By: Capt. Bruce Andersen
One of the great things about offshore fishing, especially in the Florida Keys is that you never know what can happen next. Surprise catches happen all the time. You might be targeting one thing and come up with something special you weren’t planning for. On a recent charter aboard my boat, the Captain Easy, we saw a perfect example of this.
We do quite a few different things especially this time of year, but on this day, we were headed offshore in search of mahi mahi and stopped at the Islamorada hump to catch a few tuna on the way out. There are a few ways to target blackfin tuna, but the most basic way is to troll small lures way back on light tackle. I use a 20-pound setup and fish light 30# leaders as the tuna can be line shy. Sometimes we’ll catch some bycatch, mahi can be common and I’ve even caught a few sailfish and wahoo over the years. You’ve got to get very lucky to catch a wahoo this way as you’re fishing with that light fluorocarbon leader with no wire. All it takes is for one of his sharp teeth to touch that leader and it would be over in an instant.
We had a group of regular customers that have been fishing with me for years. A really nice family from Virginia. Their son Ryan is a very special young man who loves to fish. They are some of the most pleasant people you could have on a fishing charter. On this day the tuna bite was good, but the sharks were bad. The sharks seem to get worse every year and we were losing about ½ of our tuna to them. We even had several tuna get eaten right next to the boat which is both exciting and frustrating at the same time.
We had just about caught our limit of 10 tuna and on the last pass before heading offshore we hooked what I thought was a double header of tuna. I noticed the one fish that Ryan was fighting was pulling a lot of drag and figured it was a nice tuna but didn’t expect to catch him with all of those sharks around. My son Ian was mating for me that day. It was also overcast that morning and hard to see into the water with the lack of light. I was busy putting the smaller tuna in the box and maneuvering the boat when Ian said to me “Dad I don’t think this is a tuna”. I looked over and saw a 40# wahoo striped up and yelled “it’s a wahoo, stick him”. Ian stroked him and all of a sudden, we had caught the fish of a lifetime for Ryan.
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. It just goes to show that anything can happen offshore of the Florida Keys!
You can reach Captain Bruce Andersen at Capt. Easy Charters,
MM 85, call 305.360.2120 or email at: email@example.com