On that cold 17th morning of April 2020 I woke up at about 4:30am with one goal in mind. A big, big swordfish. Out of bed, into the shower, quick two fried eggs, and down to the dock I went. On board that day was Captain “Big Fish” Monty (Capt. Big Fish Charters), Nathan (videographer), and my 1st Mate, Hunter.
After looking at the charts the night before I decided we were going to head North of where we usually fish and try to find the top western edge of the Gulf Stream that was separated by a cold water eddy which had moved in over the past week. I was looking for around 76-78° water.
We left the dock around 5:20am (later than I wanted to but.. before morning caffeine. Brain. Work. Slow.)
We made our way North on an absolutely beautiful morning and a little over 2hrs later we came across a 1° break (74.?? > 75.88°) in about 250 fathoms. So…. we dropped our first swordfish bait and began our drift.
I will say the nicer the day the easier it is to keep the boat positioned and makes for a really nice relaxing day out there. At least while you’re waiting.
About 40 mins later we hadn’t had so much as a twitch of the rod, so we pulled it up to check the bait. Fast forward 15 mins and the baits looks just fine. A quick look at the chart and I decided to push south since it was still early in the day and I really wanted some warmer water and to find the top of that eddy.
Hunter and Monty threw out a couple of plugs for fun and off we went.
About 20 mins into the ride I see off the bow, clear as day, a temp break coming up as my eyes widen, I hear my temp alarm go off and shoot up to 76.5° from 75.88°. (There’s a lot going on most of the time on the boat so I try and use technology to my advantage when I can. Its super easy to set a temp alarm on your sonar and it eliminates the need to stare at it endlessly until it changes. Which I’m sure plenty of you know could be forever or even never. A huge disadvantage to fishing on a center console is the lack of height for visibility that “sporty’s” have or even CC with towers have. So, If the boat can do it and free my eyes up, I’m all over it.)
So, as we come across this magnificent temp break Hunter points out the starboard side and screams TUNAS. All of our heads snap over there and all we see are Tunas busting on the surface. Some coming clear out of the water. We stumbled upon a Yellowfin feeding frenzy!
Nate starts filming (duh), Monty and Hunter start putting out a spread to hopefully catch these delicious creatures and I’m trying to keep my eyes on them as they race all over chasing the bait. Circle after circle were staying hot on their heels and then as quick as they appeared, they disappeared. At this point I had already changed the sonar over from sword fishing and started focusing on the top 600ft or so of water looking for those delicious yellow water missiles.
There they are! About 150-200ft down, lighting up the screen. Already looking like a cold tender red Poké Bowl. So as my mouth waters, around and around we go trying to find them for what felt like an hour but was, in reality only about 20 mins. We lost them. As many times as we’ve been out there and talked about coming across some Yellowfin, I let them slip through our fingers. This time.
After some light “manly” tears It was time to get refocused. We trolled the temp break for an hour or so until “Hawk Eye” Hunter starts yelling here he comes! Within seconds the right long rigger pops. Short strike. Five seconds later shotgun gets hit, Monty drops it back to him and boom were on! Everyone started working to clear lines and I start a wide circle as Monty starts reeling it in. After a good little fight, a beautiful Mahi appears underwater. One precision gaff shot by the “hawk eye” himself and we had caught our first fish of the day!
With time trickling away, bad weather moving in for the afternoon, and the Tuna’s in the wind it was time to pull everything in and push farther offshore while we still could to try and find a 76 + ° break or something that peaked out interest to drop again for swordfish.
We pulled up to about 310 fathoms and the warmest 76° water we had found yet. We sent the swordfish bait to the cold crushing depths to hopefully pull up a nice big fish for us and maybe give us an opportunity to redeem ourselves from the Yellowfin.
As the day progressed and the hallucinations from staring at one rod tip set in, it was time to pull up the line and turn the boat toward the dock.
We set sail into the sinking orange sun with our Mahi in hand and a renewed respect for why it’s called “fishing.”