Bluewater fish were really biting before Hurricane Sandy and a nor'easter pushed up the east coast, and fishermen are expecting the action to be just a good when they get back out to the Big Rock as the winds finally lay out.

"The bite was really good before the two blows, and we expect it to be hot still when we get back out," said Capt. Tony Ross of Wet-N-Wild Sportfishing in Atlantic Beach. "We were catching wahoo and blackfin tuna – which we expect in late October and early November – plus some late sailfish and dolphin, which aren't expected this time of year."

Ross said that his latest party boated 21 dolphin and caught and released a sailfish in addition to the half-dozen wahoo and blackfin tuna they expected to catch. He said this has been an exceptional year for sailfish, but no one expected them to be around this late in the fall. Of course, no one is complaining.

"On one of our most recent trips, we had several sailfish in the baits," said Ross (252-723-1110). "They weren't all lit up and didn't come rushing in like they do at times. They were window-shopping, but after watching the baits a while, one got fired up and hit. I thought it might get the others excited and we would have a shot at a triple, but it was the only one that hit. Still, it's great to be able to give your clients a shot at a billfish to add to a day they were expecting to catch wahoo and blackfins."


Ross has been finding fish across a wide area from well below the Big Rock to well above it. This time of the year, he looks for a temperature change and will work both sides, but he usually does best on the warmer side. Sometimes, there is an associated weed line or a color change, but he considers the temperature break the most important factor in finding fish.


The bait spread Ross has been pulling is a mixture of Islanders, Sea Stars and sea witches in front of ballyhoo – designed to attract multiple species. Blue/white and chartreuse have been hot colors on the surface, but he has been going with black/orange on his planer lines.