Capt. Ethan Hamrick
Call or Text 727-242-1672

On Saturday morning, May 7th, my dad and I went on a fishing trip with some friends from our church. At around 6:30 a.m., we met Pastor Steve, his son Tyler, and Mr. Lloyd by the water, where Mr. Lloyd’s 27 foot center console boat was docked. After loading our gear into the boat, we headed out of the Palm Beach Inlet and into about 400 feet of water. That’s where we began trolling for Dolphin (Mahi). As Pastor Steve slowed the boat to a trolling speed, Tyler and I deployed four trolling rods at different distances out the back of the boat. Each was rigged with a frozen ballyhoo and a colored trolling skirt. I sent one of the ballyhoo out about 60 yards behind the boat and then locked the drag. Within less than five minutes of the ballyhoo being in the water, something nailed it, and the drag took off. However, not long after the strike, the fish dropped the bait. I quickly let out ten yards of line and hoped the fish would return to the bait. Sure enough, just a few seconds later the fish came back and drilled the ballyhoo again. I let the fish take line for about ten seconds, then tightened up on it and took the rod out of the rod holder. Everyone on the boat knew it was large, but we didn’t know what kind of fish it was until a monster sailfish leapt out of the water and shook its head. The fish took off and continued to jump like crazy. After roughly five minutes of working the rapidly leaping sailfish toward the boat, the fish swam down deep and pulled out a bunch of the line that I’d just gained on it. Pastor Steve bumped the boat into gear and I had to reel as fast as I could in order to keep the line tight on the sailfish. I didn’t want that hook coming loose. By the time I’d retrieved the slack line, I felt like I was about to pass out. I handed the rod to my dad for just a second, so I could catch my breath. Then I took the rod back and kept cranking on the sail. By now the fish was nearing the boat, but it still had a lot of fight left. So for the next five minutes it was a back and forth battle between me and the huge fish. I would gain line on the fish, and then it would dart back down again and take out the line I’d just retrieved. Finally, the fish tired and I was able to drag it beside the boat. When the sailfish was close enough, Tyler reached down and grabbed the fish’s long bill. The sail began to shake its head and thrash around, trying to escape Tyler’s grasp. It was a struggle, but Tyler held on tight, and he and Pastor Steve lifted the fish over the side of the boat. My dad snapped a bunch of pictures of Tyler, Pastor Steve, and I holding the sail, and then we sat the fish back in the water. After being revived from the long, hard fight the beautiful sailfish swam away quickly. We all gave each other high fives on the catch. This was my very first sailfish and I was really excited. Tyler and I set up our trolling spread again and we continued to fish, but that sail fish was the only thing that hit all morning. Even though there wasn’t much more action, we all had a great time and enjoyed a beautiful day on the water. I hope you can get out on the water soon. Until next time, keep your hooks wet!

My first Sailfish!
My first Sailfish!

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