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Well, I took my first "long range" trip this past weekend. We fished out of the Dolphin Docks on The Dolphin. The boat departed the dock at 11pm Saturday for a 40 hour trip.

First Impressions.
My first thoughts were "this is going to be a long trip." Hopefully the appearance of this boat has no indication of its "mechanical soundness". My group were the first to board and after staking claim to the stern we went and picked our bunks. We ended up with bunks in the belly of the boat but right where the A/C vent was located. It was nice and cold!! We were ready. The boat leaves the dock and we are off. We cleared the jetty to seas in the 3'-5' range. We had a long steam ahead of us, 8 hours, so I went to get some sleep.

Day One
With the smell of pancakes, sausage and hash browns I awoke after a tossing turning night in my bunk. That A/C was cold and i hadn't taken the time to unroll my bedroll. Lesson learned, bedroll was ready to go for the next sleep session. We had sailed all night and were now some 80 - 90 miles from port. We stopped behind a couple of shrimp boats to test the waters. We caught some kings but most catches were small sharks. The decks called them sandbar sharks, so I guess that is what they were. We hit a few more shrimpers and then made a move to do some bottom fishing.

Our first stop was over some rocks. We started catching some snapper, bee liners and vermillion snapper at this spot. One guy on the bow tied into a large AJ. It weighed 82 lbs back at the dock, some 25 hour later!! We fished this spot for a while and made a move to some shrimpers farther out.

The next few stops throughout the day were behind shrimpers. We would pick up an occasional blackfin tuna and king mackral with the rest of the catch being sharks and bonita. I decided to go eat some lunch and take a nap to be rested up for the night bite! I was tired of catching bonita, we had plenty for bait.

Night One
Our first stop was over some rocks about 190' deep The current was ripping, we were using 12 oz. of weight. We picked up a few keeper snapper but nothing to brag about. The captain decided to make a move and said it would be about and hour to hour and a half. I went back to my bunk and this is where it gets a little hard to remember. I didn't get backup until the morning!! I heard the anchor go up and down a couple of more times but that's about it. I later heard the night was slow with a few more blackfin tuna and not much of anything else.

Day Two
Day started out with a large shark hooked up while drifting behind a trawling shrimp boat. and the blackfin were for once thicker than the bonita. As the guy was fighting the shark a few of us continued to try and tuna fish. We caught a few but it was hard to do with a 9', 450 lb. shark being fought.
The call was made to land the shark and as it got next to the boat a flying gaff was sunk into it and a couple of rounds from a 9mm were sent its way. As luck would have it the shark decided it liked

the bow of the boat better than the stern. While up there I heard 2 clips emptied into this large shark.

The shark was brought to the stern and man handled onto the deck. WOW, big shark, lets get back to fishing. After about 30 minutes more of fishing the call to "bring them in" was heard as we had a 6

hour ride back to the dock. Things were tidied up and off we went.

Hmmm. . . . what to do in the meantime? Watch waves or back to my bunk? I went back to sleep as I still had a 4 drive back to Houston once we got the fish cleaned.

In Closing
All in all I was an enjoyable experience for my first 40 hour trip, not knowing what to expect I know a few things for the next time. if you are thinking of going on one of these long trips, do it.

Final Thoughts:
The Shark - If it were me on the rod, the shark would still be swimming today. Just my personal preference and the point was driven home back at the dock watching this shark hang in the hot sun for at least an hour while photos were taken. Then it was laid on the hot concrete, right next to where people were boarding the boat to go on the Flipper Cruise!! That was pretty funny!! The guy worked out a deal to get it processed for $200. All he wanted were the jaws!! They did pull 3 or 4 pups out of it as they were cleaning it. BTW - no one in the shark photos caught the shark.

Group Photo - It took about 30 - 45 minutes to get the group catch set up for photos. It was hot and in direct sunlight. While they did try to keep the fish cool by tossing ice on them and laying the snapper stringers on ice, it doesn't seem worth the risk just for a few pictures.
 

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Thanks, great report. Any details on techniques, i.e. what worked and what didn't? Anyone fish for kingfish on topwaters during monday morning sunrise?

I wish they would quit landing those big sharks too. The guys never want that much meat, are stunned by the cost of cleaning it, and it really takes away from everyone else's fishing time. Oh well.
 

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I agree, leave the sharks alone, a small one is fine for a few meals! What would you have done different if you were to do the trip again? how was the staff? did they have good equipment? What is the cost per person or per couple??

Sorry for so many questions, I may need a defense so i can persuade the girlfriend to go!!!

regards,

Topwater
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No one tried topwater for kings, I never did see any fish "busting" the water. I tried jigging with my 7500 and Trevala but I guess that isn't my type of fishing. Most fish were caught freelining sardines or ballyhoo.

What would I do different? First my tackle bag wouldn't weigh as much. I would make a bunch of leaders before the trip. Mono, wire, whatever . . .

I would only carry extra hooks, leader material and diamond jigs in assorted sizes. I did catch a few bonita on 4 oz. diamond jigs, casting out and reeling them back as quick as possible. Weights are supplied on the boat.

The cost was $392 per person plus a fuel surcharge which changes as fuel prices change. I think ours was in the $30 range.
 

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I haven't kept a shark in at least a couple years. Hooked a big one a couple weeks ago and cut the leader......just wanted my power pro back or would have cut it sooner. I don't get it I guess. Good catch on the rest!
 

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just wondering about something from the dolphin docks. do they keep everything that comes onboard???? why did they feel it neccessary to keep all of those bonito?
 

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They keep it all........Jackfish Bonito you name it. Sometimes they can sell the Bonito and Jacks to sharkfisherman. Anyone that comes in inquiring about a trip glances over all of the previous days catches..........As Linda Lovelace would tell you.......It's all about the Money Shot! I think they would have shot that shark and brought it aboard whether the dude wanted it or not.....can't take a picture of a fish at the docks if it's still in the water.
I go with John Brennan every year with a private group out of DSH on the Pelican. He always seems to fill the box....

That is one helluva shark! Is it a Dusky?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
They said the shark was a silky, est. at 450#

After the pictures they took all the bonita to the flash freezer. They said they will be used for future trips, possibly for chunks when the tuna bite gets hot.

I think they would have shot that shark and brought it aboard whether the dude wanted it or not.
I agree and we were told as much on the way out during the safety meeting.
 

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Maybe next trip I will bring my Tiagra 50W, fish for a shark first thing, and get it over with quickly. Any charity kitchens in Port A area that would take a donated shark (that you could prearrange)? I am serious. If the boat is dead set on killing a shark (they can only take one), I would at least feel better about feeding the needy than someone putting it in the back of the truck and going to waste.
 

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Sweet report, got any pics while you were out?
PLanning on taking a 48hr in october, any pics of the interior of the boat, or some action shots on deck?

Sweet report though!


Kevin
 

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I have never been on the La Pesca. I will look for some pics at the house of the Dolphin.

Please don't get me wrong. The dolphin is an old, slow, somewhat cramped boat for sure. But in a weird way it has character. The crew and the fishing have always been first rate. Usually there are only about 20 fishermen, so there is room to fish. You have a bunk so you can lay down and rest. The AC is cold. The food is good. The 40 hour trip is probably my favorite single trip of the year. Going on the Dolphin just gives you a sense of adventure. I would not miss it. Just don't make your decision from looking at pics of the boat. :)
 
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