Houndfish and Circle Hooks
Captain Tris Colket
Fort Pierce, Florida -
Saltwater Fishing Report
Atlantic /Offshore /NE Grounds
"Well heck, the wind is really howling" !
Yes it's winter and these things do happen. Excellent sea conditions and superlative fishing always come to an end 'sooner rather than later'. This front is producing some ferocious wind and the ocean is a mess. Unless NOAA has changed the forecast (It's been known to happen!), the good news is that it will be getting nice again this Thursday.
Looking at the ocean right now, that's hard to believe, but don't get caught off-guard. It always amazes me to see how conditions can change for the best overnight.
As you may know, the dolphin bite continued to excel prior to this front with good catches all week. Sails were scarce but they are still around. Numerous boats out of Ft. Pierce City Marina saw free jumpers most days and the Last Mango had several up behind the boat on Saturday. We were fishing circle hooks with some tournament anglers from the De Land area who wanted practice for next years tournament season. Going "0 for 2" on the sails was a good heads up for them that the 'drop back' necessary to catch a sail on a circle hook is an art form all it's own. Our anglers learned a lot, even if there were no substantial hookups!
What made the day even more fun was the dolphin action, 'hot and heavy', until the mid day lull. The fish were schoolies in the 6-10 lb range and were voracious eaters. We had multiple attacks where once again the circle hook equation put a different slant on the action. If it's tricky to catch a sail on a circle hook, schoolie dolphin are an even greater test. With almost no stop action all morning, the score was "Dolphins 16 and the Mango 8". (Don't you wish our Miami Dolphins could have done that a few times this season).
Oh, I can't forget the Mango's first "hound fish" which was caught on a circle hook and is one strange creature. I'll try to attach a photo for those of you as unfamiliar as I was with this novel catch.
Ah well, it was a fun day and our anglers went home with a better insight into the 'infamous circle hook'. (and some nice bags of dolphin fillets!) Try the circle hooks sometime; you may find it a challenge. (Note: Starting Jan 1, 2008....NMFS regulations specify that circle hooks are mandatory in U.S. waters for all billfish tournaments.)
Ironically, cold green water moved into our fishing grounds from 90' out to 180' offshore Ft. Pierce on Sunday and pushed the fish elsewhere. I know this because we had a die-hard and totally fearless charter that wanted to go on Sunday. Off we went to endure a day of 4'-6' plus?seas and poor fishing.
Well, it happens, but it seems a shame to be the only boat offshore and find that conditions have changed so drastically from the day before. We did capture a few fish with one nice dolphin as the highlight of the day. What can I say,.....It was just another adventure on the 'high seas..LITERALLY!
See you out there on Thursday,