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 Years ago there was a show about a smart Dolphin on television called "Flipper". Flipper was a cute mammal which could perform numerous tricks and on almost every episode he managed to save someone's life.

Flipper made millions aware of dolphin and after that show aired many people fell in love with dolphins.

In the Atlantic Ocean there is a fish that is also called a dolphin. It is a long fish of the pelagic variety and is loved by fishermen for its hard fighting nature and acrobatic leaps when hooked. It also makes great table fare.

It was just a matter of time before some confusion arose in grocery stores and fish markets over which dolphin was a fish and which was a mammal. The result of this confusion was settled in a politically correct fashion by changing the name of the fish variant to Mahi Mahi.

Bill Parcells was just hired by the Miami Dolphin football team and many know him as the "Tuna". Today the Tuna announced that the Dolphins will henceforth be known as the Miami Mahi Mahi.

Many fans of northern teams like the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and the New York Jets are elated to hear the news of the name change. Now when they yell out, "squish the fish" they will be 100% correct. And besides the odor comming out of Miami this years smells not unlike that of a bag of discarded fish heads tossed out of a car by a salty dog.




In every person's life there are some events that are never forgotten. Most of these special memories occur in our childhood while our minds are still young and fresh. And each of these memories is generally tied to a special someone that somehow in a single moment or series of moments influences our life in ways we never imagine as a child.

For me, that special someone was a fish. Yes, I said a fish. Not just any fish. One special fish. A fish that was a part of my life for four years, and even now reappears in my thoughts and dreams. That damn fish just won't go away. And over time, somehow I have come to think of him as a friend. Even though as a child I was sure he was gonna eat me.


I wonder, is a prologue like a monologue, except before you say it? Oh well, I digress.  Before telling you my big fish story, I need to give you a little background. Some of you know me, and some of you don't. But soon all of you will know more about me than you will ever wish to. You can run, but you can't hide, lol.

After having written several of these stories in joke format, I guess it's time I get serious and make a book out of it. So, all of the previous stories are going to be gathered together and placed into a time ordered sequence, just like they really happened. YES, THEY ARE ALL TRUE. As true as my old brain full of stuffing will let them be. They say the brain is a terrible thing to waste, and boy do I feel terrible.

I always wanted to be a singer or guitar player. Seven years of music lessons. And all I can do is empty a building of people in less than 30 seconds flat. Dad suggested I sing tenor, which I thought was awesome until he informed me that he meant I should sing ten or twenty miles from home.

My second ambition in life was to be a writer. The next Steven King, but my whole life I felt it was an insurmountable task. Let's face it, no one would read the junk I write. Until now. When I started writing this I had a mailing list of thousands. Hopefully at least a few of you are still reading, maybe even one of you will finish this.

I understand now why I write, and why I wanted to sing, because it's the best way to say what is inside. Be it sadness, happiness or tears, music and the written word express them well. Well, for some people, maybe not the tedster. But believe me, if you think my writing and singing are bad, try just listening to me ramble on sometime. Speaking of rambling... ok.. it's gonna be a book.. now back to the beginning...

In the beginning.. there was a scrawny little boy named Steven, whose Daddy loved to unmercifully refer to him as "Stevie Weevie"...... I CANT TAKE IT ANY MORE........... Stop Laughing.... I SAID STOP LAUGHING... IF YOU DON'T STOP LAUGHING AT ME, I'M GONNA E-MAIL TEN MILLION PEOPLE "YOUR" MIDDLE NAME.... Oh..... Now you get quiet...


Before Marathon, I spent nine years as a prisoner in a snow-infested land called Indiana. A boy's prison if there ever was one. Six months out of the  year we were forced to wear big heavy coats, boots and mostly stay inside. For a young lad like myself that was truly a prison.

So when spring came, it was off with the shirt and back to shorts. All the boys would race down the hill to Williams Creek (Which explains how I got all the stitches in my forehead, story next time), carrying our fishing poles, hooks baited with Oscar Myers hot dogs (yes, I said hot dogs, we were only kids remember), and battle it out in the raging waters of Williams Creek to see who was really a man (He who catches the biggest fish).

I never caught the biggest fish. It was always Kevin, or Kent or even once my little sister (Oh... how humiliating, so much so that I remember it 30 odd years later).

The trips to the creek may have resulted in more injuries than fish, but they were truly formative in how they affected my mind. My little boy mind learned to think in terms of "To be respected you had to catch the biggest fish". The point might not be clear to you now, but I promise shortly you will begin to understand my fishing "obsession" and how it, and the Barracuda, affected my life. I became determined to catch the biggest fish, but never did I dream that it would decide to catch me... At least I never dreamed that "before it happened".


Several things happened about that time. Things that I'm not sure you would believe. And so I won't go into them much. I doubt many of you would believe that I am the grandson of the man that Time Magazine called, "The second largest landholder in the world", that there were kidnapping threats on the lives of my siblings and I, etc... So for now....

I will pass on these and simply say that events happened that precipitated a sudden move to Florida.

And somewhere between 1968 and 1970 (short memory here), during the time of Woodstock, Vietnam and some guy saying "One Small Step for Man...." (well you get the idea)... one little boy and his family moved to the Florida Keys... towards my destiny with a big fish....


When we arrived in Florida my parents decided that they wanted to live on an island. We stayed at several hotels, but finally decided upon "The Lagoon Motel" in Marathon, Florida. We met some really nice people, "The Tanners", and stayed right on the water. It was great. For the first time in my life I was next to "Real Water". Not that fake water like they have up north. This was real water with salt, and everything (The ocean).

And most of all BIG FISH.

The hotel sat on a canal, with our cabin right next to the water. You could walk down the wooden docks to where all the charter fishing boats were tied up. I spent half my time bent over the edge of the dock trying to look for fish (There were a lot of what I considered, at the time, big ones).

I fished every single moment I could for several days. For once, I was going to catch the biggest fish. After fishing I would jump in the water to wash the fishy smell off. I never once even thought of the fact that there were VERY BIG FISH in the water. I was young, naive, and more than a little stupid (anyone who ties the dog to the back of the van bumper and forgets to tell Dad, is stupid, and thank goodness the dog survived).

On the third day I finally caught a big fish. OK, to me it was a big fish (5 pounds). Remember, I was only 9. It fought like the dickens (I have no idea what that word means, does anybody?). It took me five minutes to land it, and when I did, I had no idea what it was. It was all kinds of colors, a bright green body, bright orange gills and a beak. Just like a bird. I don't remember exactly what I thought at the time, but I do know I was scared to death of a fish that was all those weird colors...

Fortunately, Mr. Tanner came along. He explained to me that the fish was called a "parrot" fish, which makes sense because it has all the same colors as a parrot. He was also kind enough to explain to me that the beak was for breaking rocks, so that the parrot fish could eat rocks (coral is actually a living organism). Then he helped me throw the parrot fish back (umm... I heard somewhere that parrots bite).

Next I caught some little fish (about a pound) that made weird noises. It scared the heck out of me when I reached for the fish and it made a grunting noise at me. Mr. Tanner said those were called "Grunts". Oh duh.... And when I caught a little fish that blew itself up in a ball, he called that a "Puffer".


Later that day.. I caught a little fish.. about a foot long... It look a little like a trout. I reached out to grab it, and Mr. Tanner came running. 

He hollered. Don't touch it! Give me a break, this fish was skinny and couldn't even weigh a pound.

I was really beginning to have my doubts about Mr. Tanner. First he tells me that the green thing is called a parrot fish (after some deep thought I had begun to think he was teasing me). A fish that made a noise was called a "grunt". And one that blew itself into an air-filled ball covered with spikes was called a puffer. Oh lets not forget the snapper (I understood that one when it snapped its little teeth down on my little finger).

So I ask him, "Why not?" He says that fish will take my fingers off.

Huh? This little fish take my fingers off? I don't think so. I started to reach for it again. He grabbed my hand with one of his. Then with his other hand he grabbed the little fish. He used the fishing line to pull the fish's jaws open. And then I believed. I have never seen a fish with more teeth than a barracuda. And I profusely thanked Mr. Tanner (after counting my fingers). I said, wow. I sure am glad that they are small. I was swimming down here a little while ago. That was the last time I ever jumped into "the ocean" without looking. Because Mr. Tanner told me that he had personally seen one of these fish that was 6 feet (um... I was about 3 feet at the time, that meant the fish he saw was twice as big as me... yikes), and had heard that some had been seen as big as 10 feet. He also said that sometimes they swam in schools of hundreds of them.

But the scariest news was when he told me that Marathon and the Florida Keys were the world's largest breeding ground for barracudas. This was where the big barracuda's came to make little barracudas. Swimming anyone?

I kept looking at him, at the fish and the little wet foot prints from  where I had been swimming just a short while ago. Thanks to that little barracuda, and Mr. Tanner, I have never gone into the water without looking first.... 


Later that day, my father announced that we had a new home. There was a lot of jumping up and down, hollering and screaming (sorry about catching my hook in your leg Dad), followed by a ton of questions. Where, when, how's the fishing?

The next day, destiny and I met. Or I should say, me and Big Daddy, the king of the barracudas. It started innocently enough. We piled into the family van (Oh what an ugly shade of green) and headed to our new home.

Marathon is located 58 miles north of Key West. The northern end of the  island is connected to a series of 33 bridges leading back to Miami and the great up north. The southern end of the island is connected to the longest bridge in the U.S. Called simply "The Seven Mile Bridge", it leads from Marathon towards Key West. The biggest building on the island is "Fisherman's Hospital" which says a lot about the locals if you really think about it, lol.

So here I am. Right dab smack in the middle of all this ocean. Wonderful, at least that's what I thought until I reached our new home, and met Big Daddy, King of the Barracudas.

We pull up to our new home. Our fist thought, wow, it's kinda small remember we were on the road from riches to rags). But that was only the view from the front (in island terminology, the landward side is called the back...). What Dad hadn't told us was that the other side of the house was on a canal. A canal leading to the Gulf of Mexico, or to us kids "the ocean". It took all of ten seconds for me to look over the house and grow bored, and a lifetime has been spent thinking about that little backyard plot of land adjacent to the ocean.

My first thought was... Why didn't I bring my fishing poles... Eeek! I was in heaven. We had arrived. Our little family consisted of: Father known as  Dad, mother known as Mom, a little sister named Ginny and yours truly, Stevie Weevie (I really hated that name). Oops we had Ding Dong the Dog, and the invisible sibling (maybe I'll explain someday, and then again maybe I won't). Just the 6 of us, or make that 7 as you will soon see...

So, while the adults are looking through the house (It turns out Mr. Tanner had bought the house next to our new home, and had talked my Dad into this one) yours truly was running around outside. The first thing I did was run to the water. I took in a deep breath and tasted the salt of the ocean in the air (Not to mention a little stale seaweed). I was thrilled. All us kids and the dog are having a great time running around. It's a little boys idea of heaven.

Then I got serious. It was time to check out the fishing. I examined our waterfront property. The back of our home was at the exact end and center of the canal so we had a direct view of the ocean. The seawall along the back of our new home was a concrete wall. There was a dock that was basically a wooden staircase going down into the ocean. You could walk right down into the ocean. TOO COOL.... The adults explained to me that the water was 15 to 20 feet deep. WOW... And it was fairly clear. I could make things out on the bottom (barely). And despite the sun's refection (glare) I could see fish swimming. YESSSSS! A chance to prove my manhood (at 9?). Life is good.

I wanted a better view of the fish. I had learned at the Lagoon Motel that if you lay down next to the docks and look under them into the shade that you can see a lot farther underwater because the docks shade  blocks the suns glare. So I ran next door, to what was going to be Mr. Tanner's dock. I climbed down on his dock which was a flat wooden dock which was only about a foot above the water and leaned over the edge. I could see fish. Big Fish. Some of them 5 or even ten pounds swimming down there. I was going to catch the biggest fish. Prove I was a man. And feel good about myself. LIFE IS GOOD...

Then I picked up a few rocks and started skipping them on the water.

Then simply throwing them to watch the small fish scatter. LIFE WAS GREAT.

And then.....


I threw a rock.... a big one, about the size of my hand... it hit the  water with a splash. The fish scattered... it began to sink... and then a huge black shape came racing up and stopped just inches from my sinking rock. This big shape had eyes. It was a fish. A FRIGGING HUGE FISH... the biggest fish I had ever seen in my life... And it looked at me with those big, black dead fish eyes... (Yes... fish can see us as... well as we can see them) It opened its mouth slowly (It's teeth were as big as my fingers)... and it swallowed my rock....

There was a lot of screaming... (nothing coherent I'm sure) After all... what exactly would you scream in that situation.. ummm.. Big Fish... Big Fish.. BIG FISH? Or "IT SWALLOWED MY ROCK"? I was like a miniature air raid siren.. but louder... and the adults came running...

The barracuda is still sitting there looking at me... The adults look at that huge fish... the fish spits out the rock... which starts to slowly sink... the fish takes one last look at us.. then it turns and s-l-o-w-l-y swims off. I swear if a fish can swagger, that fish was swaggering as it swam off. If there had been bubbles, I'm sure when they had popped they would have sounded like an evil laugh... heckling the screaming little boy... the little boy whose name just might be.... LUNCH.....

Mr. Tanner tried to calm me down. He said that Barracudas (BARRACUDAS!!!) rarely ever attack people. Ummm.... if you are a nine year old boy.. you don't think about the millions of people who didn't get eaten by barracudas... you think about the ones who did... And especially about the next one... This guy sure wasn't helping.

He did try... He explained that there are barracudas all over Florida (No child psychologist here), that they rarely bite people (oops), and that this particular barracuda had been living in the canal for years (just what I wanted to hear) and had never bitten a single person (yet).

I asked if we could get a house on a different island, but Dad just laughed. But later, I heard him asking Mr. Tanner the same questions I had. He had seen the fish, and he had seen me. Let's face it, if there was a contest, I didn't have a chance... Mr. Tanner laughed and said the Barracuda was harmless. One thing I realized after all these years, I knew Mr. Tanner for years, but I never once saw "him" get into the water.


Mr. Tanner had a little girl named Nancy. Nancy Tanner. She was about two years younger than me. She was also the world's biggest tomboy. I remember one thing in particular.. she loved Scooby Doo... If anything fun happened.. if she caught a fish.. or was just in a good mood.. You would hear her call out Scooobbyyy Dooooooobbbbbyyyyy Dooooooooo....

Well, there was one day she wasn't thinking about Scooby Dooo. That was the day she almost became lunch for The Five Foot Barracuda. There were four of us kids out on a little sailboat called a sunfish. We were coming back from an island that was half a mile offshore. We were coming back against the wind (what little wind there was) and were having to zig zag (tack) back and forth to get home. We would go from one side of the canal to the other and would only move 20 feet forward. It was taking forever... So we got bored and someone (who shall remain nameless) threw Nancy Tanner in the water....

Nancy started swimming for our dock. Then my dad yells that the barracuda is under the dock. This is normally a joke to all of us. We yell it all the time. Along with "Shark.. Sharkkkk.. everytime someone goes swimming... " But this time he seemed serious and went running... for a spear...

None of us knew what to do.... I couldn't get to Nancy with the boat (we were facing the other way with the wind against us... The barracuda was under the dock she was swimming to... and the other side of the canal is a long way... Nancy swims back and forth in several different directions in her panic and makes trying to pick her up with the sailboat even harder. We are all in a panic....

Then our hero arrives.. My Dad... He had a lobster jig (A four-foot wood shaft with a metal head that has four big spear tips on it). He climbs down the steps of the dock... grabs the spear by the top of the shaft... raises his arms in the air.. and shoves it down with all his might... making a big splash... Unbelievably, he hit that barracuda with all his might.... with a spear with four heavy duty metal prongs on it... and the barracuda just sat there... Dad raises up the spear.. all the prongs are bent in different directions (Barracuda scales are like armor).... and Dad stands there too stunned to speak as the Barracuda swims off s-l-o-w-l-y... Nancy isn't eaten, but we all have a new respect for the fact that if the barracuda chose to eat any one of us at any time, we were lunch. No ifs' no ands, no butts... Simply the barracuda decided if we lived or died.... All but Mr. Tanner who with all his words of wisdom never went in the water.....


Like I said, "The Barracuda" had become a legend. It was known to all the neighbors, and it was known to all of their friends. It was even known to all of our friends a thousand miles away in the cold lands of Indiana. Brr.... I hate even thinking about snow....

So when we would have visitors come down from up north, they would want to go out behind the house and see if they could see "The Barracuda". There weren't barracudas. There was just one Barracuda. No other fish in the ocean, before or since, has held such a reputation among us land lubbers. Simply, there are billions of fish in the ocean, but if you say "The Barracuda" to people who lived in Marathon back in those days, they will know exactly which fish you meant. He was special, also a member of the family, and like I said a celebrity...

Ok.. there was one fish more famous... Down the road about 30 miles on another Island was a placed called "Theatre of the Sea". That's the place where all the "Flipper" episodes were filmed. I have to agree that Flipper was more famous, but first, Flipper was a mammal, not a fish, and second... Flipper was penned in a small area (It only looked like he had the freedom to swim in and out) and had to be bribed with fish. Our barracuda was a free spirit that hung around our homes by choice... So I stand by the fact that he was the most famous fish in Marathon, Florida during the 60's and 70's.

Some friends of Dad's decided to come down for a visit. The father's name was Bob. And to this day I don't know what he said to Dad to piss him off, but he must have... They had an argument around the side of the house, and then came out back trying to pretend everything was OK.

So Bob's standing in our back yard in a three piece suit and tie (Kinda uppity up for the Florida Keys in the summer time). He insists on seeing "The Barracuda". And he didn't mean later. He wanted to see it NOW. Ummm.. remember this is a fish with a mind of its own living in the ocean (Unlike Flipper in his underwater cage). Well, all us kids run to find the barracuda... We look under the docks, the boats, all over. No barracuda.

Bob starts with, there really isn't a barracuda, the whole attitude thing... about at this point Dad looks under our dock, and says..Bob... come here.... I see "The Barracuda". Bob comes over, leans out a little but can't see anything. Dad says.. You have to lean out a little so you can look under the dock without getting the sun's glare... Bob still can't see the barracuda... Dad leans out and says.. I can still see him.. He's still there... Bob looks.. No Barracuda... leans father... starts to say something.., Dad gives him a push. Bob goes in, suit and all... and scrambles to get out of the water. Away from the Barracuda. I was never so proud of Dad as I was that day. :-)

Other incidents occurred with the barracuda, a few minor tangles with the local black tip and shovel nose shark populations, but nothing really bad happened. In the winter we had schools of 3 and 4 foot barracuda come in, but we weren't worried because none of us went swimming in the cold.


But my obsession with that Barracuda grew. If I could catch "The now "Six Foot Barracuda", I would be a hero. I dreamed about that fish. And truth be known, I still do. In the daytime I might be afraid of him, or at least indifferent, but at night in the safety of my bed, I had the courage of a lion at dinner time. In my silly child's mind I dreamed of putting a ramp on top of the house, mounting a big spear on the front of it... and riding the bike off the roof (spear first) to joust the evil barracuda and save the princess (We'll talk about BaddTeddy's first crush some other time).

You see what I'm telling you ... don't you... that somehow in my mind... my need to prove myself... to stop feeling like a failure.. to be a grown up... was to prove myself in a contest of man versus beast... As a child.. boy versus barracuda.. in my stories... teddy bear versus dragon...

That barracuda was the first real dragon I ever faced... and I dreamed of saving the princess from it... (I know it sounds lame now, but I was only 9 years old, so GIVE ME A BREAK.....)


Sooner or later it was bound to happen... The barracuda and I would both be in the water at the same time... and we would meet... and I had to remember the most important lesson you can ever learn when dealing with animals... SHOW NO FEAR....

It was a hot summer day. The family was playing in the back yard. A friend of mine (Andy) and I were going lobstering. Basically, this meant we put on face masks and snorkels (He wore one, I never could stand using snorkels). He was wearing flippers (to make him swim fast) and I was barefoot. I loved the feel of the ocean and hated to cover myself with all that plastic stuff.

So we start going down the canal... Swimming down to the bottom and along the canal walls looking for antennas (Lobster, not car) sticking out of holes in the coral. Once we saw the antennas we would reach into the walls and grab the lobsters. And hope nothing else grabbed us.

So here we go down the canal, innocent as can be. Just another day. Nothing special. Not expecting anything to happen. A perfect day to be a kid.

We start to swim into a small cave in the canal wall. It's almost shaped like a U-turn... just a few feet into the wall and then you come back out... and so we swim in looking down... for lobsters... and then I decide I need air (who doesn't). So I look up and I am face to face with "The Now Six Foot Barracuda". It is less than two feet from my face. I start to scream (not the best idea underwater). The barracuda opens it's mouth, all the way.... There are teeth inside that would give a pit bull nightmares... A whole lot of teeth.. and they are less than two feet from my face...

I screamed again, (still underwater)...


...  (Bubble... Bubble........) all thoughts of courage, fighting the metaphorical dragon and saving the princess gone..... I turned and swam as fast as I could towards the dock... My mask had fallen off when I screamed and was dragging behind me. I had no flippers (for speed), no snorkel for air, and I swam approximately 150 feet without stopping for air once.... I was a lean mean swimming machine... and I was heading for shore....... I was heading for the dock... the one in our back yard with the steps that went down into the water.. When I reached them... I didn't bother trying to walk up... I swam up the steps.. and I was still swimming when I got up on the concrete and then the grass.. I was still trying to swim and they were holding me down... It took them a few minutes to get me calmed down.. Not to mention breathing and the water out of my lungs.... and I kept trying to tell them what happened (between gulps of air) and then they all started laughing...

I WAS MADDDDDDDDDDD... I was nearly killed... My head had nearly been inside the mouth of a huge Barracuda and then I had nearly drowned trying to get away... How dare they laugh at me....

I was so furious I couldn't listen to what they had to say.. And they were laughing so hard that they could barely say even a single word. Finally Dad caught his breath and explained....

They had heard me scream... The whole neighborhood had heard me scream.... And I had screamed so bad that I had scared the barracuda... Andy who I had forgotten about told me that he had seen the barracuda just after I did, he had seen the barracuda open it's jaws when the barracuda and I had accidentally almost bumped into each other, but he had seen something I hadn't. He saw me scream that air raid scream of mine... and he saw the look in the barracuda's eyes as it turned around as fast as it could to swim the other way. I had screamed so loud that I had scared the barracuda away...

What Dad and the others had been trying to tell me is that two seconds after they saw me scream and start swimming towards shore, they had seen the barracuda come shooting down the canal "away" from me. They had all realized what had happened long before I got to shore (The barracuda and I had scared each other) but because I would not stop swimming for air, or the steps for that matter, they hadn't been able to tell me... And so seeing me swim all that way, screaming underwater while the barracuda did the same thing in the other direction, it had been all they could do not to start laughing as I swam up the steps of the dock and onto shore....


The barracuda and I lived with each other in peace after that. Often sitting there just a short distance apart. Me with my fishing pole, and him with those black cold dead fish eyes. Over the years, thinking about it, I even started to think of him as a friend in a way. I've realized that at any time he wanted too he could have eaten me, but he hadn't. And he gave me something wonderful. One of those special childhood memories that will last forever, and a reason to write this story. Looking back I feel almost guilty. The last time I had seen him, the water had been extra clear, the sun had been at just the right angle, and I had seen four new scars on the back of his head. Scars from my father's jig. Maybe he was just curious watching Nancy and he really wasn't looking for a Scooby Snack (Sorry, I just had to say it)...


Gulf of Mexico Grouper
by Gary Anderson

Grouper, being one of the most prized fish in our Gulf of Mexico, are excellent table fare and awesome fighters. The most common targeted species are gag, scamp and red grouper with the occasional elusive black sea bass, which is often mistaken as a black grouper. These grouper, along with their cousin the black sea bass, inhabit natural as well as artificial reefs, wrecks, offshore mounds and ledges on the sea floor.

Grouper are best fished with live baits. Frozen sardines, squid, and cut baits work well but live squirrel fish and Pinfish work best.

So if you are serious and want the best catch, you will do whatever it takes to fill your bait well with live baits prior to reaching your favorite haunt. Your best bait catching techniques might include chumming first and then cast netting or use of a sabiki rig. 

The most recommended arsenal for catching grouper is a stiff rod, any reel which will hold 50 to 80 pound line, 12/0 circle hooks, 150 pound mono leader, an 8 oz. or better weight and a 100 pound snap swivel. Though I use a 3/0 straight hook so as I may set my own hook, instead of letting the circle do it for me, because sometimes the fish are finicky and will just mouth the bait, not inhale it.
Now that we have our bait and equipment, let s catch some fish! Anchoring on top of a suspected ledge, cheese hole, or spot on the fish finder, we fish vertically with the live bait. Drop a squirrel fish on one of these mules and it is usually an offer he can not refuse. Hold on tight and put your back into it, for this mule of the deep will do anything it takes to disappear back into his rocky home.

Florida fishing regulations for the Gulf of Mexico allow a daily aggregate bag limit of 5 grouper per angler. Gags must be 22 inches and red grouper 20 inches overall length. As always, take what you can realistically use and release the rest for future fishing trips. The fishing should be good right now because gag and red groupers spawn from February to April in the Gulf. Go ahead, get out on the water and try to get some of those mules of the deep and see why I call them mules? What a rip, what a trip!



by John Howell and  Capt. Butch Rickey

Well, I had three trips on the books for this week, but I woke up Saturday morning with what may well have been the first case of swine flu in Florida. It really kicked my butt! I never had it diagnosed, as the flu is the flu is the flu. But, I've joked about having the "Porkulous Flu". I wound up spending most of the week in bed, which of course forced the cancellation and rescheduling of my trips. So, in lieu of my regular Fishing Report, I am presenting a story the I received just this morning from my old friend John Howell, who spends a lot of time in St. James City. There's a good lesson in his story, and it's entertaining.


Last Friday Jen and I went to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, on the Pine Island Sound side of Sanibel Island, to fish the creeks and try to escape the wind. It’s a wonderful place - healthy mangroves, beautiful water with good tidal flow, a plethora of birds, and a fair amount of fish. It was a gorgeous, warm spring day, with plenty of sunshine but winds predicted to be gusting well over 20 knots. When we got there and started fishing, we were happy that we had made the choice.

At first we were fishing some little bays near the mouth of a creek, getting plenty of bites and landing a trout from time to time. After trying several different types of lures I was fishing a Mirrodine, a fairly new lure that seems to catch all species of fish, trout, snook, reds, even tarpon. The lure was getting either bites or follows on almost every cast. In the water the Mirrodine looks a lot like a baitfish, especially when “jerked” erratically, and it has two treble hooks that are quite effective in catching fish. Of course, I routinely crimp down the barbs on my lures, and I had sharpened the hooks on this one before I began casting it. On about the sixth cast I got a good hit, and reeled in a nice trout.

The trout had managed to get hooked on both trebles, so it was going to be tricky to get it loose and released without damage. I wet my right hand and grabbed the trout behind its head and gills and lifted it into the boat. With my left hand I worked my pliers onto the shaft of the rear treble hook. Just as I got the rear trebles loosened from trout's mouth, it began a tremendous wiggling. The rear trebles escaped from the jaws of my pliers and before I could do anything about it, one of the hooks impaled my right index finger just above the first knuckle, in the meaty part of the finger, about where my thumb touches the side. The front treble was still hooked to the trout’s mouth.

Jen saw what happened, and exclaimed, “Oh my, what can I do to help?”

“Please get this fish off the other hook and let it go,” I said.

She jumped to it, and, luckily, before I knew it she had freed the trout and it swam away gratefully.

We then examined the situation. The hook was deep, buried in my finger down to the bend in the hook. But I remembered that the barb was crimped down, so I bravely said, “I’ll just pull it out with the pliers.”

With my left hand I put the jaws of the pliers around the shaft of the hook, and pulled. The hook didn’t budge, but the pain was breath-taking! Everything turned purple for an instant and I began to get swimmy-headed, so I sat down. Okay, I thought, that’s not going to work.

I thought about the technique that all fisherman have read about, but I had never had to try: tie a length of monofilament around the hook shank, then pressing down on the hook, jerk it straight out so that the barbed area comes out the same hole it made going in. It was obvious that I couldn’t do it by myself; could I teach it to Jen in such circumstances, when I had never done it myself?

Before I could discuss it with her, she turned on the trolling motor and began moving the boat toward the only fisherman in sight, a fellow who a quarter of an hour before had actually pulled onto the flat near the shoreline in front of us, anchored, and put out a couple of lines. We had to ease around him to continue fishing our planned route.

As we got within hailing distance, Jen called out, “Hey, we need your help!”

He immediately began apologizing. “No, that’s not what I mean,” Jen said. “Do you have any experience at getting hooks out of hands?”

“Yep, I’ve done it a couple of times.”

Jen pulled up alongside his boat and held them together while he stepped onto our boat. “I’m Jennifer,” she offered.

“I’m Jim,” he said.

“Hi, I’m John,” I said, “excuse me if I don’t shake your hand – mine is occupied right now.”

“Let’s take a look at that,” he replied, examining my finger.

He took out a length of monofilament, about 30 pound test it looked, and began to tie it around the hook shank while explaining his plan. It was the same method I would have used myself if I could, so I was fine with it.

After he got the line tied around the hook he said, “Okay, I’m going to jerk it now.”

I steeled myself and with a quick movement he jerked. The line parted; the hook was still in my finger.

“Damn!” he said, beginning to tie another knot around the hook.

When he was ready, he indicated that he was going to jerk again. I steadied myself and held my breath. “May it work right this time,” I silently prayed.

He jerked rapidly again, and the hook popped out of my finger. But the trailing treble wasn’t through. It caught my thumb right above the nail and became impaled there. I looked at the hook unbelievingly; it had gone into my thumb completely and come back out a quarter inch away. My thumb was now hooked like a piece of live bait!

“Damn!” Jim said again. “I’m sorry about that.”

We considered the changed circumstances and strategized. “I think this is easier,” he said, taking out of his pocket a pair of wire cutters.

He put the wire cutters to the hook tip and clipped off the barbed area. With that gone, it was a simple matter to back the hook out the way it had gone in. I was now free!

“Hmmm,” I thought, “that gives a new meaning to the term, ‘jerk bait’.”

I thanked Jim for his help, and he got back into his own boat. “By the way,” he said, possibly feeling a little guilty, “there’s a bar off that point over there that holds fish. You ought to try it.”

As we moved away and my system began to settle down – my body had been running on adrenaline and endorphins since my hookup – we focused in on the area Jim had indicated, and continued fishing. We fished for another hour or so and picked up a few more fish, but without any altercations this time. I even managed to get in a little fly fishing when we got out of the wind for a bit. My finger and thumb throbbed and smarted some, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the fishing. I did tell Jen, though, that the lesson I learned was to use the Boga Grip whenever I had a problematic hook release, rather than getting my off-hand near the hooks.

Later that afternoon, off the water, Jen drove me to the walk-in clinic to get a tetanus shot. As the doctor (also a fisherman) examined the wounds, he asked if we had used the classic monofilament-jerk release. He said that’s the method most ER docs use to deal with hooks in fishermen.

“I did about a hundred and fifty like that,” he said, “but on the one-hundred-fifty-first time it didn’t work. So now I always deaden the area, push the hook point the rest of the way through, snip it off, and back out the hook.”

“Great, doc,” I said, “now I’ve got to worry about getting some Novocain to keep in my boat!”



by Michelle Jahnke

November 25, 2006 my fiancé Wayne and I decided to go fishing. The forecasts called for 2-3 foot waves, so we went to the boat ramp at Bay Pines in St Petersburg, Fl.

We had to go thru the intercoastal to get to John’s Pass Bridge in order to get to the gulf. We went out about 20 miles and the waves were 5-7 foot. Wayne asked me if I wanted to turn back I told him no way. So we kept going to reach Kingfish Alley. The waves were about 6 foot and 30 knots winds; the boat was rocking with the waves. We put 2 poles out and trolled.

The first pole went off and Wayne grabbed it and pulled in a Kingfish. As soon as the fish was on board, the second pole went off, which I grabbed and reeled in. Wayne could see the fist 30 yards out and that it was a big fish. I kept playing the drag and got the fish to the boat then it ran, it ran about 4 times, it wrapped around the foot of the engine that we had to turn off the engine and raise.

After about 45 minutes I got the fish to the boat which was a huge tournament Kingfish. Wayne screamed above the howling wind that is the biggest Kingfish that’s ever been on his boat. We called it quits and headed back which took 2 hours due to the waves were crashing over the top. We laughed that we know the boat won’t sink but if we have to go over I’m hanging on to the fish.

We made it back to the dock and went home and weighted my fish which was 36 lbs.

We took pictures with the fish by hold the tail which is almost the same length as me which I’m 5’3”

So this is my most amazing fish story it took 3 years and I got my first Kingfish and as it turned out it was a tournament size fish.


A Fishing Story That's All Bull
Catching the most dangerous shark in the world in the Florida Keys
By Christopher Elliott

After reeling in one fish after another - redfish, sea trout and catfish - Richard Stanczyk quietly announces that it's time to go after "something bigger."

We're a one-hour boat ride from the nearest inhabited island in the Keys, drifting somewhere in the Florida Bay, and it's difficult to imagine that our 16-foot vessel can accommodate anything much larger than the gamefish we're catching and releasing.

Stanczyk, a veteran fishing guide, slices a live ladyfish in half, hooks it, and casts the line in a wide arc alongside a sandbar. He chops the rest of the baitfish into smaller pieces and tosses the bloody remains

"Time to catch a shark," he says.

Did he just say what I think he said? Shark, as in, "Jaws"? As in, the underwater killing machines that attacked helpless swimmers last summer? As in, "If you see that fin in the water, swim for your life!" Charlie, who flew in from Boston the previous day and is still getting used to the idea of wearing a short-sleeved shirt during the winter, almost drops his fishing pole.

"You're kidding, right?"

But Stanczyk, a man of few words, gives us a knowingly smile, like a parent about to send a kid on his first roller-coaster ride. "Hold on to this," he orders, handing me the rod with shark bait. "If you feel a bite, I'll show you what to do."

A minute goes by. Two minutes. Ten. We see nothing except the blue-green waters of the bay, stirred by a warm wind blowing in from the Everglades. In the distance, terns and pelicans hide among the mangroves growing along a nameless key, making occasional fluttering sounds. Otherwise it's perfectly calm.

Suddenly there's a tug on my line. It doesn't feel the same as the other ones - not jerky, but deliberate and powerful. The filament spools out effortlessly.

"OK - now!" Stanczyk yells, motioning me to stop the line. I set the hook and begin reeling. The rod immediately bends to a 90-degree angle and whatever is on the end of the line just keeps going. Stanczyk pulls the anchor and turns the boat around, following the fish into deeper water. The rod buries itself in my thigh.

This is probably as good a time as any to mention that shark fishing is perfectly legal (Florida is trying to ban shark feeding, not fishing) and for the most part, safe. Last summer's set of shark-attack books and frenzy of news reports did little to dispel the popular myth that these creatures are underwater terrorists that kill for the fun of it. In fact, even the most antagonistic shark species are normally shy and avoid human contact.

As I fight with the force on the other end of my line, I try to remind myself that the shark doesn't want to hurt me.

"Try not to fall in the water," Stanczyk warns. Charlie is standing on the far end of the boat, mesmerized by the spectacle. My line is spooling out again. So, too, is my composure.

Shark fishing is at its best in the Keys from March until May, and although it's something that few professional guides specialize in, the recent fascination with sharks has led to more inquiries from visitors.

One of the latest angling trends, I'm told, is to use a fly rod to catch a shark - preferably a bull shark, which is considered one of the most difficult and dangerous achievements here in the back country.

Did I mention the species of shark that gained national prominence for biting an eight-year-old's arm off last July near Pensacola, Fla.? That was a bull shark, widely believed to be the most aggressive kind in the world. Makes a Great White seem like a pussycat. I figured we'd be just fine as long as it wasn't a .

"It's a bull shark," Stanczyk declares. He looks a little nervous. I'm terrified and Charlie, still on the end of the boat, remains speechless. A bull shark! So this is how my writing career is going to end, with my arm being digested by a hungry leviathan? The fish, all five feet of it, is up against the boat now, having given up its struggle - or maybe just resting - and none of us does anything for a few seconds that seem like hours.

Then Stanczyk grabs the line, bringing a knife as close to the shark as possible, and cuts the filament. The bull shark vanishes under the boat, my rod suddenly feels weightless, and everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

Stanczyk turns to Charlie and says, "You wanna try it?"

Charlie nods enthusiastically.



by Capt. Al Smith

Ok, here we go again. My cousin and I are back on the same Florida lake, and we have decided to fish with real live shiners. Shiners are any numerous small silvery fishes of the family Cyprinidae, and we love to fish with them. However, it turns out the shiners we had, which were very large, attracted more than we could handle that day. Something big, I mean huge, started attacking our lines. They would hit like a big Tarpon, and take our line and shiner to boot. It turned out to be a very big mystery for the day, as we never found out what was hitting our lines. The big fish just kept hitting and soon we were out of bait and tackle. All in all, it was a wonderful fishing day, and a day we can always talk about the big one that got away.
Go fishing today, and if you are too busy toooo go fishing, you are just tooooooo busy.



by Tuner Sportfishing Charters

The appeal of deep sea fishing begins where the water has become a dark blue essence, where land is far out of sight. So far out of sight as to belong to the different era of a hearty breakfast ashore well before dawn. Out here the mightiest creatures may be the predator or the prey. Any emergency must be dealt with on the terms of the sea. Although the deep sea fisherman usually returns safely, with only a sunburn, this is nevertheless true adventure.

In North Florida, deep sea fishing belongs essentially to the Gulf Stream and to the wandering eddies and branches that flank it. Immediately along St. Augustine's shore, surf fisherman compete for redfish, pompano and whiting. Just beyond the near shore in waters forty to one hundred feet deep, there is excellent fishing for king and Spanish mackerel, small tuna, tarpon and the sociable barracuda. This fishing is within the capabilities of most boats and gives any number of people a pleasant taste of the sea. Yet the deep sea crew does not slow down in these waters. You plug in the coordinates to the "ledge" with St. Augustine lighthouse behind you and sunrise a glimmer on the horizon, the compass reads 100 degrees and the radio relays reports of other boats ahead and behind, all seemingly crewed by Daffy Duck. The first flying fish erupt from the swells. Porpoises scramble to ride the bow wave. A toy tanker appears on the rim of the world. Somewhere near the "ledge", the Stream waters reveal themselves quite clearly to the eye.

The first sight is a shock, looking into depths the color of blue topaz. The suspicion that this could be your day of days edges into consciousness. Here the engines are cut to a murmur. The leaders are clipped to lines, the outriggers swung out. The baits first skip in the water and then settle down in varying lengths from the stern. The reels are checked. Fishing begins.

Fish of the open sea are accustomed to taking prey that is moving fast itself. The trolling speed is sometimes set surprisingly high - large species of the mackerel family (Wahoo, King) can move through the water at better than thirty knots. Strikes can be spectacular. A 50 lb. dolphin will greyhound across the surface to take a bait, dive sixty feet and, visible all the time, rise like a Poseidon missile into a series of acrobatics.
Part of the magic of deep sea fishing is that it is carried out on the edge of the unimaginable. The trout fisherman, even the salmon fisherman, fishes with poetry and technique, but they fish within limits for there is only so much that will fit into a mountain stream. Not so in The Stream. A foot behind the bait, parting the water just twenty yards astern, may be the throat of a 500 lb. blue marlin or a mako shark. The beginning of a battle to last eight hours or more may be two seconds away at any moment the lines are in the water.

There is an unusual delight and remembrance of those sports whose imagery relates closely to home. St. Augustine, the nation's oldest settlement, remains a child of the sea. The air of Salt Run before dawn when every surface is as wet as after a thunderstorm, the sun rising from a fiery sea, the exciting dance of the lures, the ice cold beer as the Stream slips to the stern homeward bound, along with the outrageous camaraderie at the dock at Camachee Cove and the pan bread at Oscar's, are images equally of deep sea fishing and this area's life. They are impossible to improve upon. And sixty miles out, a meandering thunderstorm flickering far astern, with your line being ripped out by a marlin rising out of the sea like a flying boxcar, you will remember how it once was there in The Stream. When united by good and kind feelings, you and your friends captured your dreams.

Tuner Sportfishing Charters
(352) 284-0990


Cape Cod, Massachusetts: World-class Saltwater Fishing

 by Robert Strayton

Cape Cod, Massachusetts is an angler's dream-come-true. From Cape Cod Bay to the rips of Vineyard Sound to the beaches of the Outer Cape to the canyons offshore, Cape Cod is sure to deliver on great fishing adventures.

The Cape, like most saltwater fisheries is somewhat seasonal. Spring and Fall see migrations of huge "cow" striped bass along the coast. The "lazy days" of summer see great top-water action with marauding bluefish. As summer eases into fall the fishing opportunities explode in the fertile waters of the Cape. Powerful "cow" stripers emerge from the depths, tough toothy bluefish slash through the rips and bonito and false albacore boil the surface with their rocket attacks on sand eels, tinker mackerel and killie's.

Cape Cod Bay is alive with whales, stripers, bluefish and near-shore tuna. The last few years have seen huge schools of surface-feeding "football" bluefin tuna (60 - 150 lbs.), tackle-busting adolescents that can be caught with a variety of tackle and techniques. Also in "the Bay" are the "footballs" parents, huge powerful "giant Bluefin" that can exceed 1,000 lbs. The offshore canyons south of Cape Cod are rich with tuna, sharks, broadbill swordfish, white marlin, dolphin (mahi-mahi), blue marlin and wahoo. Perhaps what makes Cape Cod such a fabulous saltwater fishery is the accessibility of so many species, and the variety of tackle and techniques by which these fish can be caught. And for diversity, it is not uncommon to catch any and all of these species in one spot, on the same day!

Cape Cod provides angling opportunities for "trophy" hunters, but is also an ideal place for youngster's to make their first "catch." Fishing Cape Cod can be as simple and inexpensive as fishing for "snapper blues" with a reel-less bamboo "snapper" pole, and as expensive and exotic as an overnight canyon trip. All of the inshore species can be caught from public beaches, or other easily accessed areas, and can be caught on fly-fishing gear. Baits can range from live eels and pogies, to frozen squid, mackerel and herring, metal "spoons," soft-plastics to hard-body plugs and top-water poppers and sliders.

Cape Cod has many excellent guides and charter boats, and hundreds of tackle and bait shops that can help with tackle, bait and locations to fish. These folks know where the action is, what baits and techniques are working and are happy to share their knowledge to "put you on the fish."

A couple of points to note are that it is illegal to target striped bass is federal waters (beyond the 3-mile territorial limit) and a Federal Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit is required for sharks, tuna and billfish. The offshore charter boats will have an HMS permit that covers all of the anglers on the boat, but if you plan to head offshore in your own boat, be sure you and your boat are up to long trip out, and back. As always, check the weather forecast and make sure you have all of the required safety equipment and permits.


According to a press release from the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and on the heals of radical changes to the grouper fisheries in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico and an expected total closure of red snapper fishing, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has now closed Amberjack fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, effective October 24, 2009. 

According to the release, the science involved in this decision is sketchy at best. Commercial fishing interests are apparently not affected by this latest closure. The reason being stated is that the recreational harvest has reached its quota for the year. How that harvest is measured remains a mystery - I have never been stopped or asked about my catch in over 50 years of fishing. None of my captain friends have had their catches question. So - where does the NMFS get their catch numbers? Good question...



Four married guys go fishing. After an hour, the following conversation took place:

First guy: "You have no idea what I had to do to be able to come out fishing this weekend. I had to promise my wife that I will paint every room in the house next weekend.

Second guy: "That's nothing, I had to promise my wife that I'll build her a new deck for the pool.

Third guy: "Man, you both have it easy! I had to promise my wife that I'll remodel the kitchen for her."

They continue to fish when they realized the fourth guy has not said a word. So they asked him. "You haven't said anything about what you had to do to be able to come fishing this weekend. What's the deal?"

Fourth guy: "I just set my alarm for 5:30 AM. When it went off, I shut off the alarm, gave the wife a nudge and said, "Fishing or Sex" and she said, "Catch a big one!"



#20 - No matter how much whiskey you've had, you can still Fish.

#19 - A limp rod is still useful while Fishing.

#18 - You don't have to hide your Fishing magazines.

#17 - It is perfectly acceptable to pay a professional to Fish with
you once in a while.

#16 - The Ten Commandments don't say anything against Fishing.

#15 - If your partner takes pictures or videotapes of you Fishing,
you don't have to worry about them showing up on the Internet if you
become famous.

#14 - Your Fishing partner doesn't get upset about people you Fished
with long ago.

#13 - It's perfectly respectable to Fish with a total stranger.

#12 - When you see a really good Fishing person, you don't have to
feel guilty about imagining the two of you Fishing together.

#11 - If your regular Fishing partner isn't available, he/she won't
object if you Fish with someone else.

#10 - Nobody will ever tell you that you will go blind if you Fish
by yourself.

#9 - When dealing with a Fishing pro, you never have to wonder if
they are really an undercover cop.

#8 - You don't have to go to a sleazy shop in a seedy neighborhood
to buy Fishing stuff.

#7 - You can have a Fishing calendar on your wall at the office,
tell Fishing jokes, and invite coworkers to Fish with you without
getting sued for harassment.

#6 - There are no Fishing-transmitted diseases.

#5 - If you want to watch Fishing on television, you don't have to
subscribe to the Playboy channel.

#4 - Nobody expects you to Fish with the same partner for the rest
of your life.

#3 - Nobody expects you to give up Fishing if your partner loses
interest in it.

#2 - You don't have to be a newlywed to plan a vacation primarily to
enjoy your favorite activity.

#1 - Your Fishing partner will never say, "Not again?  We just
Fished last week!  Is Fishing all you ever think about?"


Average Water Temp: 80-83, Often 20 knots and rough, Occasional there are excellent days
Average Weather: Land Temperature 80-90. 
Water Clarity: Variable inshore, good offshore

Mahi Mahi in Fiji
The fickle winter weather conditions continued to frustrate with weeks of trade wind chop separated by perfect weather days and big fish numbers. Wahoo and sails have dominated with plenty of winter Yellowfin for added variety.

GT in Fiji
Warmer water currents moved through in August to quiet the Wahoo bite a little but with it came huge numbers of Mahi Mahi for excellent light tackle action. Most are small around 20lbs but some good bulls mixed in to 50lbs.

Yellowfin Tuna in Fiji
All in all, the winter Wahoo season didn't live up to early expectations, mostly because of unusually poor weather. The GTs however love nothing more than crashing barrier reefs breakers and the popper casting has been and continues to be absolutely outstanding.

Mahi Mahi in Fiji
October will see game boats start to move offshore and dust off the heavy tackle with and Blue Marlin and Yellowfin the main targets.

M-60 Black Marlin Record
Expect the usual by-catch of Mahi Mahi, Wahoo and the occasional Spearfish making a valiant attempt at eating an 18" Marlin lure.

Captain Adrian Watt,

Matava Resort Gamefishing 


World Record Wahoo Caught!

IGFA World Record Wahoo Catch Report:

What started out to be a very ordinary day of sportfishing in Cabo San Lucas, ended in an extraordinary way for 15-year-old Sara Hayward of Nacogdoches, Texas, and her family. The Haywards were on their third trip to Cabo San Lucas and were checking out the area alongside of the marina to see about chartering a boat. They came across a small booth were a gentleman named Gerry Martinez was trying to rent his boats called the Foca and Moby Dick. Father, Tim Hayward, took the lead, spoke with Gerry for a while, liked what he heard, and said he'd be back later after consulting with the family. "Yes!" They all wanted to go fishing!

"Yes," they would return and check out Gerry's operation. When they got back to the small booth, Martin Garcia, the representative for "Cooperativa Arco de Cabo San Lucas," the local sportfishing union, immediately suggested that the Haywards fish on the Pez Espada, and told them that since they got a good feeling about Gerry, he could captain the 28-foot Californian. They all agreed that sounded great and they would meet down at the dock at 6:30 a.m. the following morning, July 29, 2005. Of course things always change in the course of the night! The next morning, when Tim gently prodded his loving family to get up because it was time to go fishing, Laura, the mother, Samantha, the sister, and Patrick, the brother, were "stuck to their sheets"! "No, no, go," they responded. Only Sara seemed a little willing.

She said, "Dad, how long a day will this be?" Dad responded, "Let's just see what happens," and Sara said, "Okay, I'll go with you." They boarded the Pez Espada with Capt. Gerry at the wheel and Marcos Gonzalez as the deckhand. Gerry told them, "Trust me, I'm 67 years old and have been fishing these waters for a living since I was 18 years old. I know where to take you." He immediately headed toward the 95 spot. This spot is approximately 10 miles southeast of the arch. They hadn't even reached the 95 spot when they landed a few small yellowfin tunas! It was approximately 11:54 a.m. when they decided to head home and were approximately 5 miles from the arch of Cabo San Lucas. They were trolling several lures when all of a sudden the sweet sound of "hookup" rang out!

Sara immediately grabbed the Shakespeare rod with the Shimano 50 LRS and started to reel! The deckhand started moving quickly around the boat bringing in the other lines. Sara sat in the fighting chair and knew she had something much bigger than anything she had ever caught. Gerry thought it was a large yellowfin tuna at first. The fish fought and Sara was getting more exhausted and sunburnt by the minute. Dad kept encouraging her and saying, "You got him, you got him, just keep fighting!" Sara said she didn't seem to be making any headway, but Gerry knew he was coming! The fight had lasted 45 minutes when Sara noticed that the fish swam towards the boat and under. Gerry immediately repositioned the boat to keep her in front of the fish. She looked over her shoulder and could see him right next to the boat in the water and screamed, "He's big!" She had screamed at the same time that the deckhand and the captain were screaming.

The deckhand screamed for Gerry, "It's the biggest wahoo I have ever seen! Come down and help me!" Gerry jumped down from the fly bridge in what seemed to be an instant, and something no 67-year-old man should try at home, and grabbed the homemade gaff they carried on board the Pez Espada. This gaff is made from a single piece of wood which is about 3 to 4 inches in diameter, 70 inches long, rough in every single spot, painted the ugliest red you ever saw, and has a 16/0 7731 Mustad hook fixed at the end. Dad was just concentrating on staying out of the way. Finally, while the deckhand had a hold of the leader trying to steady the fish, Gerry made his way toward it with the gaff. He had to reach way over the side because the fish was at least 3 feet below the surface. He got him on the first throw and then screamed for everyone to help bring him on board. They all had to hoist him and couldn't believe their eyes. They knew that it was big, but now that it was actually in the boat with them, they were all in shock. Gerry immediately rushed to the VHF radio and started calling out that they were coming in the "the biggest wahoo anyone has ever seen!" They weren't far from Cabo. It seemed like only minutes and they were backing down to the city scale. Gerry gave Tim his cell phone and said, "You'd better call your wife and kids and tell them to get down here."

When Tim called Laura, they immediately headed down to the docks. There was a small crowd beginning to form but it very quickly became a big, big crowd. When Laura, Samantha and Patrick were in sight of the scale, they were shocked to see such a huge crowd of people. Meanwhile, all the boys that work the dock were telling Martin, you had better call "Minerva's." Martin got in touch with Minerva's Baja Tackle, and they immediately dispatched Luis Armando Martinez with a certified scale to weigh the fish. In the few minutes before Luis arrived with the scale, the dock boys hoisted him up and weighed him on the city scale anyway. The fish weighed out at 192 pounds! Knowing that this scale is old and has not been certified in a long while, several of the men at the dock continued to remind them that they needed a certifiable weight and to wait for "Minerva's" to arrive. Luis is a very experienced fisherman himself and said as soon as he saw the fish he knew it was bigger than the existing all-tackle IGFA world record, which is 156 pounds and holding since 1996. He said he never saw anything like it. His exact words were, "Find Minerva because this wahoo is bigger than the angler!" Sara only weighs 130 pounds! Luis enlisted the help of many of the local fishermen around there in hoisting the fish again, but this time on a certified scale. When he climbed the platform to see what the scale registered, everyone was silent when he shouted 184 pounds! Unbelievable! Everyone started congratulating Sara and she said she felt "so proud!"

Dad and mom felt the same way! Sara is 15 years old and attends Nacogdoches High School in Nacogdoches, Texas, which in itself is a feat if you can pronounce and spell it. She is a member of the high school band, plays on the high school volleyball team, and has lettered in track. Now she wanted to submit this catch for a world record to IGFA, the International Game Fish Association, so the family ran back to the hotel, showered, and headed to Minerva's Baja Tackle. I had just arrived at the store, and having heard what had transpired in my absence, was getting the IGFA Record Application form for Sara to fill out, when the Haywards and Martin arrived. I showed them the application and everyone began to gather the requirements for the application. I want to share with all the readers that this fish "had Sara's name on it."

Remember the story about the homemade gaff on the Pez Espada? Well, I want to tell you that the lure was a "Mean Joe Green" rigged with the oldest set of 10/0 tandem hooks I have ever seen, barely hanging together on monofilament leader that was chafed from one end to the other and worn thin at the loop. All of this was connected to a barrel swivel which was once black and now a shiny bronze. I still don't know how she managed to land this beast! Best wishes to Sara on her application to IGFA for that world record Wahoo!

Pictured above are 15 year old Sara Hayward and siblings, crowding around a Wahoo that Sara caught off Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico. The fish weighs a whopping 184 pounds. That's not just 30 pounds more than the record, that's 50 pounds more than she herself weighs. 


"Reeling in a Really Big Bass is Truly a THRILL Like No Other! And Now with Bill Dance's Complete Bass Fishing Course You'll learn Bill’s best Techniques that Have Earned him the national Bass Fishing Recognition he has had for Over 35 YEARS!"

Plus: "Every Thing You Learn Is

Methods that can help you earn Top Seats in Every Bass Tournament YOU'RE In or Just Amaze YOUR Buddies On Your Local Lake!

A Bill Dance Move That Will Make Big Bass Literally Attack Your Lure almost Every Time.

Know The ONLY Time Of Day Big Bass Are SEVEN Times More Likely To Strike?

What Lure Colors Improve YOUR Catch dramatically During Different Conditions?

How YOU Can See Where Bass Are Hiding Like YOU Have X-ray

"Knowledge is the only SECRET to Bill Dance’s Amazing Success and now you can pick his brain!”
The complete course contains...
12 complete DVDs so you can see every detail and...
12 audio CDs to listen to in your car and truck so you can learn on the move.
"Your Buddies Will Be Amazed By How Much More YOU Know and How Many More Bass You Catch!"

     Your course includes more than 20 hours of information in all. Unlike others that just give you only bits and pieces, Bill really explains and shows you his tried and true methods of bass fishing!

If You're Really Serious About Bass Fishing, the Bill Dance Complete Bass Fishing Course is Sure to Improve your Bassin’ Success.

Did a Light Just Come On In Your Head?

Hello Friends, 

Bill Dance here, and I know as well as anyone that a day of bass fishing without a nibble isn't just disappointing - it's down right embarrassing! Hey, you might feel helpless right now, but it’s probably not your fault!
The truth is, without really understanding bass instincts, water conditions, weather and baits , at times you're lucky if you catch anything at all. But now, my Complete Bass Fishing Course can help you fish like a PRO! 

Do you struggle with the following problems? ?
You Can Never Find The Big Bass.

You're Confused About What Bait To Use In Different Waters and Conditions.

You're Disappointed or Embarrassed When You Spend A Whole Day On The Lake And Come Back Empty Handed.

Your Friends Always Seem To Catch More and Larger Bass Than You.

You Don't Know How To Teach Your Children or Grandchildren How to be Better Anglers.

I'm Going To Help YOU!
Just Look at All You Get!

bill dance fishing course

bill dance fishing course

DVD Volume – 1

When it comes to bass fishing, few words could be more important than “structure.”
What does it mean? Simply put, “structure” is anything that makes the physical make-up of a lake’s smooth floor different.
This could be a depression, a creek channel, a rise, a point – anything different. Such places are important because they’re where bass often hold and use.

“All about Structure” features three informative chapters:

Chapter 1 - My Favorite Points
Chapter 2 - Magic of Open Water
Chapter 3 - Bill’s Favorite Structure

DVD Volume – 2

Discover various ways that Bill likes to fish differing configurations of what he often refers to as “America’s most versatile lures.” Whether its summer, fall, winter or spring . . . whether the water is shallow or deep, muddy or clear, cold or hot . . . there’s a spinnerbait that will produce.

“Popular Techniques for Spinnerbaits” features three great chapters on techniques that are sure to improve your bass fishing:

Chapter 1 – Waking Um’ Up
Chapter 2 – Bass Like Um’ Deep Too
and Chapter 3 – January through December

DVD Volume – 3

“A certain amount of expertise is required to be consistently successful when fishing the surface for bass.
Most experienced bass fisherman would agree, there’s nothing quite as exciting as seeing a big bass explode into a top water lure. But you’ll experience it far more often if you learn some techniques that Bill covers in the three chapters of this volume.

Chapter 1 – Like Father, Like Son
Chapter 2 – Spookin’ Bass
Chapter 3 – Buzz Dancin’

DVD Volume – 4

“Three Popular Soft Plastics Lessons,” contains great information, techniques, and tips on fishing three very popular soft plastics – the worm, the tube and the zellamander, or lizard.

The chapters are entitled....
Chapter 1 – There He Is!
Chapter 2 – Bass Fishing’s Toughest Times
Chapter 3 – Carolina is Finer

DVD Volume – 5

When it comes to covering a variety of water depths quickly, no fishing lure equals a crankbait, and there’s no telling how many bass are caught on them each year.

Contrary to what a lot of anglers think, there’s a lot more to fishing crankbaits than simply tying one on chunking. Depth, type of presentation, type of bait, color – the list goes on and on, and that’s what the three chapters on “Crankin’ Out Crank Bait Tips” is all about.

They are:
Chapter 1 – Skinny or Fat
Chapter 2 – Ten Crankbait Factors to Consider
and Chapter 3 – Rebirth of a Classic

DVD Volume – 6

“Fishing the Seasons” includes 4 information packed chapters to help improve your bassin’ success during summer, fall, winter and spring.

Chapter 1 – Winter Time Fun
Chapter 2 – Springtime- Ain’t it Great
Chapter 3 – Dog Days after Dark
and Chapter 4 – A Dependable Fall Pattern

DVD Volume – 7

Just as the name suggests, it includes 3 chapters with tips on fishing three of the toughest situations to be found in the sport.

The chapters are entitled....
Chapter 1 – Thank the Good Lord
Chapter 2 – Chilly Pond Tactics
and Chapter 3 – Craw Buggin’

DVD Volume – 8

“Fishing in the Salad” discusses the three primary types of weeds and grasses that bass fishermen will encounter - emergent, floating and submergent.

Bass use them all and each one needs to be fished somewhat differently.

“Fishing the Salad” features three informative chapters which are sure to up your success in this type of cover:

Chapter 1 – The Stuff Bass Like
Chapter 2 – Buggy Whippin’ a Bass in a Cattail
and Chapter 3 – Diggin’ Um’ Out

DVD Volume – 9

Many of today's “hot new techniques” for bass were spawned from methods used to catch other fresh & salt water species.
Some of them came from foreign waters to American waters, while others have simply been refined and receive a lot of publicity due to the fact they catch fish and lots of um!

This DVD contains 3 chapters on techniques that you’ll enjoy learning and putting to use.

Chapter 1 – Drop Shotting
Chapter 2 – We’re Going Swingin’
and Chapter 3 – It’s What You Can’t See

DVD Volume – 10

Bass that live in small waters are really no different than those in big impoundments. Their behavior is the same -- it's governed by the seasons, water clarity and temperature, and they relate to cover, open water, and even structure just like their relatives in the large reservoirs.

There’s a multitude of such areas available to most anglers and understanding their peculiarities can offer unique fishing opportunities.

The three chapters in “Fishing Small Waters are:
Chapter 1 – Big Lake Tactics for Petite Waters
Chapter 2 – Channel Bassin’ in the Wetlands
and Chapter 3 – Small Water Quiz

DVD Volume – 11

Thoroughly understanding some of these important things about bass is essential in any fisherman’s quest to outwit them.

Three informative chapters include:Chapter 1 – Did You Know?Chapter 2 – Whew! What’s that Smelland Chapter 3 – Got to See it to Eat it

DVD Volume – 12


Chapter 1 – Sharing with Others
Chapter 2 – I’d Like to Know
and Chapter 3 – Questions from Around the Country

IMPORTANT: Remember, Each DVD Comes with a sister AUDIO CD with Bill's Latest Knowledge on Each DVD's Title Subject!

I'll bet you've always been a big believer in PROOF, right? So here’s proof positive that my Complete Bass Fishing Course will work for you....I have been blessed to have accomplished the following in my fishing career:
Tournament Info:

23 National Bass Titles: Classic qualification 8 out of 9 years; 1969 Angler of the Year; 1974 Angler of the Year; 1977 Angler of the Year; 1978 Congressional National Water Safety Award (Past Recipients: Lloyd Bridges and Jacques Cousteau); 1986 National

Freshwater Hall of Fame and 2001 Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame

Favorite Lake: Pickwick Lake, TN – Biggest Fish: (Bass) 14 lbs. 1 oz

Books: Practical Black Bass Fishing; There He Is (The Art of Plastic Worm Fishing); Techniques on Bass Fishing; and Bass N’ Objects, Bill Dance on Crappie and Bill Dance on Largemouth Bass.

Magazines: most major outdoor magazines including: Sports Afield, Field And Stream, Bassmasters, Outdoor Life, etc.

Regional Newspaper: Mid-South Hunting and Fishing News

Television Career: “Bill Dance Outdoors” (BDO) has aired since 1968 with over 2000 shows in its history. Bill has produced over 20 educational videos on a variety of subjects. BDO currently airs four times per week on the Outdoor Life Network.

List of Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Blakemore, Blue Lizard Suncream, Chevrolet Truck Division, Fisher Marine Boats, Gamakatsu Hooks, Lindy Little Joe, Mercury Marine, Motorguide Trolling Motors, Motorola, Stren, Renosky Lures, Penzoil, Plano Molding Company, Pradco Lures, Heddon,Bomber, Excalibur, Riverside, Arbogast, Rebel, Cordell, ProCraft Boats, Progressive Insurance, and Zebco Corporation.

Promotional Work: Sea World, Rancho Shocks, Cypress Gardens, Champion Spark Plugs, “Catch a Dream”, Sara Lee, Kroger Food Chains, Tyson Foods, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Arthritis foundation, “Make a Wish”, Dreams Come True, Du Pont (Agri Division), Banquet Foods, Underwood Meats, Bryan Meats, Keebler Company, Children’s Museum, Ducks Unlimited, OLN (Outdoor Life Network), St. Jude Children’s Hospital, U.S. Forest Services, and Tennessee Department of Tourism.
"Here's just a little of what you'll learn in the first few lessons..."

How far do largemouth bass travel from home?

How and why does light affect the Largemouth Bass?

Do bass live in schools, or are they loners and why?

Do flavored lures really work?

What are the preferred spawning habits of Largemouth Bass?

What are the best food sources at different times?

Do bass that live in deep water have a different personality?

Can largemouth bass smell? You better find out!

How do the solar and lunar cycles change fishing conditions?

Can bass forecast the weather, days in advance?

Do largemouth bass really have high IQs?

How do the different colors of your lures affect Bass?

Can bass really see colors?

Can bass can tell the water temperature?

How does bass metabolism affect their habits?

What are the differences between structures and covers?

How you can benefit by using a lake map and depth finder?

There's lots, lots more...



Your Bill Dance Complete Bass Fishing Course is absolutely 100% GUARANTEED to INCREASE your Bassin’ Success in your FIRST YEAR or we'll refund your full purchase price! It's as simple as that. So what are you waiting on? Get Started Right Now!

Get Your Bill Dance Complete Bass Fishing Course Right Now!

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Best Wishes for a Big Bass Year,


P.S. How can you lose money?
You've got nothing to lose. Your completely protected by my 365-day guarantee. That’s right you have a full year to return the Bill Dance "Complete Bass Fishing Course " if it doesn’t work for YOU and get your FULL purchase price back.

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