Friday, 31 July 2009 by Tracy Epstein
A few of Tracy's friends had just flown in for a couple days but Sam Peters from Release Marine had his flight delayed and wasn't arriving until 4:00 in the afternoon. The Marina we fish out of is about a 40 minute drive from the airport so we opted to pick Sam up in Funchal's marina after fishing. We trolled the day out never seeing or hearing of any fish being caught. Sam finally arrived so we hurried in to fetch him from the dock. He hopped on the boat and we headed back out making our way towards Cabo Girao. Upon reaching the big cliff, we came across birds and mammals wearing out huge balls of mackerel. On our first pass across the same ledge we had been trolling all day a blue piles on my Large Polu Kai Instigator on the long rigger. She takes the top shot off the reel before we know it. Jonboy got us going into a quick turn and chase to slow the fish down. She never jumped and as soon as we got the top shot back on the reel she was straight up and down.
Friday, 24 July 2009 by Jonboy Kelmer
We decided to repay the pizza guys by taking them offshore and trying to show them what we've been talking about all season by "a pizza and a blue". Strange enough we didn't have a pizza onboard but things still worked out. The fellas that own the pizza place are both named Joe, so that makes things easy for us. We headed out just after 2 pm for a couple hours just to show the Joes what we do all day. Thankfully we were able to find a blue marlin so they didn't see us sitting around all that much. About 30 minutes out of the harbor Tracy spotted something behind the right long rigger and sure enough it was a smaller type blue marlin. After the second attempt at eating the bait she was hooked and off and jumping. Jess got the rod to the chair and away we went after the fish. In short order Tracy had the leader and up came a 300 lb blue alongside with the Marlin Magic Large Tube stuck to its face. We released that one and continued on with hopes of bringing up another but it never did happen.
Monday, 20 July 2009 by Tracy Epstein
Alright so this was our plan: head out of the harbor around 10 go catch Jessica her 7th blue of the season and get back in time to make the 4:00 showing of "The Hangover". So we wake up a little later than we wanted and don't leave the harbor till around 10:30. Jess and I set out our Polu Kai pattern while Jonboy trolls us up the line towards the point. First pass on the point the wind line is already screaming in so we tack down the ledge. Shortly after starting the tack a blue pops up behind the XL Polu Kai Tubulation on the long corner. She tries it a few times unsuccessfully, until switching across the pattern to the Large Polu Kai Instigator on the short bait. One swipe and she knocks it out of the rigger. She disappears for a few seconds and shows up on the Large Polu Kai Instigator on the short rigger. This time she engulfs the lure and starts screaming off line. Jess hops in the chair as jonboy turns us into a chase down sea.
Sunday, 19 July 2009 by Tracy Epstein
All the lures that we chose to pull on board the Grander are our own personal preferences. There are so many good lure makers out there and most of them happen to come from Hawai'i, so when it comes to picking the right lures for blue marlin, I rely on past experience and personal use. When we first started the season here in Madeira I had chosen to run Polu Kai Lures because thats what Kevin Nakamaru and I mostly run in Kona aboard the Northern Lights. I've never gotten a Polu Kai Lure that wouldn't run right. The lures have performed well for us in Hawai'i and so far they've been unstoppable in Madeira. We're also running a few Marlin Magic Lures just to spice up the pattern once in awhile. The XXL Marlin Magic Ruckus that's been on the short teaser has had over 6 short bites since it's been in the water. That's saying a lot considering that lure is run only 20 feet away from the transom of the boat. My lure pattern consists of four rods and two teasers.
Saturday, 18 July 2009 by Jonboy Kelmer
Today was another pizza and blue experiment with a twist. I let Tracy take the wheel so I could be on the deck for a day. We rolled out around 1 pm to give an afternoon to try and get Jess' numbers up. Heading out to the west end we found some uncomfortable seas but some bait as well. Tracy spent about 4 hrs working bait pile after bait pile in hopes of a bite. Around 5 o'clock, he started a tack back in the direction of the barn when he saw a few busts under the birds that looked like tunas. Upon arrival I looked back at the short left and there was a 500 lb. blue inhaling the XL Polu Kai Instigator. The fish didn't go anywhere and gave me time to get everything clear and after it Tracy went. Just then, the fish decided to start jumping all over the ocean and it was then we realized it didn't have a bill. I mean it had a bill but it didn't stretch but about 6 inches past the bottom jaw. Jess had the fish to leader in short order and up the side I was able to get her without much trouble.
Monday, 13 July 2009 by Tracy Epstein
Left late today, around 1:00. Got a couple pizzas and headed out. It was Jess's turn in the chair today and she was looking to get one up on Melton's four blues he caught while he was here. A few fish were caught this morning so we were hoping for a late afternoon bite. As soon as we got down in front of Tabua, a blue climbed on the short XL Polu Kai tube. She pulled free and before anyone could hit the deck she was already all over the short Marlin Magic XXL Ruckus teaser. Jonboy managed to get the teaser away from the blue as she disappeared in the white wash. Next thing we know she's trying to eat the teaser on the other side. This fish was all over us like a rash. After chasing that teaser all the way to the transom she made a U turn and climbed on the Long corner Polu Kai Instigator, finally getting herself stuck. Jess got the rod to the chair and Jonboy got us going in hot pursuit. 15 quick minutes and Jess had the estimated 500 pound blue to the boat. Took some pics and let her swim on her way.
Sunday, 12 July 2009 by Jonboy Kelmer
After the day we had yesterday with 4 bites and catching 1, we couldn't wait to get on the water to see what might happen and happen it did. The first fish we raised was a 450 that piled on the short rigger bait which happened to be a large Polukai Instigator skirted in green vinyl. After the initial bite, the fish decided to get away from us as fast as possible and we were into the backing before we knew it. A quick turn and chase the line was on the reel and we got the fish in short order and made a clean release after a 20 minute battle. That action was before lunch so we had a good reason to chow down for bit. The day continued on uneventfully until about 4 pm when, after marking some bait on the ledge, I made a circle and what looked like a 747 showed up behind the right long and just inhaled the Polukai Tubulation with blue vinyl. The line however never came tight. The angler made it to the chair but the line still wasn't tight.
Saturday, 11 July 2009 by Tracy Epstein
We started the day as usual, putting the lures in the water right outside of the harbor. We made a couple tacks around out front and started to make our way to the the east when we raised a spearfish on our little Shimano Torium jigging set up that we have been running off the bridge. We only have a 7 inch Polu Kai bullet with a single 9/0 Mustad in the lure. The Spear made a few attempts before taking off. Not 15 minutes later there was a huge boil on the same little lure. This time it looked nothing like a spearfish. Realizing there was a 600 pound blue trying to suck down the little bullet, I quickly grabbed the rod and reeled the lure away from the hot fish right on its tail. As soon as I passed the long rigger bait, the blue quickly switched off of my lure and launched herself onto the large Polu Kai tube. She took out maybe 20 yards before coming off. We tried hard to raise her again but she wouldn't come back to the spread.
Friday, 10 July 2009 by Jonboy Kelmer
Out of the harbor at 9:30, we started right out in front of the it due to the fact that there had been a several fish caught there in the past few days. Natural tendency makes you want to at least get the boat out at least a bit further before starting to fish but here it's usually unnecessary because you're passing over who knows how many fish. We fished for about 4 hours before we raised a blue about 400 lbs on the right long rigger but only for a minute then he was gone. We were happy to see one but disappointed for no bite. We continued on after that and ended up marking alot of bait along the 100 fathom ledge and spent the rest of the time practicing M's and W's on the plotter. Around 4 pm we started to see Shearwater starting to spin around like they knew something we didn't but we were in the right spot to see the bigeyes pop up nearby. I chose to turn left and 300 yds behind us up they popped in full force chasing the bait.
Thursday, 9 July 2009 by Tracy Epstein
The fishing has been slow the last few days. We actually put out the small jigging rod in hopes of a spearfish and this time we actually caught one, it just happened to be the smallest long nose spearfish ever. We took a couple pictures and let it go, but that would be the only bite we would have. Today we took the day off and went up into the mountains to hike around the levadas (manmade irrigation ditches). The weather was nice for the hike, kinda hot but when we reached the water fall the freezing water felt great. Start fishing again tomorrow hopefully the blues will wake up and start biting. Tracy Epstein
Tuesday, 7 July 2009 by Jonboy Kelmer
The wind had dropped off to pretty much nothing so we had the option to go west out towards the end of the island but we'd also heard the current had changed to a different direction than it had been the previous week. Figuring the current might not be right for the western end, we headed east to maybe get lucky around Cabo Girao. We made some tacks in the morning outside the marina and raised what looked like a white marlin on the short Marlin Magic XXL Ruckus teaser. Jonboy pulled the teaser out of the water and the fish wheeled around and lined up right behind the XL Polu Kai tube on the short bait. The fish took one quick pass at the lure and pulled it out of the rigger taking about 20 yards of line before coming off. Neither Jonboy or myself could for sure I.D what type of billfish we had just raised. It was either a huge White marlin or one of the smallest blues to ever make its way to Madeira. We trolled our way down the ledge towards Ponta do Sol where we started marking big schools of bait.
Friday, 3 July 2009 by Jonboy Kelmer
The last two days have been a bit frustrating for the fact that we wanted to catch a big one or two but we would rather save it for the 4th. Yesterday, Thursday, we went out feeling pretty good after having a great trip with Tracy and his dad only to see one lazy blue that wasn't interested enough to eat the long rigger. All she did was get us all pumped up for the big let down and that was the only looker we had all day. There were another dozen fish seen by the fleet and a few nice ones caught but none for us. Needless to say i was worried. I started feeling vibrations and thinking plenty of bad thoughts, of course for no real reason, but i just wanted to stay on a roll as every fisherman wants, so we got out there today with high hopes again and the wind had decided to wrap around the end of the island and make the spot we've fished for the last week unreachable for the swell and chop. Now i felt all out of sorts trying to decide where to go.
Wednesday, 1 July 2009 by Tracy Epstein
Today was Tracy and Bob's last day in Madeira so we got an early start around 9:30. In Madeira the blues never really seem to bite before 10 in the morning. One of Jonboy's friends Terry Brennan flew in for a couple days to fish the World Cup with us. He had just finished a two month season in Cape Verde where they caught 134 blues in about 60 days of fishing. Terry came along to help out and in the event we would need a gaff man. We hung a hard right out of the harbor and ran up towards the point where we had been fishing the last few days. Today was Bob's day to finally get in the chair and only two hours into the troll a blue exploded on my same hot lure a Polu Kai Instigator on the short rigger. The blue stayed on the surface as jonboy chased it down in reverse. Within ten minutes we were right on top of the fish. As we snuck up behind her she squirted out for a nice series of jumps. Jonboy stay right on top of her and managed to get me the leader.