Friday, December 30, 2011

tornadoes and trout

Tornado of gannets off the west side of the shoals. Pretty amazing really, it looks like a tornado, hundreds if not thousands of white gannets, the size of a goose, but more slender. The flock looks like a cloud; a wide area of rising birds, circling and beating upwards to get altitude. As the cloud continues to build from all sides a corner of it darkens as the birds converge on a point a hundred feet above the water. The cloud builds from all sides and continues to darken. When the clumsily climbing birds arrive above the designated target their grace is shown. Suddenly, they lose all air from their wings and fall out of the sky, diving straight down, together, hundreds of them, continuously falling out of the sky on a single point on the water. Pointed beaks, stretched knecks and swept back wings, the gannets slam down and out of site after their quary, sometimes 30, 40 or more feet. The torment from above pours and pours without signs of slowing, the point from which the birds are falling out of the sky is repleneshed from all directions within the every building cloud.

Is the water also throffing white from the birds and the tell tale swirls of predators from below that have pushed the bait within range of the birds? Can't see from here. Stunned menhaden pounded from below and above. Maybe big drum, stripers, even bluefin tuna? Often whales are in the area and almost always dolphins.

An exhaust emerges from the eges of the touchdown. The birds pop up from the depths, if lucky gulp down their prey, shake off the spray and take flight to the windward and upward into the cloud to gain the height needed to propel them back down to the deep.

The tornado loses it's focus and dissipates with only scattered birds falling from the cloud which now is losing it's intesity and is beginning to scatter. Under the surface, whatever was there, corralling and driving the baitfish upwards has also scattered. Trolled and jigged lures amoung scattered "marks" yield no off to the jetty.

Caught one nice keeper trout for dinner and a dozen dog sharks on light tackle. That was my afternoon.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

afternoon with Ray

Spent the afternoon with Capt. Ray on the "cast" part of his "Cast and Blast". They blasted in the morning....well, they went out there and were ready to blast if the ducks moved, but despite the wind, things were rafted up and not moving, so no blasting. Ended way up the creek playing with the trout, not many keepers, but we did have flounder for dinner. Good afternoon on the water. Thanks Ray for letting me tag along.

Oh, you'll like this. Three of us in the boat plus Ray. I'm throwing Gulp, two with mirror lures, Ray is working the trolling motor (like a bass pro) in the wind. No bites on the Mirror Lure until an hour into it Ray picks up a rod for the first time of the afternoon. One cast, one trout. "Don't know what the matter is with you boys, I'm telling ya, they're right there."

Thanks for the lesson Ray.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back in town

The whole of Miami smelled of roasted pig when I left. Those Cubans know how to put on a feast. Good to be home, not too cold, not too hot......other than the trout and striper fishing. Got to get into some of that, maybe shoot a duck. Maybe we get a pretty day I'll get an invite to chase a wahoo or bluefin.....if it get's pretty enough, I may even splash the tower boat and go look for a striper. Anna is busy getting the house "organized" and I think that I'm coming down with a slight case of cabin fever. Won't take much to get me out the door.....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas

Hope Santa brings lots of good fishing for you in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Giant Chesapeake Stripers

Capt. Chris Kimrey has been spending some time up on the Chesapeake Bay. He's taking Capt. Greg Voliva up there for another exploratory trip. From the looks of these pics, Capt. Chris has got a good thing going and is pretty wired into the bite.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Belize Report with Pics

No sailfish in Belize, this is a shot that was still on the camera from last week.....this turned out to be a great combo trip, it was easy getting to Belize from Costa Rica. When I arrived, Anna was getting casting lessons from our guide, Willey, and a few shots at bonefish in front of the cabin. Actually, the more I learned, the more I saw. As it turned out, there were A LOT of bonefish in front of our cabin.
Look carefully, you'll see all the permit tails.....and my fly line with my fly in the middle of them.....getting refused. I got a few shots, then was elbowed out of the way.....

Got him on and deep into the backing Finally this guy hooks a fish!

While Willey is showing me the ropes, Anna is wading around taking pictures of life on the flats, all of the following pics without getting her hair wet: What you looking at? I never knew that conch had eyes.....if the bones and permit didn't love their body parts so much.....I'd feel a twinge of guilt

Sunset bite in front of the "house" Willey hard at work: Snappers under the dock Back to Basics....with Willey patiently waiting...he did a lot of waiting around on us for this trip. Very relaxing vacation. Anna's first bonefish Time to get in the water with the fishes. All the following pics were taken while snorkeling, not diving. Anna did go scuba diving and says that the dives are amazing, nothing compared to the diversity below that we saw just a few feet under the surface.

Even trophy lizard fish in Belize, this joker was about 5 pounds

Stange Sea Creatures Abound: Do Not Touch: Lionfish seem to be taking over the world. They are now prevalent on reefs and wrecks from North Carolina to Belize and are predicted to be in Argentina within 5 years. Some say that they were introduced by aquarium releases, but I think that ballast water from large ships coming from the Indo-Pacific is more likely. Divers are killing as many as they can, but it is laughable to think that lionfish numbers will be controlled this way. They are here to stay. Today was our last day in Belize, I spent a few hours looking for those permit again, no luck, so we hit the flats and played with the bones. After getting back to the lodge, I caught 2 more in front of the cabin, including my biggest of the trip, about 8 pounds......although I did cheat on the last one. My fly had about had it, the hair and legs falling out and picked apart. I picked up an old conch shell and shook out a dime sized crab, put it on the hook and that lasted about 2 seconds......may should have tried that a bit earlier.

Rainy day

Yesterday was a rainy day here in Belize, kind of reminded me of NC. Today it's beautiful on our last day here in Belize, then I'll be up the river with Capt. Gary, chasing stripers. Here's a pic that he sent me from this week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

six species

Caught six species of fish today on the fly including bones, cuda, mackeral, jacks and several kinds of snapper. Anna finally quit breaking off her bonefish only to have a big cuda eat one at her feet, but she shook off the jinx and finally got one. We also went snorkeling, I was blown away by the life, corals, rays and fishes. Anna said it's nothing compared to the diving. Would love to post some pics, but the internet is super slow, got some great stuff for you on Sunday which is when I'll be back in NC.

Got my permit on the fly!

100% legit, no cheating......although it was tempting to add a little conch scent. They are some bad dudes.

Having a great trip and looking forward to making Belize a Down East Destination. Anna is already planning the next trip. Let us know when you want to go!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Permit for Permit

We opted to chase permit today, I've never caught one......and I still haven't, primarily because I'm hard header and wanted to catch my first on the fly. After about 2 hours of looking, we finally found them and were "in the meat" all day long, following several schools of at least 100 permit in each school. They did not want my fly offerings, but Anna found out from our guide Willey that they will readily eat a piece of conch. Over the side of the boat Anna goes with mask and snorkel. My fly opportunities were limited after that, getting my shots only when Anna was busy fighting a big permit or taking a break from several of her battles. They are cool fish. Internet service is a little weak here, but I'll try to post some pics later in the week.

Blue Marlin to Bonefish

That's a bit of a change, but very cool. I've caught bonefish before, but never have I seen such huge schools of bonefish. Fortunately, there are enough fish around that screwing up a shot is no big deal.....I caught my first sight-cast fly caught bonefish yesterday afternoon. I arrived here at Turneffe Atoll, Belize yesterday to meet Anna who upon my arrival, was recieving a casting lesson within 100 feet of our cabin.....where there always seem to be tailing fish.

I think that this is her new favorite place, more bones today, scuba diving tomorrow.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The finals

Dwight did a great job capitalizing on the bites that he got today.....but the bite that he didn't take cost him in the end. The five anglers fishing the World Billfish Series Championship's final day had a tough day of fishing. Dwight Wolf on the Dragin Fly started the day with the first billfish release of the day with a sail, several minutes later, missing another one. At 11 am, no one else had reported a fish when James runs over a patch of hungry sailfish. Dwight hooked the first, then a second sail with another hot fish coming in on the last teaser in the water.

With no other boats reporting fish, Dwight took a conservative approach, opting to land the two hooked fish instead of going for a triple header. After all, no one else had reported a release and we seemed to be raising them. Who knows what would have happened. A angler hooked up with multiple fish can only fight one fish at a time and must pick up the rod in order to take up slack. It's not easy to control 2 jumping sailifsh, let alone 3 at one time.

After landing both sails, we put the spread back out and watched as the other boats chipped at Dwight's lead through the day. Although he had a couple more opportunities, Dwight's thoughts shifted back towards that hungry sailfish that wasn't presented a bait.

It took 400 points to win the tournament on time with a marlin release, 2nd place also with a marlin, Dwight's 3 sails in 3rd place......the third part of his triple header would have put him in first on time.

The obvious footnote here is IF. IF any of the other boats had hooked a marlin, they would have won. IF we had not gotten our last minute double header of marlin last weekend, we would not have won. That's part of what makes this "sport" so exciting.

Back to Back

Congrats to Dwight Wolf, the angler sharing the Dragin Fly with me for the first two qualifying days for the WBS Grand Championship on Saturday. Dwight started the day with a striped marlin, followed by a 300 pound blue marlin, finishing his grand slam with a hot sailfish. Dwight and I rotated sides of the boat on the hour, but my side just didn't get the bites. I'm very proud of the team that we have put together on the Dragin Fly, winning the Marlin Tourny last weekend and having top angler this weekend is pretty special. Hope that Dwight gets the ring tomorrow.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Can't catch 'em if you don't see 'em

Actually, the only billfish that was seen on the Dragin Fly today was a baby sailfish that decided to bite the left long while I was taking a leak. I do have the record for the 42' dash, managed to hook the fish and am comfortably sitting in 4th place.....tied with 10 other guys with 1 sailfish, followed by two guys in 3rd with 2 sails, 2nd place with 3 sails and the leader with 400 point marlin and one 100 point sail.

Tomorrow is the big day, overall top 5 move on to fish on Saturday.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here and there's pretty nice. Settling in to the Costa Rica "summer" with calm seas and clear skies. Today it seemed that we must have used all of our luck in the tourney.....we did catch a sail, missed another triple header and watched the boats around us catch marlin.

I'm staying here for the week, fishing in the World Billfish Series Grand Championship tournament that starts on Thursday, wish me luck. This is an individual event, I'll be sharing the boat with another angler, rotating sides of the boat every hour.....I think. Haven't fished anything like this before....

There......Capt. Gary reports:

"We had a 100 striper trip today at New Bern. Some on hard baits, lots on soft baits fish up to 27 inches...Dynamite!!"

Gary and Capt. Joe Ward are getting the trout and stripers. Ray and Greg are even getting into the action, mixing it up with a little "Cast And Blast". Drop us an e mail if you want to get out on the or there.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Never, Never, Never Give Up

In the morning we saw 2 marlin, missed them both….one of them all 3 of us had a chance…… caught a sail, jumped off 3 sails after seemingly good hook ups. 10 minutes to go in the tourney and a stripey comes off the dredge and onto the right short bait, I hook the fish and we start getting stuff in. Another stripey piles on the right teaser as it races to the boat. The fish follows the teaser all the way to the boat and starts swatting at it as it’s hanging from the outrigger. The guys are throwing baits at it, but the marlin fades off. Back down on the one we got, which is the one we need to win the tournament. Straight up and down, not too much pressure and the she comes unglued……broke the hook.Nobody says a word and we got to work, 7 minutes to go, Scott starts dropping back the right long and bam, he gets the bite from the other stripey that faded off earlier. We catch that one. Won the tournament with a whopping 5 minutes to spareIn reality, our hook up ratio sucked. We caught 6 out of the 18 different marlin that we got bites from, saw several more. We had bites from 10 different marlin on day 1 and caught only 3. A little better with the sails, catching 6 of 10 bites.George

Friday, December 2, 2011

holding On

Buddy of mine found a tarpon in South River yesterday, barely holding on in that cold water.

We're holding on also, still in 1st place with a couple of marlin releases and a sailfish today, total of 5500 points. Voice of the Wild is in 2nd with 5200. The third place boats have 3700 points, but they're making me nervous.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Grand Slam

Lucky to be in first place after day 1, caught 2 big blue marlin, 1 stripey and 4 sails......two more days.