Date: September 29-30, 2014
Location: 80 miles offshore
Fish: 13 mahi/ 5 yft/ 1 bigeye
Largest:: 68" 180lbs
I can go on and on talking about how great of a Captain Tony Gatto is. I won't because it may creep out Gina. So let’s just say you would be a fool to pass up the opportunity to fish with him.
The bite offshore has been epic. Many salty dogs haven't seen fishing like this in 30yrs. Tony and I put together a crew that was greener (not much experience) then Kermit the Frog when it comes to offshore fishing. As we got ready, expectations were through the roof. We pushed off at 12:30pm on Monday. As we began our journey Tony pulled me aside and gave me an update on reports from boats that fished Sunday into Monday. What he told me almost made me throw up. It was a disaster. Most boats caught nothing. Great, we missed the bite! I refused to get depressed. When Tony and I talked about our game plan we never uttered the words "if we catch a tuna." We were going to stay positive and work our ass off to put fish in this boat. As we broke the inlet my buddy Justin, who has the least experience as far as fishing goes, turned to me and Tony and asked if we had about 20 miles to the fishing grounds. You should have seen his face when we replied... no, we have 80 miles to go.
For the first 55 miles the sea seemed lifeless. It was getting harder and harder to keep positive. Finally, a chance at some mahi. We spot our first lobster pot. Sure enough it’s holding some nice fish. Joe quickly boats a small one. After that they developed a severe case of lock jaw. We didn't want to spend time trying to get them to bite so we picked up and headed another 25 miles south.
Still no sign of life. Then on the horizon a boat appears, then another, then another. We counted about 30 boats in all. The hell with the boats, this place is alive! Birds, whales, dolphins and bait!
There are two party/head boats that are out there. One from Montauk and the other made the long run from Rhode Island. That’s how good the bite has been.
We begin chunking and as I'm letting out the third and final line it gets ripped out of my hand. Holy Crap we are hooked up already. As quick as we were hooked up we were just as quick to lose this fish. It's ok, there are fish here. Just as the sun goes down we come tight on a tuna. My buddy Justin does a great job and lands his first tuna. It was a 25lb yellowfin that we tossed back. The fish took a chunk of butterfish that we were using for bait. After that fish every other fish that we would land came on whole live squid. Tony just recently purchased a new squid net. The net had holes a little bigger allowing for less drag in the water. The crew did a great job netting the squid all night long.
Joe was next up with a nice 50lb fish. After that Jimmy boated a nice 80lb fish. I took a quick break to eat a meatball hero. Big mistake! It was my turn on the rod. With meatballs lodge somewhere between my throat and stomach I got my ass kicked by a 75lb yellowfin. Tony gaffed him and I headed straight for the Zantac. Throughout the night we had a lot of action. We lost a lot of fish due to the fact of using very light leaders.
Around 3:30am I go in and take a nap. Two hours later I was awakened by Tony screaming "Kirk get up we have a big fish on." It took about two seconds to get to the stern. I was thrilled to see Tony was the one on the rod. He was already fighting the fish for 45 minutes. 20 minutes later we see color. It’s a nice fish. The tuna does its thing and so do we. Joe hits him with the harpoon, I gaff him, jimmy opens the tuna door and we slide in a 180lb bigeye! What a night!
Just as the sun rose we had 2 more lines go off. I grabbed one and Joe grabbed the other. The fish seemed to be in sync with each other. Well, it turns out that we were fighting the same fish. It made it a lot easier to reel in this 70lb yellowfin. He actually had both hooks in his mouth.
That would be our last tuna of the trip. We decide to hit up some lobster pots on the way home for some mahi. The bite was on and every pot we hit was loaded with mahi. Like 4 little giddy school girls we were having a blast. No one cared the ocean starting to turn nasty. The 4 of us didn't mind the rain pelting us in the face nor the sea building to 5-6'. We didn't mind the winds going from calm to blowing 15-20kts out of the dreaded NE. However Tony knew that it was time to go. the main job of the captain is to make sure the crew is safe. We took our time and made it back to shore 4 hours later. What a great way to end the offshore season. Justin caught his first tuna ever, Joe and Jimmy caught their first mahi’s ever. Tony reeled in one fish and it turned out to be 180lbs. As for me I caught some nice fish. More importantly I learned a lot from this trip. I got to fish with a great bunch of guys. Once again Tony, thank you for the invite.
Me and Joe pictured with OUR yellowfin.
Joe with his mahi.
Small Manta Ray.
Butterfish and sardines that we chunked with.
Justin back at the dock holding up his first mahi
Screen shot of bait/fish
Jimmy's big yellowfin.
Me and my big yellow.