Some of Yorke Pharr's catch and crew this past Monday. Alden and Andrew Fitts from Omaha Nebraska on first off shore fishing trip. Cigar minnows at the 'Yorke Hole' of course! > >
- Brant McMullan
Address: 65 Causeway Drive, Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Page 16 of 420
Team OIFC, Capts. Brant & Barrett McMullan with crew Brayden McMullan, Connor Yates, Dillon Stone and Chris Campbell landed this 245 pound Swordfish yesterday out of Ocean Isle Beach. The crew fished 92nm offshore and caught the Swordfish in 1300' of water on a rigged Bonito strip.
First off I didn't think it weighed it 245 pounds, so if you are thinking that, I'm with you. But, we put it on the scale and that's what it said. Those fish are SOLID and darn neer a foot across at the base of the tail. Anyway, for all the time we've been talking about "we ought to...", we finally took the time and did it. And low and behold, it isn't magic. The best part was that we took the risk and brough along our No Limits Fishing TV producer Chris Campbell and he was there to film the entire thing; thus in a month or two you can watch the "cluster" that unfolded that led to this catch. The funny part is that the theme of most of the show is how we don't know what we are doing and we "You Tubed" how to do it, so it must be true. To my fellow Pelagic pro Nick S. in Islamorada, hats off to you and your Swordfish catches and thanks for inspiring me to try to be as cool as you!
The other cool thing was that my son Brayden and couple of his neighborhood bass fishing buddies were with us, one of which who had never been offshore fishing before. They did great and have a memory that I hope will stay with them for a while.
As for "the story"..... Everyone had dozed off and I was left staring at a slowly bobbing rod tip, willing it with my mind to make an awkward movement. I saw two small taps and stood up; reminiscent of Quint in JAWS when he's rod and reel fishing. I stared intently at the tip and it bobbed. One more time.... and it twitched twice and pulled the trigger on the Daiwa Tanacom electric reel. It came tight in about 10 seconds like it was hung, just a steady hard bend, but the tip was slowly bobbing like the beat of tail. We had hung bottom a couple times in the day fishing too deep, so I was a bit skeptical. I kept pressure and suddenly the pressure lifted and the Daiwa started rolling to the surface under no additional strain but the typical 5 pound weight. I was honestly thinking I had pulled the hook. However, a couple times the rod twitched or bucked just a little odd as it came up some 1200', and it made me wonder. The weight came to the surface about 150' ahead of the bait and there was definitley tension and something hold the line down, so I knew something was up. I unclipped it and turned the electric back on. My light showed next at 40' from the bait and now the rod started bending a little more. I unclipped and watched as this is when a Grouper would normally pop to the surface from being full of air. But the line stayed tight and the fish was swimming with us. Then the line began to rise quickly to the surface and out of the water, straight into the air came this beautful Swordfish. The excitement was now in full force as the realization that we had somehow stumbled onto a nice fish despite our lack of experience. This is when the fight started as the Sword sounded a couple hundred feet and locked in. We were up and down for an hour, making ground and then losing. At about 30 mins in the Sword was within 30' or so and came flying boat the boat in full purple color, swinging its bill back and forth and looking VERY intimidating. Everything looks bigger in the water. We began to contemplate how or who was gonna gaff this thing, thinking if it came up like we just saw it then we were outgunned. A good friend of ours Justin Huntley on the Contagious boat was who we had teamed up with and they were not far from us; in fact they had allready boated a 50" Swordfish earlier in the day. They had a harpoon on board and we requested it's use. My son Brayden actually requested it's use as he's been watching Wicked Tuna for years and ALWAYS wants to harpoon anything we catch. We worked the fish up in another 30 mins or so, now hand cranking instead of electric, which was a really important feature. "I heard on YouTube" that Swords have soft mouths, so we fought the fish on the 80 pound gear with 10-15 pounds of drag pressure. Eventually the Sword was swimming on its side and we circled her up just like we do Giant Bluefin. The good news was she was whipped when we got her up, but I had the dart and by gosh if I didn't throw it my son would have a stroke. So she was feebly darted and eventually boated. And that's pretty much the story.
For those of you that this story my inspire ambition to reality, a few things we did (I am NO expert, but just observations):
-I used a Bonito belly that I rigged by watching YouTube. Justin caught his on a rigged Squid. The Sword we caught puked up 5 pounds of Squid in the 8-12" size range. But the squid are not as durable and more likely to get beat off the book by the Sword; from what I saw anyway.
-The Daiwa Tanacom 1000 we used was spooled with 80# braid (holds plenty) and then I had 150' of 80# monotopshot going to a 12', 300 pound leader. The Daiwa is probably not meant for that much work, and she did overheat a few times which makes you have to hand crank until it resets itself; wasn't really a big deal. BUT, I also went into the reel and replaced the manufacturer drag washers with Carobon Fiber drag washers, which I think made a big difference. The drag was no problem very smooth.
- We fished a 150' steep roll that went from 1350' to 1200', drifting across it. There was very little current, but there is technique to letting out that much line and not tangling up so I'd suggest "Googling" or "YouTubing" like I did to have an idea. We dropped to the bottom and then cranked up the same distance as the length between the weight and the bait. This keeps it off the bottom and hopefully drifting up a little in the current; the amount of current you have will change a lot of what you do I believe.
And that's about all I know. And again for you guys in S. Florida or other parts of the world rolling your eyes at my descriptions and little Sword; it may not be the biggest, but it is an important fish to our part of the world as an inspiration for more to follow. Good luck to all.
This big boy was caught during the S.H.A.R.E. Tournament in 65' of water. Picture BT Josh Hugges of the Bay Pirate Fishing Team
day one Leaderboard from the SHARE King Mackerel Tournament. Thank you for the picture Chris Bryan
Do Work/OIFC Team Member Camdyn is featured in this month's SKA Angler Magazine along with the McMullan family
Congratulations to the OIFC's Ben Morris who put his dad on his 1st sailfish
The good size mullet minnows showed up yesterday running the middle of the waterway. The flounder, redfish, and trout fishing should improve with the mullet showing up in large schools. The moon phase is also growing and approaching full which should also get the bite back on track. Meanwhile, we have been steady picking at flounder, trout, black drum, and a few nice redfish. Plenty of smaller fish to keep you busy until a big one comes along. Live shrimp, small menhaden, and finger mullet have all taken their fair share of the catch this past week. A few pictures below show some of the action. Still have some openings for Friday and Saturday if anyone is interested in giving it a try. See ya on the water!
A few people have noticed that I have been absent from the OIFC and the Do Work/OIFC didn't fish this past weekend. The reason is I had heart bypass surgery Friday. Brant & Amy have worked with me while I haven't felt good and only they, my CrossfitOIB family and a couple of close friends knew what was going on. Yes, I workout like a fool & eat clean too. The doctor said that probably saved my life. You just can't control heredity. I'll be back stronger than ever soon but I think my tournament season for this year is on hold.
The backwater bite in the creeks and along the waterway has been a bit inconsistent so far this July. The water temperature starts off around 82 in the mornings and tops out around 90 in the afternoons. We hung out in the pool this afternoon, but the water felt like bath water not giving us much relief from the heat. As the conditions appear to be stacked against us we have remained steadfast in finding some action for our clients. It has taken a little while for my brain to cool off and reflect on this weekend's action. Live shrimp is the ticket to keep some kind of action going. Small critters to large critters are eating shrimp right now. The mullet minnows are finally big enough to catch in a 3/8 inch mesh net and have been productive on trout, flounder, and a few redfish lately. Have not thrown many soft plastics lately, but have talked to a few anglers that are doing well with vudu shrimp and gulp shrimp. Morning trips are very popular this time of year, but fishing the backwater is all about the tide. The second half of this week looks good for both morning and afternoon trips. Give us a call if you want to go give it a try. Below are a few pictures from this weekend's action. See ya on the water!
The heat, traffic, and winds have brought on some difficult days for catching fish in our backwaters. We continue to beat the grass banks for trout, hard structures for redfish, deep holes for black drum, and dragging the mud for flounder. Each day seems to produce a little different bite right now. A few good flounder one day, black drum the next, and the occassional redfish bite on other days. The trout bite was pretty good toward the end of June, but the heat and dirty water has slowed that action. There is plenty of action from many different critters in the backwater though...ladyfish, stingrays, croakers, black drum, bluefish, redfish, flounder, even a few small sharks...we have caught all sorts of stuff lately. You just never know what you might catch this time of year. Still a few openings for July. Come on down and lets go give it a try! See ya on the water!
Brian Wilkinson of Syracuse, IN. Weighed in this 9.5 lb flounder at the OIFC This morning. Brian said he caught it on a jig head tipped with Gulp. He did not share the location :)
Billy Leonard and I took his nephews Reid and Weston Eden for their first ever trip to the Gulfsteam aboard Retriever . We managed a few Blackfin tuna and bailer mahis at the 100/400. We dodged offshore storms all day and picked up at 1:00 to head inshore and check out the famous Frying Pan Tower, which had some nice fingers of blue water pushed in over the SW portion, we finally ducked in at the River Channel and checked out Old Baldy and the Southport riverfront
Report by Bob Newell
Aka " Retriever"
Ok here's the state of the Union as I know it; Spanish Macs have been all along beach n 15-25'. They have been on glass minnows and also around edges of Pogy pods. Cobia have been thinning out but still an occasional on a Pogy Pod or offshore reef. I had a 46# yesterday in 80' and a 25# today in 50'. Kings have been MIA; at least legal sized. There are a lot of 20-22" Kings from the beach out to 65' which looks good for the future, but now has been slim. But, I got word today that the better 10-20# Kings are showing off Murrells Inlet and heading this way. Bottom fishing has been pretty steady in 90+ depths. Mahi are thin and that's about most of what I've seen. Wait! Almost forgot. I don't know if there is anything to it, but we have been seeing Tarpon every day off Tubbs Inlet. We caught one a few days back and I don't know if I'm looking harder now but they are for sure out there. Maybe it's another growing beach fishery that is responding to the abundance of Pogys; like the Cobia fishing. Stay tuned. Capt. Brant McMullan
As many fishermen are already well aware, success and failure on the water revolves around change. It could be blue bird skies turning to cloud cover, the wind turning from south to west or the always favored hard color edge from green to blue. These changes can be forecasted some three weeks in advance or unexpectedly. Yet as a charter captain, I hold myself responsible to monitor these changes to increase my chances of finding “the next good bite.” Well, as much as we all like to be the first ones to tell our buddies “yeah there’s some good fish at the shark hole” or “couldn’t keep baits in the water at the Hammer,” there hasn’t been much of that going on recently. A few large kings have been caught in the 100’ range while bottom fishing or trolling ballyhoo yet the large schools of 10-20# class fish haven’t shown up yet in our area. However, if your willing to make the run, I did confirm that there were a few kings caught in the mid 20’s in 80 feet off Topsail beach on Monday.
Here off the Brunswick Islands, most all of the action has been coming from just 200 yards off the beach while fishing the menhaden pods or 40-miles offshore bottom fishing. On our 4hr and 6hr trips, the OIFC charter fleet has focused mainly on trolling around the bait pods for Spanish mackerel then drifting near them for sharks or anything else in search of a meal. These bait pods are oftentimes overlooked as simply the source that fills your live well to run offshore. However, on the right bait pod anglers could have a shot at big kingfish, cobia, tarpon, and of course smaller species like spanish mackerel and bluefish. It does indeed take some patience and persistence to find that “perfect pod” but when found, it usually holds a fish for the photo album.
If looking to fill your freezer, look no shorter than 40 miles out. This 90-foot depth range out to 250 feet has been producing some great bottom fishing this year. Black sea bass, pink snapper, vermillion snapper as well as scamp and gag grouper have been pretty consistent while fishing small ledges and hard bottom areas in this range. And if for some reason an urge for a back and tricep workout occurs, just free line a live bait out near an offshore wreck for amberjack – they have been big and quite aggressive.
Regardless of what the target species is or how far your willing to run, keep in mind that with fishing and fishing during this year in particular, has revolved around ongoing changing conditions. However, my fingers have been crossed that this may be the week the typical 20-mile offshore bite fires off. With the calm, stable conditions we’ve has over the last three days, something is bound to start chewing.