Our group of six met our boat's mate, Emanuel, on the white sand beach, where we hopped aboard a dingy for
the five minute ferry to the moored Marmax II, one of Gone Fishing Charter's 3 offshore sportfishing boats. The
mate, who hails from Haiti and has worked for Gone Fishing for over 10 years, introduced us to Captain Jose and
we were soon heading offshore at about 14 knots. About 8 miles out, Emanuel positioned five baits in the turquoise waters behind the boat and dropped in a five-squid teaser off the stern.
The baits on the terminal ends of three 30-, one 50- and one 80-pound reel were rigged ballyhoo
without plastic skirts. Jack Caddy was up first and Bob Michael was his backup. It didn't take long after the avid Maryland anglers settled in to the
two fighting chairs before line clips were popping, rods were bent and reel drags were singing.
"Fish on! Fish on," screamed Emanuel in English.
The experienced mate speaks four languages, plus "fisherman's language." Chaos ensued.
Within five minutes of our start, two big female
dolphin or "mahi-mahi" were 100 yards out criss-crossing behind the boat. Our mate cleared the partially tangled lines as Bob and Jack switched fighting chairs and continued to battle their
streaking dolphin. Bob gained control of his fish and Emanuel
soon gaffed the 15-pounder and placed it in the fish box. Jack kept working on his much larger fish, and both the angler and the quarry were tiring.
The mate finally placed a gaff into the 30-pound female, a giant for its sex.
With such quick action, we were all pumped up
for a fantastic day and many strikes. But then the action slowed. Two hours went by without evidence of another fish in the Caribbean off the eastern point of the Dominican Republic. Most of
our trolling took place from 4 to 10 miles off the touristy Punta Cana shoreline in relatively calm 2 to 3-foot seas.
We slowly moved past several of the 7 buoyed
surface fish attractors that have been placed about 8 to 10 miles offshore by a commercial fisherman. Since the commercial vessel primarily fishes around them during strong winds and high
seas, and since most of the half day charters troll waters about 4 to 5 miles out, we had the fish attractors to ourselves that day.
A strike about mid-day woke us up and Jeff Peek grabbed the bouncing rod; after a 10
-minute battle, he landed a mahi-mahi in the upper 20-pound range. The fish made several spectacular leaps near the boat and the aerial display did not go un-noticed.
Camera shutters clicked, but soon the fish met up with the other two in the fish box.
While the two dophin were good sized, the captain's largest ever was a bull that
weighed 70 pounds. We briefly battled a couple of small wahoo before they cut us off, so our day's tally was three. Other boats fishing that day weren't so lucky but our total was
nothing to brag about. The most ever taken in one day aboard the Marmax II was 36, according to the captain and we were fishing in February, the best time of the year for
dolphin, yellowfin tuna and bonito. While the boat had taken both sailfish and blue marlin earlier that month, we found neither.
The biggest blue marlin taken aboard Jose's boat was a 620 pounder and the optimal
time in the waters offshore from Punta Cana is July through September. The prime months for wahoo are October through December and for sailfish are October through February.
Half and full-day charters on boats 33 to 38 feet long are available and resort pick up is included. For more information on the deep sea fishing off
Punta Cana, check with the resort's Apple Tours or Amstar representative while you are there or call 1-809-221-6626 before your trip.