This past Saturday I headed offshore with Robert(Chef), Sue, Neil (stowaway) in Robert's 22' Sea Hunt. The fishing gods smiled upon us this day. The seas were calm, the winds were lite and we had clear skies.
We headed out of Clearwater pass. The stop at the marker for bait was disappointing as bait was tough for all. We manage to pull up a few pin fish headed off to Robert's bigger bait spot. We picked up some grunts, squirrel fish and started to fish not to far off. We picked up a few red grouper and a couple short gags on the drift. With seas like a pancake we decided to head further west to another hard bottom area.
During the 15mile run I saw bait getting busted to my starboard side. "What the heck is that? " I yelled. Robert and I looked over and there was a bait fish getting harrased. Then a sail fish came roaring out giving chase. Robert yelled "swordfish!" (which would've been very rare) but it was definitely some kind of bill fish. It jumped out 2 more times and I knew then it was a sail. Robert quickly shut down and I grabbed the camera. At this point everyone is up off their bean bag and scrambling to rig up a free line bait. Robert was on the spinner 1st and put on one of the scaled sardines.
I've never personally seen a sail fish in the gulf. When I was down in the keys with Captain Scott Walker I saw him sight cast to them with great success. We got Robert on the bow as we idle to the still finning and tailing sail fish. The 1st nervous cast resulted in a lost bait. Robert put on another greenie and made a good cast. The sail keyed in on it right away and it was fish on!
Since this was Robert's 1st ever sail, we carefully fought the fish as Neil video taped it. I snapped away with my camera and Sue was controlling the boat. After some nice aerial display we got her boat side and got some great photos. The fish was revived and released with out incident. Needless to say everyone was ecstatic. This has to be one of the most documented(photographed/video taped) 1st sail fish ever. =)
After the celebration we continued our run west. We ran into a nice weed line with lots of bait on it. We picked up a few small Mahi off the weedline and I got some cool jumping shots. At our destination after the sail fish the grouper were anti climatic. We bagged a few red grouper and nice gag before calling it memorable day about 3pm.
Here's a video Neil Made: