Most folks who read this magazine live under the delusion that all I do is go fishing all the time. The rest think I’m a captain who travels the world taking other people fishing. Neither could be further form the truth. I do get to spend quite a bit of time on the water, but unless I’m at a Marlin University, when I’m out offshore I’m in journalism mode, trying to get photos or a story. And when I am at Marlin University, I’m trying to teach and coach students, so I get zero rod time on those excursions as well.
That’s why I was so excited this past September when I got the chance to attend the Penn Media summit held at the world famous Sailfish Marina in West Palm Beach. Not only would I get a chance to do some fishing myself, but I’d get to check out Penn’s new gear in the process and rub elbows with some cool fishing and TV personalities as well.
Our first day out we enjoyed flat calm weather and I fished aboard Steve Gordon’s little center console with Penn’s Hunter Cole which was one of the most practical little boats that I’ve ever fished on. The 26-footer sported a 9 ½ foot beam and a no nonsense cockpit that could be hit with a pressure washer and gallon of bleach to make it look brand new again! It would sorely need it after the blackfin tuna carnage that we would put it through. Gordon also sells live bait, so the boat also had two huge livewells breaming with bait.
Once we got out to about 100-feet of water, less than two miles from the beach, we started seeing football sized blackfin busting the surface so we slowed down and put some flat lines out. It took about 30 seconds for the first of many blackfin tuna to pile on the sardine I let out. We must have caught 20 blackfin and skipjack in relatively short order. With all the bleeding tunas, the fish box and deck looked like something you’d see on an episode of Dexter, but the plain Jane interior cleaned up with a quick brush and a bucket of seawater to look as good as new.
The following day I was scheduled to fish with BigWater Adventures TV show host Mark Davis and Penn’s Gary Zeieman. Gary works out of the Stuart, Florida for Penn, so he had some pretty good ideas about where the wahoo should be biting off the Palm Beaches. Sure enough, Gary put us in the zone and we caught a nice little 20-pounder on a Black Bart wahoo lure that we trolled along at 13 knots. The litte bugger got tangled up in our shotgun before we got him in and proceeded to knit a sweater in the lines. Patience ruled out, however, and I got to swing the gaff after we got all the tangles out. There’s almost nothing I’d rather do than gaff a wahoo.
On the last day of the trip I got to fish with the legendary George Poveromo of Saltwater Sportsmen fame on his 28-foot Mako VI. We brought out the kite and floated out some live baits in hopes of catching a few dolphin, a king or maybe a sailfish. The dolphin started showing in about 80-feet of water and we were ready for them. We caught several in the 10- to 15-pound range but had to skip out early when one of Florida’s regular thunderstorms chased us off the water. It was a real treat fishing with Poveromo, even though I think it took me a while to convince him that I knew what I was doing!
All-in all the trip turned out to be a great way to get some rod time in without a lot of pressure to “get the story.” Thanks so much to Penn Reels and Sailfish Marina for staging, and inviting me, to this cool event.