I have been fishing out of Fort Lauderdale for 20+ years so I have seen a lot of things and caught a lot of fish in strange ways but today’s trip was different by far. It started out pretty normal. The customers showed up a little late but no big deal there. We left the dock and on the way out some of them came up on the bridge. We started talking about what they have caught in the past, where they have fished and where they are from as normal. We get out to the fishing grounds and set the lines out and this is when things started happening.
Our first bite was on the long planer rod. We got one of the customers to wind it in to the leader then my mate starts bringing it in. Not knowing what we have on the end of the line, our immediate thought was a bonito. As the fish gets closer we see stripes. Wahooooo goes the yell. Gaff the fish and get it in the boat. A few high fives and such later we get the planer rod rebaited and set again. A minute or so later it gets bit again. Thinking again bonito we get the leader and start bringing it in. Wahoooo goes another yell when we see stripes again. We gaffed the fish and in the cooler it goes. Another round of high fives and so on. We get the baits back out again and continue trolling in 80 to 350 feet of water. We catch a few kingfish and small barracuda then head further offshore to see if we can find some mahi.
We came to a nice looking edge in 700 feet and started trolling along it when one of the guests on the bridge with me says “I just saw a fin over there”. “What kind of fin was it?” I ask. “Did it look like a shark?” No, it was big and kind of round. I put the boat into a turn to try and get back in front of it or at least see what it was. We finished the circle turn and saw a sailfish jump in front of the boat. I trolled towards it and that is when things got wierd.
We saw something dragging across the surface of the water and turned to get a better look but couldn’t make out what it was. Then we looked about 50 feet ahead of it and saw that the sailfish was towing it. Now we realize what was going on so we cleared all of the lines we had out and got a spinning rod with a weighted treble hook attached. We catch up to it again and my mate casts the hook over the line that is trailing behind. He hooks the line and gets it to the boat as I am still backing down to keep the pressure off the fish. What we hooked onto was somebody else’s broken off planer set. We attach a rod to the planer so if the fish took off we could stay with it. My mate grabed another rod and as we are still backing up on the fish he splices the leader on the other side of the planer so we can now wind the sailfish to the boat. We got the fish to the boat pretty fast because it was already worn out from dragging the rig behind. My mate grabbed ahold of the bill and held it next to the boat. There was a prerigged ballyhoo wire leader attached to a mono leader that the fish was hung on literally. There was no hook in the fish, the wire leader was wrapped around it’s bill. We safely untangle the wire, revived the fish and release it. One of the customers said that the fish came to us so we would save it’s life.
We were all happy and excited for this experience of a lifetime. We went back to trolling and had a few more bites but fishing had slowed down a little. We finished the trip catching a dozen vermillion snapper. Now I know that I have caught fish that had other hooks and rigs in them. I have event got some that we got our rig fouled in line that was hooked to a fish. But I have never to my knowledge done what happened with this sailfish. Especially not after getting 2 nice wahoo on our first 2 bites.
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Reel Work Sport Fishing Charters
301 Seabreeze Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Charter Fishing Fort Lauderdale