Captain Sheriff, owner of Captain Sheriff's Fishing Charters of Rhode Island scores a great catch while visiting his hometown of Key Largo,Florida.
Captain Sheriff, a licensed Rhode Island charter captain was raised in the Florida Keys. Instead of taking out clients on a charter, Captain Sheriff recently did some fishing of his own to keep his skills honed while recently in Key Largo, Fl. Captain Sheriff teamed up with his brother and Captain Travis Cooper who operates as a licensed charter captain and or mate aboard the Mother Load in Whale Harbor Marina, Islamorada, Fl. After several days of windy weather, we got our break on December 26 to journey out targeting sailfish in the 100-250 foot depths of the warm Atlantic waters. We utilized our 25 foot Center Console Sea Craft with a pair of Mercury 200 Optimax outboards to be the vessel of choice for this adventure. Our goal was to catch and release sailfish and get it on video.
We started our day at the crack of dawn. After firing up the pair of Merc's, we navigated the boat through South Creek and then anchored up on a shallow patch reef to chum up some ballyhoo which would then be netted and kept as live bait. Live ballyhoo is a must for Sailfish. Ballyhoo is also utilize it for several other species of fish as well.
After the successful bait catching operation, we motored out to a submerged wreck about 2 miles off the Elbow Reef at approximately 180 foot of depth. When we arrived there were Frigate birds circling which is a great sign. We put out four live baits and we had a double sailfish hook up within 10 minutes. One sailfish went south and the other was heading north. It appeared my sailfish was stripping line faster than my brothers, so we decided to idle the boat towards mine since I was getting spooled quickly and unable to slow the fish down with the 25 lb test line on a spinning rod outfit. A few minutes into the fight, the reel handle broke off. I now have a sailfish spooling me with no way to retrieve line . By this time, my brothers sailfish had already spooled his reel. He and Travis then proceeded up to the bow of the boat with me like a pit team at Indy removing what was left of my reel handle. My brother had removed a handle from another reel and then installed it on mine while the sailfish was still heading south. About 30 minutes we finally landed and released the sailfish while my video assistant captured it all on film as well. After regrouping from this catch we set out 4 more lines and within 15 minutes we had another double sailfish hook up. I caught and released mine in about 25 minutes. My brother had his on for 1 hour and 10 minutes. We had the leader 4 times before he finally broke off. The sailfish was approximately 9 feet in length.
After being exhausted from catching sailfish, we trolled deeper for some Kingfish over the wreck. We just got back the Kingfish heads since sharks ate them on the way back to the boat. Following that, we noticed a weed line very close by and decided to troll for the good eating Mahi. We immediately hooked up with a pair of Mahi's and my bait was then picked up by a 35 pound Mahi which we landed several minutes later. We also caught a couple more Mahi's in the 10 -15 pound class later that day. The grand finale was a short battle with a Marlin that took about 200 yards of line in about 6 seconds before getting free.
If you are looking to fish the Islamorada, Florida Keys area, look up the Mother Load and Captain Travis Cooper at Whale Harbor. http://islamoradasportfishing.com/charterboats.htm