7960563668?profile=originalTeen anglers (from left) Chase Eagleton, Will Lightle and Conner Eagleton of Lake Worth show three dolphin

they brought to the scales April 11 during the 10th annual Boynton Beach Firefighters Fishing Tournament.

One of them, a 20.9-pounder, won second place in the dolphin category for the EMS 1 team led by Craig Lightle.

Willie Howard/The Coastal Star

7960563872?profile=originalBoating safety experts recommend that all boaters wear life jackets,

such as the comfortable suspender-type inflatable modeled above,

at all times when they’re on the water.
Courtesy of Pat Ford

By Willie Howard

    May is the month that on-the-water law enforcement agencies, including the Coast Guard and its auxiliary volunteers, make extra efforts to promote boating safety.
    National Safe Boating Week (May 16-22 this year) was created by the National Safe Boating Council to raise awareness about boating and water safety as warm weather, generally calmer seas and the end of the school year entice more boaters to the water.
    Boating on the Atlantic Ocean can lead to serious problems for those who are not prepared or are unfamiliar with their boats.
The fatal boating accident off Delray Beach last summer is an example.
    A 25-foot Mako boat capsized about three miles off Atlantic Avenue as an afternoon storm was brewing on July 27, killing an 82-year-old Lantana man.
    The boat had been purchased the day before by a friend of the operator and was filling with water brought in by the bait well system before it went belly up, according to a report by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
    Alexandre Lopes of Boynton Beach was running the boat powered by twin outboards on a fishing trip with friends.
    As winds from an afternoon storm kicked up waves, the stern began to fill with water. When Lopes noticed the water, he started the engines and drove the boat in circles.
    He stopped and tried to bail out the boat with a scoop made from a 2-liter bottle, but water kept filling the boat. Attempts to restart the engines failed. When the men realized the boat was going down, they called 911.
    Not long after the call, the boat capsized.
    Another boater, Brian Sachman, stopped to help. Two Delray Beach Ocean Rescue lifeguards used personal watercraft to reach the overturned boat from the beach.
    Ocean Rescue lifeguard Justin Walton pulled Supelcio Luna Espinal, 82, of Lantana from under the capsized boat, the FWC report said.
    Luna Espinal was wearing two life jackets but was not breathing and had no pulse, the report said.
    All three men were loaded onto Sachman’s boat, where Walton tried to revive Luna Espinal.
    Firefighters with Delray Beach Fire Rescue, who were waiting at the beach, took Luna Espinal to Bethesda Hospital East, where he was pronounced dead.
    Lopes and the other occupant, Nelson Luna Berroa of Lantana, refused treatment at the hospital.
    FWC investigators who studied the boat following the accident said the bait well system was filling the boat with water, but the bilge pump switch was not working.
                                          ***
    During National Safe Boating Week, the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 54, which serves Boynton Beach and Delray Beach, will offer free boat safety equipment checks on the mornings of May 16 and May 23 at public boat ramps in Lantana, Boynton Beach and Delray Beach.
    The exams will be offered from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. both Saturdays at Sportsman’s Park in Lantana, Harvey E. Oyer Jr. Park in Boynton Beach and Knowles Park in Delray Beach.
    Flotilla 54 Commander Valerie Pleasanton said the Coast Guard Auxiliary will set up an information table at Harvey E. Oyer Jr. Park on both Saturdays to answer questions and hand out materials promoting safe boating.
    Pleasanton said the flotilla plans to ask city officials for permission to paint a “Wear It” logo promoting life jacket use on the pavement near the launch ramps in Lantana, Boynton Beach and Delray Beach.
    Flotilla 54 also will hold a basic boating safety class in the classroom building next to the Boynton Beach boat ramps on May 23. The class runs from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., and the fee is $40. For details, call Ron Cuneo at 389-1850.
    For more information about National Safe Boating Week, go to safeboatingcampaign.com.
                                          ***
    The International Game Fish Association recently moved its Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum from its Dania Beach headquarters to a new wildlife museum and aquarium in Springfield, Mo.
    The museum will be operated by the Johnny Morris Foundation. Morris is the founder of Bass Pro Shops.
    “The opportunity provided by longtime IGFA friend and supporter Johnny Morris of Bass Pro Shops to showcase our Hall of Fame and collections in his new museum and aquarium will allow us to dramatically increase our exposure to the public,” IGFA President Rob Kramer said.
    IGFA’s headquarters, along with the E.K. Harry Library of Fishes, will remain at the Dania Beach headquarters.
The IGFA’s School of Sportfishing is expected to resume classes for anglers in the fall. Look for classes in the future at igfa.org.
                                          ***
    Angler Biff Barus won heaviest overall fish in the 10th annual Boynton Beach Firefighters Fishing Tournament & Firehouse Chili Cookoff held April 11 at Harvey E. Oyer Jr. Park.
    Barus was fishing with Capt. Mike Risely and several other anglers on the Clean Slate. Mate Kevin Hemsher said the big kingfish was caught on a live blue runner in relatively shallow water north of Boynton Inlet.
    EMS 1 Captain Craig Lightle said three teen anglers on the boat — Chase Eagleton, Will Lightle and Conner Eagleton — caught three nice dolphin on ballyhoo trolled behind Ilander lures along a color change 15 miles offshore. One of the dolphin weighed 20.9 pounds and placed second-heaviest in the dolphin category.
    The My Office team won top dolphin, at 23 pounds. The Greenacres Fire Department team won the wahoo category with a 22-pound ’hoo.
                                          ***

7960563890?profile=originalJoe Schultz of Delray Beach (right) caught this 52-pound dolphin using a trolled ballyhoo in 220 feet off Boynton Inlet while fishing with Austin Burkett of Boca Raton (left) and Jim Ankney of Delray Beach. Schultz fought the dolphin for 35 minutes. Courtesy of Austin Burkett


   The spring dolphin fishing season arrived in early April for angler Joe Schultz of Delray Beach, who caught a 52-pound mahi mahi off Boynton Inlet the morning of April 8 after a 35-minute fight.
    Schultz was fishing on his boat, My Office, with friends Austin Burkett of Boca Raton and Jim Ankney of Delray Beach. They were trolling in 220 feet off Boynton Inlet around 7:15 a.m. when the big dolphin hit a single-hook ballyhoo rigged with monofilament leader and started leaping from the water.
    After a long fight during which the fish stayed deep, the three anglers put the big dolphin in the boat. It measured 52 inches to the fork of the tail.
    Three days later, the My Office team won top dolphin in the Boynton Beach Firefighters Fishing Tournament with a 23-pound mahi mahi.
                                          
Upcoming offshore tournaments:
    May 2-3: Lantana Fishing Derby: Lantanafishingderby.com
    May 9: Grand Slam KDW Tournament: fishgrandslamkdw.com
    May 16: Boynton Beach Kiwanis Offshore Fishing Tournament, boyntonbeachkiwanis.org.
    May 30: Palm Beach County KDW Classic: kdwclassic.com
    May 30: Sail Inn Tavern KDW tournament, sailinnkdw.com.
    June 27: Lake Worth Fishing Tournament: lakeworthfishingtournament.com.
    July 12: Big Dog, Fat Cat: bigdogfatcat.org.
                                          
Tip of the month:
    May is considered one of the best months to catch kingfish, dolphin (mahi mahi) and wahoo off the coast of Palm Beach County. That’s why there are so many “KDW” fishing tournaments during the spring and early summer.
    Trolling ballyhoo will produce all three species if wire leaders are used to prevent leader cuts by toothy kingfish and wahoo. Trolling also allows anglers to cover a lot of water, but smart anglers will focus their trolling on drop-offs, color changes and weed lines (lines of tan-colored, floating Sargassum). Experienced dolphin anglers keep a rigged spinning rod or two ready to catch fish that might follow a hooked dolphin to the boat.
    If you grow tired of trolling, drift with dead sardines on triple hooks (or live sardines on live-bait hooks) in 90-140 feet. Use weights to get some baits down below the surface while drifting others near the surface.
    Drifting saves fuel and can produce tasty bottom fish such as mutton and yellowtail snapper in addition to kingfish (and possibly dolphin or wahoo).


Willie Howard is a freelance writer and licensed boat captain. Reach him at tiowillie@bellsouth.net.

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