Posted on

Rod & Gun – 3/1/2024 – “Good Carma”

Good “Carma”
Record-Setting Sailfishing Day

By George Blaha, Member since 2005

The stars had to align for a group of anglers on Wednesday, February 21, and align they did. A boat named “Carma” received good karma, landing 65 sailfish in one day.

The captain, Tucker Ersek, and first mate Andres Landh-Garcia had been preparing for this day for more than a week, as they saw conditions develop for a midweek opportunity to land a lot of sailfish. Those conditions included opposing wind and current, which created the short-wave rhythm that sailfish love called “riding the waves,” resulting in fish on the surface. The son of Members, Tucker has been fishing at Ocean Reef since he was 11 and captaining since he was 18 (now 25). Andres has been fishing since 2019 and has excelled at this sport after giving his tennis racquet a rest.

Being a sought-after captain and crew, they were both booked with different clients on Tuesday and Wednesday and it took some friendly horse trading with those clients to get both days scheduled with Carmen Sferrazza on the Carma, which was equipped with the tower and Seakeeper (a stabilizing gyro) that Tucker and Andres considered critical to the job. It’s a testimonial to the sense of fair play shared by all Ocean Reef Members that the original clients Dave Johnson and George Blaha were both invited Wednesday to fish on the Carma, although the three had never fished together before. This was going to be an interesting day.

On Tuesday, the boat with Carmen and its frequent anglers Angela Basciano and Jodi Zifferer, went out and got 31 sails, so Tucker and Andres were excited for Wednesday like kids on Christmas morning. In preparation, they spent the night before and the morning of catching more bait – pilchers and goggle eyes. Andres had been preparing leaders for months before this day in hopes of it happening.

Lines went in a little after 7:30 a.m. and by 10 a.m., they had landed over 13 and switched from kite fishing to sight fishing – just chasing the fish by sight. This technique worked better as by noon, they had almost 40.

Carmen said the fish were spooling together in packs of up to 10 at times, and as the anglers pitched baits to them, there was an instant bite with many times up to five fish on and only three anglers to reel them all in. It was chaos, but Tucker orchestrated the cockpit calmly and instructed who should go where and do what from his perch up top in the 39’ Sea Vee.

“The Seakeeper and tower were key in stabilizing the boat and letting Tucker see the fish,” said Johnson. “Tucker is a young man with great goals and the discipline to go along with it. He is going to go far in life.”

As the afternoon went on, the fish count kept piling up with Tucker shouting, “Let’s stay ‘til we hit 70!” However, as the sun began to set we thought it was time to get in to find additional sailfish flags, which were gladly provided by friends and family who met the tired, salty fishermen at the dock with libations and celebration. All three anglers were so grateful for the efforts of Tucker and Andres. They are true professionals.

With 65 sails in a day and 96 for two consecutive days, this was one for the record books. Only at Ocean Reef!