January Fish Tails – by Capt. Charlie Beadon

A Day to Remember – Red Hot Sailfish Action

There are quite a few days that stand out in my mind as days to remember, but none quite as much as one cool January day off of the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida. At the time I was working as a mate on a 40 foot Liberty named the Fantasy which was skippered by a well known sail fisherman named Chris White. One of our favorite trips was to leave the dock before day break and get out for an early morning sailfish bite. On this day the crew consisted of only the captain, me and one other angler. The nice thing about getting out early is that “you don’t miss anything” Chris told me as we as we left the bait patch that morning. We started out fair as we went one for a double within the first ten minuets of putting lines out, but we improved our average by 11 am after releasing 14 sails and going through all of our live bait. With fishing like this there was no question among us as to weather we would go back to the bait patch and get more bait. After a short while we were back at it with full wells. Fishing started a bit slow when we got back out as we sat for almost two hours without a bite, but as with all offshore fishing the action can change in an instant. We hooked into a quad (4 sails at once) and between the three of us we managed to keep them under control and released three and were able to focus on the last of the four. The only problem was that the nut under the spool had come loose on the reel thus allowing the rotor to lock the spool tight when not being centered by hand. There were a few times when the fish came close to breaking us off, but with some fine boat handling and good communication we managed to get the release. Over the next few hours we picked at a few more fish including one that sounded and we had to fight for over an hour. Now up to twenty releases and the sun setting we all knew that one more fish would make or break us because the Ocean Reef Club record for single day sail fish releases was 20…one more and it would be ours! As the light dwindled we set out our last two baits out waited…excited, Chris cries out “there he is on the right long” as the fish bills the bait and sucks it down. As fast as he ate he was gone and our hearts sank into the bilge of the boat. But as the day would have it that fish swam over to our last bait and this time we hooked him solid. I don’t think that the Fantasy had ever been run so hard in reverse as the water poured over the transom. “Releases” I yelled as I grabbed the leader to release the fish. What a day indeed, we ended up going 21 for 26 and pinning those flags up and down both riggers never felt so good. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!