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LI Fishing Report

December 31, 2018

I got very lucky…
I like to think that I have a lot of experience on the water. I realize that I have been fishing on my own boat for only 13 years. However, I average between 300 and 400 hours a year on the water. Keep that in mind as you read about an accident that I had on the water. The forecast for a Friday in November was supposed to be light NE winds and seas 1-2 feet. I was on my buddy Roger’s boat. It’s a 26-foot Regulator. As we broke Moriches Inlet everything looked spot on. However, any winds from the north can be very deceiving. As we were about 5 miles out the winds and seas started to build. We had planned on looking for bluefin tuna around the Coimbra Wreck which is about 30 miles offshore. Once we were 20 miles out we had a following sea with 3-4 footers that were tight. Choppy conditions but nothing to worry about. Roger’s boat, like many older center consoles, has a bench seat/leaning post. I’m sitting with my knees bent and feet on the dash because I can’t reach the floor. I’m holding on to the metal bar on the side of the bench. If you fish you know how important birds are to locating fish.  As we are chugging along Roger informs me that he sees a few birds to the east. As I turn to take a look I let go of the handle and turn my upper part of my body to view the birds. It happened in a split second. The boat dug into a wave and violently turned. At this point, I wasn’t holding on and my feet weren’t on the deck. I remember flying out of the seat. I remember getting wet and I remember lying on the deck. I got very lucky that I that slammed against the gunnel and my limp body fell back into the boat and not overboard. My ribs took a direct hit. If I had fallen over I don’t know if I would have been able to stay afloat.  Literally, half my body was in the boat while the other half was draped over the gunnel. As I got to my feet I was having trouble breathing. The pain was the worst I had ever felt. We headed in immediately. As we approach shore we contacted the coast guard and informed them of the situation. They met us in the inlet and led us to the Moriches coast guard station. I was helped off the boat and was placed into an ambulance that was there waiting for me.  I was shocked when the ER doctor informed me that all scans were clean. I had only suffered a chest wall contusion. It’s been a month since my accident and I’m still sore. I always wear my vest when I fish alone. I now plan on wearing my vest anytime I’m on the water. Please keep in mind I wasn’t in a dangerous situation but it became one very quickly.

Buying a boat…
I bought a new boat last spring. It is a 31t Cape Horn center console. I put 365 hours on the new pair of 350hp Suzuki’s. I traveled 5100 miles. This is the perfect boat for me and my wife. If you are in the market for a new boat or even upgrading into a different used boat I have a few suggestions for you. If you are reading my column I’m going to assume that you are a fisherman. First, if you head offshore or you fish with women you should look into getting a boat with a toilet. This was the number one thing that my wife asked for. Second, comfortable seats. My new boat’s seats actually have armrests.  Not only are they comfortable but they keep you from flying into the gunnel. You will be amazed how much more energy you will have when you sit compared to leaning all day. Third, if you fish for mahi and tuna make sure you have a large bait well. Once July hits you will never find me offshore without live bait. I have a 60 gallon and a 26 gallon live well. You can never have enough live bait.  I did a trip last year that we found ourselves hand feeding yellowfin tuna peanut bunker. Those of us that had live bait clearly out fished boats that were throwing poppers and jigging. If you can afford it, equip your boat with electronic power steering and digital gauges. I thought that I was just wasting money. Trust me, after a year of having both you will never be able to go back to not having them.  Another item that I’m thrilled that I put on the boat was auto pilot. It is wonderful to sit back in those comfortable chairs and have auto pilot handle the steering. If you run deep you need auto pilot.  

Must haves for 2019….
I will start off with a very inexpensive item.  Cuda makes a 3-inch micro titanium bonded scissor. They retail for only $6.99. These little scissors are awesome! Not only do they cut mono they also cut braid.  Last year I caught most of my tuna on a new type of spreader bar. There are now several companies that are making a “wide tracker” spreader bar. These bars allow you to increase your trolling spread size. The color purple was hot for me last year. They retail in the area of $129-1$69. I ditched my satellite phone for a Garmin InReach. This device allows you to send and receive text messages while offshore. The device also comes with an S.O.S button. You can sync up your smart phone to send and receive messages along with having complete access to your phone’s contact list. One other feature that is great is the ability for others to track where you are in the ocean from a computer or smart phone. The device does so much more. I only mentioned a few of the features. This item retails for roughly $350-$450.  If you are serious about offshore fishing you should invest in your own fighting belt. My wife Gina and I each have our own belts. They aren’t cheap but when you are fighting 100-200 pound tuna you are going to be glad that you invested in a good belt. We use a Smitty’s belt and harness. These are the type of setups that strap the rod to you.  Our belts are adjusted to fit our bodies. When you have your own you don’t need to fumble around trying to get them on. I also fish on my friend’s boats chasing pelagic fish. I always bring my own belt. A good belt and harness will run you $200-$500.

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