Galveston, TX – 2007


Our first tournament of the 2007 TKA/SKA season was out of Galveston, TX on June 2.  This tournament (and possibly this entire season) is going to be a bit different.  Different because we are fishing out of a 24′ Cape Horn rather than the 38′ Fountain.  We could enter the 23′ and under division, but we are determined to keep competing with the open class big boys, even in a smaller boat.

Brian and I headed out to catch bait and do a little prefishing on Friday, June 1st – the weather was not going to be friendly to us this weekend.  We headed out about 50 miles straight into a solid 3′ sea with virtually no spacing.  Finding bait was fairly easy, but we didn’t end up with the bait we wanted.  The livewell was quickly stocked with over 40 hardtails, 3 or 4 sardines, 1 bar jack and 1 blue runner.  We floated a few lines out with hardtails in the area, but didn’t hang around prefishing long since we were certain we would be heading a different way in the morning.

On the way in, Brian was sick.  Very sick.  Not sea-sickness, but a stomach virus caught back up with him that had been plaguing him for a week.  We were hopeful he would be able to recover once we got back to the dock and out of the sun – we weren’t so lucky.  Captain B was hurting bad Saturday morning, and his brother, Brent, seemed to be coming down with similar symptoms.  Both decided not to chance heading out in nasty seas.

I became Captain for the day, and my only team member able to make the run Brian and I had talked about making was Jason Traylor.  I can’t even begin to state how much he helped me out during the day – FANTASTIC job Traylor.

We checked out and sat at the end of the jetties for a few minutes.  We are we going?  2 spots – 70 miles, 90 miles.  That may not be much of a difference, but with the conditions and the 24′ Cape Horn, it meant an hour and a half of fishing time.  We ran far.  We have caught big fish there before, we know the area, we know the water is good, we’ll take the chance.

40 miles out – we are insane for making this run.  The Cape Horn was doing superb.  She’s built like a tank.  3-4′ seas, they are starting to space out.  We’re making 28mph comfortably, just have to watch out for the 6′ers Mother Nature randomly throws at us.

We arrive at the spot and the water is beautiful.  Baitfish are in the area.  The decision was made to tie up for a bit, throw out a flatline or 2, and see if we can pick some blue runners up as well for trolling.  We have 1 blue runner in the box, plenty of hardtails, but some more blues would be nice.  I put the first hardtail out, maybe 5 seconds in the water, and the reel started screaming.  Good sign, fish are here.  Short fight after the initial run and we put at 25lb king in the boat.  Good start, but we know we need bigger and we know it is possible in this area.

We stayed tied up for about 45 minutes and began getting nailed by sharks.  No blue runners would take the sabiki, so we decided to move a little ways away to another spot in the same area troll what we had.

One blue runner.  It was a good one though, 2-3lbs.  I put her out on the flatline, 200+ feet behind the boat.  Put a hardtail out on the fly.  Put a big ribbon on the port downrigger, all the way to the bottom.  I wanted to put some more out, but couldn’t take the chance with only 2 people to clear lines.  The blue runner pulled drag over and over again.  She was scared, darting all over trying to get away from what lurked below.

The King probably hunted the blue runner out on the flatline for 10 minutes.  Jason wanted to check it, wanted to pick up the rod for the little buzzes, but I told him when the King goes after it and hits it, you’ll know it.  Jason turned off the radio – he wanted it silent when the reel went off.  That must have been the trick because that Torium started screaming at us.  I grabbed the rod, Jason cleared the others.  The smoker took 100-125 yards on her initial run, then sat out behind us for a minute or two.  I started making ground and her and she took off again, another 100 yards, right at the rig.  Jason pointed the boat further out and eased away while I worked to turn her.  Flash.  Wow!

Big fish.  We could see her on top of the water in the swells at 200 yards out.  In these conditions that everyone is facing, we immediately know this is a money fish.  Twenty minutes later I had her close to the boat and Jason had the gaff in hand.  I instructed him to make sure, be certain, don’t miss.  I circled her close, she twitched, I knew she was going to run down again.  “Wait for the next pass Traylor.”  Traylor relaxed, but only for a second.  He saw a chance and took it.  He shoved the 8′ gaff all the way down in the water and stuck her.  When I expect to see the tail going down, the tail was coming back up.  Fish is in the boat.  What a job gaffing by JT.

We hung around for another 25 minutes or so and tried to see if anything else would hit.  We had one more quick hookup on a barjack out on the flatline, but she only went 30lbs.  Then a shark.  We had 4 hours until weigh-in closed and we had a 3 hour trip to make, so we packed it in.

What a trip.  We were beat – tired and sore from the rough seas even though it was a little better following on the way back.  Back at the dock we hear that 42lbs was leading, and we thought we would be close.  We had a decent fish for the conditions, although we were pretty sure a 50+ would end up at the top (always does around here).  The scale read 37.81lbs.  YES!  Not leading, but it put us in 3rd at the time and we knew it would keep us in a high position at the end of the day.

We finished 6th, beating out a lot of really good teams in the open class.  We would have won the 23′ and under class if we chose to fish with them, but we enjoy going after the big boys, whether in a big boat or the 24′ Cape Horn Hard Surface.

Next up, Tuttle’s tournament on June 23rd and Port Aransas on July 6th.

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