February 21, 2018 at 9:48 pm #419545
The overall bite has been a bit slow the past several trips and in general this trip was no different. I think it is primarily due to changes in water temperature. The last two trips I’ve been on there appears to be a cold under current. I have experienced this several times when I used to fish the East coast. We’d be fishing in 80 – 90-degree weather but when you reeled in your sinker would feel like ice. I experienced this two weeks ago in the Gulf and the fish just shut down. This past weekend the conditions had improved and the bite although slow was much better. I am hopeful about this weekend weather permitting.
One thing that has been good is the weather. We started out in spring like conditions with mild seas. The trolling has been slow as well but with my buddy “Jig Head” Ed on board I figured it would improve. As I was walking around the corner I heard Ed’s drag peal off and I knew he had a BIG ONE ON! Captain slowed the boat down and Ed started cranking. I could still see the high rises on the beach so I figured we were 10-15 miles out so it was likely a big King. Standing with gaff in hand I was surprised to look down and see a large Blackfin Tuna on the line. I can’t remember catching one this close to shore. The rest of the way out saw a couple of hook ups lost but no more Tuna. Once out deep the trolling between spots saw several Tuna and a Big King of course caught by Ed.
We started around midnight and the bite was actually pretty good. I caught seven mangrove Snapper on the first spot. For me it slowed from there as I only caught two more before Sun up. I did land several nice Porgies and Vermilion Snapper. I also caught more than I could count short Red Grouper which although aggravating for me, made the FWC researchers on board ecstatic as they tagged and released over a hundred during the trip. One of the issues was the New Moon current which was ripping towards the stern making it difficult to chum the fish up on the bow.
We picked during the day but I did manage landing a couple of decent Gags and Red Snapper all of which were successfully released. Around the boat several nice Red Grouper were caught including one over 18 LBS. The highlight of the trip for me was seeing an angler next to me land a female Hogfish over 8 LBS. I know they are out there and have landed several myself but overall catching them is rare on the 39 Hour trips.
Forever the optimist I look forward to my next report being loaded with BANG! BIG FISH ON!
See you out there!
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