So… In a land far far away, big boats with even bigger motors hanging off the back run away from the beautiful flats, shoals, creeks and mangrove lines that we here at Skinny Water Culture know and love. We do however share a few commonalities with these seemingly crazed individuals (and more often then not teams). We both will wake up at the crack of 4am to get our boats, wether it be a kayak, skiff, 30ft center console or 65ft sport fisher rigged up and ready to fish the chosen grounds.
Recently I had the amazing opportinuty to ride along with a few friends of mine aboard the “Hillbilly Deluxe”, a 33ft Contender to fish the prestigious Cheeca Sailfish tournament out of Islamorada Fl. This is not the kind of fishing I am used to, to say the very least. But hey, I am always down to learn something new and I enjoy catching fish using any method so I didn’t have anything to lose.
We had a lines off call at 5:30 AM to run out to the bait patch to catch our live bait for the day. We were to be kite fishing and wanted a full spread and variety of baits.
Rigging kites was a very precise practice and the team aboard the Hillbilly Deluxe were kind enough to let me in on a few secrets of how to make life easier… but you don’t get to hear them or I might be killed.
Lines in was at 8:30. Once we were fishing the two mates and captain had to constantly adjust things and keep the boat into the wind to keep the baits looking as natural as possible.
The big issue I ran into when we finally hooked a fish was the pace in which the fish was brought to the boat, leadered and released. It was a blur of activity and me being the guest I wanted to be as out of the way as possible. So instead of photographing that, I just stayed out of the way! Here are a few shots of the winning boat Swagger) fighting a few fish from afar.
We did manage to release two sailfish that day and these offshore guys did share in another similarity to my type of fishing… celebratory beers!
While we didn’t win, I did have a great time and meet some new friends in my new home of Islamorada… thats right, relocating from Ft Myers to the promise land! Here are a few pics of my lady and I free fishing the day after the tournament.