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Date posted February 25, 2018 1:55 AM
Posted by Jillybird
Report location Offshore > First Billfish on the new Jillybird 4
Fishing method Boat
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The new Jillybird 4 arrived in Miami a week ago Friday after a 400 mile break in run from St. Pete. That run was loads of fun for my son, his friend Wyatt who I flew down from Ocean City to be an extra set of hands, and me. We had fantastic seas both in the Gulf and in the Atlantic which turned out to be a good thing. That's because my dealer's shop did a faulty install of the Lee outriggers, and we popped and lost a number of the turnbuckles in the Gulf early on. Had we experienced rough seas, I think we'd have been in a heap of trouble with unstayed riggers flailing about.

We spent the first night in Ft. Myers Beach, fueled up the next morning on Marco Island, then made the long run down the remote Gulf Coast off of the Everglades before cutting across Florida Bay. At Cape Sable, we ran the crab pot lines looking for triple tail. Unlike in December when we trailered the Li'l Jillybird to Flamingo and found gigantic tripletails, this time we spotted only two, and caught one which we released.

The issue seemed to be a nasty algae bloom in western Florida Bay that made the water extremely murky and killed millions of fish, mostly catfish and some small white fish. Pretty sickening to see when you know it's all because of pollution from Big Sugar flowing through the Glades into the bay. Since so many Florida legislators are in the pockets of Big Sugar, these fish kills continue, the sea grass dies off, and Florida Bay slowly dies. Thanks, Gov. Scott, and your corrupt buddies on the South Florida Water District.

Now that I got that off my chest, the eastern half of Florida Bay turned crystal clear. That scared the crap out of my son who was driving the boat from the tower and looked down to see the prop scarred bottom which to him seemed only a foot or two below the hull. Not to fear, we were actually in 5 feet of water.

We crossed into the Atlantic at Lower Matecumbe Key and roared up to Miami. We weren't able to fish the Jillybird 4 until Thursday afternoon after I was able to successfully beg the South Florida Lee Outrigger specialist to drive down two hours from Stuart to re-rig my mess. Took him 7 hours to do so.

So we left the dock at 3 pm on Thursday, and headed out of Government Cut. Winds had been pumping hard for several days out of the east and with a strong outgoing tide, the Cut was in its full winter glory. OMG! What a white knuckle ride through standing 8 foot waves. The Jillybird 4, a 39 Stamas Aegean with triple Yamaha 300s, ran through this horror show like a true champ. (Despite the wicked waves, the Cut is about 40 feet deep so unlike hellhole inlets like Jupiter up north, the waves won't break on you). Outside, things were a more manageable 4-6 footers with a stiff 22 knot easterly wind.

We pushed just past the sea buoy to an incredible color break in 140 feet of water. My son's friend, Che, was driving in the tower and instantly saw a tailing sailfish just ahead. We hadn't even gotten our first kite up. My son grabbed a spinner and tossed a live pilchard right in front of the sail's bill. The sail grabbed the bait and took off, but the hook didn't set. Our fairy tale beginning didn't quite happen.

Instead, we had to work a little. My son sent up two black heavy wind kites with three liveys per kite. Che kept us at the right depth despite the wind and the ripping north current. The seas were pretty mountainous. Looked like great conditions. First up was a small remora. Then I hooked up to a good size fish that went for a searing run. It turned out to be a 6 foot hammerhead which we released boatside. Next came two misses -- probably sails. Finally, at 5:30 pm, one of the pilchards got slammed and we came tight on a beautiful sail. This fish was nuts. It was a jumper -- and it wouldn't give up. I fought the fish for over half an hour, and we had to keep chasing it down, before the fish jumped another series and got itself tail wrapped. We quickly brought it to the boat, cleared the line, made sure the sail was in good shape, took a couple of pics, and sent her on her merry way.

What a terrific way to break in the new Jillybird 4.

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Author Message

Joined: 09/02/2006
Posts: 66
Location: western sound
 02/25/2018 02:27 PM  

That's sounds like you hade a great ride around and a terrific first day of fishing, post some pictures for us up north who are stuck in this cold . Enjoy KM

Joined: 10/01/2001
Posts: 16739
Location: ><)))):> ~~ THE JAMAICA BAY TRIANGLE ~~ <:))))><
 02/25/2018 03:25 PM  


jillys thanks for sharing all that,,glad your all safe,, and again all the best on the new vessel,, god bless,, talk soon,,,><(((:>



Joined: 09/03/2001
Posts: 2270
Location: Mamaroneck
 02/25/2018 04:45 PM  

I'm trying to post pics but am having trouble with Nor'east uploading them ever since I got the IPhone 10.

Joined: 09/03/2001
Posts: 2270
Location: Mamaroneck
 02/25/2018 08:54 PM  

First sailfish on the Jillybird 4 - caught off Miami Beach on kite bait in 150 feet.


Joined: 10/24/2014
Posts: 7
 02/25/2018 10:06 PM  

I've been looking forward to this report over the last week since you posted your plans of the maiden voyage. It was worth the wait. wow! Everything in that report is what dreams are made of. Beautiful new vessel, long test run in new waters, a gorgeous sail fish and most of all priceless moments spent on the water between father and son. Memories of a lifetime! Congratulations once more. Hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Florida. Stay safe.

Joined: 09/03/2001
Posts: 2270
Location: Mamaroneck
 02/25/2018 10:28 PM  

Everglades triple tail on the run down to Miami. We freaked out the flats boats from Flamingo with our big ass boat running the pots just off the East Cape.


Joined: 09/03/2001
Posts: 2270
Location: Mamaroneck
 02/25/2018 10:32 PM  

Finally figured out how to bypass Nor’east’s archaic photo size restriction which won’t upload IPhone 10 pics. Here, finally, is a shot of the Jillybird 4 from the stern.


Joined: 09/03/2001
Posts: 2270
Location: Mamaroneck
 02/25/2018 10:36 PM  

First sail was caught on what we call the “Holy Sh*t You’re Still Out There” kite. We fly this black kite with holes when the wind is 20+ knots. Seas don’t look too bad in the pic but we were the only boat still out there fishing.


Joined: 12/10/2004
Posts: 1920
Location: East Moriches
 02/26/2018 04:48 AM  

First Fishes

Great Report!
You will soon know Florida, like you KNOW Long Island!
Best of Luck to the Jillybird 4!!!!


Joined: 03/29/2001
Posts: 982
Location: Port Washington
 02/26/2018 12:33 PM  



Joined: 09/21/2017
Posts: 6
Location: Merrick
 02/27/2018 09:11 AM  

Fantastic story and pictures! Best of luck with the new vessel - it looks crazy!

Joined: 10/09/2003
Posts: 223
 02/28/2018 12:44 PM  

Wow, those seas look bad. 4-6 all day - probably with an occasional 8!

Joined: 09/03/2001
Posts: 2270
Location: Mamaroneck
 02/28/2018 06:51 PM  

The seas look pretty flat in the photos but they weren't. Typical February weather off of Miami. We can get a week or two of solid, stiff east/northeast winds of 20 knots followed by a week or more of nice calm seas. When the northerlies come in with the cold fronts, that's when things really get exciting -- and the sailfishing goes nuts. A stiff north wind blowing against a strong north Gulf Stream current builds elephant seas. If you don't die, you can get double digit days on the sails.
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