait! He picked up the bait I was reeling in. No he’s on the flat line. Devon and I both come tight on the fish and he is on the flat line and has tangled in my line. Before we could make any adjustments Devon’s line snapped. Damn! Devon isn’t happy and turns his focus on getting the other fish into the boat. KaPow! The left rigger goes down. Devon puts the steel to the cow and Jon drops that rod and grabs that other one! Hooked up! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Devon is still upset that we lost Big Bull and I tell him that I believe that this one IS Big Bull. The line is going out and Jon has his hands full. In, out, down, in the air, you name it and Big Bull was doing whatever he could to try and shake that hook in his face. Agonizing minutes seemed like hours as Jon is putting the heat on this fish. The fish makes a pass or two by the gaff but Devon resists making an errant swipe at him. The third pass and Devon takes the shot. Got ’em! Devon says “Look! There is the hook and leader from the break off!” As the fish comes over the gunwale we all take a deep breath. Big Bull, meet The BEAST!

    It took us several minutes to complete the photo shoot and clean up the mess that fire drill had made. Everything had to be re-rigged and Devon retied all lines and leaders. With the sun falling in the west we went ahead and deployed another spread, minus the down rod. We’re all thinking… Wouldn’t it be nice to finish the day off with a Sailfish. Time is winding down and Jon gives us the word to dump the wells for the final hoorah. The Frigates and Terns had a feast but we didn’t see anything pushing the “freebies”. Devon screams out “Sail on the flat line!” He free lines the rod as he hands it to Jon. GO! Jon comes tight and the aerial show is ON! This is a stout fish with plenty of muscle but he is no match for the seasoned angler on the other end. Jon kept steady pressure on the fish and whooped it in 15 minutes. Rather than pulling it aboard, we did an in-water release while it was still fresh. Pretty work guys!

    The ending to this day couldn’t have been scripted any better if I had written the screenplay myself. We realized that there is absolutely nothing wrong with grown men playing with Dollies. A great afternoon and tremendous finish made our mental health day a complete success. With sanity restored, I turned The BEAST westward and eased her up on top. We all sat back, thoroughly enjoying the ride in as the sun got lost in the horizon.

    We are having a great time here in Miami this winter! The weather is beautiful and the fishing is top notch! Let’s go chase some fish!

    Capt. Jim
    The BEAST
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