This is a report based on 2 days back to back, leading up to the Kingbuster 400 Junior Angler Tournament that happened today. It all started Wednesday when Dallen got his first ever offshore trip and this started a bunch of first evers that lasted 2 days. Wednesday, my friend Don Frattle (Frattle Stairs and Rails) went along as we left Vilano on Dallen's first offshore trip. My goal was to find bait and some kings for the tournament on Thursday; give Dallen a chance to see how it all unfolds, give him a chance to handle the gear and learn the routine associated with catching big kingfish. We headed South down the beach looking for some pogies for bait. We went 15 miles south and found no bait. This had us at Matanzas Inlet where we saw a bunch of boats chasing the big rays for cobia. We saw a bunch of bat rays and several big manta rays. This was Dallen's first time seeing rays in the ocean. We hooked a big cobia but shortly after the hookup, he straightened the hook an got away. We left the cobia and headed farther south trying to accomplish our goal. We ended up at Flagler Beach Pier (30 miles south of Vilano) and still hadn't found any pogies. I checked my chart and saw some fishing grounds about 6.5 miles east of the pier so we headed out there looking for bait. We found some bumpers for bait and a goggle eye. We started trolling around that area and shortly after we got lines in, Don yells, "Cobia!" I look back and there was a 26lb cobia swiming up behind the engines. I begin to shuffle to find something to throw and the first thing I grab was an ulta light spinner with a DOA shrimp. The cobia gobbled it up and Dallen was hooked up with his first Cobia. Dallen fought this fish for a while (there is video of the fight in the video section of my website). After about a 30 minute fight, we sunk the gaff and in the cooler he went (26lb cobia on 12lb test line). We started our troll again and Dallen saw his first Loggerhead Sea Turtle. About that time the line goes off and it's a mahi mahi; Dallen gets the rod and as soon as he started fighting it, the dolphin made a jump and spit the hook. We had a couple more hits and it was getting late so we headed to the truck so we could get home, get some sleep and do it again Thursday.
Thursday morning we were met at the Vilano boat ramp by our Junior Angler team mates Bradley and his Daddy Aaron Peacock (Corr Digital and Graphics Solutions of St. Augustine, FL). We loaded the boat, checked out with tournament base, and headed north since I didn't find any bait to the south the day before. We finally found pogies in Jacksonville, 33 miles to the north of Vilano. Talk about paying your dues. Aaron steered the boat, I threw the cast net, and Dallen and Bradley scooped the bait up and put them in the live well. We were functioning as a well-oiled machine. What team work! We loaded up on bait and headed East about 10 miles. We put out our spread and shortly thereafter, the port downrigger goes off and Dallen is hooked up! Right after that, the starboard downrigger goes off. We have line screaming off both reels. I slow the boat down to fight the fish and the starboard fish comes off. Now that the boat is almost stopped, both flat lines go off so we begin the "organized chaos shuffle" trying to control 3 fish all going in different directions. The 2 flat line fish come loose but Dallen is still hooked up. I think the Lord had it planned that way! We cleared the deck and Dallen battled this kingfish like a champ. Finally after about 20 minutes, we bring a monster 10lb'er over the gunnel and onto the deck. Dallen's first Kingfish! We're going to the scales!! Well after the shouts of joy and all the high fives associated with such a feat, we started trolling so we could do that all over again. The bite seemed to shut down so we headed back towards St. Augustine. We ran over a couple acres of Spanish Mackerel crashing some minnows so while Dallen caught a little nap on the bean bag, Aaron and Bradley started working the spanish. They were real picky but we endd up catching a couple and losing a couple before we continued south. We ended up at the red tops of Ponte Vedra Beach and started trolling again. Dallen got up from his nap and it was game on again. Over the next hour and a half, we lost a couple kings, caught a couple big spanish mackerel (Dallen's first Spanish and Bradley's first Spanish) and a shark. The boys split the shark so we have to call that shark the first for both of them!! We left there and made the run back to the scales. Dallen carried his fish up to the scales where he and Bradley were interviewed by Capt. Don Dingman. What a great couple of days with my son! I think I speak for Aaron when I say we really enjoyed the day on the ocean just taking in God's awesome creation, spending it with our boys, and creating memories that none of us will ever forget. I think we are all ready for the next trip and with as much fun as we had, it won't be too far away!! Good job Dallen and Bradley; way to keep those rods bent!!
Great report! Thanks for sharing!
Posted by: Kevin 6/15/2009 9:13:23 PM
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Captain Chad, what an awesome day. The Lord has truly blessed you with a fine son, it warms my heart to hear you speak of the Lord our father and I know that Dallen is proud of his father as well. Keep up the good work my brother. I pray the Lord richly blesses you and your family. Thank you for the insperation every week.
your brother in Christ,
i too have a 6 yr old son, hoping my wife will let him fish with me this summer when we make it to florida. congrats on the great time with your son.
Posted by: shane mccord 6/16/2009 5:58:39 AM
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Ikaika here, That is what it is ALL about brau! My youngest is 8 years old, and loves to fish. He has only been lake fishing, but after seeing Dallen and hearing about my trip with you early in the year, now Gavin wants to try going out for the day too. We will see you soon! Ikaika & Gavin-Shark
Posted by: IKAIKA 6/16/2009 9:35:24 AM
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