Archive for July, 2011

GoPogy..One Step Closer to Sharkin’

July 26th, 2011  |  Published in Fishing Stories, Fresh Catch Recipes by allison

It is no secret to those who know me that I am deathly afraid of sharks. I’m not sure if it is the direct result of growing up in Florida and hearing about the yearly shark attacks to surfers and beach-goers, or the fact that I saw the movie Jaws when I was too young to see it.

I could be melting on the beach like an ice-cream cone in 100 degree temps and refuse to submerge myself in the ocean water past my ankles. So when my husband went shark fishing a few years ago with some friends, I easily bowed out of the trip. Me pass up on a fishing trip…unheard of.

Each year Martha’s Vineyard is home to the Monster Shark Tournament. I have been invited to go and experience the weigh in, but have been too afraid of the nightmares and night-sweats I’m sure will follow. No beer is worth that. One of our dearest fishing friends entered the tournament. He did indeed catch a Thresher and a ton of “Blues” during the two day event, and although he didn’t win, he did hand out trophies to his inner circle of angler friends. My husband got the call and immediately started to salivate and a noticeable bounce in his step instantly started to form.

Dinner Time: I was working on my computer when I could literally hear a dinner bell ring. It’s so nice when your husband cooks dinner for you and has it romantically waiting on the table. I have never seen him prepare a meal in such a short amount of time. I felt like I couldn’t get to the table quickly enough for him. Because of my sheer fear of sharks and those scary teeth, I wasn’t excited to eat one either. I was already trying to come up with an excuse of why I wasn’t hungry.

Change of Heart? When I took my first bite, I was not at all prepared to love it, but I DID! Most recipes call for grilling when it comes to Thresher, but being in “Del Boca Vista Condo Phase 2” (for you Seinfeld fans), we don’t have a grill. My husband simply brushed it with butter and topped it with Chef Paul’s Magic Blackened Redfish Seasoning. Some local supermarkets carry this or for you fishing addicts, on your next trip to Bass Pro Shops, they carry this in their grilling section. He pan fried it to completion and served with a side of salad and bread.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still afraid of sharks, but now I have to go shark fishing to stock up on thresher. It has now been added to my list of “favorites”…for eating that is!! Damn thresher, why’d you have to be so good; now I’m going to have to face my fear of sharks.

Before Shot

Before Shot

Thresher Steak "After" Shot

Thresher Steak "After" Shot

Meeting Royalty of a different kind…The Majestic Silver King

July 20th, 2011  |  Published in Fishing Reports, Fishing Stories by allison

Having not taken a vacation in two years, the destination choice for our upcoming spring getaway involved some serious consideration. When I say I♥fishing, I should clarify and say I ♥ Big Game Fishing. Call it a size complex or just the thrill of catching something that no one believes I caught, but I can’t imagine myself targeting and dreaming of anything less than some of the largest, fastest and most challenging saltwater fish in the ocean. One fish that I have been intrigued by is the Sailfish. Swimming at speeds of up to 70mph, its magnificent sail, and its water acrobatics put it right at the top of my “To Catch” list. Another species I have wanted to see up close and personal is the Permit. The first time I saw a picture of an angler holding one of these, I fell in love with its cute face and frying pan body. We knew we wanted to go somewhere sweltering hot to help us thaw out from the wintery New England weather, so we chose Key West, Florida. We did a lot of research to find our Charter Captain, R.T. Trosset, who has caught all of the species on our vacation checklist. The most difficult part of the planning was the waiting.

We booked a full and half day of fishing with R.T. Our first day was the full day offshore to look for Sails. However, when we arrived in Key West, R.T. informed us that the Sails had pushed out due to a change in the wind, but assured us that he would still be working hard to find any that may have remained. I was so impressed with this Captain and his first mate. We know how difficult it is to find exactly what you are looking for on the exact day you want to find it. Fishing is by no means a guarantee. Needless to say, we didn’t find any sailfish. However, we had hours of reeling in Mahi Mahi, Amberjacks and my beloved Permit. And the Permit is even cuter in person.

The second day of fishing, we met R.T. at his house. He had his Hell’s Bay Flats boat geared up and ready to go out Tarpon fishing. R.T. has 183 IGFA records under his belt, and Tarpon fishing is one of his and his wife’s favorite types of fishing. The way he described Tarpon fishing, you could see the passion and spark that all of us addicts have. I knew we were in for a special experience. If he had so much love for this, I had a good feeling we were soon to fall in love too. I had never read about Tarpon or even had it on my radar, so I was entering this evening of fishing blindly. I was also unaware that Tarpon can get up to sizes of 200-300lbs. R.T. definitely listened to why I wanted to catch a Sailfish and found an alternate that made me almost forget the Sail entirely. (At least for now)

The wind had picked up and we could see the worry in RT’s face. The wind was going to make it difficult for the Tarpon to see our bait. We moved a few times after no hits. I was so enamored with the sunset that I wasn’t stressing out just yet. As it got darker, time seemed to be ticking away faster and faster. Was this going to be one of those dreaded charters where you don’t catch? Were we going to get skunked? These thoughts started going through my mind. As soon as I started reliving the previous day and reassuring myself that if we didn’t catch, it was ok, my line went off. I grabbed the rod, stood up and began cranking on the reel. Now RT had said something earlier about “Bowing to the Silver King”. He instructed “Now Allison, when the Tarpon jumps, bow down to him. Point your rod down to give him slack and then start reeling and lift up once he re-enters the water”. I guess I should have been more prepared. I didn’t have my glasses and it was dark. So it was virtually impossible for me to see it when it happened. It all took place in a flash. Therefore, I never bowed and the hook pulled. RT rigged another line and sent it out flying. Sometimes fishing is like a big scary roller coaster. Until you go on it once, you don’t know what to expect. Now that I had been through the Tarpon jumping and got the “feel” for it, I was confident I could do it. I always have those moments after losing a fish, of looking up to the sky and pleading for a chance to redeem myself. I couldn’t go out like this. Was this going to be our only Tarpon? Did I screw it up for everyone? Poor RT, I could tell this was not going to be an easy guarantee for him. And now I think he knew it too with this first missed landing.  Thankfully, the line went screeching again. I jumped up, said a silent prayer, and began the process with more caution. This fish ran and ran and ran. I can distinctively remember asking RT “when is it going to jump, you said they always jump”. Poor guy, to him it must have sounded like a little kid on a long car ride asking “are we there yet” a million times. And then it came….the Big Jump. I bowed down to the Silver King in time and when the jump that seemed like minutes was over, I felt the line and he was still there. THANK GOD! By now I was losing breath and strength in my arms. My husband grabbed RT’s rod belt and put it around me. Well just like always, it didn’t fit. My husband cinched this belt around my waist and held it. Being married as long as we have and fishing together as long as we have, he knew that I NEEDED to land this fish. If anything went wrong…he would never hear the end of it. There was one point where I screamed “The belt is too tight, I can’t breathe”.    

After about a 30 minute fight, I got the Tarpon to the boat. It was an incredible sight. The feeling I had when this silver beauty was up close was the same feeling I had the day I landed the Bluefin Tuna; a feeling of personal accomplishment and triumph. You can’t take these fish out of the water, so it was a challenge to capture the size and magnitude of the experience. RT has been catching these fish for years and said this fish was around 180 pounds. Again, he was determined to give me the experience I had talked about. He held that beast while my husband fumbled with the camera trying to get the flash to work and successfully take a picture with all 3 of us in it. The splash and tidal waves this fish put out while we were having our “Photo-op” was incredible. RT looked like he had all but jumped in the ocean and taken a swim. We landed 5 of these fish that night. The passion and excitement that RT had at the beginning of the night had now been transferred to me. It was no Sail, but it was massive, provided jumps of a true acrobat, weighed in at at almost 200lbs., was beautiful and gave me the fight and experience of a lifetime. I met a true Royal King of the ocean; the tarpon…and he was truly majestic!

“Light Up” your fishing game with more catches…guaranteed!

July 18th, 2011  |  Published in Fishing Tips, Products by allison

Esca LureWe all know that the sport of fishing is constantly evolving and the technology being applied to some of the products on the market today is so incredible that given a quick glance, humans might mistake them for real fish. Heck, some of the fish finders out there practically scream at you “Fish 30 feet down, drop your line now”. In the next decade, I can see us with our robotic swim baits and remote controls on our fishing rods maneuvering and swimming our lures right into the fish’s mouth. Every year more and more of these innovative products make their way to the market and magazine publications, claiming more fish to the purchasing angler. But how do you know which ones really work? Do they all work? For anglers that haven’t been exposed to a network of product testers or trial and error outings, how do they know that they are buying the right lure for the species and conditions they fish?

I will admit that I have boxes of tackle in closets covered in thick layers of dust which have never caught a fish, just caught the fisherman who bought it; me. A year ago I was introduced to a lure called Esca. The angler showing off this little contraption is very well known in the New England fishing scene, so my ears perked right up. He went on to say that he caught stripers, cod and flounder all by enhancing his rig with this attractant. Hmmm, a lure that works for multiple species…..he was reeling me in now. He explained how the lure worked and how he rigged it to his line. He handed me one of these lures and assured me that I would quickly become a believer. Well that is how I came to have boxes of “dusty” collector’s items in my closet, but for some reason, I was really hopeful with this one. I’m not sure what happened to me as a child, but I love lights. Anything sparkly, shiny and bright grabs my attention. Maybe this is why I was immediately intrigued and drawn to the Esca. See, when this lure makes contact with saltwater, it triggers the unit to produce light waves that act as attractants that are said to trigger the feeding and biting instincts of fish. The ocean is filled with light producing creatures that use their “flash” to attract prey or protect themselves. So the concept behind this lighted lure stands to explain its success.

The first species I tried this on was Winter Flounder. There was no method behind my madness, just the species I was going fishing for that day. I rigged it to my line with a 4 foot leader leading to my flounder rig. Esca has 4 different choices of lights: Green Blink, Green Fade, Blue Blink and Blue Fade. I was told that the Blue lures were for depths of 100 feet or more. Green blink was the one I was given, so it was my product tester. I only had one, so my husband was fishing without it. I can easily say this with confidence and all the love in my heart for him…I always out catch my husband. It’s either the extra patience or attention to detail that women have or dare I say, just the way it goes, but this time was different. I killed it! I out-fished him to the extreme. I believe that was the first time my husband fished with my pink rod. He wanted to see what was happening.

What happened? What happened was we went out and bought more Escas. We bought one in each color. I know what you’re thinking and I am sure it’s the same as what we thought. One time use doesn’t prove anything. It could have been our relative positions to each other on the boat. Was my husband changing out his bait as much as me? Was his bouncing technique different than mine? So we tried again. We mirrored each other on our next trip except for the Esca. Within 30 minutes, my husband added his Esca to the rig and he was quickly approaching my stats. Flounder are sight feeders. We have been fishing for these flatties for 3 years. When the wind is howling and the sun is nowhere to be seen, waves are 3-5 feet in the harbor and the rain is beating down, we don’t catch them. We may catch a couple after a large number of drifts, but for the most part, those types of days…no one is out fishing for them. Well no one but GoPogy. This year we went out in those conditions using the Esca and I caught my largest flounder to date. I can compare this to previous years going out in the same conditions and catching a couple small, aggressive feeders. The Esca is key when visibility is a challenge, especially for sight feeders. This lighted gem produced results on a terrible weather day, as if it were bright blue skies, 0 waves, and the most beautiful day of summer.

We then moved this lure into our night-time striper fishing and I had the same results. I won three derbies last year using this on my rigs. I used to be strictly a bait gal. I fished live and dead bait. Last year was my first year really getting into plugs, lures and plastics. Each year I try catching new species, fishing in new locations and trying different methods to catch. Since the Esca hit my line, this is one piece of tackle that STAYS on my line. I enhance whatever I’m using with it. If you are fishing plugs at night, not only is this lure great for the fish, it’s great for the angler. Even though you can use depth colored line, the Esca helps us watch how far out our lure is going. This is crucial for plug placement. This has been one of the biggest advantages of night-time fishing for me. Seeing the exact placement of my lure before I send it down to the fish is a bonus and value-add that alone makes this one of my favorites. This lure requires no batteries and has 100 hours of life; that’s a lot of fishing.

My goal has always been to share what works for me. Over the years we have learned many things from friends and professionals that have propelled our game in ways that would have taken us years to figure out, so when I can pay that forward I will. Esca also believes in their product so much that they have a money back guarantee. When I’m getting ready for a fishing trip and prepare my rigs, I hum the Debbie Boone tune “You Light Up My Life”. I know that song wasn’t written about the Esca since it came out in the 70’s, but I think if a remix comes out, it should be. This product has definitely brightened my game. Check out their site for more information and details. Their dealer directory will help locate a tackle store near you that carries it. If there isn’t one near you, you can order directly online. GoPogy gives the Esca 5 fins up!


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