Day 3 – Today we are fishing out of Key West aboard Triple Time with Capt. Joe Mercurio and his first mate Keith. It’s 07.00, the winds have finally dropped and it’s a beautiful day in Key West as we head off shore for some deep blue fishing, looking for sailfish, dorado, tuna and wahoo.
As Capt. Joe opens up the engines and Keith prepares the rods and baits ready for action, we sit in the air conditioned cabin debating who has first strike. Time to draw straws !! Happy days, it’s me first, Nick 2nd and Craigo 3rd.
About an hour later and we reach our mark. Keith quickly baits up the trolling rods with ballyhoo and flicks two straight out from the back and two more on the out riggers.
Only 20 minutes in and we hear that beautiful sound of the reel “clicking” as the line is stripped off. I grab the rod, reel down and set the hook and we are into out first sailfish. Now, and I don’t do this lightly, but being the gentleman that I am and knowing Nicky is a sailfish virgin who really wants to add one to his list, I call him over and hand the rod to him, of which he accepts immediately, but on the condition it is stand up and fight, no ladies chair !!! Unfortunately, after plenty of acrobatics, the fish sheds the hook. Nicky is not happy, but he did everything right. Just one of those things !
We quickly re-bait and set the rods out again, with two more fishing about 20 meters below the surface. A few strikes and hook ups from bonito keeps the nerves and anticipation on edge, before we get a double hook up. Nicky and Craigo take the rods and are both into a dorado. Not big, but for Craigo, it was his main target and on his bucket list for this trip. A few minutes later and his goal is achieved, as well as Nicky also claiming another first.
We re-bait and are only in the water for a few minutes before the reel screams off again. Another sailfish, and a big one at that, so Nicky is on point again, but this time he sets himself in the Ladies seat ! But after only a few minutes, yet again, the fish spits the hook. It looks like its not going to be his day ???
We have a few more bonito and dorado, before Craig has a nice barracuda of around 15Ib. Capt. Joe then suggests a short stint over a wreck for a chance of a tuna.
First drop down and Craig is into a rod bender, which duly un-hooks itself. Second drop down and he is into another, that sheds the hook again. Third drop down and Nicky is in, but again the fish sheds the hook !!!! Can I have a go ????? It appears no, as Capt. Joe decides to go back to trolling.
A few more bonito and dorado follow before Nicky is into something decent, that hopefully he will get to the boat this time ? We quickly work out this is a Wahoo, yet another first for Nicky, so back in the Ladies chair he goes !! After a good fight and some scorching runs, First Mate Keith swings it aboard. Nicky, no, in fact all of us, are absolutely delighted.
The end of a pretty hectic day and we enjoy a couple of cold ones on the way back to the dock. Unfortunately, not any big fish at the boat, but plenty of chances had it gone right. That said, Nicky getting his first dorado and wahoo and experiencing a couple of sailfish hook ups and Craig getting his first and long awaited dorado, plus his first bonito and barracuda ….. Ain’t so bad !
Back at the dock First Mate Keith fillets and prepares our dorado and wahoo ready for this evenings meal when we get back to La Jolla at Islamorada. With the snapper we have left over from the last trip, we are in for a delicious “fish feast” on the beach – shallow fried, oven baked and BBQ’d – all washed down with a few bottles of chilled Kendall Jackson Chardonnay and probably a bottle of bubbles to start us off !! Back out of Bud n Mary’s Marina tomorrow with Capt. Jeff Beeler.