Though most northern anglers probably dream of catching a billfish, relatively few ever do so unless they arrange a trip to Florida for the relatively abundant Atlantic sailfish. Yet, there are even many Florida fishermen who also haven’t caught a sailfish because that effort usually involves specialized techniques such as kite fishing. Relatively few sails are caught by accident, but that just adds to the thrill.
When my son-in-law Luis Gonzalez and I joined Bob Correll of Bay Head on his Sea Vee 32 from his new home in Hutchinson Island this morning our goal was a large snapper or grouper from some hard bottom nine miles off St; Lucie Inlet. We had no problem loading up with threadfin herring on Sabiki rigs for a shot at pelagic species before heading offshore, and also had squid to tempt bottom fish.
I worked had to get through small fish for a tasty snapper, but the only fish I hooked that fought like the target was cut off halfway up. The same thing happened when Bob and Luis fought lengthy battles before being bitten off by unseen toothy critters. However, as Bob was bringing in a chopped off amberjack head he spotted a fish chasing the bait on Luis’ line – and that hook-up resulted in a small sailfish tearing up the surface to break our losing streak with a release. I was then surprised to hear Luis note that was his first sailfish despite years as a small boat fisherman from Jupiter to Miami. One of the greatest attractions of fishing is that you never know when the unexpected may produce a moment to remember forever.
At Atlantic Highlands, the Sea Hunter reported a pick of school stripers today, but won’t be sailing on Mothers Day due to a lack of reservations. The Fishermen also got into some striper action despite an ebb tide running into a southeast breeze. They were mostly shorts, but anglers caught up to three. Capt. Rin Santee thinks conditions will be good tomorrow and is sailing. The forecast is for west winds at 10-15 knots before going southwest in the afternoon with a chance of rain.
There was good surf news today from Jerry Lasko who got into stripers up to 27 inches on lures at an Ocean County beach. A few blues were mixed in.
Bob Misak of Betty & Nick’s Fishing Club released a 43-inch bass in that that area