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Fishing Report 6/12 - 6/22/11
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Link to this postPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:15 am    Post subject: Note Fishing Report 6/12 - 6/22/11

For our second charter, we decided to do 10 days this time and start/end in the USVI, although most of our fishing was done in the BVI. We had pretty good success, using spinning rods as well as trolling lines behind our 40' cat we chartered from CYOA.

Most of the action came while trolling. Rather than go out and buy a trolling rod and then pay baggage fees to check it, I made 2 D-handles out of plywood, tied on short lengths of 3/8" line and bungee cord to act as a snubber, attached 100' or so of 100lb test line, and another short length of line to tie it to the boat. When not in use, the line simply wrapped around the plywood. Simple and cheap. With only a few exceptions, we had action every time we trolled. It seemed that we had the best luck when the boat speed was between 4.5 and 7 knots.

Our first bit of action came while approaching Jost. We hooked into a really nice small tuna, perhaps 5-7 lbs, got him on the boat and onto the grill and hour or so later. He was delicious. The next day, on our way to Monkey Point, we caught a nice mackerel, but due to a crew handling error, he went back into the ocean when trying to put him in the cooler.

On our way to Anegada, no action whatsoever trolling.

We spent 2 days on Anegada this time and really wanted to try our luck fishing from shore. On the first day, we headed over to Cow Wreck and used all sorts of lures while wading/fishing from shore. We used spoons, Rapala X-Rap lures, Storm Wildeye artificial baits, pompano jigs, and a bunch of other stuff, but no luck at all. We walked the beach and did not see any birds diving, fish jumping or anything. So, we had lunch at the bar and tried again later, but still no action. We went back to the boat and my youngest son, Christian, and I decided to take the dinghy out for a little late afternoon fishing. (When we arrived at Anegada, Barry from Whispering Pines came out to greet us and he told us there was good fishing inside the reef off of Setting Point.) So we cruised down towards the point, cut the motor, and did some drift fishing, keeping a watchful eye on the exposed coral heads in the distance that the waves were breaking over. Not long after getting there, I got a good hit and line started peeling off my reel. He was fighting pretty good so I handed my rod off to Christian so he could fight the fish. Eventually he got him to the dinghy, but all that came up was the head of a nice yellowtail snapper, still dripping blood. Christian's eyes grew to the size of silver dollars as we realized that a shark stole our dinner. We figured the yellowtail was probably between 18-22". We used whatever meat was left on the head and the head itself as bait that night fishing off the mooring. Lots of stolen bait and one good strike as something took the head and my steel leader with it.

The next morning, 4 of us went back to the same spot in the dinghy. Using the same Rapala X-Rap clown lure, I quickly got a fish on and fought him for a short while before he broke off taking my leader and $8 lure with him. BTW, we had 15lb pink Ande and steel leaders on all of our spinning rods. Not sure why we kept losing hardware. Were the 24" leaders too short? Not heavy enough? No idea. Using a silver spoon, Mark hooked into a small shark. He fought him briefly, watching him break the surface of the water twice before he broke off. Again, 15lb test line and a 24" leader. No action after that. We spent the rest of the day touring the island in our rented truck. The kids loved riding in the back of this small truck equipped with bench seats. This was our first visit to Loblolly and the Big Bamboo. Nice, nice place. Wanted to check out Flash of Beauty, but we got all twisted around on the way out of Big Bamboo and did not see it. Maybe next time.

On the way to Jost from Anegada, we had a good amount of action while trolling, all of it while Anegada was still visible. Our first hit was a nice blue runner which we ate for lunch upon our arrival at Sandy Spit. The next strike was a big barracuda that my wife Debbie pulled in. He was a little over 3' long and when she saw what she caught, she decided I needed to take over. We quickly got the hook out and threw him back overboard. It took some scrubbing, but we got all the slime off the boat. A short while later, Deb hooked a nice mahi. He was fighting hard so I helped her haul on the line. When about 20' from the boat, we lost him. Very disappointing - he would have made a nice dinner for all 8 of us. Our last strike on that leg came a short while later. Not sure what it was, but it was a pretty big fish, about 3' long that struck hard and fast from below, clearing the water as he hit the lure. We fought him for a very short while and he ended up breaking the leader, causing us to lose our luckiest pink Dolphin Candy lure. (These lures came with their own leaders which appeared to be a heavier monofilament line than the 100lb test were using. Only one of our trolling lures came with a steel leader. Not sure if we should have replaced the mono leaders with steel ones or not.) After this strike, we zig-zagged over the Kingfish Banks and didn't get a single hit.

For the remaining few days, we still had plenty of trolling action, but no fish were brought on board. We had plenty of hits and a few hook-ups where the fish was eventually lost. There were also times when our lures had snagged sea weed that perhaps we did not notice right away that may have contributed to some periods of "no action" We got into the habit of checking the lines periodically for sea weed. While doing this once on the way from Jost to Soper's Hole, my son Christian and I both saw what appeared to be a 6-8' hammerhead shark surface directly behind the boat and disappear into the depths a second or two later. Awesome.

All in all, our best luck came while trolling. With only a few exceptions, we had some sort of action whether it be a hit or a fish brought on board every time we trolled. The most productive lures were the Dolphin Candy and Tuna Toast lures. We didn't get a single hit with the bigger "Greenie" nor did we get any action whatsoever with two different sizes of cedar plugs.

The next time we go, we'd like to do more fishing from the boat on the mooring. It seemed that whenever we did this, it was at night, after dinner, when it was dark. Not sure if this is the right time or if we can expect to get anything other than sharks. Also not sure what the best approach should be (i.e. meat on a hook and let it sit, lures, artificials that we reel in, etc.) I suppose it also matters where we are. Bottom line is that we never got into a situation where we were pulling in fish off the mooring. I think this would have been fun for the kids.
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