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Bob Uecker's Archived Fish Report

November 2011 - I think we are done with hurricane season for this year.

Last week we had a scare with Rina. That hurricane went from a category 3 to a tropical storm in six hours. Good for practice with hurricane preparedness. But we did get lucky. We were only without electric for about twelve hours and no real damage.

This has been a good fall season. Check out the pictures of the brown groupers caught on the Reel Screamer. We catch groupers when drift/bottom fishing. They like to hide in holes in the reef.

Wahoo have also been around in big numbers and the Manetto has been the leader of the pack in getting them.

And once again, we are hitting some unusually high off-season sailfish numbers. I was out the middle of October fishing with some friends and we released 3 sailfish in 4 hours and it would have been more but I am a bit rusty and missed setting the hook properly on one.

April 2011 - The Bite is on here in Puerto Aventuras

We are experiencing one of the best fishing seasons we have had here in years.  We are releasing record (for here) numbers of sailfish and white marlins and as of last week, even with a very bright full moon, we started pulling in a good number of mahi-mahi.
A little over a week ago we had the earliest grand slam we have ever had.  Saturday, April 9, Captain Miquello Nunez on the 46.6 foot Bertram Finatik released 3 sailfish, a white marlin and a blue marlin to win the title of first slam of the year.  Icing on the cake was that he also picked up a few mahi-mahi so we had something to eat with our celebration.
Also this year, we hosted our first all Finland tournament.  A large group of serious anglers from Finland decided to give the Riviera Maya region of Mexico a try for their annual fishing event.  Things could not have gone better.  Not only did the weather cooperate with 5 terrific days for fishing, the fishing was perfect , which made for a very hot competition.  Eventually, the crew of the 31’ Bertram Puffin came out on top having released the largest fish of the week as well as the most fish.  Congratulations to Captain Roque Koo and his band of anglers. 
Coming up next are two charity tournaments run by two outstanding individuals whose hard work toward the events not only insure a good time for participants, but also raise money for  great causes.  Let’s hope the bite stays as hot for them.  According to some fishing experts, this “superbite“ is caused by the migration of one of the largest swarms of sardines ever seen which is providing a concentrated food source to a great variety of fish.  

Keep your tips up and lines tight!
Bob

March 2010

What can we expect to catch today?

I am asked this question all the time while preparing our charter customers and our crews for the day’s activities. And, while I can certainly understand why people want to know what to expect…I’ve probably asked that question in the past myself…there is no good way to answer this question. I know what is possible to see, I know what we are equipped to catch and what we are trolling for, but I have no idea what the day will bring. So I usually answer this by telling that person to let me know once they come back from their trip and we will both wait to be surprised.

And it is often a surprise at this time of the year. It is truly amazing the variety of species that we find here, especially as we are not yet being covered up by bill fish or by mahi-mahi. This is the time of the year when we pull out all of our tools and toys and experiment to see what we can come up with.

An example of this “surprise” , a few weeks ago I was out with some people who just wanted to do some “deep drops” to get either a big snapper or grouper. We had a good morning and came back with more than enough fish to eat well for the next few days. As we tied off and I jumped off the boat, I noticed a crowd checking out the water right behind the Sea Phantom run by Captain Beto. As I was in a hurry to get back to my shop in order to get things ready for the afternoon charters, I didn’t take time to see what it was that people were looking at as I assumed they had spotted one of the rays or barracudas that often visit the marina. However, as I returned to the marina with our afternoon charters, my curiosity got to me and I took a look over the side. Holy smokes! There it was, a big bull shark…must have been over 250 lbs…tethered off the back of the boat. NICE! What a thrill for the clients and what a spectacle it made later that day as the fish was later processed and handed out to the local families.

Another example of the daily “surprise” came a few days later. The wahoo bite suddenly turned on and some of the boats reported in with multiple hookups…one of them, Wild Bill with Captain Caballo, hooking up with 4 at once. While not all got landed, there was a nice showing on the dock at the end of the day, including a beautiful 47 pounder. So, now it’s time to wrap this up and head over to the dock to see what’s up for today’s surprise. Enjoy the pictures of the surprises -

Until the next time, keep your lines tight!
Bob
We are!! Captain Rick’s

November 2009

As the Holidays approach, the sails are a bit early this year

No, this is not a typo. I’m not talking about bargains at your favorite store. I’m talking about the sailfish bite that usually seems to come in December, just in time for Christmas. But this year, they’ve made their way back already.

Sunday, I went out fishing on the Marlin Magic with a few friends that own a marina up in Maryland. It was a beautiful day and we went out a little late with the idea to just drag a few lines and enjoy the stellar weather that we have been having (low humidity, daytime highs in the mid 80’s F). About 45 minutes out, something suddenly takes the right long line. Tacho, the second mate, who was standing right next to the rod, reaches out and works to set the hook. The fish jumps and we realize we have a nice sailfish on. Seconds later, a second sailfish takes the shotgun on the bridge. Captain Pol takes it and quickly, we have two fish on. Mary, one of our friends from Maryland, is already in the chair working the first fish…or rather…it is working her as it is taking line out as she watches and waits for her turn to start bringing it in. Brian, Mary’s son, is working the second fish with a fighting belt from the gunnel. The rest of us start clearing lines when…wham…a third sail takes a hook. The hook is set, a third fight begins but breaks off shortly when the line is allowed to get slack momentarily as we work to keep all three lines from crossing.

A short time later, we release two nice sailfish. Not bad, 2 for 3 sails within just over an hour…in November! But wait, there’s more. Before the morning was over we also had a kingfish for dinner.

The next day, I went out with a friend who has just brought a beautiful 32 foot Blackfin down from Florida. He has been working on this boat in the states for close to three years and was anxious to finally get to fish this labor of love in the beautiful waters off the coast of the Riviera Maya. Our 31’ Tiera the Reel Loco was being serviced that day so I borrowed that crew to run the boat for us. After I took care of our guests and got the charters out in the morning we started about 10:30 a.m. Richard, the owner of the boat, was like a kid with a new toy…beaming ear to ear as we leave the marina. Lines go into the water just after we clear the jetty, and we start trolling to the south. The thought was, since this was the first time this boat was fished since getting to Mexico, we would just test our rigging, check the outriggers set up, and maybe get a few snappers for lunch. However, just 15 minutes after tossing lines…fish on! Another sail! We clear lines and 10 minutes later, a spritely sailfish is released. We later release a wahoo and a few barracudas and back home in time for me to attend to our afternoon charters.

Hope to see you soon and if not, we wish all of you and your families a happy and healthy Holiday Season from our family here at Captain Rick’s.

Until the next time, keep your lines tight!
Bob
We are!! Captain Rick’s

October 2009

Well it’s officially the fall season here in the Riviera Maya

Weather and seas are typically good barring any tropical storm activity and fishing is adventurous. (I’ll explain that in a minute). It’s also the time for the annual visit from my Primos (cousins) from the states, including Loco Primo and Gerber. This means I’ll be spending the next 10 days fishing sunup to sundown with one of the most diverse groups of anglers you can imagine.  Some will want to troll for billfish, all will want to look for wahoo or mahi-mahi, and some will want to bottom fish for grouper.  All will want to do it on the same boat.  My job…keep it moving so everyone gets what they want.

But, this is the time of the year that this works. That’s where we come back to the “…fishing is adventurous …” this time of the year comment. As the bill fish migration season moves on, we get a curious mix of sailfish which just show up from time to time like a college kid with laundry, mahi-mahi which almost always seem to show up when the wind blows from the south east (last Sunday, one of the boats got 8 of them), wahoo if you go a little way out,  and some excellent species of bottom fish, especially  big snapper.  The adventure part, you may start out the day thinking that you are going to focus on one species, and indeed do so, only to have conditions change and suddenly you have to change everything out and head for another species which has suddenly arrived.  Such is fishing.

Also keep in mind, this is a great time to come to Mexico if you are looking for bargains.  Just go to your favorite travel site and see for yourself. There are thousands of cheap rooms available, great bargains to be had, and NO CROWDS!!!  Also, if you are still being misinformed as to the safety of the area, let me disabuse you of this.  People are not suffering in the streets from H1N1 virus, in fact I still don’t know a single person who has had it and there have been no issues with violence from organized crime anywhere near here.  My wife or I walk the dog at night without any fear.   So if you are fortunate enough to be able to take a bit of time off and head out of town, take a close look at this area.

Until the next time, keep your lines tight!
Bob
We are!!  Captain Rick’s

June 2009

"Little Angler, Big Fish"



The end of May is here, and with that comes our prime fishing season. May, June, and July are excellent months for white marlin, blue marlin, sailfish, dorado, wahoo, barracuda, and tuna. If you’ve never been here you are missing one of the great fishing destinations in the world. We fish less than a half mile from shore where the water depth plunges from 80’ to 1800’ within a few hundred yards. This wall forces nutrient rich water from deep down to the surface providing the perfect environment for big game fish.

We found this abundance of fish quite evident at during the Tightlines Cup 2009 (a tournament Captain Rick’s coordinates for anglers from Holland) which was held last week.

There were 12 teams on twelve boats and the bite was hot!

During the week the anglers caught 14 blue marlin, 76 sailfish, 46 white marlin, 274 dorado, 25 tuna, and 31 wahoo.

Not a bad week at all. Although the fishing is great now, you no doubt have heard the horrific accounts on the news about the swine flu and how Mexico should be avoided at all costs. In reality we never saw one case on the Yucatan Peninsula and in the whole of Mexico less than a hundred people out of a population of 130 million were stricken with this bug. I was thinking about this last week and came to the conclusion that I have a better chance of winning the Power Ball lottery than getting swine flu. And with that you have also probably heard that the entire country is under siege from armed drug cartels shooting at anyone who moves. Again this is no where near the case. Sure, I guess there may be a few border areas where there are people being shot in this drug war, and certainly a tourist should not go there, but lets be reasonable, there are places in Los Angeles, New York and other metropolitan areas that I wouldn’t go to for fear of being robbed or shot. It’s a matter of common sense. The tourists areas are as safe as they ever were.

If you are thinking about vacationing in Mexico I say ‘come on down’. There are many good deals to be had on hotels and the fishing is as good as it gets.

I recently read an article I found especially accurate in way Mexico really is. I have personally experienced many of the examples that Linda Ellerbee talks about in her article:

Mexico, One Journalist’s View By Linda Ellerbee

Sometimes I’ve been called a maverick because I don’t always agree with my colleagues, but then, only dead fish swim with the stream all the time. The stream here is Mexico .

You would have to be living on another planet to avoid hearing how dangerous Mexico has become, and, yes, it’s true drug wars have escalated violence in Mexico , causing collateral damage, a phrase I hate. Collateral damage is a cheap way of saying that innocent people, some of them tourists, have been robbed, hurt or killed.

But that’s not the whole story. Neither is this. This is my story.

I’m a journalist who lives in New York City, but has spent considerable time in Mexico , specifically Puerto Vallarta, for the last four years. I’m in Vallarta now. And despite what I’m getting from the U.S. media, the 24-hour news networks in particular, I feel as safe here as I do at home in New York, possibly safer.

I walk the streets of my neighborhood alone day or night. And I don’t live in a gated community, or any other All-Gringo neighborhood. I live in Mexico . Among Mexicans. I go where I want (which does not happen to include bars where prostitution and drugs are the basic products), and take no more precautions than I would at home in New York; which is to say I don’t wave money around, I don’t act the Ugly American, I do keep my eyes open, I’m aware of my surroundings, and I try not to behave like a fool.

I’ve not always been successful at that last one. One evening a friend left the house I was renting in Vallarta at that time, and, unbeknownst to me, did not slam the automatically-locking door on her way out. Sure enough, less than an hour later a stranger did come into my house. A burglar? Robber? Kidnapper? Killer? Drug lord?

No, it was a local police officer, the "beat cop" for our neighborhood, who, on seeing my unlatched door, entered to make sure everything (including me) was okay. He insisted on walking with me around the house, opening closets, looking behind doors and, yes, even under beds, to be certain no one else had wandered in, and that nothing was missing. He was polite, smart and kind, but before he left, he lectured me on having not checked to see that my friend had locked the door behind her. In other words, he told me to use my common sense.

Do bad things happen here? Of course they do. Bad things happen everywhere, but the murder rate here is much lower than, say, New Orleans, and if there are bars on many of the ground floor windows of houses here, well, the same is true where I live, in Greenwich Village, which is considered a swell neighborhood — house prices start at about $4 million (including the bars on the ground floor windows.)

There are good reasons thousands of people from the United States are moving to Mexico every month, and it’s not just the lower cost of living, a hefty tax break and less snow to shovel. Mexico is a beautiful country, a special place.

The climate varies, but is plentifully mild, the culture is ancient and revered, the young are loved unconditionally, the old are respected, and I have yet to hear anyone mention Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, or Madonna’s attempt to adopt a second African child, even though, with such a late start, she cannot possibly begin to keep up with Angelina Jolie.

And then there are the people. Generalization is risky, but— in general — Mexicans are warm, friendly, generous and welcoming. If you smile at them, they smile back. If you greet a passing stranger on the street, they greet you back. If you try to speak even a little Spanish, they tend to treat you as though you were fluent. Or at least not an idiot.

I have had taxi drivers track me down after leaving my wallet or cell phone in their cab. I have had someone run out of a store to catch me because I have overpaid by twenty cents. I have been introduced to and come to love a people who celebrate a day dedicated to the dead as a recognition of the cycles of birth and death and birth — and the 15th birthday of a girl, an important rite in becoming a woman — with the same joy.

Too much of the noise you’re hearing about how dangerous it is to come to Mexico is just that — noise. But the media love noise, and too many journalists currently making it don’t live here. Some have never even been here. They just like to be photographed at night, standing near a spotlighted border crossing, pointing across the line to some imaginary country from hell. It looks good on TV.

Another thing. The U.S. media tend to lump all of Mexico into one big bad bowl. Talking about drug violence in Mexico without naming a state or city where this is taking place is rather like looking at the horror of Katrina and saying, "Damn. Did you know the U.S. is under water?" or reporting on the shootings at Columbine or the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City by saying that kids all over the U.S. are shooting their classmates and all the grownups are blowing up buildings. The recent rise in violence in Mexico has mostly occurred in a few states, and especially along the border. It is real, but it does not describe an entire country.

It would be nice if we could put what’s going on in Mexico in perspective, geographically and emotionally. It would be nice if we could remember that, as has been noted more than once, these drug wars wouldn’t be going on if people in the United States didn’t want the drugs, or if other people in the United States weren’t selling Mexican drug lords the guns.

Most of all, it would be nice if more people in the United States actually came to this part of America (Mexico is also America, you will recall) to see for themselves what a fine place Mexico really is, and how good a vacation (or a life) here can be.

So come on down and get to know your southern neighbors. I think you’ll like it here. Especially the people.

July 2008

Ryan Reid caught this sailfish this spring.

Summer is finally here in Puerto Aventuras which means the days are longer, the winds are a bit calmer, and the spring game fish migration is beginning to wane. It was a great migration season, though. We had one of the highest sailfish counts that I can remember as well as some good size blues.  One of recent memory is a 400 pounder that Captain Rambo on the Reel Screamer hooked into two weeks ago. He snagged it around 4:30 PM about 3 hours into a 4 hour afternoon charter.  The client got the thrill of a lifetime, fighting the big beast for almost 3 hours.  The fish was successfully released and a beaming crew got back to the dock around 8 p.m., flying the release flag to a waiting group of fellow captains and mates who didn’t mind the late hour as refreshments (read b-e-e-r-s) were provided for those who chose to stay.

Back fishing bright and early the next morning, the Reel Screamer managed to get two more blues the next day, one for the morning charter and one for the afternoon, and another blue the next morning again.  While these weren’t as big, they still provided a lot of fun.  I was beginning to think that Captain Rambo had a pet marlin following the boat but the streak finally came to an end the next afternoon.

As the bite does move on, we still have plenty of game fish to chase.  Last Saturday afternoon, Glenna and I went out with some friends who were down to celebrate the U.S. 4th of July Holiday.  While the first two hours proved a bit slow, we finally released a nice sailfish which gave our normally landlubber friends a great fight and some wonderful photos.  We then decided to catch some dinner so we hit a few productive holes which produced about 5 nice sized red snappers that made a tasty feast that evening.

That’s all for now.  Hope to see you soon in Puerto Aventuras!

Bob and Glenna

March-April 2008

Captain Caballo and Pepe working together to hold one of the sailfish caught in February 2008

It's hard to believe that Easter is behind us already and spring is in full bloom. The winter fishing season has gone by so quickly and while it didn't provide any record fish this year, it wasn't a bad winter season at all. We had a nice (and unexpected) sailfish bite in January, and February provided us with a slightly above average number of wahoo, some of which were quite large! We also came close to having a most unusual occurrence - a March Grand Slam by captain Lucho on the Manetto - saw the white marlin but he wouldn't take the bait.

     But now it is just a matter of time until our annual migration season starts. The season usually starts some time in April, but we are already starting to see early runners. Last Saturday, the day before Easter, four boats had multiple sail hook ups and on Easter Sunday, our newest crew, Caballo and Pepe on the Wild Bill, got their first blue marlin as a team, a respectable 200lbs. This was 4th blue marlin released this year!

     As of the writing of this and in anticipation of the season, I am in the process of loading in a supply of new lures for the boats. Included in the selection are some of the old standbys such as Islander lures, some Calcutta's, and our favorite Softhead lures from Moldcraft. (I haven't seen them yet, but they promise to toss in a few new secret weapons for us.let's see what we get.)

      When you get here, we'll be ready for you!

Bob and Glenna

October,November 2007

This is what happens to Loco Primo who won't stop telling Fish Tales!

Every year at this time, while the kids are in their first quarter back at school and things are cooling off up north, we have a big drop off in the number of visitors that we see here in the Riviera Maya. This gives us a time to get important things done like scheduled maintenance on diesel motors, refurbish a few boats, and for me…fish! Like the plumber who never gets around to fixing leaks at his own house, I seldom get a chance to fish during our busy season because there is much to do and the boats are usually filled with happy guests. And that’s the way we like it.

     But this time of the year, I take the time to get out on the boats and have fun - and the fish our cooperating. While this is not our migratory fish season, we do have a healthy resident population of billfish and dorados (mahi-mahi), and the wahoo are in respectable numbers now, too. Last week, I had the annual “Loco Primo” visit. This is a week of intense fishing with two of my cousins, Tim (Loco) and Marty along with two of their friends. All four have a voracious appetitive for fishing and for keeping the local breweries in business.

     Sticking with the former, there were 4 days of fishing, during which time was caught sailfish, dorados, wahoos, kingfish, and some nice size yellow tail snappers. And of course, we lost a few as well, but fear not…those that lost the fish were indeed given the appropriate ration of grief. No feelings were spared. But at the end of the day, everyone had a great time and we had fresh fish for the table. It didn’t hurt that two of the group are accomplished chefs…one from Germany and one from the USA…so we had a nice variety in which the fish were prepared. I’m talking fried, tempura, baked, grilled, sashimi, cervece…you name it. I am just now finished with the leftovers. All in all, it was a week that reminds me of why I like fishing so much and why we have so many clients who come back year after year to fish with friends. While you can’t always guarantee that you will catch a lot of fish, fishing with friends in Mexico is always a good time, uninterrupted by phone calls, traffic, and all of life’s other annoyances.

     Time to get back to work.

Bob and Glenna

August 18, 2007

the two winners and their blue marlins!
tournament picture of the two winners and their blue marlins.

Its been a busy summer.
We've had boats in no less than 7 tournaments, purchased 2 more boats for the fleet, and brought in new types of tackle to start testing. All activities that we enjoy around here, especially the tournaments. Making it even more enjoyable is the fact that two of the tournaments were run out of our beautiful home of Puerto Aventuras. In early July, the inaugural Puerto Aventuras Bill Fish Cup fielded over 60 boats.not bad for a first time event. We fared well in the tournament, placing boats in first (Captain Santiago Canto on the Reel Stripper) and second (Captain Pasqual Jiminez on the Marlin Magic). These same two boats also qualified us to enter into the finals to represent Mexico at the international bill fish tournament in Africa in January, 2008 . The finals were held in mid-July and, as luck would have it, the event was also held in Puerto Aventuras. Captain Pasqual on the Marlin Magic came in second in the national competition, just missing coming in first by a few pounds, placing him and Captain Rick's as first alternate to represent Mexico in January.

      Along with all of the other activity,summer also brings with it hurricane season. While June and July have been quiet, as I write this we are watching Hurricane Dean swirl its way west through the Caribbean. Hopefully, through the grace of God, it will miss us. However, its time to get off the computer and start battening down the hatches just in case.

     That's if for now..heading to the marina.

Bob and Glenna


May-June, 2007

Well..the dorado are here!
Some also call them mahi-mahi or dolphin fish but call them what you may, they are here in big numbers. Some afternoons clients are getting tired and either stopping to bottom fish to take a break or simply calling it a day to come back and rest their arms and hands and have a great meal of the day´s catch.

      One example - an angler from Holland who comes every year and fishes for several days asked me if I had any tape. I asked him why he needed it. He showed me his right hand and it had a few blisters on his fingers.right about the spot where the reel handle hits. Sure enough, he had gotten them the day before as a result of the 6 dorados and one wahoo he had gotten the prior afternoon. They looked like they might smart just a bit, but he was largely undaunted. We dressed and taped the blisters, and off he went for another day of fishing. A true angler!

      That's if for now..heading to the marina.

Bob and Glenna



APRIL 2007

April is here and with it comes the annual migration of pelagic fish chasing the swarms of baitfish. Leading the migration this year are sailfish and white marlin. While the numbers aren´t large yet, the fish are. We´ve had several happy clients request replica mounts for sailfish in excess of 92 inches. Captains are reporting seeing some nice size blue marlin playing in the baits, but they haven´t been biting yet…probably because of the recent full moon. Hopefully as it wanes, they will be hungrier during the day. Should start seeing the Dorados soon.

     Seems like the word is out, too. For the first time in several years, we are seeing a large number of large private Sportfishing boats coming in from the U.S. The HRD (high rent district) part of the dock is vibrant with multi-million dollar battlewagons. Decked out with all of the newest fish catching gadgets, their owners and crews are out there mixing it up with our boys competing for the big ones. More often than not, experience wins out over technology as our billfish release numbers are running a bit above the private fleet….not that we are keeping count or anything.



MARCH 2007

March came in like a lion this year as we were hit with southwest winds in excess of 26 miles per hour that shut the port down for the first 3 days of the month. It gave us some much needed time to do a little preventative maintenance on the boats, scrape a few hulls, and put together a few new pieces of tackle that we can put to the test.

     Fortunately, mid-day on the 3rd, the winds died down and began to swing to the north as a cold front from Florida swooped down. By Sunday the 4th, we were back fishing with a vengeance. Often along with a northern front comes a batch of bill fish. This was one of those times. Sunday morning, sailfish were seen by guests and crew free-jumping just north of Puerto Aventuras. While they were more than happy to check out what we were offering in the teasers, there were few serious takers. Not what we wanted, but they put on a nice show.

     Sunday afternoon, however, they found their appetites as about half of the boats had at least one hook up. Adding to the excitement was the fact that the 38' Betram, Marlin Magic, not only picked up a sailfish, but also a white marlin. Of course, with only 1 ½ hours of daylight remaining, the crew set out to find a blue and accomplish something that we have never done before in the Riviera Maya.a March Grand Slam! Unfortunately, darkness set in before we found any success with the blues, but the clients on the boat had a great time in the hunt and have already made plans to come back and try it again.

     The next day, of course, we happened into 2 blues..such is fishing. While this is still early in the season, based on some early runs of sailfish and the bite being experienced up north, we have high hopes for another good billfish season. Can't wait to find out.

Our NEWEST BOAT- Finatik


DECEMBER 2006

Beautiful Day, Beautiful Girl, Beautiful Fish
The Girl in the Picture is Pia (We didn't get the name of the sailfish) in April, 2006.
Photo sent in by Timo

      In a recent issue of Marlin Magazine, an article was dedicated to the top women blue water anglers in the world. The article was a great tribute to these women and illustrates the fact that deep sea fishing is a sport that can be enjoyed equally and successfully by men and women. This fact is born out by our experience at Captain Rick's. We see thousands of anglers on our boats each year and if you check out our wall of fame in our office in Puerto Aventuras, you will see some great pictures that our clients have shared with us that feature many of our female anglers with some great trophies.

      Recently, one fine lady angler was able to take advantage of our unusually productive fall sailfish bite. For some reason, perhaps due to the unseasonable cold fronts that have been coming down from the north, we have seen some very high off season billfish activity. In fact, a few weeks ago some of our captains ran across a large school of sails late in the day. In a matter of about an hour, 4 of the boats circled the fish and were able to catch and release 17 sails, a number typically unheard of except during the spring migration.

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