The billfish bite kept us on our toes. At the beginning of the year, we experienced good numbers of Marlin and Sailfish raised each day, but the fish were very lethargic in the spread and anglers found it tough to convert a raised billfish into a release. The baitfish could be found feeding on the surface in huge shoals and the Dorado continued to be in swarms offshore to the delight of some and nuisance of many as they stole the Marlin bait. However, the Dorado put up one hell of a scrap especially for those targeting them on spinning gear with poppers.
The northerly winds came through strong which is the sign of the imminent arrival of Black Marlin. The northerly winds go opposite the current and create waves that are a little steeper and less consistent. They also bring the cloudless blue skies of summer. The water temperature hung steady at around 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind was light in the mornings picking up by the afternoons.
Bruce Welsh and Patrick Zukowski are some of the most fun anglers you have ever met. Coming all the way to the lodge from the frozen tundra of Canada. It makes sense why they are full of smiles and jokes when they touch down in the land of easy smiles, palm trees, and rum. All jokes aside, Snowball (Bruce) and Pat are always a hoot and this season was no different. Fishing on Canada with Capt. Lorenzo, they had some great fish coming up in the spread and managed to convert a few of those into some incredible Black Marlin action. They also released a few Sailfish and got close to 50 Mahi with most of them being over the 30 lb mark and more than a few of over 50 lb.
Luis Romero and his brother, Juan Carlos Cuglievan, come each year with the same group of gentlemen from Peru. The guys fish a three-boat fleet fishing on Miss Hawaii, Miss Alaska, and Pollyanna. The also hosted a small tournament with fellow anglers. Fishing gets very competitive with these gents. Over the years the group has caught pretty much everything that swims in our waters so they thoroughly enjoy relaxing, stories of big fish, teasing each other, and good wine almost as much as winning. This year we included the entire Lodge in the tournament to make it a bit more interesting. Capt. Gustavo on Hawaii took the win! Onboard were the tournament winners, Alonso Rey Bustamante and Juan Carlos. They had some amazing fishing over the week releasing four Blue Marlin from the six raised and. They also released 5 Sailfish and brought back 20 Dorado for dinner. They raised a few Black Marlin, but unfortunately, they’ll have to wait until next year for their shot at Her Majesty.
Joe and Nancy Frazer from Corpus Christi, Texas love to fish and have a lot of history with Tropic Star Lodge. In addition to being regular faces, Miss America, formerly Bottom Dollar, was their personal boat. The Frazer family had a lot of firsts and good memories on Miss America and the great luck on the boat continued into this week. With Captain Luis as their captain, they had a fantastic week. The couple released two Black Marlin and a Blue Marlin. The also released Sailfish and brought back loads of Dorado. Joe also won the “Gentleman Award” because, as you know, gentlemen always stand up when a lady takes a seat. So, when the couple doubled up on Yellowfin Tuna both over 200 lb, Joe fought his on stand up until Nancy released hers.
Yevgeny and Aaron Litvak joined us from New York. This father-son fishing team loves fishing together and their goal is to catch a Marlin. They have had this goal for some time now and have tried to get a Marlin in quite a few different fisheries. The guys had some tough fishing with some close calls. The fish gods teased them quite a bit, however, fellow anglers were on the dock each morning giving best wishes and luck. It wasn’t until the last hour of the last day that Aaron released a beautiful Marlin. There were cheers at the dock for his achievement from all the other anglers. That moment proved again why this sport is so incredible.
The first week of the new year was fantastic with so many friends and family visiting us at the same time. I felt like I was actually at a family reunion and from the laughter and banter. I am sure I was not the only one feeling that way. The fishing was tough but rewarding and the atmosphere was second to none. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the first few days of the decade!
Tight lines and fair seas,
Capt. Richard White