Key West and Beyond...

East coast represent! Remember be vague on spots!

Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby dam » February 6th, 2019, 11:10 am

Look at the head on that thing!
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » February 6th, 2019, 11:46 am

dam wrote:oh fuck! That thing looks monstrous! Dude, sucks about the forum deleting your post. It could've been a timeout issue. If you have written up something long, make sure to copy it before submitting. But... if I have to take a guess, you probably shot it over the shoulder of your buddy again, right? :D


I copied it. But then I had to copy paste the image link so it erased the text copy. Fuck.

HEHE, you know it. I snake all the monsters, this ain't no team game!

I shot it out of a school of fish, at 7:14am, overcast and the sun hadn't passed the horizon yet. Could barely see them, just got a glow of the purple topside and dove. I shot him within 20 seconds of jumping in. When my float took off the guys shit, they hadn't even loaded their guns yet. They never saw the school of fish.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby dam » February 6th, 2019, 1:40 pm

Damn, early morning really is the name of the game when it comes to wahoo. Was the whole school that size?! That's incredible.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » February 6th, 2019, 7:01 pm

No. I swam right through a few normal sized fish to get to this one. Average fish here are 30-45#. A big fish is 60-65#. These 70 plus are really special for the keys.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » February 19th, 2019, 9:43 am

The most consistent wahoo season I've seen kept going. It could be that or we have just had a good combination of wind and clear water but the fish have been there every time. Every trip from Thanksgiving week until 2 days ago I have brought home at least one wahoo.

The weekend showed a favorable forecast again. We planned on going 2 of the 3 days of the long weekend which ended up being Saturday and Sunday. Day two I reserved for a few guys I just met, I'll explain more later, day one I took my usual buddies Trea and Garrett, Trea's buddy Chip was in town again. Chip has been with me a few times and is great fun on the boat and also good in the water.

We left the dock around 6:15 and were in the water right around 7:10am. Before the guys got dressed there was a double hookup right next to us. We got on the fish but it wasn't as instant as the last trip. We had our fish by 10:30 or so again and it shut off. G has been struggling the past few trips either not getting a shot or missing. He landed the first fish of the day and that was a relief for all of us because we knew it. Trea got a clone of G's, maybe a couple pounds heavier. I got in later and shot a small amberjack then at the end of the morning shot a solo 25# model that came in. I took my camera and every was patient and willing to get some photos underwater.

On Sunday I got the pleasure of taking the Commander and Sergeant Major of the Army Special Forces Dive Team here in Key West. I met Commander James Blackburn a few weeks back through a mutual friend. James has been trying to land a wahoo for 5 or 6 years he said. He was stationed here a few years, got moved then came back for command. Sunday was much calmer than expected and we ran out right around 6am. On the way to the spot I gave the best instruction I could on how to close the gap. I gave them some throw flashers and told them to act like they've shot 100 wahoo. The meaning, don't chase the fish like you haven't or will never see another again.

There isn't really a huge story to this except for there was fish seen deep early on and by other boats we had on the radio. The east current was perfect, you could see the bottom in 110'. Some time around 9:30am a school of 20 fish came in. SM Matt stuck his head up and told me about the school as James dove. Before he could surface the float ripped across the surface. :D

In about 10 minutes the fish was in James hand. He got in the boat and there was a happiness on this man that I'm sure will be stuck on him for quite some time.

James took his turn at the helm and I got in with Matt. There was more life than I've seen all year but over the next hour we didn't see any wahoo. I ended up shooting a 45# Amberjack for the smoker that kicked my ass. Big time fun on the Bar Stroll.

I'm pretty sure the season is over as the water temp has already reached 78* and that is from 73 2 weeks ago. So for those of you who look on here and hate me, you will likely have 8 months before I post another wahoo story.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby Bill McIntyre » February 19th, 2019, 2:58 pm

I don't want to wish you any bad luck, but if the season is over I won't cry. :)

When I got up this morning the air temp at my house was 39, the water is about 57, and it looks shit brown as far as I can see from the bluff. But we have another storm coming soon.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » February 20th, 2019, 5:50 am

Bill McIntyre wrote:I don't want to wish you any bad luck, but if the season is over I won't cry. :)

When I got up this morning the air temp at my house was 39, the water is about 57, and it looks shit brown as far as I can see from the bluff. But we have another storm coming soon.


:D

Sorry Bill. I get paid back by Hurricanes.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby dam » February 20th, 2019, 9:18 am

castronova wrote:
Bill McIntyre wrote:I don't want to wish you any bad luck, but if the season is over I won't cry. :)

When I got up this morning the air temp at my house was 39, the water is about 57, and it looks shit brown as far as I can see from the bluff. But we have another storm coming soon.


:D

Sorry Bill. I get paid back by Hurricanes.

I would take a few hurricanes a year if it meant I could absolutely KILL it in the winter, in warm and clear water. :D
It must've felt amazing to put these guys on fish, karma for days! With Wahoo season ending, what do you have to look forward to next? Oh, and great pictures as always!
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » February 20th, 2019, 9:32 am

dam wrote:
castronova wrote:
Bill McIntyre wrote:I don't want to wish you any bad luck, but if the season is over I won't cry. :)

When I got up this morning the air temp at my house was 39, the water is about 57, and it looks shit brown as far as I can see from the bluff. But we have another storm coming soon.


:D

Sorry Bill. I get paid back by Hurricanes.

I would take a few hurricanes a year if it meant I could absolutely KILL it in the winter, in warm and clear water. :D
It must've felt amazing to put these guys on fish, karma for days! With Wahoo season ending, what do you have to look forward to next? Oh, and great pictures as always!


The commander has text me a few times since, he's on top of the world! And I absolutely love putting people on their first wahoo. That has to be 15 or so cherries popped on my boat.

Honestly, March and April are the worst months here. I am finishing a roof in my backyard and just ordered the last and biggest 12 trees for my yard so it's perfect timing. If I need to get out I will go fish in Federal Gulf waters, 40 miles west, which is the only place Grouper is legal to keep. There is a chance I look for wahoo one more time but I doubt it. March and April usually have plenty wind. In May grouper and hogfish open back up in all jurisdictions so we get back at it.

And thank you on the pics.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby Jeff Bonisa » February 20th, 2019, 3:57 pm

Love checking this thread JP! Awesome stories. The pics are amazing.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » February 21st, 2019, 10:19 am

Jeff Bonisa wrote:Love checking this thread JP! Awesome stories. The pics are amazing.


Thank you Jeff. I'm glad you stop by and catch up. I hope all is well.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby Trace » March 18th, 2019, 5:05 pm

Amazing pictures JP! Crazy clear water...
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby va12 » May 21st, 2019, 4:50 am

Let me add kudos for those pictures. They're great. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » October 11th, 2019, 12:19 pm

Thanks again to everyone and sorry for the delay. It's wahoo season. Some of you may have seen my other thread about starting to charter for wahoo. I will keep away from double posting but this fish was mine. I'll update the other thread with charter related stuff only.

I usually go in October to start to look for wahoo. I'm usually the only one. Another boat figured it out this year and got quite a few fish. These guys charter and had free days. I, on the other hand, had to work. But the there was a Thursday weather window and my and my friend G could only go after work. So be it. Left the dock at 4pm, got in the water around 5:15pm.

After a uneventful drift we headed back to set up again. Half way back the sounder showed a school of obvious wahoo. Long skinny returns with good separation. G stopped the boat, I threw bait and jumped in. I broke up another herring and within 10 seconds a single nice wahoo came in.

After diving I realized my slip-tip had fell off. :angry-cussingblack: I stopped with this fish 10' in front of me, broadside, and just below. I put the tip on and held the spectra as I reached toward the fish and in one motion pushed forward, aimed, and shot. I can't believe it worked but I saw the shot come out the other side and tip toggle. Within 4 minutes or so we had the fish boated.

Wahoo season has begun.

We drifted another hour or so with tons of life including some big bull and hammerheads but no hoos. I got out as I wasn't feeling great and as soon as I coiled my bungee G dives. 2 wahoo came in and he shot the closest one. I watched him try to get to the buoy after the initial run and before he got to it the float plunged hard and quickly popped back up. He said three large Bulls grabbed the fish and finished him instantly. He pulled up the tail and about 10" luckily getting the tip back.

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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby dam » October 11th, 2019, 3:21 pm

castronova wrote:After diving I realized my slip-tip had fell off. :angry-cussingblack: I stopped with this fish 10' in front of me, broadside, and just below. I put the tip on and held the spectra as I reached toward the fish and in one motion pushed forward, aimed, and shot. I can't believe it worked but I saw the shot come out the other side and tip toggle. Within 4 minutes or so we had the fish boated.

Wahoo season has begun.


:bowrofl: holding the slip tip spectra by yourself is just too much :rofl:
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » October 12th, 2019, 5:39 pm

dam wrote:
castronova wrote:After diving I realized my slip-tip had fell off. :angry-cussingblack: I stopped with this fish 10' in front of me, broadside, and just below. I put the tip on and held the spectra as I reached toward the fish and in one motion pushed forward, aimed, and shot. I can't believe it worked but I saw the shot come out the other side and tip toggle. Within 4 minutes or so we had the fish boated.

Wahoo season has begun.


:bowrofl: holding the slip tip spectra by yourself is just too much :rofl:


I know. So ridiculous.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » October 28th, 2019, 12:22 pm

Limited time so I'll make this quick.

Got out with my good friend Rich and James Blackburn, Commander Army Special Forces Dive Team sector Key West. Planned a sunrise to noon trip. Took almost all of that time to find the fish and the school we got the fish off of was at least 60 deep. Nothing like being dragged by wahoo for 400 yards swimming with other wahoo the whole time. Fish went 38# and 44#. Had a single come in before the school that was over 60# easy. Couldn't get a shot.





Last edited by castronova on October 29th, 2019, 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby Andrew » October 30th, 2019, 12:46 pm

Living. The. Dream.

Thanks for sharing - beautiful photos.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby John Hughes » November 27th, 2019, 10:28 am

I'd like to get dragged through wahoo for 400 yards...……...great shots JP, thanks for sharing! I'm glad you're off to a good start this year.

and the slip tip story, that's some silliness! LOL
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » December 2nd, 2019, 5:58 am

Thanks guys!! :bowrofl:

I guess I'll just keep all my posts on this thread unless any suggest otherwise. I'm not doing enough charters for it to turn completely commercial and it is part of my story.

Nov. 25th

I took a good crew out last Monday the 25th to see if the fish had showed. The west current was still on the outside which is not ideal. I had a hunch and ran them west much further than normal. The vis was shot down there but we marked a lot more life. We jumped into the 35' green vis and there was a 50# wahoo sitting at the flasher as another swam away. Unfortunately they took a shot and missed. About 30 minutes later they had another shot but Justin was coming up from a deep dive and didn't have much air so he had to rush and missed again. We had the shots, just didn't connect.

Nov. 30 & Dec. 1

Alex and his gf Talia flew in from L.A. and their friend Pierre flew in from Detroit to meet them. The new moon had just passed. We looked close to home and couldn't find vis. I took them out west on Saturday and we found decent water, 40-50' of vis, but not the deep purple we like for wahoo. They stuck it out for most of the day but all radio reports were that everyone was struggling catching anything. The current switched to east for the first time in weeks. Everything was getting shakin up, and in the right direction but it just wasn't there yet. We hit the reef and they shot some yellow jacks for dinner. Some days are slow, they make for solid divers.

The next day we had more info from the charts and the day before. We went straight west and the hunch was accurate. The guys jumped in to 110' of vis, deep blue, perfect current. We hadn't heard of the big schools of fish yet but this could be the turn.

They were in the water by 7:10 am, at 7:30 Alex takes a dive and the float flies. A single fish came through and he got the strike. The hit was low and thankfully his dive buddy secured the catch with a head shot (the fish tore a little but the photo shows were he cut the whole belly out and gutted the fish).The fish weighed at 30#, gutted. The next hour or two were a little slow but around 10:30 another single shows. The fish circles back to the flashers and Pierre spines the 34# fish.

The conditions started to change offshore and these guys needed to get back to process fish and drive the Ft. Lauderdale to catch flights in the morning. After hitting the reef for a few we headed to the dock.

I can't say enough about divers who have a goal and stick it out, then get limited opportunities and execute perfectly. This is what it is all about.



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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby dam » December 5th, 2019, 2:21 pm

I like that shot of you hosing off the wahoo. Presentation is key! :rofl:
I also think you're spot on with this line: " Some days are slow, they make for solid divers."
Also by that logic, Bill must be the best diver we've ever seen on the account of how many slow days he's had! :D
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby Bill McIntyre » December 5th, 2019, 2:22 pm

We should have built a wall.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby dam » December 5th, 2019, 9:13 pm

Bill McIntyre wrote:We should have built a wall.

:arms:
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