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  Picture of  Marine Recruit Harry with a nice Redfish caught aboard the 
"Reelin and Chillin" with Captain Terry Frankford

 

Nick's Bowfin

I was fishing with some of  my friends off a dock on Lake Sheen in Orlando FL. Me and my friends were fishing for bowfin. The fishing had been pretty slow most of the day, we caught a few small fins. My friends decided to go swim, but I stayed on the dock still fishing. A couple minutes after they left the tip of one of my friends rods started to bend. I hurried to it and set the hook. It was a small fin and didn't put up much of a fight. As I was reeling it closer to the dock I heard my mom yelling to me from the front of the dock. I turnned around just to see my rod flip over the railing into the water. I droped the rod I had in my hands and dove in the water after my rod. It didn't get to far before I got to it. My mom helped back on the dock and I reeled the fish in. It was the biggest bowfin that I had ever caught. It weighed around fifteen pounds and was about thirty to thirty-two inches. I was the happiest boy in the world. 

 
Nick

 


I caught this "Red" on a live shrimp in the Watchlachocee River just north of Crystal River.  It was 27" long and weighed 7 1/4 lbs.  It was my first Redfish but it will not be my last!  What a great fish to catch!    Jim Davis,  Stone Mountain, Ga.

 






Backwater Bob's 43" Snook

First Blue Marlin!

                                                         Kent's First Blue Marlin.
                                                   The Reel Story
                                                      By Jimmy "Rod-Hawg" Darrah


Every year Kent gets invited to Islamorada to fish with his buddies for a week.  For the record, most of the guys think he's mildly challenged, but likable none the less.  Although Kent doesn't know the first thing about fishing, they let him come along for the "Fun Food" he brings along.  The poor guys lives off junk food an Anejo'...  OK, maybe he isn't that challenged after all.

To everyone's astonishment, something surprisingly unusual happened that Thursday morning May 2, 2002..  The starboard outrigger popped out of the clip like someone had dropped a Volkswagen overboard.  Jimmy grabbed the rod, but Kent snatched it from his grip after kicking Jimmy squarely in the family jewels.  While Jimmy rolled around on deck old Kent fought the fish like it was his or something. 

Jimmy was so delirious with pain he insisted the fish was a giant bull dolphin.  While he was still messing with the fish Jimmy was air-lifted to Mariners Hospital were all the nurses and female doctors were physically fighting over a chance to see "The Crowd Pleaser" as Jimmy's women like to call it..  While Jimmy was having the time of his life with the hospital staff,  Kent was whining, moaning and groaning like he was the one kicked in the gonads.. 

Back at the docks people were laughing while listening to the blow by blow report via marine radio of Kent straining with the obviously skinny blue marlin.  They could actually hear Kent crying and asking for his Mommy in the background from time to time.  He sounded like an 8 year old kid getting his ass whipped by the third grade class bully at the bicycle rack.

So much time had passed since the hook up, even some of the crew were making snide remarks about all the school dolphin they were missing because old "Marlin Man" couldn't get the damn thing to the boat.  Everyone had had plenty of time to eat their lunches and read the paper, and Jimmy was flown back to boat after escaping the grasp of several near naked nurses scrambling for his phone number. (Or was it the "Crowd Pleaser"?)

After Dino and Dan finished a grueling game of chess the fish finally gave up out of sheer boredom we think.  He even swam under the boat to keep from getting third degree burns from the sun he had been on the line so long.  So that's when Rich went "Marlin Bobbing" to coax the fish out from under the boat so Jimmy could tag ( His ) the fish and Rich could wire him like a pro.  After several minutes of mouth to mouth resuscitation and a fresh coat of sun block the fish was released to fight again.  After some painful "High-Five's",  everyone was happy as hell and they put the boat in gear and started fishing once again.

Once they were back at the docks, they slung old Marlin Man in the drink as a customary gesture after catching a bill fish.  Although everyone knew it was Jimmy's fish, Dan reluctantly presented the trophy to Kent in spite of the fact he wasted half the day playing with the damn thing. 

Now all we hear is this and that about how he "Owned" that fish.  And how he's king of Islamorada just because the editor felt obligated to post his picture on the Fish4fun web pages.

The captain is even contemplating a fall fishing trip in hopes of someone catching a bigger fish just to shut him up. 

Count me in....!

Rod-Hawg AKA Jimmy

 

This magnificent Blue Marlin.... estimated at 200 lbs,  was caught by Kent Wolfe, May 2, while fishing  offshore, Islamorada Florida.   Kent was aboard  Rock Boat III,  Captained by Richard DeLizza.  

Fish 4 Fun editor, Dan Schlosser, along with  Dino Barone, Jimmy Darrah, and Pops DeLizza  were on hand to assist in catching,  tagging and releasing this great fish.

Congratulations to Kent and all aboard  Rock Boat III for their first Blue Marlin!


A FANCY AMBERJACK

 
            The green mountains of a tropical rain forest, thinly covered by a morning mist, rose behind us. We stared out over the blue Pacific Ocean stretching to the horizon, four friends with their cooler, clutching their new hundred-dollar fishing licenses, at the marina of Quepos, in Costa Rica. We had arrived from Destin Florida, a fishing village in its own right, and now we stood on the edge of the Holy Grail for fancy amberjack, the legendary Rooster Fish.

            “Boys, this ain’t the Gulf of Mexico,” Ron said, as we looked at rocks thrusting through the glassy Pacific. Several peaks, located only a few hundred yards from shore, supposedly dropped off eighty or ninety feet below the water’s surface. We hurried to the docks of what was heralded to become the largest harbor in South America. Today it looked like a bridge to nowhere. We presented our licenses and IDs, which proved we were indeed the gringos who had paid for the yearly licenses. There were no trip licenses, and our chances of fishing Costa Rica again any time soon were slim for my friends and a solid none for me. Wives see no sense of humor in, “Honey, I’m going fishing with a couple of old friends for a few days.”  The trip turns out to be two weeks in Costa Rica. Once, maybe. If I tried it twice, my fishing would be from a riverbank, within walking distance from the tent I’d be living in.

Fishing was the plan. That’s why we became excited about the bar next to our hotel in San Jose called the The Blue Marlin—and there was a little casino downstairs. It had to be the best fish camp I’ve ever visited. I became convinced, right before sunrise and after the second shift at the Blue Marlin, that, if Hemingway had stumbled in here, he’d never have made it to Key West. His famous novel may have had a different meaning and title:  The Old Man Caught it All, at the Blue Marlin.

            Days later it was obvious that some of us were still suffering from the previous forty-eight hours as we packed into a skiff, which became dangerously unbalanced with five guys and a cooler. The little wooden skiff rocked and tipped its way out, as the Costa Rican guide casually handed us a couple of buckets, to help with the bailing. Our friend Jerry, wearing dark sunglasses and a sparkling, gaudy sombrero. Rumor had it he’d won the sombrero by performing a tempestuous, tequila-enticed pole dance at a local nightclub earlier this morning. Occasionally, Jerry would grunt out words like “Coffee” or mumble, “No more tequila,” and then he would be quiet for a while in a comatose way.  The tipping of the boat, along with the sound of frantic bailing, startled him into consciousness again. Jerry looked around and exclaimed, “ Where are we? What day is it?” The boat rocked hard to port; “And what the hell am I doing over water?” Two of Jerry’s three questions we couldn’t answer.

            Just before sinking, we managed to climb on board our chartered boat, which was small by Destin standards. Back in Destin, a 24-foot wooden boat was the skiff. Jerry, now leaning over a railing on the boat with a rather pale to bleached white complexion, moaned, “Guys, is this boat rocking or is it just me? Where’s the head?” Paul, who had been first off the skiff and had quickly surveyed the vessel by simply glancing forward and aft over the open deck, handed Jerry a bucket. “Here you go, Jerry. Best I can tell this is the head. However, I’ve found that hanging over the side of the boat is the quickest, and sometimes it draws fish.”

Before any of us could jump ship, our Costa Rican captain fired up the single inboard. BANG! A backfire, then several nonstop bangs as the boat spurted enough smoke to make us invisible to the rest of Costa Rica and to each other.

We coughed and blindly worried about the location of Jerry’s bucket, as the little vessel lurched forward. Groaning its objections to moving, the transmission growled and clanked louder than the valves and other innards of the engine. Offshore fishing was immediately off the boards and out of the question. 

Our little vessel was heading out. As the light wind blowing off the Pacific cleared the smoke away, I began a frantic search for a life vest (maybe two) and a ring buoy, if there was one. I settled for a life vest and two cervezas. Our friend Ron was already at the side of the captain, waving his arms and hollering in his best Spanish, “No Pacifico! Little bitty boat, Bigo Pacificio.”  The captain nodded, “Si, pescar de rocks. Ooster pescado, si.”  Paul had worked on fishing boats off and on most of his life in Destin. Obviously he had heard the little engine that might—more likely, might not—make it back to shore.  He shouted over the engine to Ron, “Boy, I’m glad you speak Spanish. Keep us within swimming distance of land. And, while you’re up, get me a beer.”

As a boat captain myself for the past twenty years, I preferred two or more engines and a sail, if you’ve got one, although drift fishing while awaiting rescue wasn’t so bad, in calm seas. I won first turn in the chair, since my buddies were popping beers like someone had hollered, “Free beer on me!” Which rarely happened, unless the bar was really crowded, nobody knew me, there was a side door, and I was far from home, like in Costa Rica, for instance. Jose was our deckhand. None of us, including Ron, could pronounce his real name, and he couldn’t speak English, so Jose worked just fine.

 Jose was busy twisting my hook into the lip of a live baitfish. Then he tossed it behind the wake of the boat, and I let the line run until Jose motioned it was far enough.  While Jose was baiting my hook, I was looking for a leader on my line, steel or nylon of some type, any type. Surely there must be a leader. I tried to relay this concern to Jose, but he shrugged and said, “No comprender,” which were the only words besides, “Si, cerveza, gracias” that he seemed to know.

 Our captain was circling one of several large rocks in the area, when he saw a school of jumping baitfish; he powered up and wheeled the little vessel around. Immediately a small explosion erupted from the engine, creating a large puff of black smoke. Fortunately for us, he had turned into the wind, so it was only a moment or so before I could see my reel and take in a breath of fresh salt air. I had just begun to relax, listening to the clanking of the motor, checking my drag, when suddenly my bait was hit by a determined strike. This fish meant to eat something. Instinctively I set the hook, and it was on.  Suddenly, to our delight and amazement, the fish tail walked, splashed down, and began running, with the boney fin on the front of his head cutting the surface like a razor. “Rooster fish!” I cried out. Jose nodded, “Si, ooster, ooster.”

I was in fishing heaven. The powerful fish I had hooked was pulling hard, then running in, me reeling like mad. Then off he goes again, with that hood ornament slicing through the water. We’re yelling, spilling beer, trying to take pictures, and falling down. Then it was over; the fish was gone. I reeled in my cut line, pointed, and said, “I need a leader. Comprender leader?” Jose shook his head and began tying on a hook.

I drank a beer and looked at the impressive Playa Manuel Antonio national park, one of several beautiful national parks in Costa Rica. The motor coughed; I drank another beer.

Ron, our friend from Texas and now our designated interpreter, tried to explain to Jose:  “Amigo, we need-o a lead-o for our line-o, comprenda?”

 Paul remarked, “Ron, I believe he speaks Spanish, not drunken Texan. Ah, while you’re up, hand me a beer.”

  For the rest of our trip, the missing leader became a moot point, as that was the only fish that struck our lines the rest of the day.  The captain tried and tried. He circled the rocks. He even fished, like maybe we were holding the reels wrong. Then he pointed out to sea, and we all shouted, “NO,” shaking our heads in unison, while one hand clutched a faded orange vest and the other held fast to the rocking, coughing boat.

We carried the empty cooler back to our rented villa that evening, to our charcoal grills, filled and waiting for the grilled fish extravaganza to begin. Unfortunately, all we had caught was a watermelon, one pineapple, and a couple of papayas in the boat’s cooler.  We did have eight hundred dollars tied up in our fishing licenses, charter boat, refreshments, and photos of green mountains, rocks in water, and one dismayed, untipped Jose. 

To my friends

Costa Rica, 2006

Jim Chavers

 







A nice Biscayne Bay bone at 11 pounds caught on 
a 8 wt.  "He was almost a trophy and put up quite a battle" says Captain Dave Sutton of Southeast Florida.


This photo of a nice looking Redfish was sent in by 
Fish4Fun Charter Captain Partner Thom Smith of Bradenton Florida.

This photo of a happy jetties angler 
with a red caught on a poggy was sent in by 
Fish4Fun partner Captain Jim Hammond of Jacksonville, Florida.
 


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