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Capt. Brant's Fishing Report

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"Today's Report" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 04/02/10
 

OIFC boats were out in full force today.  Boats did a combination of trolling and vertical jigging.  We fished the MacMarle'n ledge area and south.  The jigging was very good for a variety:  jacks, cobia, grouper, shark....  Trolling was decent, seemed best further south of the MacMarle'n where water jumped to 72 degrees and was blue.  The trolling bite seemed best early AM as well, but bites were coming throughout the day- definintely more activity than we've been seeing.  I believe the action was similar up toward the 100/400 and BlackJack.  Ocean is absolutely flat as a pancake, great days ahead to go fishing.  Good luck.

Just weighed an 80# Wahoo from MacMarle'n ledge and talked to another boat that had a 50# and 60# from just south of there.


- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"End of the day" | OIFC 2- 27' | 04/01/10
 

The "It Works", Captained by Rube McMullan, who was joined by Capt. Chris Eckert and Captain Steele Park headed off shore towards the Black Jack.  They couldn't find warm water so they elected to bottom fish.  Rube said the Roscoe Jig was the hot lure.  The crew brought home AJ's, Sea Bass, Black Fin and Snapper.  Several Grouper were caught and released.  Steele will have a more in depth report later.

Captain Jeff B and I will be joining the rest of the OIFC fleet tomorrow. The temp. shot will determine our plan of attack.


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Afternoon Sea Bass" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 04/01/10
 

This afternoon I was privileged to have Jake and Charlie Barnhart, along with their parents, for an afternoon trip to "just catch fish" as Jake stated as we departed. We were met with calm seas and after a 20 minute ride we put our first baits in the water. Jake and Charlie both were excited about the possibility of catching a shark. Almost immediately, both were hooked up on a spiny dog fish. We caught sharks for about 30 minutes before moving out a little further. We fished around the AR 455 and caught several sea bass and some more sharks. Jake and Charlie both wanting a break, we decided to move out a little further and try our luck. We marked some good bottom in 50-52 feet and dropped our lines. At times everyone was hooked up and we caught several nice keeper size sea bass. We finished the day with a lot of fish caught and two very tired but happy fishermen. Just a note, both Jake and Charlie wanted to release all of their catch so that others may enjoy catching them. These two young men are certainly on their way to becoming great fishermen.
- Capt. Chris Dew
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"Conditions" | OIFC 1- 36' | 04/01/10
 

As of 8:08 am it appears the water temps are low 70's at or near the Steeples.   The Blackjack is uuper 60's. Live report is flat seas at the Atlantic Ledge.  Further later.
- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Good water moving in" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/31/10
 

Right on cue with winds laying out, much better water is moving in over the Black Jack/Steeples/100-400. Appears to be a 4 degree break just offshore of the Black Jack up to 73 degrees. Game on starting tomorrow so stand by for the kickoff of the spring gulf stream season. Our game plan is to deep jig, but we'll have a full aresenal of weapons with us in case the yellowfin show up.

Anyone planning to go this weekend and if you haven't had chance to get your gear in order, we have good selection of trolling rigs already put together. All you need is a rod reel and ballyhoo.

Opps; update on satalite. Warm water we were watching moved off instead of in. 68degrees at Black Jack. Works out perfect because we wanted to concentrate on deep jigging and not be worried about trolling. We're rigged and ready. "It Works"[also now known as "Whipper Snapper Whooper"] heading out in morning. 


- Rube McMullan
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"Check out the forecast" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/30/10
 

Hope everyone inland is looking at the forecast we have going this weekend. Basically starting Thursday it's slight and lite[1-3' seas]; looks perfect. April is the kickoff for our gulf stream fishing and amazingly the weather man is co-operating. Come on down and join with us. We will be on the water everyday starting Thursday. We'll look at the satalite and see how the water looks tomorrow, but hopefully with the strong southeasterly winds of last few days, warm water may have moved in, and with the warm water should be the TUNA TUNA TUNA. If the warm water doesn't move in, next option will be deep water jigging which is guaranteed to produce some sort of rod bends. Come on down!
- Rube McMullan
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"Capt. Jacob Frick" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/29/10
 

You've seen Captain Jacob on the Fishing Report several times following following his trout and red drum trips.   Captain Jacob is now the newest employee of the OIFC.  He brings with him a vast background in fishing and tackle and a wealth of knowledge especially in the in shore game.  Combined with Captain Steele's off shore prowess the OIFC should continue to be THE PREMIRE fishing center in this area.

 If you get the opportunity, stop by and meet Capt. Jacob.


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Fishing innovation" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/29/10
 

For those who attended the seminars at OIFC this past Saturday, it was obvious where the primary interest subject was....deep water jigging. For the many years I have fished the gulf stream pulling baits, hopes were to catch tuna/dolphin/wahoo/billfish and go home a hero. Unfortunately, on occasion it wouldn't happen and the result of a long ride home was to be a zero. Roll forward to 2010 and now there is a BIG game changer; deep water vertical jigging. This is a big innovation to our fishing world, right up there with the advent of live bait slow trolling for King Mackeral back in the 1970's. Vertical jigging will prove to be that dramatic in terms of fishing innovation. 

I recall on many occasions doing laps around the Black Jack/Steeples/ect, looking at the fish marks on my bottom recorder in the water column and on the bottom. The water was so deep either we didn't really think about dropping to them, or it was not hardly possible to do so with the depth and current. Thats all changed with the introduction of braid line which has a very thin diameter and sinks like a rock compared to mono. Heavy jigs have been developed[taking lessons from the Japanese fishermen who apparently have been doing this for years]. Super stout rods and reels are now avaialbe that can handle monster fish fighting with 30lbs of drag. The end result is you can get a lure down to the fish throughout the water column on to the bottom, and the results have been amazing. Everything from grouper/snapper/cobia/aj's/tuna/wahoo/dolphin are being caught. The fish are there, it's just a matter of getting a bait in front of them. That is what we've been missing with our top water trolling.

The weather starting Thursday looks great, and we will be heading out to experiment with this deep water jigging. Hopefully we can perfect techniques that we can bring back and share with you fishermen. Standby for updates.


- Rube McMullan
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"Grouper Season" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/28/10
 

As late as today people are confused about when we can legally fish for grouper.  Check this link.  I THINK it is up-to-date.  If you have any doubts contact the N.C. Div. of Marine Fisheries, don't go to the bank on my word..
- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Inshore Report" | Speckulator - 22' | 03/28/10
 

Well folks, I can safely say that things are beginning to come around on the inshore scene.  The warmer temperatures recently have warmed the water and has certainly made the inshore critters more active.  I fished Friday and we found a decent refsih bite before the west wind and falloin tide dried everything up.  There have also been a few trout hanging around as well, and it will soon be the time when the true gator trout make an appearance.  It looks windy the next couple of days, but the weather is suppposed to turn beautiful by the end of the week, so I sure the fishing will continue to improve as well.


- Capt. Kyle Hughes
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"Spring Kick Off A Success" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 03/28/10
 

The OIFC was abuzz with old and new friends alike making it out of hibernation to enjoy the fellowship, seminars, great buys and beautiful weather.  All of us learned about the new techniques and the latest tackle for vertical jigging as presented by Capt. Ric Croson, the most advanced real time water temperature shots by Tom Hilton of Hilton's Realtime- Navigator.com, bait rigging and other topics by the OIFC Staff.  A LOT of fishermen took advantage of the line spooling specials we had going on and saved a ton of money. Captain Brant had 5% off  all fishing tackle throughout the day.

We all enjoyed seeing folks we haven't seen this winter and look forward to having you around the OIFC this fishing season.  We hope you enjoyed yourselves, picked up a little knowledge and got what you needed to get started this year.  See you at the OIFC and on the water.


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/26/10
 


- Capt. Amy McMullan
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"Weekly Report" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/26/10
 

Captain Jacob Frick reports that he's toughed out the windy conditions in order to catch 8 trout and 4 reds the last few days.  He's in hopes the weather will be better as this low pressure makes its way out of here. Jacob had his best luck in the mud flats and up the Shallotte River. Late morning and around noon seem to be the best times to fish.

The wind off shore will not be letting up this weekend.  Saturday looks like it is shaping up to be the best day to be outside.  Try your hand at some inshore fishing.  We've got plenty of artificial bait and Sterling just delivered some fresh and active mud minnows.  Whether you'r wettin' a hook or not, stop by and check out the Spring Kick Off.  Sign up for the Rodeo also, the pot is over $200.  The G'Mack will be open, grab some lunch while you're here.


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"PANAMA- For the Record" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 03/25/10
 

If you've been following Barrett's reports, you've read of a dispute that was filed on day 2 concerning catch and point totals.  It most revolved around Rube's report of multiple 100# Yellowfin- see his picture in the report.  Here is the picture of the fish that I caught- I believe we need a recount!

Did something I haven't done before.  After fighting the fish to within sight of the boat, I dawned dive gear and camera and jumped overboard.  It was cool to watch the fish.  They hardly kick their tail to take line.  Check out a few of the shots I got.


- Capt. Amy McMullan
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"" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/25/10
 


- Capt. Barrett McMullan
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"More Pics from Panama" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/25/10
 

A few more pics
- Capt. Barrett McMullan
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"Spring Kick Off" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/25/10
 

The OIFC Spring Kick Off begins Saturday at 10 am.  The on shore weather is going to be beautiful with sunshine and an 8 on the uv scale.   The off shore weather forcast is WIND...what's new. Come visit us, get new line on your reels, check out some of the great buys and enter the OIFC Rodeo.  The Rodeo is up to $290 !

See you here!

 

 


- Capt. Rickey Beck
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"Panama Cont'" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/24/10
 

On the third day of fishing we awoke to cooler temperatures and a slight breeze.  On the way to breakfast Ken Hill made an observation that the cows which grazed about 100 yards from the lodge were all laying down this morning.  This meant the fish weren't going to feed today. 

Everyone loaded up the gear after breakfast and headed for the boats.  Today the Sea Fox which had been having some mechanical issues was replaced with a 31' Fountain.  Aboard the Fountain was Rube, Brian and Stacy; the crew on Chi Chi's 27 Contender was Brant, Tom and Blair; the Sea Moose had Stephanie, Kennan and I; and on the other 27 Contender with Chu Chi was Mike, Mark and Ken. 

Ken was dead on with his prediction.  The fish were not feeding today.  After yesterdays onslaught we all had high hopes but it was not to be.  The porpoise that signaled the tuna were still in the area but spread out.  Captain Bartolo on the Sea Moose believed the tuna were still around but were spread out and down deep trying to get the bait together.  After I threw the poppers until I couldn't pick up my arms we switched tactics aboard the Sea Moose.  We trolled bonita belly on circle hooks behind teasers at 5 knots trying to raise a sailfish.  This technique worked almost immediately as the first sail came into investigate.  Over the 1st hour of this style of fishing we raised 4 sails but were unable to connect on any of them.  The rest of the day was quiet as we trolled and followed the porpoise schools.  The fish just weren't feeding.  It was the same story on the other boats, a few near misses but overall nothing.  The exception was Capt Chu Chi's crew of Mike, Mark and Ken who salvaged the day with some bottom fish and a surprise sailfish while bottom fishing. 

Back at the lodge despite the poor fishing, we still had fresh fish dinner and the fountain of youth continued to work miracles so everyone was in good spirits.  Tomorrow will be the last day of fishing on this adventure and because we have a long bus ride back to Panama City tomorrow as well the fishing day will be cut short.  We will focus on bottom fishing the nearby islands. 

As for the results of the competition of today, Capt Chu Chi and the crew of Mike, Mark and Ken took the title on the double or nothing day by accumulating 5 points with 2 Cubera Snapper, a Mullet Snapper and a Sailfish around 100lbs.  The other 3 boats had the goose egg. 

Day 4

The last day of fishing started like the one's before it with a great breakfast overlooking the Pacific.  For this shortened day the boat assignments were Ken, Kennan and Blair on the Fountain; Brian, Stacy and Tom on Chi Chi's Contender; Mike, Mark and Brant on the Sea Moose; and Stephanie, Rube and I on Chu Chi's Contender.  All Captains headed off to their secret bottom fishing holes and on the way tried to collect fresh bait.  The bottom fishing bait of choice is either a live blue runner or chunks of bonita meat.  We fish over underwater rock structures in close proximity to any of the mountainous islands.  Rube, Stephanie and I did battle with a few monster Cubera snapper before switiching tactics to top water poppers looking for a rooster.  We caught a variety of species and Stephanie landed a monster cubera by the day's end.  I didn't get an exact tally but the crew of Brian, Stacy, and Tom with Capt Chi Chi who were fishing near Coiba island dominated the day with numerous cubera and a variety of other bottom dwellers.  Everyone caught fish on this day but with a long bus ride ahead we called it a day around noon and headed back to the hill.

At the lodge we had one more group meal together in the open air dining before we said our goodbye's to Eddi, and the staff.  The bus was ready and this time Earnhardt wasn't driving so the trip took close to 7 hours across the Panamanian countryside.  On the way to Panama City, Blair Bordeaux who was also our interpreter decided he needed one last adventure.  So about halfway to Panama City he had the driver drop him off and he was going on walkabout for a couple days until his flight was scheduled.  Blair is a brave soul taking off on an adventure like that.  Fortunately we did hear from Blair a couple days later that everything worked out great and he made it back to Panama City for his flight. 

Everyone else was exhausted but excited to see Panama City.  Once checked into our hotel we all ventured out to the Veneto casino in downtown Panama City and took in the sights and sounds of a booming third world metropolis. Believe me there are plenty of sights at this place.  We had a late night private room dinner together where we reflected on the trip and told lies about who caught what. 

The next morning some of the crew stumbled out of the casino and into a taxi for the airport while others had later flights.  The trip had now concluded. 

Looking back this was one of the more enjoyable fishing adventures I have experienced.  I can't say enough about the quality and attention to detail of the Paradise Fishing Lodge. The fishing was not exactly what we hoped for, but the accomodations, the staff, and boat crews were all top notch.  I did hear from the lodge operator yesterday who told me the tuna showed up big time after we left with each boat catching at least 6 fish over 150lbs and a few over 200lbs.  Shoulda been here yesterday.  In addition to the great location, our group of Traveling Fishermen were a great bunch of people to share such an experience with.  We started the trip all knowing eachother through the Fishing Center but ended the trip as fishing buddies. 

If anyone out there has interest in fishing Panama I highly recommend the Paradise Fishing Lodge.  Feel free to contact me and I can get you in direct contact with the operator.  Next up for the Traveling Fisherman....Any Suggestions?- captbarrett@oifc.com


- Capt. Barrett McMullan
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"Charleston Redfish Tournament" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/23/10
 

As it turned out, the first Atlantic Division IFA Redfish Tournament was scheduled the day after I returned from Panama.  This tournament was based in Charleston and is the first of three in the Atlantic division.  I had gone to Charleston to prefish a couple weeks ago, and with the help of world famous Capt. Willy Southard I felt pretty good about where we needed to fish the tournament.  Capt. Kyle Hughes and I are making up Team OIFC this year on the redfish tour.  Capt. Kyle met me in Charleston with the boat after spending a couple days scouting around on his own.  One day in the tropics, the next in a redfish tournament- not bad.  Kyle and I had a great day on the water.  These tournaments are artificial baits only and the winner is determined by the heaviest two slot size redfish.  All fish are weighed and released alive.  On the low to rising tide in the morning we caught 7 redfish a 3lb flounder and a 3lb trout.  the hot baits for us were gulp shrimp and gulp jerk baits. The fishing was great the only problem was all of our redfish were out of the slot.  The slot is 16 to 23" in SC.  Several of our fish were around 17" but we released them knowing they wouldn't do us any good in the tournament.  A couple of the fish were monsters close to 10lbs.  Now that is some fun catching redfish of that size on light tackle and on artificials.  Once the tide had entered the grass the bite shut down so we did some exploring to no avail.  With just a little time left in the fishing day we returned to where we started that morning and found the tide had fallen back out of the grass.  In the last 30 minutes of fishing we landed 4 more redfish and all of these were perfect- or at least we thought.  They were each between 21 1/2" and 22 3/4".  These are great lengths for the slot.  We made a mad dash to the scales in the Ranger Banshee Extreme (which happens to be for sale) and made it with less than 10 minutes to spare.  We had a great day and felt good about our catch, but unfortunately most other boats had similar results.  Our two fish weight was 8.04lbs which in any other year would have won this tournament.  This year however it earned Team OIFC 14th place.  The winning team weighed 9.1lbs. Just 1lb separated 1st from 14th.  Not a bad showing out of a 70 boat field.  It was a great day on the water and another learning experience as I try to figure out the redfish tournament game.  The next event is in Surf City, NC in mid May.  If anyone has interest in participating check out www.redfishtour.com.  The tournaments are a blast.  It's just like king mackerel tournament fishing but in the backwater.   
- Capt. Barrett McMullan
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"Panama Recap Cont'" | OIFC 1- 36' | 03/23/10
 

Pictures have been added to both reports.  See below.

Day two starts early again.  There is not a cloud in the sky and the temps are already near 90 degrees and the sun hadn't even come overhead yet.  We had our breakfast and headed for the boats.  Today the teams were:  Brant, Ken and Kennan on the Sea Fox; Barrett, Mark and Mike on the 27' Contender with Capt. Chi Chi; Rube, Tom and Blair on the Sea Moose; and Brian and Stacy on the other 27' Contender with Capt Chu Chi. 

On this day 3 of the boats left the dock and headed for Isla Montousa which is where we fished every day on our last trip to Panama.  This area is known for billfish and tuna.  Brian and Stacy elected to target roosterfish so they returned to the area where they had fished the day before. 

To say it was hot is an understatement.  The air was still as a pig........well you know.  It was still.  Fishing off Montousa was unbareably slow.  On board Chi Chi's we did break the ice when Mark Kennedy caught his first sailfish about a 100lber around 10am.  We caught the sail while trolling live bonitas.  We missed two other billfish during the day but between the heat and slow fishing we were waiving the white flag by late afternoon with our thoughts already on the fountain of youth. 

On board the other two boats in our area it was the same story- very slow fishing.  This is where the day got interesting and controversy entered the competition.  The crew of Brant, Ken and Kennan had decided to ride out and ride home on board the 27 Contender Captained by Chi Chi because the ride was much smoother than on the Sea Fox.  In the morning when we arrived to the fishing grounds Brant, Ken and Kennan switched over to the Sea Fox.  The same thing occured at the end of the day as the three boarded Capt. Chi Chi's Contender with Mike, Mark and I for the ride home.  You see, we thought we were being courteous offering them a ride in a larger more comfortable boat.  Well, no sooner than everybody got settled in for the ride back to the lodge did Capt. Chi Chi take a 90 degree turn which made us all look for the horizon.  Sure enough, we finally found the fish.  As we were approaching you would see a splash here and there.  After a half mile we found the epicenter of the most incredible display of tuna carnage you could imagine.  Yellowfin upwards of 200lbs and porpoise had worked together to force schools of sardines to the surface.  The feeding that ensued was scary.  The tuna were so aggressive when the crashed on a ball of bait the water would splash the crew in the boat.  6 or 7 boats had found the action and for the next hour it was on.  The crews on each boat began throwing anything they could find and no sooner did it hit the water than it got nailed.  Triple hookups on every boat.  Most fish pulled hooks, broke lines or got crossed with other fish being angled. 

Back to the competition for a minute.  Remember that Brant, Ken and Kennan were now on board with Mike, Mark and I.  Everyone has a different opinion of what happened and a different interpretation of the rules but needless to say there were some protest flags flying at dinner that night due to the combined crew.  During the middle of the chaos Brant jumped back on the Sea Fox and proceeded to catch several large yellowfin up to 130lbs and managed to get some good underewater photography as well.  Tom, Blair, and Rube were hammering the large tuna and also caught a sailfish on a popper in the blitz.  My boat battled numerous tuna, caught a few up to 100lbs, caught a 40lb mahi and Kennan landed a sailfish hooked on a cedar plug from a casting rod.  It was intense. 

That evening the stories were of the day of heat and boredom followed by an hour of chaos and the most amazing feeding ever witnessed.  The fountain of youth, tuna sashimi and cool drinks did the trick and we were ready to go again tomorrow. 

The tally for the day was:  Sea Fox had 5 points with 1 dolphin at 30lbs, 1 cubera, and 2 tuna one over 100lbs; Capt. Chi Chi's 27 Contender had 9 points with 2 sailfish, 2 yellowfin less than 100lbs and 1 mahi at 40lbs; The Sea Moose had 8 points with 2 mahi to 30lbs, 1 sailfish at 100lbs, and 2 yellowfin one over 100lbs; Brian and Stacy aboard the other 27' Contender with Capt Chu Chi had a great day of bottom fishing.  The accumulated 6 points but stayed busy all day.  The caught 12 mullet snapper, 6 jack crevalle, 2 bluejacks, 10 yellowfin tuna to 25lbs, 2 sharks, 4 cubera to 30lbs, 1 rock snapper and a trigger fish.  Despite the clear winner of the day (Mark, Mike and I), there was too much controversy on the table to distribute the winnings so the decision was made to roll the pot over to the following day, double or nothing. 

More to follow.


- Capt. Barrett McMullan
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