- By Rich Miller
Every year after turkey season is over and the weather starts to warm up, my wife starts letting me know that it is time for me to take her somewhere. Now, I don’t know about everyone else, but if I am going to take a vacation I like to go somewhere I can so something besides sit on the beach. I have got to be doing something outdoors or I feel like I am wasting my time off.
A friend of ours has a house in south Florida and invited us down for a long weekend. The good thing about this place is the fishing is awesome and you don’t have to run offshore very far to get into them. Also, he has a boat there and everything is ready to go when we get there. It didn’t take much to talk my wife into going - as you can imagine - and my sister and brother-in-law were going to go, also. We flew out at lunch time on Friday and were in Florida at his house before three o’clock. After getting everything squared away, we got the boat out, the tackle ready and decided to go and catch some bait. After we got plenty of bait, we’d try to go out and find a weed line and catch a few dolphin-fish. The girls decided they wanted to go with us and watch and ride in the boat as well. When we pulled up to the inlet where all of the bait was, there were a lot of boats already there, which was a good sign. To say the bait catching was good would be an understatement. After about thirty minutes of catching bait, we had plenty for the next day’s fishing. With a full bait tank we left the inlet and ran offshore a couple of miles to do a little fishing. We found a small weed line and free lined some bait out. About five minutes after getting the lines in the water, my sister started saying that she didn’t feel very well. As you can imagine, the Friday afternoon fishing trip didn’t last very long.
Saturday morning we were on the water well before daylight and headed out to sea with high hopes. The water was a lot rougher than what they had been calling for so the going was a little slower than we had planned. About five miles out we ran across a small weed line and we pitched out a couple of baits to see if there was any fish on it. As soon as my brother-in-law’s bait hit the water it got eaten! After a few minutes, our spirits got dampened when we saw that it was a barracuda. After we got about fifteen miles off we did a lot of running in circles trying to find some more weed lines but didn’t have any luck. Before we realized it, the clock was pointing a ten o’clock and we didn’t have a fish in the boat. We decided to run on out some more and see if we could find anything that might be holding some fish. When we got in about 1200 ft. of water we spotted a wooden pallet floating in the water and we could see some fish around it. We pitched our baits out and for the next couple of hours it was wide open. The "dolphins" were everywhere around that pallet! Most of them were not the biggest in the world, but they were all keepers and they would do just fine for eating. Once we had finished messing with all of the “schoolies” as they are called, we set the outriggers and decided to troll back toward the house. Trolling back in, we caught three more nice-sized dolphin-fish but never did catch one of the monster bulls that we had been after all day.
We fished Sunday and Monday morning, also, and caught a lot more dolphin-fish but still never got that giant we were after. We caught dolphin-fish, kingfish, benita, amberjack, grouper, and had on three sailfish and lost all of them. We had enough fillets to eat fish twice while we were there and still bring home a cooler full. As a matter of fact, I am getting some fillets ready now and we are having a fish fry tomorrow night with all of our friends that didn’t get to go to Florida with us last weekend!