View Full Version : Panama City - Red Grouper Trip - 8/6/11

08-07-2011, 11:11 AM
Last time I tried to fish offshore was last weekend of snapper. It was rough and we were still working some bugs out of the boat post-reinstallation of engine.

Weather was much more cooperative this time around. We did get a late start, which I don't like to do, but our initial plan was to anchor and chum for cobia and try to soak out a red grouper or two at about 8 miles from pass.

Left late and then spent another hour catching bait. Ended up with probably 30 nice sized herring, one big boston, one cigar minnow and one hand-sized hardtail, (more on him later). We wanted live school bait for flatline or pitch baits and I'm glad we had them, but I must say that when you consider the value of a Saturday morning, the cost of fuel / bait / ice / tackle, etc, it really makes more sense to drop $20 at the bait boat and save yourself an hour.

Anyway, got bait and started towards our 8 mile spot where I have had succes in years past. Flat calm and we said forget it... let's run about 20 and maybe we'll come across a decent dolphin, blackfin, wahoo and we'll have a shot at bigger red grouper.

Fished two areas about 2 miles apart and three or four spots at each area.

First fish of the day was a 21# red grouper.

Every other red grouper was 20-22"... which was strange. Our two areas had obviously seen a lot of pressure. Lots and lots and lots of 19" red grouper and hundreds of 13" triggers. We also we had the exact same game plan for the day that Jubilee had... Charlie was no more than a mile from us all day long and we bothed moved same direction and about the same distance everytime one of us made a move. Anyway, a headboat and no less than 2 charters in sight he entire time. Anyway, they have put a hurt on that area... but it's not like it's secret spot.

After having 3 grouper in the boat, we had the flat line go off and we boated a 20# king.


Next was two more little grouper, and then a bunch of schoolies moved in. Most were worth cleaning, but they were on the small side. We kept feeding them in hopes that a nice sized one would show up, but it never happened.

While some played with dolphin, I kept bottom fishing and put two more red grouper in the boat... brining us to a total of 7... one shy of our 8 fish limit.

In the middle of the dolphin slaughter Valerie hollered out.. "What is THAT!?" Up swims Mr. Cobia.

Since April I have kept a rod rigged up with spliced 60# flouro and a razor sharp Circle hook. Well, for the first tiem since April, that rig had been sacrificed for a 16" dolphin rig. I snatched that rod from one of the anglers and threw a hook on it. Next step was half a fresh frozen spanish. I flipped it in front of Mr. Cobe and he nosed it, but wouldn't take it.

So... he's hungry, but wants live bait. Our live bait were down to 2" choffers. Crap. So I, grabbed a jig and threw it on the line. Tossed it out, and he chased it... HARD. He'd follow it down about 20 ft... doing sommersaults all around it, inverting, investigating... but would not eat. A butterfly jig, or a heavier jig probably would have done the trick.

Next I tried jig with a fresh herring. No motion to it and no interest.

Next I tied the circle hook back on. Went back to livewell, untied it from rail, and dumped all baits and 50 gal of water onto the deck. That handsized hardtail was still in there. I knew this because I'd been trying to catch his butt for the past hour for grouper bait. Well, finaly had had his floppin butt in my hand. Cobia was out of sight, but I hooked tha hardtail be hind the anal fin and flipped him out there.

10 seconds later it was on! 10 min later we had a 45 lb cobia in the boat. 45 is a guess... he never hit the scales. He was a hair over 48" to the fork... if that helps anybody with a guesstimation.

Felt very fortunate to have ended th day like that. First fish was a scale verified 21 pound red grouper, and last fish was a 45 lb cobia. Also happy that he stuck around long enough for me to try 4 different things on him. Granted, I was able to present all 4 options in only a couple minutes, but it's not often that you get evnen that much time.

UPon examining his stomach contents... I can attest to the fact that he was HUNGRY. A very skinny fish with nothing in its guts. I'll be a little bit less skinny (not that this has much meaning these days for me) once he's in my guts!


Ended up with

1 - 20# king for my buddy
1 - barely legal trigger
7 - red groupe - ONe nice 21# fish and 6 small ones
1 - 45 lb cobia
14 - little dolphin that are going to make great fish tacos at the island later today

Not bad for a 20 mile trip with 4 people. We also released some real pretty snapper. A few were pushing the 15# mark... probably 13 or so. Anyway... when you have to release gags and snapper, you just have to get creative. Was hoping to add some black snapper to the mix, but they didn't come to play.


08-07-2011, 11:34 AM
Shut the Front Door!!! Great day on the water and some awesome fish. Thanks for posting Pan.

08-08-2011, 11:13 AM
The Cobia whisperer strikes again!

08-08-2011, 07:16 PM
Thats a fine Red Groupie and a pretty Cobe. Very nicely done PH.

08-08-2011, 07:37 PM
Another great detailed report from you. thanks for sharing

08-08-2011, 07:40 PM
Nice report.

Did you get all the kinks out of your boat?

08-08-2011, 09:14 PM
Kinks.... uh... yes and no.

It has been a real headache. Valve broke and metal went thougout engine. Pulled it and trucked it over to Cummins Mobile. New turbo, new head (gash in it), a new cyinder sleeve, new valves, new paint, etc. Obviously a big ticket item.

Got her put back in and aligned... figured all would be well. While she was on the hard (to replace shaft log and repack stuffing box for good measure) we went ahead and gave her a new bottom jog. Also took an inch out of the wheel. Engine blew up at full throtle, where it had been for maybe 2 minutes. This was the 2nd catastrophic failure. First one was at like 2,000 hours at full throttle trying to dodge converging T-storms. RPMs had never been where they should be, metal count was always high in oil, and dad had complained constantly to CUmmins, but nothing was done while she was operational. After ther first blow up we finally got to speak to some higher ups at Cummins as it existed back then. "Probably the 6th cylinder" they said... and it was. Clearly an issue they knew about. They resleaved that one in the boat free of charge... and said engine was working too hard... need to get RPMs up. So we took an inch out of wheel, lost about 1.5 knots across the board on a plane. THen at 5,500 she blew up again at WOT.

We're told this time (after major rebuild at our expense) that engine still working too hard and that was the problem. So, this go-round we took another inch out. After we splashed the boat with basically a brand new wheel with no paint and a fresh bottom job, she won't turn up as high as she would before the 2nd blow up.

Suffice it to say... I'm concerned and feel like something is wrong. She's also got lots of idle wobble to her, and she shutters hard at shut down. This has been explained and it made sense, but it's still one of those things things that is kind of irritating.... it didn't do it before and now it does.

We're good for the immediate future, but she still won't wind up. Saturday she was under 2500 at WOT. We took 1 person, two coolers, a bait barrel and fishing gear off and on Sunday she'd turn up to about 2590. Cummins said we need to take another inch out, but I don't know. I have just about heard enough of all this wheel talk.

08-09-2011, 01:22 PM
I run a C series(400hp) on a 37' Sermons stone crab boat. It is hooked to a Twin Disc 1.75 to 1 gear and swings a 24" x 24" 4 blade wheel. Top rpm under load is 2600, Cruising speed is 18-19 knts at 2150rpm. I got 7000hrs the 1st time before # 6 went, did a complete rebuild, I now have an addtional 10,000 hrs and am trading to cummins for a c series reman. I did replace the head 3 yrs ago due to excessive valve seat wear, the lower cetene levels in diesel fuel are playing havoc with all older diesel motors. The new heads have rotating valve seats and valves are rated for the higher BTU's that the new fuels produce. Cummins has helpline and one of the techs is/was Mike Klevis(if he is still there) They might can solve your problem if you can't get satisfaction from the local shop.

Triple Threat 33T
08-11-2011, 08:11 AM
Awesome day! Looks like I need to plan a trip up to the Panhandle.

Well, you've obviously got the fish dialed in and you do an excellent job on the fishing reports. I really enjoy reading them.

Keep up the good work bud. :beer


08-14-2011, 08:15 PM
Hell of a report PH, I wish I was eating that Cobe right now...

I hope you get your engine troubles resolved...