On Father's Day I got the best gift you could give a fisherman. Deep sea fishing in the Florida Keys. It just doesn't get any better than that.
This is the view from the dock as we headed out early in the morning. You could see the ocean was flat and it was a gorgeous day.
Full throttle ahead to the fishing spot. Our destination was 35 miles out to a secret spot where the bottom drops from 1,500 feet to 2,500 ft. and beyond. At this drop there's an abundance of large fish, especially swordfish which was our target catch this day.
On our way out we ran pretty close to a thunderstorm. In the distance we could see a funnel cloud forming into a water spout. Water spouts are like land tornadoes but on the water. When you see one of these you should head the opposite way in a hurry. Luckily for us it was far away enough not to pose a threat. Check out the close up picture next.
I zoomed in with the camera to get a closer look and was fortunate to capture this image. You can see the entire water spout. You might think it's not touching the water because it looks like it's only half way down, but if you look real close at the surface of the water just below it, you can see how it's stirring up the water.
Luckily we had an experienced captain on board who navigated us to safety 😉
Here's the captain and crew. From left to right is my son Frank, with his friends Greg and Alex. I thought I was a good fisherman, but these guys put me to shame.
Here Frankie is rigging the bait in the hopes we run into a big swordfish. This is a dolphin belly that makes good bait for large fish. When I refer to dolphin I'm not talking about "Flipper". I'm referring to Dorado or Mahi Mahi. More about Flipper in a minute.
Securing the hook to the bait.
Here's the belly strip bait finished and ready to be taken down to about 1,500 feet.
To get the bait down to 1,500 feet is not an easy task. The current in the gulfstream is so strong you need heavy sinkers. Instead of lead sinkers which are more expensive, these guys make their own weights. The 14 inch long pvc pipes you see here are 4 inches in diameter and filled with cement. They insert a wire clothes hanger before the concrete dries to serve as a ring so they can tie it to the line.
This day they brought the rod with the electric reel. I guess they figured I might need a little help if we hook a big one and Dad tires out half way through. Of course this is totally absurd.
After about 15 minutes the bait is finally down around the 1,500 foot mark. Now we sit back and wait while we fish on the surface for other species.
Here's a ballyhoo ready to be dragged on the back of the boat (trolling) to catch fish that feed on the surface like dolphin, wahoo, king fish, etc.
Before noon we get a hit on the surface and it's our first dolphin. Because it was Father's Day I didn't have to argue about why I should have first shot at the rod. Being an old fart does have it's privileges, you know.
Bringing in that dolphin was tough but somebody had to do it. 🙂
As if I wasn't having enough fun already, Greg yells out "Look, those are dolphins." The day was absolutely gorgeous at 35 miles out. The ocean was calm and I was having a great time, but the icing on the cake was just about to come. Sure as hell they were dolphins. OK, now I'm talking about "Flipper" dolphins. The ones you don't fish or eat. These porpoises where the most beautiful thing you could ask for on such a special day.
As we were moving slowly through with our baits in the water, they came swimming right next to the boat and gave us quite a treat.
There's something about these animals that is very special. They are smart, gracious, friendly and playful.
They gathered at the bow of the boat and swam right next to the boat for about 10 minutes. It was exhilarating for me to watch them honor us with their presence.
I couldn't stop snapping pictures. I was like a little kid at the Miami Seaquarium.
In case you are wondering the answer is no. They do not bite your bait. They are too smart for that.
They were so close you could literally touch them.
On our way back Alex got a hit on his rod and it was the second Mahi Mahi of the day.
Here's Alex with his fish.
One 18 pack of Miller Lite: $14.39
12 bottles of Zephyr Springs Water: $4.19
Fishing with your son on Father's Day: PRICELESS
PS-- When my son hears me bragging about how I taught him how to fish, he's quick to say I had nothing to do with it. So I've taken this opportunity to set the record straight. You see, I have pictures to prove it. Below you can see me teaching him how to fish when he was 3 years old and I still had dark hair. I will admit his fishing skills have greatly surpassed my own and nowadays I learn from him.
Oh... by the way. If you're wondering who the girl in the pink bathing suite is, she's the family acupuncturist. And yes, she can also teach you a thing or two about fishing.