AJ's are Picking on Me.

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    john martin
    john martin

    Catching bait has been a bit inconsistent lately due to the heat so I decided to head straight to the Skyway and deeper water. Got there about 7:00 AM and got good news from the start as my buddy Omar was already there and reported he’d caught 20 in just a few minutes. Ended up with around 120 decent baits and caught 20 more big ones at a spot on the way to the boat. Side note: People who have been on the boat often ask me how I can keep over a 100 baits alive in a bait well that Hubbard’s says will only hold three dozen. Simple answer is you can’t. But there are ways. First the wells will hold (depending on size) 4-5 dozen. Next there are often wells that no one is using especially if the boat isn’t full. Just ask one of the mates and they will help you with that. If I’m on the trip I’ll certainly help you. Lastly there are always people that either don’t buy bait or only get a dozen. Ask around and perhaps you can share a well, especially if you offer them a few for their trouble.

    We took off with around 30 anglers and high hopes if some great fishing. Captain Garett said we were going to run a bit further than usual to get on a good Mangrove Snapper bite. We started around 1:30 and the bite was good from the start. Besides a decent bite the most welcome surprise was a steady breeze. With the flat calm seas and the heat over the last couple of months having some wind throughout the trip was a blessing indeed. We made 3 or 4 stops before sunrise and I caught a few nice Goozers on every one.

    The last time we were in this general area the Mangos bit all day so I was hoping to continue to pick a few on every stop. Unfortunately this didn’t repeat as the day bite was sluggish. The Captain tried hard to find some biting fish but we picked at best. He then made the decision to move to another area with a little deeper water. We started catching big Vermilion Snapper and a few Mangos as well as scattered Gags and Red Grouper. Red Snapper were thick on every stop and were instantly biting on dead or cut bait. I decided to fire down a live bait at the start of every stop but I usually got hooked up with large Amber Jacks. AJ’s can be fun but catching three or more on every stop when you can’t keep them can get a bit tiresome.

    Late afternoon we stopped on a wreck. Even though I knew AJ’s were around I stuck with my strategy and was rewarded with a decent Gag on my first drop. Excited I fired down another live bait and Bang! Big Hook UP! Turned out to be an AJ in the 40 LB. range. Undaunted I sent down another and got the same result, AJ. After firing down one more time with the same result and knowing the definition of insanity I switched to a Threadfin. As soon as I hit bottom I had a hit which turned out to be a large Vermilion. I kept catching big Vermilion including one of the largest I’ve ever seen. This pattern continued until the last stop where on live bait I caught two nice Goozers back to back. After this two fish flurry all I kept getting was ARS. Overall a decent catch which left me chomping at the bit for the upcoming 44 Hour trip and the chance to fish all night.

    See you out there!

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