Our trip out to the weather buoy was uneventful, and with mostly very light winds, we motored most of the way arriving midmorning. The weather was perfect for the kind of sighing we wanted to do, calm winds and nearly flat seas.
The buoy itself is not a dramatic sight, about 10 feet across and about the same high, it is nothing more than a framework to hold the various weather instruments and communication gear needed to report on the current weather conditions at this distant offshore location. But there were fish in evidence right away and schools of small tuna broke the surface feeding.
We started by trolling our lures in a circle around the buoy and were rewarded with a small yellowfin tuna, about 8 pounds. We quickly scoped out where most of the fish were holding (about 100 to 200 feet deep, and on the upcurrent side of the buoy).
We set up a drift and dropped one of the long, thin speed jigs down to the depth the fish were holding. It wasn’t long before we had another tuna in the boat, this time a black fin. It was about the same size as the first, but was not “small”, instead rather typical for this species of tuna off the Florida coast.
By now the sun is high in the sky, and the fish have gone deeper, and are less interested in food. It’s a couple of hours before we can tempt the next bite, but this one is a significantly larger fish, another yellowfin, but this time over 20 lbs. Still small for a species that can grow to over 10 times this size, but a lot of fresh ahi for our freezer!
When dark came we hove-to and drifted slowly. The fish scattered, no longer easily found on the sonar. We took turns on watch listening to the pod of pilot whales blowing, sometimes in the distance, sometimes disconcertingly close by in the dark. The wind picked up in the small hours of the morning, making fishing difficult, but sailing fast. We unfurled our sails and pointed the boat south.
At mid morning, we are sailing fast, in winds better for us than the forecast. Ten to fifteen knot, and although we are close hauled, we are going in the direction we want to go, and the seas are calm, and the boat is sailing fast and happy. We should be making Fort Lauderdale in 36 to 48 hours.