Florida Sails and a Mystery Bite

After spending an unusually unproductive week down in Costa Rica, I was thrilled when my old friend Tony Huerta let me invite myself along on a fishing trip this past Friday down in Fort Pierce.

Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley
Allison Wigley

Huerta was the first guy to take me offshore fishing and show me the ropes. He now fishes in a lot of major South Florida sailfish tournaments and has even won a few. He bought Glenn Cameron's old Floridian, a fish raiser if ever there was one, and renamed her Lo Que Sea. (Tony's Cuban, and the name means something in Spanish — he's told me what it is, but I can't remember. It pisses me off every time I try to pronounce it too!)

We took off with Taylor Beckford of Fa La Me fame at the helm, along with his girlfriend, Allison Wigley, who's also a big-game photographer. The trip started out pretty quick when we ran over a nice school of dolphin. Tony caught one around 15 pounds, and I pulled off a bull that looked at least 30. They seem to get bigger when they get off.

Soon after, we started getting some sail bites, and Allison finally got the hook in one, and we released the first sail that she’d ever hooked and released by herself! Whoooooop! She was dancing all over the place and whooping it up big time! It put a smile on my face for sure!

I backlashed and broke off a bonito bite and missed a sail — I pretty much sucked at the angler thing all day. Beckford came down the ladder after Tony missed a few more and wanted to get out of the cockpit and drive. Taylor ended up catching the next one that bit. But then came the mystery bite.

I was watching the flats, when a mountain of white water erupted where the left long was supposed to be. The bite left a huge hole in the water, and the reel started singing. It looked all the world like a small blue marlin or big tuna bite. I saw a white, elongated fish, but couldn’t identify it. When they asked me what I thought it was, I said I had no idea, but it looked like a blue-marlin bite to me!

After a long tussle without any jumping, we finally settled on a tuna. Tony thought it was a big blackfin, but I thought it might be a yellowfin. Taylor grunted, “Whatever it is, it’s going to take awhile!”

Soon after, we saw color. I was closer than Tony. It turned out to be a giant jack crevalle … yeah, it’s got yellow on it! Dang thing had to weigh at least 20 pounds.

Not long after that, we ran out of bait missing dolphin bites and had to head back to the dock. Circle hooks are great, but I see a lot of people miss fish when trying to hook dolphin on them. I think that the way a dolphin accelerates away from his buddies after eating might keep the hook from finding its mark — much like jerking on the rod or winding too fast. Although it could be that I just suck as an angler …

Thanks to both Tony and Taylor for taking me fishing, and Allison for making the day a pleasure.

P.S. Allison was a joy to fish with, and she got some nice shots of our day on the water. Thanks, Allison, for bringing your camera.