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Sailfish caught off Sanibel

By Staff | May 16, 2013

Les Boyle holds the sailfish caught off Sanibel on May 11 for a quick photo just prior to releasing it.

It all started at 6 a.m. when I met fishing buddy Kevin Vertesch to go Tarpon fishing aboard his tower boat The Tight and Right (T&R).

We drove the boat to the causeway to get Threadfins and after much looking and throwing the net gave up and went 20 for 25 on pinfish. Then we tried a different spot and Kevin got a net full of threads and away we went to the tarpon hunting grounds.

We went out to 25 feet of water just off of Knapps Point and there were only about 22 boats by my count circled up on what probably was a pod of tarpon. We stayed back and observed for quite a while and didn’t see one Tarpon or any of the boats hook up.

Not liking a crowd we took off for other areas. After a pretty thorough search Kevin says to me, “Well you’re not going to like this, but why don’t we go offshore and try to get some grouper and come back later when the tide is better. The tarpon may be showing then.”

Reluctantly, I agreed and away we went to some nameless waypoint on the T&R’s GPS. Bear in mind all we had was tarpon tackle. We found the spot and did several drifts and only caught one small red Grouper.

Kevin had some more spots to try and when we got to the spot we found a nice hump, but nothing spectacular on the sonar. On our first drift we both hooked up on king mackerel and both got cut off. We retied, did another drift and the same thing happened. Luckily we had some wire leader on board, retied and on the next drift we got a double on kings.

One more drift netted another king, and a few Spanish mackerel. Several more drifts and we didn’t get any more hits. Thinking it might be because of the wire leaders I changed to 80-pound leader and got a few more king hookups.

Then it happened. I got a hit on a live threadfin using a light tarpon spinning rod when a nice sailfish hit my bait.

Of course, I thought it was another king and then it jumped and I said, “Kevin it’s a (expletive) sailfish!”

He said, “It is a (expletive) sailfish!”

I was able to get it to the boat and we got pictures. My first ever sailfish, off the coast of Sanibel, which is a very rare occurrence.

To say the least I was thrilled, I was even more thrilled that Kevin, a computer midget, was able to capture some nice photos. We estimated this fish to be about 60 pounds. It was gorgeous, the beautiful iridescent sail and gold body shimmered in the sunlight. We released the fish and it swam off nicely.

I guess I owe it to Kevin for suggesting that we go offshore. We also have some nice kings to smoke. In addition we caught a bonita, a bar jack and saw some cobia and amberjack.

It was one of those great days on the water.