The right Cooler ends the day better

~ Alfredo Miranda, Frustrated Amateurs Fishing Team

3:30 am. Sure we might be a little early but what good would an extra 20 minutes sleeping do. After all this is a big event. The final event for the season and if we get that slob we need we finish off as division champs.

We loaded the gear on the Contender. Rods, rig bags, fish bags, Ribbonfish and plenty of ice and drinks for the fish box and our 65qt Engel. The forecast is calling for calm seas virtually no wind and lots of heat!

We throttle up a bit and push out of the slip and head over to grab our live bait for the day. We are still a little early before lines in so just cruise over to where we plan to fish. Around 20 miles later we reached the spot we all had a good feeling held the right fish. As we wait for lines in we get some rigs out and prep the boat for the chaos we are sure is going to go down. In the days leading to the tournament, the bite has been strong in this area. The fish are here in packs so we knew we’d more than likely be cycling through some fish before the big girl shows up. Team Angler Curt slides out the Engel cooler and starts filling our Engel cups with ice and water and stores them back in. Frozen water, on what today’s heat is supposed to be, is what we are gonna need!

Lines in! It’s going time! Angler Dean and Curt set the first ribbons down off the downrigger and Angler Damian put out the live goggle eyes up top. We start maneuvering through the area trying to position baits right over specific numbers on our GPS. Within 10 minutes the deep bait gets smacked! Zinggggg! Cynthia grabs the rod and tightens the drag a bit and we are tight. Not long after Ashley sticks the first king with the gaff.

As quickly as possible everything is sent back down and out. Fresh spread again and the slow drift continues. We catch a couple more “teen” fish and at around 9:30 am things get interesting…

The deep bait pops, drag screams out. Nykki grabs the rod and gets tight. Live bait flat lines are brought in. Downrigger one comes up. Weights in the boat and out of the way. As the second downrigger comes up the bearing pop, the brake pad busts and the weight drops straight to the bottom! 120 feet. Nykki’s on the fish as Damian and Curt start to turn the rigger reel by hand, little by little as it’s the only possible way. Ash sticks the king and gets him iced down. Curt takes a break and Damian starts his turn “on the little by little, “haha. Slide-out Engel cooler comes out and it’s the first water break of the morning. Ice cold. More momentum.

So now we are down a rigger and the bite is coming on Ribbonfish so we set the one rigger down and live baits out. As the day moves on no live bait is ever hit and only the ribbons are enticing the fish. We crack open a couple of ice cold drinks and come up with a great plan. We need both riggers so why not tie are dock lines up, tie a release clip on them midway and a 10lb weight at the bottom! Alright, this is gonna work! Tied the new system all up and sent it down. Right away and what felt almost instantly we hook up of our little system! Cynthia’s on the rod and this fish looks to be a little better! Alfredo turns the boats and starts chasing the fish down a bit to save it from becoming shark food. Cynthia works the King and shortly after the hookup Ash reaches out and puts the gaff in it. A little excitement ensues as we see this fish is a little bigger and in the high 20s range.

As the day got hotter and hotter the bite slowed down. So far we have a couple of teen fish and the high 20s class in the bag. Not quite enough and we knew this so we pushed harder. Ran back and forth along the ledge. One way then back and kept at it.

It was a long day. An excruciating hot one at that.

Over the radio, we hear the call. “Lines out”.

That’s it. 12 hrs later from wake up the day is done. We pushed down the throttles and headed to weigh in.
We pull up to the dock and grab the fish bag. High hopes as we walk up the dock and get in line. There are a few teams weighing in and as we watch we get a little more excited seeing smaller then usual fish being weighed. Still beaming hot. We kind of looked like we had just jumped out of the water ourselves. We weigh Cynthia’s fish in. 27lbs. We sat in 3rd place for a while but eventually dropped down and off the board.

Back on the boat we tossed the bean bags out, pulled out our Engel cracked a couple of ice-cold drinks and begin to talk about our day. From solid action to the rigger going down and a good fish, the ended up securing a 3rd place division spot for the year. A great season. A great day on the water with great friends and well really family. The heat was no match, our day ended laughing and joking over cold drinks from our Engel cooler. For us, there was simply no better way to end the season.

Frustrated Amateurs Fishing Team

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