“Getting Rid of Winter” | OIFC | 03/21/14
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Wednesday I was business as usual, running around putting out fires and making more of them. Capt. Barrett calls me from Louisiana and says the Wing and Fish Company is out of fish. So, I decided to take a stand. Thursday was to be the last day of Winter, and there was a small window from mid afternoon to night of good weather. I decided since it was to be the last official day of Winter, I would help encourage it to get gone by defying the enjoyment of keeping me off the water.
I recommend you take a look at a site called Fish Weather — it is phone app and it is usually very good at predicting hourly wind forecasts. I saw 15 knot West winds until 2pm and then laying down to near calm the remainder of the day. I called OIFC staffers Sean Morris and Terry Johnson to join. Brayden caught wind of the trip and there was no way he wasn’t coming- the boy is fishing crazy. We loaded up Sea Bass, Deep drop bottom and trolling gear. I was hoping the wind might die sooner than expected and we could get off to the break to deep drop for Tilefish and then do some Wahoo fishing. It was not to be. We left the dock on a 10kt West wind which according to the Tower buoy then blew 15-19kts until noon. It was sloppy, but I was determined to make something of the day – at least bringing some fresh fish back to the Wing & Fish. We found very cold water and thus few and small Sea Bass all the way out to 35 miles. However, once we got into the 90+ foot depth range and 40 miles out, we found the 55+ degree water and big Bass. Everyone worked like a machine as we “up and downed” Sea Bass on 4 hook rigs. The majority of the fish were in the 13-16 inch range, but we certainly caught some that were much bigger, pushing 4-5 pounds I’d say. I kept pushing out a little at a time in the 3-5 foot seas, all in hopes that it might lay down. Finally at 1pm the wind died and the seas backed off to where we could run. I asked the crew if they had anything to do that night, and with that, we struck out another 30 miles to look for some Tilefish. At 2:30pm we pulled up and began looking. It has proven a difficult fish for me to figure, but I see pictures, so I know they are out there. Tilefish is a commercial fishery almost exclusively as the recreational limits are so low its typically not considered worth the 20+ more miles one has to travel past the break to get to where they live. As for eating though, that is definitely worth doing. Anyway, we worked hard into the dusk. We fished until 7:45 pm and made it back to the dock at 10:05pm. My crew were champs and now we hope you can enjoy some fresh Tilefish, Grouper and Sea Bass at the Wing & Fish Company. Check out photos and video
– Capt. Brant McMullan
“Tournament Day One: E40 Redfish” | OIFC | 03/20/14
~~ of my first HT Redfish Tournament is in the books. Man, I was having flashbacks at check this morning to my younger days in kingfish tournaments. I can remember looking around at the Fountains and Hydra Sports and seeing my hero’s like Clayton Kirby, Larry Fowler, Chip Maree and many other kingfish highliners and thinking how those guys had it all figured out. I’m not sure if intimadation is the right word but there was definitely a feeling of uncertainty then just as there was this morning when I stacked up against these redfish tournament pros. Names like Manny Perez, Charlie Thomason, and Clark Jordan among others are the highliners of the redfish tournament game. Nearly every angler fishing this series is highly accomplished in the redfish world that is except me! Like I said before, I got em right where I want em! Yeah right.
With an on-the-water police escort all the anglers filed out one by one for checkout at safe light this morning at 7am. The flag was dropped and it was on. This part I know how to do. A great boat race ensued down the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet from the checkout at Chalmette down to Hopedale. At Hopedale every single boat in the tournament took a right headed to the inner marsh in Hopedale and Delacroix. Every boat that is except me. Go figure. Some things never change whether it’s kingfish or redfish. The truth of the matter is I know so little about the area I was uncertain on the navigation around the inner marsh so I was left to go places where I’ve been this week. I wanted to make sure I’d make it home tonight instead of sleeping on a mud flat somewhere.
I made a 70 mile run to the outer parts of the Biloxi marsh to an area where I caught some fish a couple days before. When I arrived the water was totally different as the wind had dirtied the lagoon I was fishing. Apparently it didn’t matter too much as it was on as soon as I got there. In the first 30 minutes I put 4 keeper fish in the boat. I know right. I was shocked as anyone but when you’re fishing by yourself there’s no one to discuss the situation with so I just kept fishing. I fished all week and didn’t catch a fish small enough to fit in the slot. Today every fish I caught was in slot. The rules of the tournament are you can weigh up to 5 redfish between 16 and 27 inches. I had 4 in the boat immediately. My 5th fish came about an hour later and it was an excruciating 27.5incher. I had to let her go. I hit a lull for a couple hours then made a move for my last 30 minutes of fishing. I ended up landing on a whole covey of slot reds on this stop and got my 5th fish and culled a couple more in the last 30 minutes. By this time in the day the weather had calmed, the water was clearer and I was sight fishing all these fish. Talk about fun.
I knew my bag of fish wasn’t anything too impressive compared to what it would take to do well in the tournament but considering my expectations and level of experience I was very pleased with being able to weigh my 5 fish. As it would turn out, fishing for the rest of the fleet was a little tough. The leader for the day had 5 fish that weighed just over 35lbs. My 5 fish went just over 26lbs and I’m currently in 8th place. Not last!
Tomorrow I’m sticking with the same game plan as today. Not by choice but more by necessity. I don’t know how to get anywhere else yet! Maybe it’ll work out, maybe it won’t. Several things I know for sure though, these guys who do this are very good what they do, I have a lot of work to get this sport figured out, heading to the scales with a fish in the bag or in this case fishes in the well is what it’s all about. Tune into the weigh in again tomorrow at 4pm eastern www.theredfishseries.com. The top 5 after tomorrow will fish Saturday.
Today’s results: http://theredfishseries.com/wp/wp-co…ay1results.pdf
Ocean Isle Fishing Center- Ocean Isle Beach, NC – for more reports and upcoming fishing news visit www.OIFC.com —