I had picked up Charles and Bill and we had taken the ferry to Captain Kelly's deep sea fishing for an eight hour fishing experience aboard the Gulf Eagle. There we met Steve and his son and son in law and another fourteen people all ready to board the ship. The fishing would be for king mackerel and then shark and I really really wanted to catch some shark to eat, but both would be new species for me.
As we left the harbour and passed the Port Aransas jetties two families were eating inside the cabin. It wasn't long before the motion had an adverse effect and their fishing day was over, I missed all the excitement as I was sitting on the port side, protected from the waves spray. I was giving a cowboy state yeehaw as we crashed through the waves and the ride reminded me of being in an amusement park,(My friend Bob had suggested such a viewpoint when we were caught in big waves years ago).
Gaffs were flying as the deckhands brought fish after fish aboard. As each fish was landed the hands asked the fisherman for their initials and then they would slice them into the skin on the side of the fish before putting the fish into a huge cooler in the back.
Suddenly my pole jerked as a king hit and then the fish took off on a spectacular run, stripping line from the huge Penn 113h reel. I don't know if I touched the spool but the line broke and the deck hand gave me an exasperated look. Grabbing another pole I moved to the back and rebaited.
As I let out line I got a huge backlash and of course another king mackeral hit, hooking itself and then running until the line snarled, caught, and then snapped. The Captain told me to not thumb the spool, and I hadn't but it didn't matter the fish was gone.
The mate retied another rig, as gaffs continued to reach about and bring aboard king after king. I hooked up on a fish and soon brought it alongside where it was gaffed and brought aboard!, Fish for dinner! Corn bread does make a pretty good dinner when the fish aren't biting but we had been eating too much of it lately. Rebaiting I soon had another fish on and just like that I had my limit of two king mackerel.
On the second drift the fish had gone deeper and the mate dropped a jigging pole down finally getting a strike and bringing the fish up. He handed the pole to a small girl and she fought the fish with a determination. We all watched and wondered if the fish or her would win as she almost lost the pole into the water.The school followed the hooked fish up and it didn't take long before we had our limit of kings.
The Gulf Eagles engines started and the ship turned to the southwest as we headed for shark.This time we anchored as the hands baited the hooks with bonita chunks. Each pole was rigged the same, an eight ounce slip sinker attached to a wire leaded and a stout number 6/0 hook. We drifted sideways as the anchor held and the ship was pushed by the wind. Bill caught a small, but legal shovel nose shark but that was all.Moving to another spot we anchored and I actually felt several strong pulls on the line as my pole bent over, shark on! The fish fought pretty good but I was able to get into a rhythm of winding and pumping the fish up. It made several runs back to the bottom, pulling line out but the drag worked and the fish stayed on. I soon got the upper hand and I had my shark aboard,(I hope Pam and Roy like grilled shark).
The boat caught another keeper shark before Steve's pole doubled and he set the hook on a really large fish, He fought the fish and followed it as it ran around the boat! Setting my pole down I got out my camera and followed the action to the stern and then starboard side of the ship.
It was a really big fish and Steve had his hands full, but he did finally bring the fish up. It was a large black tip shark but not big enough to keep,(they have to be 54 inches from snot to the fork in the tail). The hands asked me if I had gotten a picture and as I nodded agreement they held and broke the line releasing the fish.
The excitement was over and we fished some more but no more shark. The captain announced that it was time to reel them up and head back to Port. It had gone so fast and the trip back seemed to drag on as oil platforms and then anchored tankers passed by.
We talked on the way back about the days fishing and how could it be better. We all had our limits of fish for the table and we had all avoided getting m sea sick. It had been a good day aboard the Gulf Eagle, a day I would recommend for anyone interested in fishing for kings and shark! Clear skies.