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The winter is mild as can be here in S. Florida. We haven't had but one front push through with temps in the 50's. So far the nights are comfortable and the days are warm in the 80's. This, however, has affected the fishing somewhat. Constant catches of King Mackerel and Sailfish are normal and the year is average but last year we were spoiled with unprecedented Sailfish numbers and catches never before seen in my history.

Since my last report I would like to reflect on a couple of day/sailfish trips and a couple of night/swordfish trips for your reading.

Two day trips that come rapidly to mind were a full day and 3/4 day trips. The 3/4 day trip featured Sam and 3 of his buds. We, of course started our day off at the bait patch where we picked up our bait quickly and the yellowtail were there and my mate tossed 3 of the big legals into the fish box. We got setup offshore and in short order had a triple header of Sailfish on. Within minutes we were down to 2 and minutes thereafter we were down to one, both fish winning their freedom fight over the angler. The last fish of the triple seemed to be solidly at hand when 30' from the boat the hook pulls. OOPS! Oh well. The King Mackerel were relentless on the downrigger baits and although many were lost, OOPS again, we managed to catch and box 4 nice ones.

Bill came solo for his day trip and you know the drill. A short bait catching episode, thanks to Calusa Cast Nets, and we headed offshore. Bill was tough in the angling department going 2 for 4 on Sailfish, 6 Kings and a huge Rainbow Runner. He was doing great but by 12ish he was starting to turn a weird shade of green. He was embarassed repeatedly saying that he has never been seasick but he was going to have to quit early. Not a bad deal since he already had a nice day jammed into a short amount of fishing time.

I loaded the boat with my daughter, Amy, my mate, his uncle and also his best friend for a night of fun Sword fishing. We got a bit of a late start, not too bad, and blasted out to the drift zones. Fishing 2 jug lines and 2 tip rods throughout the evening we spent the dark moon night drifting and chewing the fat. Meanwhile, we had 2 or 3 baits whacked and beatup but no hookups. Then we managed to get a hook up on an artificial Berkley Gulp Squid 10". Devon's uncle jumped on the rod and within minutes we had a "peanut pup" boatside. About 35 pounds and 2" short of legal, we took a quick photo, revived the fish, and released. This fish although small popped the cherry on the Swordfish virgin.

Last night I took another trio of Swordfish virgins and the seas were flat calm and the fish were snapping. We had one heck of an evening. The first drift showed a whack of the bait and then the bite. Within seconds the fish pulled the hook. As we were clearing lines to pick up and reset for another drift a nice fish followed the baits up to the surface and we had him swimming in the Hydraglow light. Here are 4 of us trying to bait this fish up and my daughter Amy, who mated fro me on this trip gets her bait whacked twice but not eaten. She quickly dropped it down 50' to see if the fish would follow to eat and sure as the sun will rise, the fish eats it and hooks up. This fish lasted about 2 minutes and in the glow of the lights we watched ans he violently shook his head and the hook ripped free. We had 2 more fish bite and for some reason the guys were having trouble hooking up. Finally, the deep tip rod goes off and we are solid into our fish. The fish running straight down and under the boat and the angler pulling skyward on the rod, hyper-flexing the tip, and crack goes the rod. I told him to remain calm keeping mild but steady pressure on the fish while leaning the rod to the side. Believe it or not the fish came to the surface and we stuck the gaff in it. A nice 52" fish about 65# and another loses his Swordfish virginity. The weather started to turn as a mild front began to push in the area and light rains were pushing in. We had the tip rod go off one moe time resulting in a no hook up and we called it a night as the winds changed directions and started blowing. A very nice trip with very nice guys and the Swords kept us active most of the night.

Capt. Jim
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