A peek at the helm revealed quite an array of electronics, including GPS, LORAN, and full color video chart recorders. With a list of "good numbers" a Captain can anchor over the most productive areas for great fishing. And it was amazing to see how important the right location was. Several times after anchoring, the boat would drift off the spot a few yards, and the bite absolutely quit. The Captain would maneuver the boat and reposition it and the bite returned. Those fish were right where they were supposed to be, and the Captain knew it.
Several stops had netted more red eyes and a half of a nice mangrove snapper (a barracuda got the other half on the way up!), until we anchored over another group of airplanes. In the clear water below, cruising at about 30 feet down was a school of amberjack. When I was growing up amberjack were the charterboat captain's bread and butter. No one kept them for eating, but they fought hard, got fairly large, and made great pictures for tourist fishermen. If nothing else was biting, an amberjack or 2 could always be found cruising over a wreck. And so it was today. We began hooking up on amberjack. I had a small live bait down about 30 feet when David hung on the wreck. After breaking his line and reeling up, I gave him my rod so I could re-rig his. You guessed the next part. After several minutes of heavy pump and grind, he boated a nice 20lb amberjack. While we argued over whose fish it was, Tom hooked up and boated this one's twin.
Between us we boated five and released one amberjack. At one point while all of our baits were in the boat a good sized cobia swam by, but we did not react quickly enough. The cobia ended up on a ladies bait toward the front of the boat. She caught it and it weighed about 30 lbs. Tom, who had probably the best fishing spot on the boat because of the way the current moved, managed to catch two very nice red snappers. He won the pot for biggest snapper, and caught the only two red snapper on the boat that day.
I was funny to watch people around us. We seemed to be the only ones really catching fish. But then, we were on the stern of the boat, and knew probably a little more than most of the other anglers on the boat. As we continued to catch fish, it began to get crowded and I noticed the folks along the rail ahead of us were migrating toward the stern. After all, that's where the fish are isn't it?
Well, we had a fine day together, and caught a nice mess of fish. You can see them and my two sons here. What better time can a father have than to have his family together and get to spend time fishing with his sons. I can only pray they do the same for their family when that time rolls around!
Do you fish on Head Boats or fish with your family? Know someone who does? Tell me about your experiences and ideas for others by sending me an Email.