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wjc 01-09-2012 08:51 AM

first fish of 2012
 
Went out yesterday with a buddy who'd left his flats boat at my place last week when he came down to catch bait for the Pelican Bay sailfish tournament out of Ft. Pierce then drove them back up there with the bait. The boat he was fishing on placed 5th, landing 31 fish in 3 days.

The winner landed 57 sailfish in the three day tournament. My buddy called it a biomass of sailfish up there. Unbelievable numbers of fish caught. 29 boats caught 731 sails in 3 days. He attributes the increasing sailfish numbers here in part to the outlawing of commercial long lining in this area in 2001, and expects Marlin catches to increase as well.

Anyhow, I tried out my new popper heads on two sails yesterday and just could not get them to bite. They would swim over for a look, then pass on a meal. I didn't like the looks of them in the water either. Besides, they are a real bear to try casting at all, particularly into a 10 - 15 knot breeze, even with a 550 gr head. So I got shunked on sails, but a dolphin did go for the teaser, and I was able to grab a rigged 8 wt pretty quickly and catch it - about an 8 pounder. I am looking forward to grilled dolphin tonight, having had pan sauteed last night.

Had a great day on the water, for a welcome respite to work.

littledavid123 01-09-2012 03:34 PM

Re: first fish of 2012
 
Sounds like a good time WJC and fresh fish is starting to sound good to me. :D

Dave

peregrines 01-10-2012 11:49 AM

Re: first fish of 2012
 
Wow that's quite a catch rate for the tournament -- hope this is a sign of a big rebound for the sailfish population-- and a rebound in the population for swords and marlin too.

Good luck with your offshore expeditions Jim-- that must be a real blast having a sail explode on your poppers-- keep us posted.

mcnerney 01-10-2012 11:56 AM

Re: first fish of 2012
 
Jim: Congrats on the dolphin! That is good news that the sailfish are rebounding!

wjc 01-10-2012 02:01 PM

Re: first fish of 2012
 
Quote:

Wow that's quite a catch rate for the tournament -- hope this is a sign of a big rebound for the sailfish population-- and a rebound in the population for swords and marlin too.
Swords have made nothing short of a spectacular comeback. My buddy Apple actually caught the first sword landed at Bud and Mary's in a lot of years a while back, after the longline ban went into effect, and basically re-started Rec. Swordfishing in the Keys.

They have come back to the degree that sportfishers actually expect to hook up now when they go out. They are catching a lot of "shorts" under 4' long but a fair number of legal fish as well.

The Rec Swordfish clubs are trying like crazy to get everyone to report their Rec catches (as required) to NOAA in hopes of gaining power with the those making up the rules. Many of the swordfishermen are reluctant because they figure once the numbers go up the long-liners will petition to re-open, pay off the right people (through lobbyists), and fish it out again.

The swordfish clubs, however, figure that with increasing membership, and accurate reporting, they will gain more power that way with NOAA catch allotment percentages through a large contribution to the economy.

Cheers,
Jim


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