"Shine" Takes another one

January 16, 2011 - Freeport, Bahamas
The weather was crappy and the fishing was slow, but that did not impact the fact that our 2nd stop, Port Lucaya, is the funnest of all the legs. Since the fishing had tapered off, teams resorted to gambling and drinking - not particularly in that order. We literally closed down the casino on Saturday night. But this is a fishing tournament right? So here are the stats, a photo, and a story. See you in Bimini!!

Wahoo Fishermen

Jan 13, 2011 - Freeport, Bahamas - So it is a little windy here today on Grand Bahama. OK – I’ll admit it: it is howling out there! Quite frankly I am surprised that the boats that are here crossed in these conditions. But then again, these are “wahoo fishermen.” Why do I put “wahoo fishermen” in quotes, you may ask? First of all, you can’t see me doing the double-finger double-hand quote move and secondly, this group is a rare breed and deserves the quotes.  You see these guys love to fish – fish for wahoo. What is so special about wahoo fishing?  The wahoo season is from November through March. Although you may think that this is a mild time of year, it is quite windy. Trust me. It seems as if every time I pick a date for a wahoo tournament, it blows 25 knots. For those of you who do not know what knot means – it means “very fast.” “Wahoo fishermen” are also a little off kilter.  You’d have to be to go out fishing in deplorable conditions for 10 to 12 hours – all for a trophy and bragging rights. I often wonder if I was to commission a scientific study on the group how many of them would be committed?  With the winds picking up and some free time on my hands – I thought to breakdown this year’s intrepid crews so that their sanity or lack thereof could be enjoyed by all.

Kimbuktu – This is like a dream team of a crew. They have world renowned Art “Don’t Call me Artie” Sapp piloting the 39-Sea Vee. Owner Robbie “the Mechanic” and Ariel pay the bills and are accomplished anglers as well.  For youth and strength they have Joe “Ho Time”. A former navy seal. He once lost a whoo at the gaff, jumped in, grabbed the fish, bit its head off, and jumped back into the boat. True story.  Rounding out the crew (pun intended) is Raul. OK, not a pick for a dream of any sort, but a good all-around guy (another pun, that’s 2!).

Ocean Alley – When you talk to this crew you feel as if you’re talking to the Sopranos in foul weather gear. They in fact are from New York – accents and all.  They even have the NY names: Owner Tony P is in the trash hauling business. Big Russ is his collecting agent.  Alex the Hut is his South Florida guy. Todd Two Time runs the show on the boat. Playboy Rick is the entertainment director for the boat.  A colorful and hard fishing crew. I will never – ever say anything bad about them. Not even behind their backs.

Shine – This is the Key Biscayne crew. Fancy foul weather gear. Fancy boat. Fancy gear. The poor captain has to bring the boat in crappy conditions while the owner and friends fly in. Private plane of course.  (Hey! Don’t look down at me for flying in too. At least I flew commercial.) But do not let the polish on these guys fool you. When they get back to the docks, the shine on their boat and clothes is replaced by wahoo blood and guts.  Captain Jonathan consistently puts the team on fish with crew Alberto and Jorge reel them in. Luckily (for the captain) they bring along Leo, a local guide to help with the cleanup. They have won several tournaments and had impressive days.

Hit That! – These are newcomers to the wahoo world. Serious as any and more eager than most. Their rookie fishing style is unorthodox, but it works. They took 3rd place at the first leg. Who cares if only 3 boats fished? Boat owner and captain David has given up his law practice in pursuit of wahoo fishing. His crew, Sterling and Bill, frequently contribute to my Twins’ Fund by way of poker. For this I thank them.  Hit That’s favorite live bait is mullet. Ask them about it.

Airborne – I swear these guys are aliens in human bodies. But that can’t be true because aliens would have picked better looking bodies.  I know people joke about how much fishermen drink and have fun, but Airborne takes it to another level. I have never ever seen a crew (individually or as a whole) drinks much as the Airborne crew. They prefer Crown Royal by the “capper” but will drink anything above 40 proof.  And you would think that all this drinking would affect their fishing – and it does.  They fish better when they are in full-on get-your-drink-on mode. Owner and financier Marky Mark is the spiritual leader of the boat. “Cowboy” (no one knows his real name) is a bear of a man. He pounds Miller Lites like Tic Tacs. Sometimes can and all.  Jeff and Don are not the same person as some have wondered. They are two separate people who look a lot alike and say very little. Jason keeps his head down and does wht he is told. He did have a slight vomit incident in Bimini, but I'll keep that between him and I and the Internet. Keeping the crew out of jail is non-drinking Josh. They need someone to drive the boat.

I hope you enjoyed this little cheat-sheet on the teams. Check the site for daily updates and don’t miss the 3rd and final leg back in Bimini this March 3rd. 

Sea Vee/Mercury Mayor's Cup FYI Sailfish Kickoff Bahamas Wahoo Challenge Sea Vee/Mercury Grove SLAM! Yamaha/Contender Kingfish Masters King Of Bimini Dewar's 12 Billfish Championship