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Date posted May 1, 2018 6:17 PM
Posted by Jillybird
Report location Offshore > Jillybird's Great Bimini Bahamas Adventure
Fishing method Boat
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This past weekend, I took the brand new Jillybird IV across the Gulf Stream from Key Biscayne to Bimini, the Bahamas for a weekend of fishing and carousing with my son, Capt. Wylie, his good friend, Che, and my friends Capt. Eric of the Minerva of Rye, NY, and Ryan, a good ole boy from the Great State of West Virginia.

Now Ryan's dad, Jeff, a lawyer who has been practicing for about 40 years and who was really looking forward to the trip, couldn't seem to follow our directions to bring his passport which we gave him two weeks earlier. "Bring your passport" should mean check your passport to make sure it hasn't expired three years ago, right?

Checking it the morning your flight leaves from Pittsburgh to Miami doesn't much help. So Jeff was left to see the live video feeds as his punishment.

Anyway, early Friday morning we loaded up the livewell with live pilchards and we had a great weather window for the smooth crossing on Friday morning. It was calm enough that about a dozen jet skiers made the crossing past us. About three quarters of the way across we came upon a nice weed line and smacked two beautiful bull dolphin in the high teens. Great start.

As we pulled into North Bimini, we passed by George Poveromo who was heading out to fish for the day. We tied up at the Big Game Fishing Club and cleared in, relaxed for a bit, and then later in the afternoon, we headed offshore to do some late season offshore high speed trolling looking for wahoo.

Winter is wahoo time in the Bahamas, and the end of April is way late, but we still managed a nice weehoo -- a small hoo in the mid-teens. These fish are just so beautiful and delicious. We also picked up a big cuda.

Our high speed adventure was cut short by the approach of a massive thunderstorm as an unpredicted frontal system decided to pay a lengthy visit. Friday night was a total washout, and we began our Saturday morning high speed trolling in the rain, with some unexpected rolly seas.

Our plan had been to high speed troll up to the Isaacs and then to run and gun searching for birds and busting yellowfin tuna in New Providence Channel. Two problems - George Poveromo told us he had spent two days following that plan. On the first day they found the tuna but the sharks were mauling them so badly they couldn't bring any to the boat and on the second day they couldn't be found. The second problem was that only 3 pilchards had survived til the second day.

So we went to plan B which was to high speed troll up to the Isaacs and then yellow tail at one of the great yellow tail spots that my son knows.

And we did. The high speed trolling once again was hot, with two more big mahi, another wahoo that we leadered and released), and another cuda jumping on the lures. When we got up to the Isaacs and the skies cleared, the wind started howling and the seas mounted.

We anchored up at "the spot" in 75 feet of water in 5-7 foot seas next to a 53 foot center console which was bailing the yellowtails. We started catching some flag yellowtails immediately.

My son has been telling me the key to this fishing is to crank down the drag as tight as possible and to reel as fast as possible to get these fish in as quickly as you can to avoid being sharked. And he is very very good at this game. Quickly, he and Che built a nice pile of these extremely tasty snappers. Eric, Ryan, and I were not as quick at the trigger, and we began to get sharked. This is a major issue with reef fishing in the Bahamas. There are just so many sharks around, and all sharks are protected. It can be virtually impossible to get your fish to the boat in one piece.

So with the mounting seas, the annoying sharks destroying our catch, and two of our crew about to get seasick, we headed for the barn about 30 miles away. We took the "short cut" across the Great Bahama Bank which still had 4-5 footers in the 25 knot winds -- all of which were unpredicted by NOAA as usual.

Instead of fishing in the afternoon, we decided to have fun around Bimini, enjoying some of the great local beach shack eateries, the beautiful west side beach, sunset up at Bimini Bay, a mildly successful outing at the casino, and plenty of good Bahamian drinks.

Sunday morning -- departure day -- we did some more high speed trolling down south to Cat Cay, picking up a huge cero mackerel, and then found a terrific deep dropping spot in 450-550 feet where we loaded up on big yelloweye snappers.

Our run back to the States was flat calm ahead of this week's blowout winds. Midway across we found some great weed patches and picked up another big mahi to end our fishing odyssey.

The only problem we had the whole trip was clearing into the US. Our President is so worried about our porous borders, but when I tried to call in Sunday afternoon, I waited for nearly 3 hours on hold for a border agent who never picked up. Two of my guests had to fly out of Miami that afternoon, so I had our whole crew drive to Port of Miami to claer in with customs/immigration where we went to the office. Two agents were seated behind a bulletproof glass doing absolutely nothing. I said we wanted to check in from the Bahamas. The agent said we had to call first and get a check in number. I explained that I had tried calling for three hours with no luck and we were time pressed and we here in person to check in and clear.

The guy said "sorry, I can't clear you without the number." I said "you've got to be kidding, we've got all our passports, and all our papers, and we're all here. Can't you get us a number?" He replied - "I can't do anything without that number."

Then he told to download an app to get the number. Next problem. No LTE signal on Verizon there. I go outside. Still no LTE. We drive off the island into downtown Miami to get the LTE service. I download app, spend 45 minutes entering info. about all passengers, boat, and take photos of passports and enter the photos into the app. Then I have to buy a DECAL for the boat through a link from another government website, which I do. Next I have to enter the DECAL number on the App. Problem - the decal will be mailed to me and the decal number is not provided. I contact the help desk. But it's Sunday. The recorded message says the help desk doesn't open until Monday morning. My friends leave for the airport, not legally entered into the US (both are lawyers so they are mildly concerned).

The next morning, I call the help desk. The agent is very helpful. He tells me he can't give me the decal number. It will be assigned in 4-6 weeks after processing and then mailed to me. I said, "Great," but how do I legally get into the country?" He says, sorry I can't help you, call Border Protection. Which I do. Since it's Monday morning, they now seem to have more than one overworked staffer on duty and actually pick up and answer the phone.

I explain my predicament. The agent says, oh, don't worry about your decal number, just enter your receipt number from your decal order. Like anyone in the world would know to do this on their own? Like why couldn't the US government provide that simple instruction as you are entering info. into the app?

So once that's done, miracle of miracles, the app works and connects me to a border agent. He processes the info. and then face times me. We chat about the trip. He then asks to see all four other members of the crew. I say I've got me and my son, and the others are in West Virginia, NY, and South Miami. He's about to give me a hard time -- and then I tell him my story...

And he says: "Welcome to the United States of America. You are cleared to enter."

What a fantastic adventure -- except for the last part. Bimini is so close to Miami (50 miles) that it gets a lot of fishing pressure for the Bahamas. Yet the fishing is still really really good.

The yellowtail spot we fish is very well known, but the action is incredible (except for the damn sharks). The wahoo fishing can be insane in the winter -- 30-40 a day is not rare. The deep dropping is great if you have the right numbers. We happened to pick a good spot on the first drop and then mapped out a "lights out" zone for yelloweyes. Next time we'll try to find some queen snappers in deeper water. And the mahi were all very large and abundant.

Can't wait to go back over the winter when the Jillybird returns South. It's heading to NY at the end of this month.

Spring fishing at its finest in Bimini, the Bahamas

Late season Bimini "weehoo"

Who says it''s too late in the season to go high speed trolling in Bimini?

George Poveromo and Capt. Wylie at Big Game Fishing Club, Bimini

Jillybird IV and George Poveromo''s Mark VI at Big Game Fishing Club in Bimini

Captain Michael Potts
Click here or call 631-668-9323

King Cod
Capt. Joe - Moriches, NY
Wreck Fishing Year Round, Open Boat
631-475-1060 - Click Here

Sunrise Charters
Stripers, Blues, Fluke, Blackfish
Smithtown Bay LI Sound 631-786-7745

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  Comments and Questions  
Author Message

Joined: 10/28/2008
Posts: 1
 05/02/2018 06:55 AM  

Just curious, when does the book come out?

Joined: 04/15/2005
Posts: 2352
Location: Huntington
 05/02/2018 09:11 AM  

Another great read!! Sounds like an awesome trip!! Thanks for posting!

Huntington Angler's Club

Joined: 04/17/2002
Posts: 752
Location: mass. cove
 05/02/2018 10:45 AM  

awesome report great that you had action. Looking forward to your Montauk trips

Joined: 03/29/2001
Posts: 982
Location: Port Washington
 05/02/2018 12:51 PM  

Great report as usual.

Now that he's "Captain Wylie," does he still get to exert "son's privilege" or do you finally get to reel in your share of the hookups? Toungue


Joined: 09/03/2001
Posts: 2260
Location: Mamaroneck
 05/02/2018 05:46 PM  

Matts, when we're high speed trolling and we don't yet have a $5000 LP electric reel, Capt. Wylie can do all the reeling of the Penn 50 WIde at 15 mph that he wants, lol.

Joined: 10/01/2001
Posts: 16885
Location: ><)))):> ~~ THE JAMAICA BAY TRIANGLE ~~ <:))))><
 05/02/2018 08:13 PM  

wow what a read Smile,,,,,,,,,><(((:>


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