That guy in the photo is Andrew Metzger, better known to frequent F&S.com readers as Koldcut. Andrew lives in Colorado, but he’s originally from eastern Pennsylvania. For the last few years all I’ve been hearing from Andrew is, “the next time I’m in PA we have to fish.” Well, he was in PA last week and we fished. And he got a righteous taste of what us Northeast saltwater guys deal with all fall: Wind when no wind is forecast, the fish you want being non-existent even though they were everywhere the day before, and bluefish (a.k.a. lemonade). Only Andrew’s tall glass of lemonade came with a twist.
Last Friday, Andrew and I met up with “Hook Shots” regular Captain Eric Kerber with one goal…get Andrew a false albacore on the fly. In the days prior, the albacore were thick, crashing anchovies on the surface, birds diving, the whole nine. We get to the sweet spot and it’s gusting hard southwest, there are little whitecaps combing over the chop, and the birds are flying around hungry and confused. We held our ground for a few hours, but the albies never showed. What did show were the ever-faithful bluefish that can turn a no-albacore frown upside down.
The difference, however, between the standard “savior” school of blues and the blues we found Friday was that every single one was a 16- to 18-pound beast. I mean I’ve caught blues this size one here, one there, but neither Eric nor I had ever seen whole schools of such massive specimens.
The first one I hooked on spinning gear never stopped taking line. I never got a crank. The next torqued the reel so hard it bent something and I could barely turn the handle. But as the fish came to the surface, I noticed it had 4 friends with it. Andrew, in a mad dash, picked up my 12-weight, slung a hunk of feathers behind my fish, and was treated to a ravenous pack of super-gators charging the bug. Whamo! Down dove the fish. Zing went the drag. The rod bowed to the brink of destruction, and 15 hairy minutes later, Eric sunk the net on 36-inches, 18-pounds of Jersey bluefish on the fly. Andrew didn’t even have a steel leader tied on, but managed a perfect strip strike into the corner of the fish’s mouth. I still can’t believe we landed it.
Now, I have caught a lot of blues in my day, but this was hands down the biggest I’d ever seen landed on the fly. For two native Northeasterners like Eric and I to get all hot and bothered about a bluefish is rare, but this fish had our jaws dropped. Once again, the lemonade fish came through in a big way, and we sent Andrew back home to CO with a sore wrist, a mangled streamer, and an epic tale to tell.
Great fishing with you, Koldcut. Sorry you have to go back to catching stuff that your bluefish could cut in half faster than a Slap-Chop takes down a parsnip.