Three Reds when I thought I was dead

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    john martin
    john martin

    The trip started with me seeking some nice size Pin fish capable of getting a Gags attention. Could I bring my streak of not landing a Gag to an end? Even though it was brutally hot I managed to get what I needed. Side note: I was slowed a bit when an all-women’s paddle board aerobics class decided to workout directly in front of where I was fishing. For the next 20 minutes I don’t know if I caught a fish or not. The things I’m willing to struggle through to land a trophy fish never cease to amaze me.

    Trolling on the way out is still slow but we managed to land a few nice Bonita before sun down. I pride myself on keeping the back deck clean and giving the mates a chance to catch up on their beauty sleep. Let me tell you 10 Bonita’s can cause quite a mess. Oh well the “things we do for love” Trolling between spots was more productive as several nice Blackfin Tuna came over the rail. I think we had a Wahoo on but if so we’ll just have to meet another day.

    We started around midnight and on the first drop things looked like they would be hot. I fired down a Threadfin and as soon as it hit bottom I felt the line running out before I could close my bail. I promptly reeled up a nice Goozer in the 6 LB range. He sure must have been hungry as my double hook rig was all the way down in his stomach. The bite after that was good but not as hot as I thought it would be.

    Over the next several stops the Mangrove Snapper bit well until the moon went down. The overall numbers were average but the size was not. I saw more Goozers in the 10 LB. range than I’ve seen in a while. There were at least a dozen in this range. I didn’t get one but did have multiples in the 7-8 LB range. Just as the Mango bite began to slow the Yellow Tails caught fire, they were coming up everywhere and some were true flags. I saw a surprising number in the 5 LB. range. I caught a few and probably should have targeted them but I decided to switch to live bait as I knew we were in the area I’d caught a nice Mutton a couple months back and besides there was still that elusive Gag out there. My instincts were right as within 30 minutes there was a nice Gag that weighed in just under 20 LBS, and a Mutton over 17. Both ended up Jackpot winners and both were caught by other anglers no less than 10’ from me. The Gag was actually caught on one of my rod and reels as I’d loaned one to my friend Omar. Not quite a streak ender but it was as close as I’d get on this trip as I never had a Gag hook up.

    Day break approaching, time to hunt for Red Snapper. Captain Bryon said we were heading to deeper water where the “Big” ones hang out. This was a solid plan based on last season but as they say “All things change” We endured the slowest hottest 4-5 hours I’ve experienced in a while as we had literally no bites much less fish. Side note: Ever notice how you never see a guy looking half dead leaning on the rail trying not to drop his pole in any fishing video. If you’ve ever fished in Mid-Summer 100 miles off the Florida coast you’d know this sight is often the reality. Just when I thought I might give in I was rescued by Capt. Bryon’s voice over the speaker. “We’re going to make a 90 Minute move to shallower water”

    After guzzling two bottles of water I took a much needed nap. I woke up ready for action and hopeful the fish were ready as well. I’ve often heard anglers grumble when they don’t catch fish. Certainly I’ve done my share but, the one grumble I don’t understand is the one were people think a Captain might intentionally not put us on the fish. I guess it’s possible but not with the Captain’s I roll with. They not only pride themselves on their ability but they have a healthy completion between them. I assure you no one was happier to see fish coming over the rail than was Captain Bryon. We started catching ARS almost immediately after the move. The numbers were solid and though the average size was medium there were some nice ones caught. Few Gags but some nice Red Grouper. On the second to the last stop I had one to remember. I fired down a large Pig Fish and he was nervous from the start. Not long after it hit bottom BANG! Fish ON! Cranking down when he spit the bait. I could feel my bait still on so I dropped it back down and Bang! On again but again he spit it. Still feeling my bait I dropped again and could feel a fish hitting it again. I let a little line run out and cranked down. This time I got him all the way in. Turned out to be a nice Red Grouper at least 12 LBS. Quickly I fired down anther Pig fish and Bang AGAIN! Fish ON! The twin of the first one came over the rail. Heart pumping I fired down another Pig. (This is why I catch my own bait.) I promptly landed another keeper Red Grouper. Three straight baits and three straight Grouper. No Gag but nothing to moan about. Time to head to shore and back to Hawthorne for a few days but I’ll be back Tuesday rested and ready.

    See you out there!

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