Posted in fishing report, tournament on July 7th, 2011 by Scott

The July Moon is rising and I’m headed down island. I’ve been hired to shoot the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s 48th annual July Open Billfish Tournament. This should be a blast. The July Open is always a great event with plenty of Blue Marlin bites for all the boats. The July moon in St. Thomas can produce some spectacular fishing and if it’s anything like last year, some very big fish. If you can’t make it down there in person, I’ll be posting updates here for all to see.

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Posted in fishing report, travel on June 16th, 2011 by Scott

June Moon Report from the North Drop:

The summer Blue Marlin season is up and running on the North Drop. This June moon will be relatively quiet, with only 10 boats fishing this weekend.  Pardon the time delay in posting these results, American Yacht Harbor can’t seem to get their marina internet working this month which prevented me from doing daily updates.  All of these photos and a few hundred more will be added to my photo web site shortly.


Tuesday June 7 – This many days ahead of the moon most teams have not started fishing yet. Just the Black Gold, Hoosier Daddy, and the Prime Time.  Light winds and plenty of clouds and rain. Keith on the Black Gold released one fish. Capt Butch was the one to watch today with 2 releases from 5 bites. That report of 5 bites really stirred things up back at the dock.


Wednesday June 8 – Travel day for me as I arrived late this evening after my short hop from SoFlo. Today the Revenge caught 3 of 4 bites and the Black Gold was 1 of 4.


Thursday June 9 – Riding along with the Revenge today. It’s great to be back fishing with Sam and Mike. We caught 2 of 3 marlin bites and 1 white marlin. Also managed to catch a small Yellowfin Tuna on a lure and a nice Wahoo on a mono Ballyhoo. Conditions are crazy calm with little or no wind and mostly sunshine. The Black Gold was 5 for 5 today, and saw two other fish in the spread. The Chach didn’t see one.



Friday June 10 – Back on the Revenge for a second day. The wind speed has doubled today, now it’s blowing 8 knots. A few more boats out today and plenty of bites to go around. We only released one of our 3 bites. The other two fish fell off the pitch mackerel circle hooks after several minutes. But before that happened, I managed to get a shot of one of these fish chasing a teaser – photo below. Ray on the Therapy saw the most fish, 6, but only held on to one of those. Black Gold picked away and caught 2 of their 4 bites, and added a Sailfish. Hoosier Buddy had 3 bites and caught 1. And the Chach is out of their slump with 5 bites, releasing 2. One of those releases is the frisky little jumper pictured below with Damon in the chair and Dominick steering.  I took the liberty creating a photo montage that shows all eight frames of this sequence in one shot.




Saturday June 11. Aboard the Therapy today with Capt. Ray.  Our anglers are Billy, his son Hunter, and Shelbie.  The goal today is to catch Shelby her first marlin.  Our first encounter doesn’t take long with a bite coming before 8:00 am.  A down and tight lure bite and Shelby makes short work of a 100lb fish – photo below.  While clearing the spread a second fish made a few passes at a teaser before fading off.  A few hours later Hunter also catches a down and tight lure bite.  One more fish darts around the spread in the afternoon before they quit fishing.  Ending up 2 of 3 and seeing a fourth.  The Mojito released two today, one was a real quick 10 minute fish they called 500lbs.  Most boats had several encounters.  The stats below are courtesy of Jimmy Loveland:  Revenge was 0 for 1, Marlin Prince 1 of 2, Therapy 2 of 3, Batichica 2 of 5, Capital Punishment 1 of 2, Black Gold 3 of 3, Mojito 2 of 4, Lady Magic 2 of 2, Chach 2 of 4, Hoosier Buddy 1 of 2, Prime Time PR 1 of 3, and About Time caught 2.




Sunday June 12. Riding out again with the Therapy.  Another early morning bite puts Shelbie in the chair.  Unfortunately this is short lived as the fish falls off after the initial run.  Mid afternoon a fish shows up behind a bridge teaser but doesn’t play along.  And our last bite eats a short rigger teaser and does just what it is supposed to do.  All the way to the boat, circle back, and pounce on the pitch.  Hunter catches the Therapy’s only fish of the day.  The rest of the fleet all see some decent action throughout the day.  The following stats are courtesy of Jimmy Loveland:  Revenge 2 of 3, Mojito 0 of 1 + 1 white, Batichica 2 of 2, Black Gold 0 of 2, About Time 1 of 4, Hoosier Buddy 3 of 4, Chach 3 of 4, missed both a white and a sail also, and Prime Time PR 3 of 4 and caught a white.




Monday June 13. Back on the Revenge today.  Rasta Dean returns to work from a medical break and brings some good luck.  Around 5:00 down in the corner we wrap it up with a double header.  First one to come tight gets to use the chair…nice work Sam.  All of today’s fish are small with only two of them jumping near the boat.  The following stats are courtesy of Jimmy Loveland:  Chach 7 of 10, and a white, Prime Time PR 4 of 5, Abigail 4 of 5, Hoosier Buddy 2, Marlin Prince 0 of 2, Black Gold 1 of 2, Mojito 2 of 5, and the Black Pearl caught 1.



Tues June 14. Day before the full and hopes are high for my last day aboard the Revenge.  Continued light winds still over the area with talk of a tropical wave making some changes in a few days.  We start off with a morning teaser bite that doesn’t switch over and see Sam’s pitch bait.  Next is a long rigger lure bite that pulls off after a long run.  Jon then gets a pitch bite to stick and a second fish lurks around while the boat is being cleared but swims off.  Late afternoon has a long rigger ballyhoo get cut off by a wahoo and while winding in that head a blue marlin zooms up and follows it in.  Good tease but it doesn’t transfer over to Sam’s pitch bait.  The following stats are courtesy of Jimmy Loveland:  Black Gold 0 of 0, Mojito 2 of 3, Chach 1/2 day 1 of 1, Hoosier Buddy 3 of 5, Marlin Prince 1 of 3, About Time 3 of 3, Black Pearl 0 of 1.



Wednesday June 15. Fishing aboard the 60′ Spencer boat “Mojito” today.  Trade winds are starting to fill back in a bit with the arrival of a tropical wave.  The action starts early with a teaser bite.  However, this small fish doesn’t paddle in and never shows on the pitch mackerel.  Our second bite is a down and tight lure bite.  Another small fish but it’s feels great to get a release by 8:15 am.  Next bite is a small teaser fish that eats well and Pico comes tight.  One brief hop on the leader and we get back to trolling.  Next is a small teaser fish that eats the pitch and makes for a quick release.  Just as the spread goes back out, we raise another fish and come tight on the pitch mackerel.  Several other boats are getting bites at the same time.  This fish pulls much harder and ends up being a 250lb fish that jumps on the leader for Aileen.  End up with 5.  The following stats are courtesy of Jimmy Loveland:  Revenge 3 of 3, Hoosire Buddy 1 of 1, and 0 of 2 whites, Therapy 2 of 3, and Marlin Prince 0 of 1.

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Posted in fishing report, travel on May 25th, 2010 by Scott

I’m in Isla Mujeres this week and happen to be overlapping one of the annual fishing tournaments held here on the island. This event is the Gran Torneo de Pesca and is unlike any other tournament I have ever seen. For staters, the prizes for first thru tenth place are on display in a parking lot. And as far as tournament trophy’s go, they are very useful. First place is an SUV, second is a pickup truck, third is a compact car, fourth is Ponga skiff, and fifth thru tenth are various levels of mopeds and scooters. Lets just say that most of the participants aboard the 114 boats entered are a wee bit motivated to do well in this one. The target species (in order of highest points to lowest) are Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Wahoo, Dorado, Tuna, Kingfish, Barracuda, and other. One fish from each category can be weighed each day for each team. This other category lets you pick one more fish to bring in each day, such as a Bonita, AJ, snapper, grouper, etc. They have a minimum length for the billfish and a 10lb minimum for the meat fish. Note the missing Sailfish category. The Sailfish is obviously the most common and revered fish here and forces teams to use all their skills to place in this event.

Day 1 of 2 – It’s blowing today. They say it’s been blowing for the last two weeks now. This sure is unusual weather for late May. I catch a ride with Tammy and Dave aboard the 59′ Spencer boat Double Trouble. They decide to go long odds and run 30 miles South to the edge down below Punta Morales. A 33 knot cruise and a Carolina ride make this seem easy even with 20+ knots of wind. Little or no crowd down there but the fishing was slow. They did manage to catch a small undersized White, an undersized Wahoo, a keeper Dorado, and an undersized Kingfish. Then the current changed and the weed moved in and things shut down. The evening weigh in is a sight to see with a line for your moment at the scale snaking well down the dock. One Blue and many whites were brought in today along with plenty of grande meat fish.

Day 2 – The same or even more wind today. Again riding aboard the Double Trouble. Today Dave runs out front of Isla with the bulk of the fleet and we start in deep water. Out here the current runs strong and I mean to tell you it was rough on the deep side of the edge. Several keeper Dorado and a fat 18lb Bonita go in the box early. A White teases in half way then peels off without eating. Then a long lull before another White appears on the bridge teaser and eats a flat line. While pulling drag this keeper size White pops up behind a long rigger and goes ahead and eats that before pulling off both rods seconds later. Terrible luck.

Day 3 – Riding with Anthony aboard the Keen M today. Wind conditions have improved slightly from yesterday as it appears the weather is going to do what the forecasters say it will do – improve. Only a few boats out today. We pick away all day and end up with 20 billfish bites total (3 white Marlin and 17 sailfish) and a Blue Marlin sighting. Also plenty of Dorados, from peanut to 30lbs. Spent about 30 minutes live baiting a Bonita on some wire as it’s not too late to see a Mako up on the bank. We saw one Whale Shark on the ride in.

Day 4 – The weather is getting nicer everyday. We went deep early and had three white marlin bites along with some nice Dorados. Ended up running inshore for the late afternoon sail bite. Ended up with 21 billfish bites today. We saw several large turtles while trolling. Good solid fishing for late May.

Day 5 – Calm and sunny today with a nice gaffer Dorado right out of the gate. Then a deepwater Sailfish shows up and finds a hook. Not long after a welcomed White Marlin makes a showing. Lots of jumps and photos. A few more sails in the afternoon complete the day.

Day 6 – Flat calm today. Deep early with not much action. A few sail bites and a gaffer Dorado. No signs of the White Marlin. We spend about an hour bouncing a bait on the bottom in 1100 feet of water looking for a daytime Swordfish. No bites. Only a cookie cutter shark on the bait when we wound up (above). A move to the inshore zone in the afternoon was quiet also. A few sail bites to be had. Our final push was to try to catch dinner and the Mangrove Snapper and Gag Grouper were very excited to see our baits. The action was fast and furious for the short time we spent at it. Even caught two snapper on one live bait – a double hooked Cigar Minnow (below).

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Posted in travel on April 14th, 2010 by Scott

In today’s mail arrived the keys to my next adventure. A round trip ticket and a Visa from the Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde. Even with the prospect of having to travel LAX-LHR-LIS-RCV (which for me is one of those trips that you don’t use a watch see how long it is until you get a bait in the water, you use a calendar) I am excited about another visit to Sao Vicente. The potential of capturing a few special fish in my lens in Cape Verde is that strong. And knowing that old friends Zak and Marty are well into their Blue Marlin fishing season is fantastic. So far the reports have been mixed, which only means some of the best days on the bank are ahead. To see my captures from last years trip, click the arrow in the bottom right corner of the image to start the show. Or mouse over the above image and left/right arrows will appear.

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Posted in fishing report on April 2nd, 2010 by Scott

The shot above is of Mindelo harbor from inside an abandon building up on the hill.

Spring is here and it’s time for the fish to start biting in Cape Verde. The early reports are starting to trickle in from Zak Conde and Marty Bates over at Marlin Cape Verde and it sounds like a good start to their season. Plenty of bites and the average size fish is nice and big, just like they expect from those waters. However, a recent report has one of their two boats with engine troubles so my trip is on hold for now. A mechanic from Boston is rumored to be on the way to get things back to normal.

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Posted in fishing report on March 15th, 2010 by Scott

The reports are coming in from Mexico and the Qualifier has reached a milestone. The newest 56′ Paul Mann custom boat went to Isla Mujeres for it’s maiden voyage and boy did they do it in style. This boat was tuned in right out of the box and never stopped raising fish. They just finished up their winter push and stopped fishing with 1000 Sail fish released over 49 days. Not bad for a first trip. Just wait until they get everything dialed in. Congrats Fin, Chris, and Sinapo for an incredible season opener. Now keep that roll going for some of those tournaments back home.

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Posted in fishing report on February 18th, 2010 by Scott

The wind is blowing and it’s cold in the Yucatan. Locals tell me that this is the longest cold spell they can remember. The good news is that the annual push of Atlantic Sailfish is going on strong. With the brisk North wind come the sails. And this week they are here in force. And the report is that they have been here and biting very well for several weeks now. It appears to be one of the quieter winter fishing seasons in a while with regard to the transient sportfishing boats. Sad for those who aren’t here, good for those who did make it. I arrived just behind a strong winter front and barely brought enough clothes to pull it off. A brief stay but boy am I seeing some fish. If I count the sails in the spread, tailing, and feeding under the birds, I’m seeing hundreds of sails each day. The conditions are right for fishing the birds, and this also makes for some world class trolling in between bunches. I’ve fished several days aboard the newest Paul Mann boat Qualifier, and also aboard the Keen M. Both boats have put me in the meat each day.I’ve only been trying to get this shot for a few years now … a bait ball of Sardines on the move with dozens of Sailfish and Frigate birds picking away.

Frigate birds battling Sailfish for a fresh Sardine meal.

What they lack in size, the Atlantic Sail makes up for in attitude.

Every so often, one special fish comes along and displays the most magnificent rich colors of blues, green, and gold.

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Posted in travel on February 13th, 2010 by Scott

I’m back from the Spice Island and had a wonderful trip. While the fishing was much slower than I was hoping (that is a familiar theme with me), the rest of the trip went so well that I can’t stop thinking about how to get back there. Beautiful clean island, very green with lots of rain and abundant fresh water, and every person I met had the same warm and welcoming attitude towards tourist. It also didn’t hurt that the pampering at Mount Cinnamon Resort and personal touring from Port Louis Marina staff seemed to have no limit. I managed to get a bunch of scenic photos on the extensive land and sea tours too. I even went out on a boat that was powered by a piece of cloth, I think they called it a sail. Very strange craft, but oddly relaxing. The local Caribe beer might have had something to do with that euphoric illusion. An exchange rate of 2.7 EC to 1 US dollar worked out to be not that overly expensive for our day to day stuff. I would go back to Grenada on vacation in a heart beat. To see a slideshow of my photos, click the arrow in the bottom right corner of the image above to start the show. Or mouse over the above image and left/right arrows will appear.

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Posted in travel on January 17th, 2010 by Scott

Time to pack my cameras again. This time I’m off to new island near the bottom of the Lesser Antilles chain. UK based developer Camper Nicholson is building a mega marina in Grenada and is looking for some press to show off their facility. This island is familiar to most of us for the brief coup attempt that received military action by the US back in 1983. Not quiet known for their swarms of billfish (yet), They do have some good days with a variety of species. I hope to catch some action on film and help put them in the forefront of the fishing community. This trip coincides with Grenada’s annual Spice Island Billfish Tournament.

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Posted in movie on January 4th, 2010 by Scott

Here is a multi media project I put together from 2009 Summer fishing action in St. Thomas aboard the boat Revenge. I rode along with Mike, Dean, and Ryan a few days and compiled this material into this short movie. It has some great billfish shots and jumping blue marlin action. And it shows a well oiled crew of fantastic fisherman doing their thing. It’s 4 minutes long and has an audio track. The content is a mixture of high res still frames from a Canon MKIII and some short video clips from a Canon MKII5D.

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