The Atlantic Bonito finally arrived off of New River Inlet on Monday. My buddy Taylor, his wife and I headed out first thing in the morning looking for them. We found them!
We headed for the Diver’s Rock area. There were no birds were busting the water but there were a few boats already there. We trolled for a while with nothing but a bluefish to show for it. We saw an area where an occasional fish would break the surface so we headed there. We started jigging and after a while we finally hooked up. I caught the first one but the next one Debra (Taylor’s wife) caught and it was her very first Bonito. she really knows how to put the heat on a fish and brought him to the boat nicely!
We only caught a few and also caught some small bluefish. Blacked the Bonito for supper, yummy! Better go get you some, they are a blast to catch and very tasty to eat!
All week I have been watching the marine forecast and itching, planning, and anticipating an offshore fishing trip. It was a long, cold winter and I was out of the country most of the month of March, so I really wanted to get in an offshore fishing trip. Finally, Friday got here and the marine forecast was dead on, a gorgeous day! Taylor, Scott and I left from Surf City on Taylor’s boat, the Reel Return. We went through New Topsail Inlet about 5:30, well before sunrise. The ride was smooth, so we made good time on our way out to the Gulf Stream.
Our plan was to go to an area just north of a place called the Steeples and look for a nice temperature break and troll for a few hours. Then we would head to some nice bottom area in that vicinity and bottom fish for some cobia and African Pompanos. We got to our spot just before 8 o’clock and deployed our spread. Within minutes we had our first fish on, a nice size blackfin tuna!
The lines were quite for a while after that so I decided to deploy a planer and run a ballyhoo down deep. I put on a Bluewater Candy mini-jag in purple and black with a ballyhoo as bait and sent it down on a #24 planer. Boom! It got bit within minutes and it was fish fighting time! After a screaming run, the line went slack and I thought I had lost the fish, but experience told me not to give up and reel in line like crazy. Soon the line went tight again, the fish was still there and must have been swimming straight at the boat. Sounded like the tactics of a Wahoo, now I’m really pumped up! According to the video camera I fought the fish for 12 minutes and then we saw it, a nice sized Wahoo! Scott stuck him with the gaff and we boated one of the best eating fish on the planet!
We had two short strikes and then a hook-up on our way, way back line. It was Taylor’s turn to fight a fish so we got the reel off the T-top and handed it to him. The fish screamed off line for what seemed like a minute or more then stopped for a second. I saw a fish splash, it was huge and silver but I couldn’t tell what it was. Right after that Taylor says the fish is off. When he reeled the line back in we discovered the fish had bit through the mono leader. That was out last bite of the day on the troll.
We headed to a spot where I had caught some nice cobia and other fish this time last year and switched over to jigging about 11 O’clock or so. There were a number of boats there but we found a nice spot with lots of activity showing on the sonar and started jigging. Soon Scott had a nice cobia in the boat and a little later Taylor put a 38 pound cobia on ice as well. The bite continued for a few hours, not a fast paced frenzy but a steady bite. African pompano, grouper (which went back of course as the season is closed), amber jacks and of course cobia where among the fish we jigged up.
At 2 O’clock we decided to troll some more in hopes of another wahoo or two. We trolled until 3 with no bites. The water was so calm, not even a ripple on the surface, too calm for trolling really. So we headed home with a box full of fish and smiles on our faces!