Hit or Miss

It may have been the shifting moon phase, a more concentrated effort or simply the cosmic tumblers aligning. Whatever the case, the action was definitely more upbeat on the second day of the 38th annual Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament. But like fishing of any sort, boats had to be in the right spot at the right time. Mama C was spot on.

“All our fish today were singles on dink ballyhoo on white marlin poles,” Capt. Rob Mahoney explained while servicing the engines of the 60 Bayliss Mama C, owned by Chris Perry. “We caught the single blue, saw a few more and then caught the white. We were up at the Northern Fence with some other boats, but when they all left we stuck around since we were marking fish. The water conditions looked good and once it finally fizzled out we picked up, ran and met up with the fleet. We caught our final blue marlin right at the end of the day.

“Yesterday was painful,” Mahoney added. “We only saw one fish and didn’t get a bite. It’s still slow, but all it takes is a couple. The extra points for blue marlin (verified by video) makes it interesting.”

Wrapped Up, a 61 Spencer from Palm Beach, Florida, made the most of its opportunities on Wednesday. “We had three bites and caught them all,” said mate Kip Edwards. “It was a lot better than Tuesday. We got lucky.” Wrapped Up was fishing north around several other boats, pulling naked ballyhoo, two teaser and two dredge rigs. Edwards said the water clarity was a decent mix of green and the more desired blue.

Shenandoah, another 61 Spencer, padded the points with a three-fish day. The boat was flying three white marlin release flags from the halyards.

“All our fish today were singles,” said mate Calib Michelini. “Two were caught on naked ballyhoo and the other ate a plug.” Shenandoah is taking its mandatory lay day on Thursday and wrapping up the week by fishing Friday. Friday the 13th.

When asked if they planned to tempt fate by competing on such a suspicious date, Michelini said he had forgotten the calendar.

“I didn’t realize it was the 13th.” he said. “I wanted to fish again tomorrow, but my vote doesn’t count.”

A handful of tuna were weighed in Wednesday. Under the new game fish prize structure, even boats that don’t win the daily prize of heaviest fish (tuna, wahoo and dolphin) can still win nice prize packages of food and beverages. So that has prompted a steady stream to the weigh scales each night behind the pavilion. 

So the standings have changed slightly after two days of competition. A few boats have added to their tallies while others are still looking to get on the leaderboard. Regardless, this is the Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament, with two fishing days left. And the cards historically have shown a lot more doubles, triples and home runs than strike outs among this level of talent. It’s only the seventh inning.