We're leaving out of Freeport Friday night heading in the direction of BV and Nancen. Rick, TJ, RueHoo, and I should return to Freeport sometime Sunday. It is tough to "have to" go test prototype lures and rods, but it's our job! I'll post a report sometime Monday! REPORT We -McGolfer/TJ/Ragman/DrShark (RueHoo had something come up) arrived into Freeport Friday night with just enough time to drop off the gear, say hello to Phat Cat (she was resting nicely in her sling!), then head down to Willie Joe's Restaurant for one of the best meals that I've had in a long time! If you don't know about this place, you must make a stop next time you're in Freeport! I had a Mexican Shrimp Cocktail to start, then a bowl of perfectly flavored crawfish gumbo! My wife makes the best iced-tea, but Willie Joe is definitely onto something! Rick told me they had the best Key Lime pie, which happened to be my favorite, and it was the perfect ending to a meal that helped me fall asleep quickly back at the house! DrShark was to meet up with us Saturday morning and while waiting for him, we made sure the many months in dry dock didn't lead to any bad habits for the Phat Cat. Almost everything checked out, and after loading ALL of the gear, DrShark arriving, we set out for gas around 9 a.m. After filling up, we cruise through the ICW and break the jetty around 9:40 heading to the semi-submersible Noble Grizzard then it would be onto BV/Nancen. We made stops at floatsam, a small rip, a couple of bottom spots, and a rig with nothing showing any interest. For a little while we pulled a spread of Islanders with ballyhoo, but as we approached Noble, we stopped and put out the live bait we'd caught and started to bump troll looking for some of the big YFT's we'd read that were out there. NADA! After about an hour of this, we set course to hit Nancen. There were 3 Sportfishers there when we arrived. The "Full Monty" was there and we shared the floater with them while jigging and drifting. TJ and I started out throwing topwater, but not one fish would bite on top. I had a total of 2 small blow ups the entire night. We moved to jigging, chunking, and freelining flyers (which were so thick that we scooped them up by the boat at will) and the BFT's were thick. I jigged with my 600 gram OTI and the new Blue Heaven L120. That reel is simply amazing! Butter-smooth drag, very light, and such an efficient cranking gear that I never had to put my rod into my fighing plate. I was only catching BFT's, but some of those fish were serious pullers. I caught one, very small YFT, but there were NO Yellow Fin around. We marked fish from 50 feet to 300 feet all night (lots of life), and we fished the entire column looking for anything other than BFT. Even though the flyers were everywhere, we didn't see but a couple of smaller blow ups while drifting. The current was slow enough that we mainly jigged with 200-300 gram jigs all night. I had no problem staying straight down to 400 feet with a 200 gram jig. TJ killed the BFT on flylined flyers, while we jigged, but we didn't get anything when we were chunking with BFT. About 2 a.m. we decide to go check out Boom Vang. We saw a CC that OffshoreAggie was on, but they had no luck trolling or finding YFT's either. Again, lots of life at BV, but no YFT's. Oh well. The Phat Cat now has thru-hull lights, and we deployed a 6' Hydro Glo light that was amazing at attracting flyers! All night we see big flyers float up about 10 feet off the stern, then while in a trance, just float right up to the green glow. Easy scooping and into the live well! We probably netted 50 flyers that night! We decided to move to Tequila to test some jigs and rods on some brute AJ and Grouper in the morning. We arrive to a beautiful sunrise, a little shower, and after tying up, TJ and I hit it hard with 400 to 500 gram jigs in 700 feet of water. Our first 2 drops to 250' brought two very hard hits! Those brutes are just very difficult to turn without breaking off. Capt Frank once told me that after losing 2 AJ hits to artificials, the bite will turn off. After we lost those two fish, we had no more hits from AJ's. Bummer! Rick and TJ set up a 50 and a 70 bottom rigs with huge chunks of BFT for Grouper. Almost immediately Rick gets slammed! But it gets stuck for about 10 minutes and he ties it off to the starboard stern cleat to wait it out. He was playing guitar with that line, but no movement. TJ gets hit a few minutes later, but same thing; he ties it off to the port cleat to wait. While waiting, he rigs up a double-hook live bait rig on a 7 1/2 foot 80 lb rod with a Saltiga 6500. Remember, it's been a while since TJ's been out and he just wants to hear a screaming drag and feel a big fish's pull! More later! In the meantime, the old Pharts have been going in and out of sleep (ha ha), but DrShark finally struggles to rig his Torsa 20 on his 600 g OTI rod to drop a huge, almost 600 gram jig. He drops right next to me, ALL the way down to the bottom, 700'! He locks into his new harness (RFT?) and after about his second jig/wind, something heavy is bending his rod. He sets into cranking up almost 650' of line with something heavy on it, but no head shaking or pulls. After about 13 minutes, up pops a beautiful Warsaw! After catching so many BFT's all night, this grouper looked huge! TJ single gaffed him and pulled him over with a huge thud! We later weighed it at 56 lbs! Well DrShark, after strutting around saying something about that's how it's done -pfft, old Phart he sits back down to take a nap! LOL Back to TJ. He hooks up a huge live bar jack, loudly yells, "I want to catch a Giant Wahoo", casts it about 65 yards off the stern. About a minute later, as I'm standing next to him and Rick is on his left, right out of a hole about 15 yards from the stern, a missile launches out of the water and flies right off the port stern into the water half way past the middle of the boat! It was surreal and took me a second to ask TJ if he saw that?! I said, "TJ, that's your fish!". He said, "No, my baits out there!". I said, "No, there goes your line!". About that time his drag starts screaming! The fish does another big leap and we see it's a big Barracuda! It was fun while it lasted and after we did some dentistry, we released the old guy back to rule his rig. We decide we've had enough fun and we pull up to go hit some snapper spots. But what about the two rigs still tied off? We back the boat off the rig more than one hundred yards, but neither of the rigs have busted off! We're pulling something along the bottom at 700 feet! Ends up being both rigs are hooked into a 4 foot sea eel that is all wrapped up in a big yellow rope and about 15 broken off leaders. That eel came up foaming at the mouth. We cut it all away and head off. The port motor started acting up like we had picked up something in the prop. We checked it but nothing there. Then they wouldn't get up past 900 rpms, so we settled into a 9 mph stroll back into port. I took over the helm so Rick could get some sleep, and TJ and DrShark put out a spread at about 50 miles out? It was something to do on the slow ride back (brought back nightmares of a slow boat!). Not 15 minutes of trolling and the middle long goes off! TJ's first up and brings in a nice king fish. Put the spread back out and 15 minutes later the Accurate 50 starts screaming! DrShark brings in a beautiful wahoo about 15 pounds. They sure are beautiful all lit up! Just as we were bringing it in, Offshore Aggie pulls up and checks on us. Rick tells them we've got some motor probs, but that we're making our way in slowly. I don't think they could believe that we'd just pulled in a Wahoo. Spread back out, 15 minutes later, the Avet 50 (purple MrBill, LOL) goes off, and I bring in a really nice cow dorado! We'd finally made our way to green water, about 30 miles out, and Rick takes back the helm. TJ and I decide to get some sleep, but about 15 minutes later, Rick wakes us up to pull in the lines because the motors are fully running now! Excellent! 38 minutes later, we're at the jetty, then stop to fuel up, and we're back at the house at about 4:30. We caught BFT, Wahoo, Dorado, Grouper, King, Vermillion, Squid, Blue Porcupine fish, and tons of flyers LOL! It was a great overnighter, lots of fishing, and great company! Some pics: 1. Sunset looking at BV from Nancen, with a Sportfisher 2. Noble Grizzard semi-submersible drill ship 3. Nancen floater 4. Dorado 5. DrShark at his best!