Capt. Jason Stock doesn’t mind the strong east wind that has been relentless for weeks. To him, windy days mean fish will be biting.
“Pelagic fishing is so much better when it’s rough,” Stock said about species that live neither near the bottom nor close to shore. “They want it all stirred up. A lot of days when it’s flat calm the fishing doesn’t get crazy.”
As he prepared to head out Thursday with Luther Sasser, Stock made a proclamation over breakfast.
“I said, ‘we’re going to catch a sailfish today.’ They love that rough windy stuff. The east wind pushes them closer to shore, and they congregate on the bait. Now is the time for west coast sails, and they are usually big”
Following breakfast the duo ventured about 4 miles west of Anna Maria Island. Stock set out a spread of baits to slow troll around bait pods that have been producing kingfish and mackerel the past few weeks. A rod with a white bait was hit and the fight was on. Stock’s breakfast prediction came true.
“We didn’t see the sailfish bite and it made a couple runs, almost spooling the reel twice. It stayed down for a while and then came up and did a tail walk for about 100 yards. Amazing stuff,” Stock said.
“It was about 80 to 100 pounds. At some point during the fight, the hook came out of it’s mouth and ended up in it’s back.”
The large Shimano Spheros spinning reel held enough line, and the big sailfish was coaxed to the boat, enabling Stock to get a few pictures before reviving it.
“It could barely fit in the back of my boat from tip to tail, about 8 1/2 feet,” Stock said. “With just the two of us, it was tough to get a good picture, and we wanted to let it go. It was an awesome moment we don’t always see on this coast.”
Stock said the sailfish bite is possible right now with the amount of bait around. He prefers to use sabiki bait from the schools offshore because he considers ‘premium’ bait important. Blue runners, cigar minnows, threadfin and other larger bait are the best bet for kingfish, cobia, sailfish and other pelagics.
After the sailfish, the duo went back to slow trolling, and the kingfish bite was hot.
“We had them chummed up and they were skyrocketing and blasting baits right behind the boat. It’s a great time to be fishing nearshore.”
With the strong east wind, fishing near the beaches is very doable, but caution should be taken before running farther offshore. Look for birds: Bait and gamefish will not be far away.
Capt. Jason Stock can be reached at 727-459-5899.
Source: U.S. Naval Observatory data