So finally I'll stop being lazy and post the report....
We left the dock around 530AM, to come out and see that the 10-15kt winds that were predicted, were um....slightly larger. The seas weren't that bad, but it was an very short chop, so we really got the **** beat out of us going out. In any other 23' boat I'm not sure we would've made it, but the Contender is very solid. I think it took 3.5-4 hours to head out 70 miles, which I believe is about double the normal time.
We got out, and I believe the first drop yielded some hookups. A few hooks were pulled, and for the first time we had Alberto knots fail.
We finally started bringing some fish over?.I think the first was a false albacore, followed shortly by the onslaught of AJs. Most were smaller, in the 20-35lb range, but still a great fight as always. My dad was high hook, seemingly on a fish at all times. Rich caught the two largest, one around 50lbs and one 65-70. I have no idea how many amberjack we caught, but it was a ton. We also caught one jack we couldn?t identify. I think Chip or CT has the picture of it. It had very large eyes and bars across it?s back. Pretty cool looking.
The biggest fish was definitely the fish that busted off on my dad. This thing was taking huge runs over and over again at 24lbs of drag. It was definitely the big fish of the day, unfortunately it broke right before we saw color.
I also caught the biggest false albacore of my life, haha. When I first saw color, I thought it might be a nice blackfin, unfortunately not!
After a few hours and some tired arms, we headed in closer to try for grouper. We ended up getting quite a mixed bag. My dad had a short scamp, I had a keeper red and a triggerfish. We also caught a black sea bass, lizardfish, silver snapper and a few others. Bait was working better in here, but we mostly continued jigging.
Headed in after this and got to the dock around 630PM.
I was mainly fishing with the Stella and the OTI rod Paul wrapped. It worked great?.I think we have some pics of it on the big fish that was lost. I did set the Saragosa at 30lbs of drag the night before, but never really used it as I was enjoying the Stella too much! I also fished the JM 500 which again is a very nice rod, really easy on the angler because of it?s action. The Zenaq line I had on the 665 was really nice. Extremely soft and smooth. As far as the Varivas FC shock leader goes, it is very nice but I think Blackwater is better.
I used the OTI jigs almost exclusively. The Jackals worked well, but were a bit light given the current we were in. When they got down though, they produced. It seemed like the jig of the day was a chartreuse jinkster, or anything that was give or take 9?. We did not have enough heavy jigs?.400-500g were probably the best weight on this day. I would recommend bringing everything from 120-500g since you don?t know exactly how the current will be! Diamond jigs were also working well.
The OTI rod was great, very light and had nice action. I think if it was cut down (as Kilsong did) it would be as light as the Wei World, but with more power.
All in all, this is some of the best fishing I?ve ever seen. True, we did not get a monster, but that is just dependent on what fish hits your jig. They are definitely down there. Plus, since you are in the Gulf Stream, you can catch many different fish which is really exciting. I cannot wait to go back. Chip was great, he knows his stuff and will be a great charter capt. I had a ton of fun fishing with everyone. I highly suggest heading down to Wilmington if you are into jigging, you definitely won?t regret it.
Rich, CT, Chip - post up those pictures!!