Devon and I were excited to begin our Cubera charters. We were fired up and ready to go. All reports we had heard from friends who had been out there previously, were that the fish were not there or not biting. Several reports came to us of guys fishing 2 straight nights to catch 1 fish. Oh Boy, this does not sound good.
Brian and his friends, Mike, Brett, and Phillip met us at the dock at 3 PM for our scheduled start. Our hopes were high even though we had those very pessimistic fishing reports and the skies were filled with rain cells and strong wind. We unleashed The BEAST and made our way out to a bait spot to grab a couple of Blue Runners to take with us. We got a bonus as Devon spotted a massive Crocodile sitting on the bank in the mangroves.
We quickly boated a couple of Hardtails. I pushed the throttles down and headed for the reef so we could catch some “crickets” for the night. We picked out a generic spot and began the collection process. An hour and a bit later, we had 15 legal bugs on board. Good deal! That was almost too easy. The boys had decided to do some Yellowtail fishing so I turned toward the south and throttled up.
We arrived at our favorite ‘tailing spot and anchored up. The chum went over and they began fishing. The area came alive and Cero Macks were flying out of the water. As a matter of fact, we had one Cero that cleared both motors as it nailed some Ballyhoo that were eating at the chum bag. We had a good time and the fishing was pretty good. As the sun began to set, we wrapped it up with 10 nice Yellowtail and 2 good sized Cero in the box. Alright! Let’s get after those “Nasties”!
We arrived at Nastyville and I did a quick scout. The marks on the sounder were not any where close to normal as in years past. The wind was howling at about 15-18 knots and the seas were reaching 4’ at times. To go with those conditions the current was blasting at 2.5-2.7 knots. This is crummy! Oh well, it is what it is! I got my drift set up and we dropped our first “cricket” down into the inky black depths. Nada! Drift after drift with Nada damn thing happening! This scenario played out for over an hour. Going on a hunch I moved in very shallow and found more fish marking on the sounder. It took me a couple of drifts to get a good starting point. As we made the next drift, I was watching the rod tip when suddenly I see the bite. As I ran over to the rod it doubled over, so I quickly made about 10 cranks on it to hook up the fish. There he is, no doubt about it! Phillip jumped on the rod and began working the fish up. After a grueling fight the fish broke the surface and we had "El Nasty" in the boat.
Yahoo! The BEAST is on the boards with the first "Nasty" of the 2012 season. We continued on and several drifts later we got another bite but missed the hook up. The lobster came up split in half and the carapace looked like someone drove an F-250 over it. No worries! Well get ’em! We made a few more drifts and Mike (I think) got a bite. Bada BOOM! Hooked up, Buddy! He worked the fish and we now had "Nasty" #2 on board.
We worked this area to death without another bite, As time grew thin, I decided to go to another area well to the north that holds fish as well. We marked fish but they were not chewing. Overdue on time with a huge rain cell closing in on us, we called it a night. I turned to the west and made my way for home. The outing was far from fantastic catching 2 smaller male Cubera Snapper out of 3 bites. The guys had Lobster, Yellowtail, and Cero Mackerel in the box, as well, and I think their smiles were genuine!
The next trip out was with a Cubera regular, Jorge, and he brought along Ricardo. The conditions were much better with less threat of rain and much lighter winds around 12-13 knots. The seas were light at about 2 feet. We tried for some Blue Runners but struggled to catch 3 this time. Jorge said “Let’s go.” I bagged the Runner spot and headed offshore to grab some bugs for the night. After catching 10 bugs Jorge was getting antsy and when the 11th cricket came aboard he once again said “Let’s go.” You can still catch one more for your limit but, OK. He opted to go for AJ’s rather than Yellowtail fishing.
I ran out to the “Grunt & Sweat” wreck and set up our drifts. The current was, once again, a fast 2.2 knots out there. Devon was demonstrating how to work the speed jigs when he hooked up a fish and passed the rod over to Ricardo. He almost had it to the boat when a humongous ‘Cuda hit it, but didn’t take it. The fish was small, less than the legal 28” size limit. We regretted having to release this wounded fish even though the wounds were slight. It swam down and away. Within minutes the fish was hauling butt to the surface with the ‘Cuda in hot pursuit. A huge splash and it was over. Jorge got a hook up on his speed jig and this was a much better fish. The fish grew larger as the fight went on and then got lighter. When Jorge got the fish to the boat there was only a large head left on the hook. This one was eaten by very big shark. It was very apparent by the size of the bite. “Mother Nature‘s” ocean is hard and cruel. Even though we had another 45 minutes to an hour before dark, Jorge said “Let’s go catch Cubera!” OK, it‘s not really time yet but we’ll head out and give it a shot.
Devon got the big rods ready as I milled around looking for the fish. The current was a stiff 2.2 knots. We made our first drift & drop well before dark. This scenario went on and on. I worked in and out, shallow to deep, and nothing at all was happening. Jorge began saying that there were no fish there. I kept showing him the sounder and telling him that it would happen but only when THEY were ready for it to happen. The drifts added up and the time ran down without a bite. It was more evident now that Jorge had given up. I suggested that we try a few drifts at the other spot. We made the run northward to see if they were biting. The current was somewhat better there, about 1.7-1.9 knots. We weren’t even 2 minutes into the 1st drift and Jorge pulled the plug on the trip.
Could it be possible that someone had spiked Jorge’s rum bottle with “Impatience”? Devon and I were still game because we don’t take defeat easily. Jorge has had 5 or more incredibly successful trips with us in the past. Matter of fact, it was his group that caught our boat record, 76 ¼ pounder. I really don’t understand what went on that night and have replayed that trip in my mind, over and over. Maybe it was simply, bad conditions… OR… could it be that, Jorge and The BEAST, had to pay their dues at Nastyville.