‘Thanks for building a great vessel’
This note, written in the fall of 2004 was addressed to Ken Fickett, president of Mirage Manufacturing.
I just wanted to drop a note and tell you about my fishing year on my 32 Mirage. I bought the 32 Mirage from Don Rainville this past July. I knew this was the boat I wanted when I saw it a few years ago. I started this season with the Ocean City Marlin Club Canyon Kickoff. We had a good tournament finishing with a second-place dolphin and finished sixth out of 32 boats in the billfish release category. I was extremely excited about the boat economy, speed, stability and most important to me the ability to raise billfish.
On July 17th we accomplished something that I have wanted to do on my own boat for over twenty years. We released our first Blue Marlin with an estimated weight of 300 pounds. It was one of the most exciting days I have ever experienced on the water.
Throughout July, August and September we raised or caught at least one marlin on every marlin trip that we had.
The billfish bite out of Ocean City heated up around the 3rd week in August. This would have been welcomed with excited frustration in the past years because the real hot bite usually occurs beyond the 1,000-fathom line. That is a 70-plus-mile run for us. We had no problem reaching the billfish bite in our Mirage. On our first trip out beyond the 1,000 we managed two whites out of five bites. Not the best average but still respectable.
What was more impressive and unbelievable to my crew was that we only burned 104 gallons on a trip that took us 85 miles out into the deep at 30 knots. We ventured out again four days later and this time we found the bite to be 95 miles out of Ocean City in 1,500 fathoms. Although we only managed two releases we again raised five fish. One of the biggest compliments a marlin fisherman can give a boat is getting short flat line bites. That means that the boat raises fish because they are coming up right behind the boat. Out of over 25 raised fish this year 22 of the bites came on our flat lines.
On August 27th I took my son out to the Poormans for a day of father son trolling. We managed one bluefin before I asked if he was willing to head out to the Poormans Canyon. He was up for the ride since he knew that any billfish raised would
be his. As we set our lines out, we were hit by a fish within seconds of having our third line out. It turned out to be a nice longfin. Minutes later we raised a white. The fish ate the flat line and put on a tremendous show before breaking off.
The disappointment was short lived because not five minutes later we raised another white on our flat line. This time the fish stuck and the tackle held. My son had finally released his first white marlin. The boat's maneuverability was key in landing many of these fish quickly. This is key in our fishery because whites tend to come up once or twice a day and go back down quickly. Our ability to raise fish and release them unharmed within minutes allowed us many multiple fish days.
We ended the year as the Small Boat (34 ft and under) billfish release champions and my son Nicholas also finished in a four-way tie for Junior Angler billfish release. He also managed to catch two bluefins over 100lbs himself. We also finished in the top 10 in the Marina Shootout and Labor Day Tournament in the billfish release category.
Ken, I don't know of a better boat to take us to the canyons in that size range. Throughout the year everyone on my boat was astounded at the ability to raise fish and the speed, comfort and economy of the boat. We are gearing ourselves up for the 2005 tournament season and cannot wait to get it started.
Thanks for building a great vessel.
Owner of Incommunicado