Group: Super Administrators
Joined: Jan. 2004
||Posted: Nov. 10 2007,16:17
Well after shooting my mouth off, a report is in order...
Met Willie at 6:45 am, and he was ready. For his motorboating needs Willie favors his Carolina Skiff (17') powered by a nice Yamaha 70. It's not kind of craft you'd expect to see offshore, but Willie has the expertise to make it work well for him. Its flat bottomed cockpit and raised flat forward section makes for the maximum use of space rail to rail, end to end.
Willie carried ten rods this day. Couple med weight rigs and a net to catch bait. Two heavier rigs featuring Shimano 6500 Baitrunners, and a heavy rig with an older Penn International rigged with 30 lb. Willie makes up his own terminal rigs consisting of about 8 feet of 100 lb mono, ending with a flexible woven wire leader with two single semi-circle hooks - one to hook the ballyhoo and the second as a short stinger. He built his own rounded corner livebait well with circulating seawater.
First stop: off the Pompano pier to catch live ballyhoo. This was accomplished with the lighter rigs strung with 8 lb test (no leader), wine corks (Willie likes the way they cast and retrieve), followed by about 4 ft of line and terminating in a tiny J-hook. He cuts squid into tiny 3/4 inch long strips. The technique is to anchor - create a small slick of fish oil to draw the ballyhoo, and followed by a frequent handful of Quaker Oats flakes to keep em around. The ballyhoo will continually draw closer to the boat.
His hoo catching technique is as follows (using the squid shreds). Cast downwind/current maybe 30 feet or less. Retrieve the cork very slowly, just enough to keep the squid moving and wiggling. When you feel a series of taps/tugs, give it a "one thousand one" and then a light set and reel in constantly to bring the hoo close. When about 8 feet of line remains, lift and swing the hoo into the boat (this minimizes the common last second loss of bait). Into the well.
We quickly caught about 19 baits of varying sizes and left for deep water (maybe 160 feet) directly off the inlet to join a bunch of circling charters and monitoring a certain channel.
The hoo were hooked with the top hook through the mouth and down and out the gill slit and held with maybe 10 wraps of copper wire around the beak. The stinger hung down maybe 8 inches or so. Three baits were let out. One back about 70 feet shallow (left), one about 40 or 50 deep and deeper (using a sinker, center) and one back about 50 feet shallow. This setup allows Willie to very slow troll without crossing lines.
Reels are kept in very light drag, click position. Following a strike, the reel is free spooled (or bail released) so the bait will drop back. The sail will return, grab the bait, and move off. As line peels, the bail or lever is thrown, reel up tight and the boat is accelerated to set the hook. The angler can assist by driving home the hook.
So there we were, three baits out, maybe 8:30 am when I heard a drag go off. Willie instantly dropped the bait back. When line started flying off the reel, he engaged, reeled tight and handed the rod to me while jamming the pedal to the metal. The force of a large sail was substantial and I had to brace well to stay on the boat while Willie accelerated.
The sail was on for perhaps 20 seconds - then - gone. Fast, furious and a final silence. Whew! What a start to the day. Sadly, the rest of the day was minimally productive with a number hits but no hookups.
All told we were on the water for eight hours as part of the fleet and enjoyed the day. Saw a large sea turtle, and were passed by large pod of porpoises on the feed. Beautiful!
Note: Kayak Willie's technique is covered in detail at the link in the opening post. This interview is well worth your read...
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