Saves The Day
By Capt. Sean Bloomfield
The market is
awash with a wide variety of offshore fishing teasers, but you'd
be hard-pressed to find one with the optimum appearance, action
and durability of the Flock-o-Birds by PlayAction Products. I was
recently able to experience this product's superiority on a day
trolling in the Gulf Stream off Stuart, Florida.
After an atypical
late start, my father and I stormed impatiently out of St. Lucie
Inlet in his 31-foot Rampage. As soon as we were just outside the
jetties, the depth-finder screen lit up with the telltale signs
of bait schools beneath. My first drop with the Sabiki rig was immediately
met with resistance, however, the line soon came slack and I pulled
up a bait-catcher rig minus its hooks: the Spanish mackerel were
My father and
I opted to rely on our cooler full of fresh ballyhoo and we headed
out to the deep. I rigged a cache of naked baits as well as several
adorned with skirts. The water was calm, even glassy in some places,
and I knew it would take more than the average spread to excite
any December pelagics.
We let out the
lines around an area known as "the Pinnacle," one of my
father's favorite places to begin trolling due to its unique conical
bottom contour and the vibrant rips that swirl on the surface above
it. A daisy chain of plastic squids bounced off the right rigger,
and behind it followed an attractive spread of ballyhoo.
So we trolled
. . . And trolled . . . And continued to troll until I would have
given anything for even one tiny click from a reel drag to wake
us up. Both my father and I had taken to lounging in the shade under
the hard-top, on the verge of dozing off. I was eyeing the beer
cooler and I knew that my father was thinking the same thing. If
the ocean wasn't going to produce, at least a cold one might put
us at ease.
I got up and
lifted the lid of the cooler, peered inside at the dark beer bottles
nestled in a cradle of chipped ice. I imagined popping the lid off
one of those babies and taking a big, long sip. But as I reached
inside, something came over me. The question came into my mind:
were we there to catch a buzz, or catch a fish?
The cooler lid
slipped from my hands and I turned to the rigging station. Digging
through the coils of wire and bags of lures, my hands came across
a brand-new PlayAction Flock-o-Birds. I plucked the colorful connection
of skimming birds from the tackle locker and showed it to my father;
he had forgotten about purchasing the Flock-o-Bird about six weeks
I recalled many
previous fishing days with my father using another bird-type teaser
made by PlayAction; in my memory, all had turned out to be fantastic
trips. I remembered the double-header of sailfish that had swatted
the birds with their bills before splitting apart and striking both
port and starboard outrigger baits simultaneously. I thought about
the trip where an entire school of peanut dolphin had followed the
birds as if mesmerized by their color and fluttering action. And
with dread I reminisced about the mammoth-sized wahoo that had sprung
from the inky depths without warning, slicing apart our coveted
teaser with its toothy jaws.
This new teaser
I discovered in the tackle locker was striking in its color and
design. I was hit with renewed excitement as I replaced the squid
daisy-chain with the Flock-o-Birds. Immediately I could see a difference
in the spread: this teaser sputtered like a school of frantic baitfish
across the ocean surface, leaving behind a rippling wake.
The first strike
came in less than ten minutes on the flat-line directly behind the
new teaser. A short battle resulted in the release of a feisty bonita.
Although far from a trophy gamefish, the capture of that bonita
gave us some satisfaction that the skunk was indeed out of the boat.
Less than fifteen
minutes after that, a dolphin hit the short starboard outrigger
bait, the one closest to the new teaser. As the dolphin, a twelve-pounder,
came to gaff, we hooked a larger bull on a spinning outfit. The
bull subsequently spit the hook, but at least we had one decent
fish in the box. Within a minute, we were trolling again.
After one short
strike on the shotgun, twenty minutes went by with little sign.
As I prepared to change a washed-out ballyhoo, a sudden flash in
the propwash caught my eye. I scrambled to the transom and peered
into the electric-blue water. And soon, a slender, purplish form
began to take shape right behind the Flock-o-Birds. A wahoo!
My knees began
to shake and my adrenaline surged. Once again I recalled the loss
of our favorite teaser, and I was intent on not letting that happen
again. I instinctively grabbed the flat-line rod, which was attached
to a naked ballyhoo, and reeled in the bait until it was between
the fish and the teaser. It was only a matter of seconds before
there was another brilliant flash; the rod doubled over in my hands
and the drag screamed like a banshee.
My father switched
the boat into auto-pilot and rushed toward me, wrapping a PlayAction
rod belt quickly around my waist. The drag continued to scream,
but suddenly, the line slackened. My father gunned the throttles
and soon the line came taught again; the wahoo had rushed the boat,
a trait not uncommon to these wily fish. The ensuing battle lasted
twenty minutes, and soon a forty-pound wahoo hit the ice.
two cold beers in celebration, my father and I decided that we had
indeed come what we had hoped to do. And as we steamed back toward
Stuart with a box full of fish, I couldn't help but think that PlayAction
had saved the day.
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