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View Full Version : King Tournament... Panama City 9/24, offshore



Panhandler80
09-26-2011, 10:29 AM
Been a while since a posted a fishing report because, well... it's been about 6 weeks since I've been. Never have I fished this little during a summer. Never.

Anyway, I spent a significant (if not all) portion of my free time and money last week getting ready for the Treasure Island king tournament. $300 entry for up to a $16,000 pay out seemed like it would be worth it.

Baited the choffer traps Wed and emptied them twice into the holding pen. Also caught quite a few nice sized hardtails Thursday afternoon, and a handful more Friday afternoon. After that we bought a $30 shot from the bait boat and from there we went to the Captains meeting by water with plans to motor out after the metting that night.

Well, we backed into a slip there at the marina, switched the batteries over to my two house batteries and walked off the boat to enjoy some shrimp and cold beer. Capt meeting started a little bit late and none of us had any cash that is used to sweeten the pot if you catch a big fish... if you know what I mean. So, we had to walk all the way to freakin' Avlins Isand to find an ATM. Did that, and pulled away from the dock around 8:30 or so.

I learned someting... a live bait cache of: One heaping pile of choffers, probably twenty big hardtails and a $30 shot of cigar minnows does NOT fair well when you back your boat into a stagnant marina slip and let it sit there for two hours. About ten miles into our trip out I looked into the barrel with a flash light and I just about cried. EVERY ONE of our big baits was dead on the bottom. Of course all of the choffers made it, and there might have been 6 cigars or so that were still kicking.

Okay, well... let's get to our spot and we'll hand line some beeliners, or something off the bottom. Maybe we can also net some live squid or flyers from around the lights.

KING FISHING: We decided to fish an area that's a pretty good ways from the hill. I have caught m-o-n-s-t-e-r kings here before, and over the years a 30+ pound king has been pretty much a guarantee. I went back and looked at some notes and on only one occasion have we not caught some impressive pelagics at this spot. On that trip my notes read, "lights in he water and no bait. woke up this morning, still no bait, no hits on flat line." After reading this, it was obvious that the fishing here is either very hot, or not. That being said, we decided it would be a decent investment to drop $60 on a Roff's. Did that. Low and behold, there's a 4 day rip right on our spot. Fantastic. So that's where we went.

Got there at exactly midnight with no big live baits. Figured out the drift, dropped anchor, and started chumming. We were anchord RIGHT IN a rip. Underneath the boat was a wall of jellyfish and so much bait it made you dizzy. Chum chum chum. We were able to net a couple flyers and sabiki some hardtail, but they were small. Okay... let me fire down a chicken rig and maybe we can catch something for the AM flat line.

Fired down a chicken rig and almost every time one of two things would happen. Either an AJ would hit your catch on the way up, OR... a king would hit your lead. WELL DANG! I'm thinking it is going to be on fire at lines-in for the king.

We kept bottom fishing that night and managed to put 8 black snapper (small to average size), our 4-man AJ limit and one gag in the boat. While fishing for black snapper we also hooked what was probably the biggest BFT I have ever seen. This was around 4:00 am and I was tired. Got him to the boat on light gear and he was whooped. He rolled over and I swear it wat probably 20" from tip to top on his pec fins. He was on a single circle hook and my buddy went to gaff him. I knew he was going to come up a little bit short and out of I guess exhaustion or something, I decided to put an extra couple pounds of pressure on teh fish to get him close... I did and PLINK! when the hook and off went a 30# black fin.

So, day light comes and we start to king fish. Fish on. Fish on. Fish on. Fish on. They were thick and all around 15-18 pounds. Not good. We chummed all night adn all through the water column. I know there was a big one there, but we didnt' have a big bait. Little guys of course out numbered the big boys and they would be the first to the hook. I'm sure things would have been different if we hadn't killed our big baits.

At daylight we kept bottom fishing in hopes of getting a bait to the top, but we had a hard time because kings kept hitting our lead. At one point I decided to do some speed jigging. I tied on a big shimano butterfly deal and sent it down on a wire leader. Dang king bit throgh the cord that keeps the hook on.

Of course when your tired it's hard to make good decisions... looking back, I probably should have used soem wire to put a hook on one of our gaint butterfly jigs, but it never crossed my mind. Anyway, we got a good bite up top around day break. This lasted about an hour, and then it slowed down. After we lost lead number 1,496 on the way down with a bottom rig we decided to fish the middle of the water column with some wire. Hooked a couple fish down there and got them tot he boat... 15# ers. Also lost a couple more due to leads being eaten. By the time the rubberband idea (to temproarily fix the lead to the line pre-strick) crossed my mind we had already shifted gears.

There was still bait as far as the eye could see under the boat. The water was FISHY!!! I said let's pull the anchor and troll a rigged spanish on the downrigger and some baits up top. We pulled those through our chumline for a while, but nothing. After that we tied some some yozuri bonitos (of varrying sizes) and pulled them, but nothing. Crazy. No doubt in my mind there was a big king and probably some wahoo nearby, but we had struck out with everything tried.

SIDE NOTE: We did have a tiger shark swim up to the boat (I almost had a heart atack when came idling up from dead down current at the surface... I was certain that we had a 150 pound cobia behind the boat) and sniff our chum bucket. He just nosed it, did a 180 and we never saw him again. Pretty neat.

Anyway, I had another spot in mind that was probably going to be on that same rip and more than likely on the blue water side. This spot has real good bottom fishing and the current typically RIPS through there. It was about a 10 mile run, but I figured we'd high speed over there and then chum / flatline and while hoping for a 4-man grouper limit. We highspeeded over, but that didn't produce anything. We got to the spot and true to form it showed nothing. It's hard to convice yourself to anchor in 250 feet of water when the current is ripping at 2 knots when your bottom machine shows nothing, but I figured what-the-heck. It's a king tourney anyway, let's get situated so we can get that chum going and then we'll flatline whatever sorry baits we ahve left.

Got the hook set and the groupers came hot and heavy. AJs were also thicker than pizz here too. Lots of fish gobbled by 35+ pound AJs on the way up and they really wore us out. We went to big dead baits to try and cut down on AJs, but they were even eating dead bait! Thick and hungry.

I guess the AJ laws have done some good because we couldn't get away form em.

On the flatlines we caught nothing.

We did end up with a limit (16) of grouper... about half of which were small to average sized scamp. Biggest gag was probably 22 or 23 pounds and biggest red grouper was probably 15 pounds.

After that we highspeeded back towards the house. FIFTY miles of pulling a small dolphin colored yozuri bonito, a medium purple and black yo zuri, and two panhandlers and ZERO takers. I thoguht for sure we'd pick up a wahoo in that blue water, and a king or even a bonita in the green water, but NOPE!

Circled the whistle bouy a couple times with some rapalas, and the put the yozuris back out for the last three miles to the pass.

In the pass we discussed whether or not to weigh our 18 and 17 pound kings and FINALLY!!!! we made the right call and headed for the house.

Still a fun trip. Had we not been in a tournament, we would have been pleased with the box of fish. However, we were in a tourney, it was expensive when it was all said and done, and had we been going on just another bottom trip I would have had another couple people on board to help with expenses and bag limits. We only fished four people in order to not be over crowded and to make sure we all got to take home more money if we won, but guess what!? An 18 pound king ain't gonna win you squat!!!!

I still think we fished a good area and did a LOT of things right. It's just hard when you don't have the right baits... that's all.

And, I did tell the boat and myself that we were going to "just go fishing" and put an above average emphasis on kings. Blows my mind how things work, though. Very seldom to I go on a bottom trip and NOT catch a 30+ pound king mackeral. Enter a tournament, and of course.... it's one of those seldom times. Oh well!

I think I now know why I fish a tournament about once every ten years or so... Aint' nothing wrong with this box of fish, but we were still disappointed because we didn't bring a big king to the boat. It's a shame when you do what's picture below, but you still aren't happy with it. Maybe next time we'll leave the bottom rods at the house. But then again, had we done that, we would have came home with eight < 20 lb king mackerel.

Whatever. We'll see what we feel like next year.

Was great to get back on the water and I THINK we have gotten all of the bugs worked out of the boat that were associated with the re-installatin of the remanned engine.

Panhandler80
09-26-2011, 10:31 AM
Here we go!!!! Doesn't look like much of a king mackeral tourny boat, does it?!!!??? I really wanted to beat all of the go-fast run and gunners in our slow stink potter, but it just didnt' shake out this time.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/Panhandler80/kingtournament.jpg?t=1317046777
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/Panhandler80/kingtournament2.jpg?t=1317046143

Not a bad haul... just not the right kind of fish. Wish that big ol' blackfin that we lost at boatside had been in the picture. Grrrr.

Scamp: 9
Kings: 4 (could have had 8, but I have a hard enough time giving away 4 at a time)
Gags: 4 (lost a 30+ pound fish. Had him off the bottom and like an idiot I stopped cranking in order to loosen the drag. Apparently he wasn't as far off as I thought. He went to digging and I just leaned back and figured I had him up enough. We were on anchor and I thoght I had him licked. Rod ben, bent some more, bent some more, some more... line now into the foam grip, and then.... CUT! Back in his hole. He was a real nice fish and I totally blew it. NEVER STOP CRANKING. Unforuatnely, I didn't practice what I preach to everybody that steps onboard.
Red Grouper: 3
AJs: 4. Biggest was probably 38 pounds
Trigger: 1
Beeliners: 3 (we honestly had a hard time getting the triggers / beeliners / black snapper past the AJs)
Black Snapper: 8

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/Panhandler80/kingtournament4.jpg?t=1317046158

Fillets anybody? Yes, we were Boat #6. No, we had ZERO use for that card at the end of the day. Oh well!? ;-)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/Panhandler80/kingtournament5.jpg?t=1317046772

We didn't win any money, but you also can't do THIS with king mackeral. Well, guess you could, but why would you want to?
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/Panhandler80/kingtournament8.jpg?t=1317046161
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v161/Panhandler80/kingtournament9.jpg?t=1317046136

It was fun, but next time... more people on board and we'll just go fishing for fun!

Camohead
09-26-2011, 12:51 PM
Great report!

That's a nice haul of groceries!

Good to meet you Friday.

Beck
09-26-2011, 02:30 PM
Thats a nice haul of fish.....nothing to be ashamed of there!

reel stamas
09-26-2011, 08:34 PM
Put me on the Grouper Trip list if you ever need another angler...

crcattypc
09-27-2011, 09:08 AM
Did you loose your fourth person on the trip? Those are some nice gags! And that one scamp looks pretty large also. Too bad about the BFT, but thats fishin... As for the tourney, we missed money by that much, the boat that bumped us out of the $ also came on our stop we were fishing along with several other boats, and as he was a large sportfisher, he bumped everyone off the spot. Sort of. Was a good time anyway, and even though we did not get a winning fish, our 23.4 pounder was up on the board until the very end. Then the Gag Reflex guys came in and weighed 2 monsters. Good for them! Nice to see local guys winning the tourney. I heard they got it on a kite out by the ship I wanted to fish. Oh well, always next year. Great post Pan, and it looks like you have some full freezers!

Panhandler80
09-27-2011, 11:47 AM
We cleaned boat / fish on Sunday. 4th person was flying out of town on Sunday so he was not pictured.

jimmys57
09-27-2011, 12:00 PM
Great report and pics. Really enjoyed reading it.

reel stamas
09-27-2011, 01:26 PM
Did you loose your fourth person on the trip? Those are some nice gags! And that one scamp looks pretty large also. Too bad about the BFT, but thats fishin... As for the tourney, we missed money by that much, the boat that bumped us out of the $ also came on our stop we were fishing along with several other boats, and as he was a large Sportfish. Then the Gag Reflex guys came in and weighed 2 monsters. Good for them! Nice to see local guys winning the tourney. I heard they got it on a kite out by the ship I wanted to fish.
By the way... WE bumped Gag Reflex into 2nd & 4th ;) but we're local too & we're w.e. warriors like most everyone else here... We don't fish for a living...

crcattypc
09-27-2011, 01:45 PM
By the way... WE bumped Gag Reflex into 2nd & 4th ;) but we're local too & we're w.e. warriors like most everyone else here... We don't fish for a living...

That is awesome man! Congratulations! I thought they had taken the 1 & 3 place, didn't realize you got in after them. What was your boats name? (reel stamas?) In any case, good to see locals taking the $ rather than the out of towners who came in to fish this tourney. Not that I do not appreciate out of town folks or anything like that. It is just nice to keep it local! Congrats again... That was a nice payday, I will have a crown and ginger! :)

reel stamas
09-27-2011, 01:51 PM
That is awesome man! Congratulations! I thought they had taken the 1 & 3 place, didn't realize you got in after them. What was your boats name? (reel stamas?) In any case, good to see locals taking the $ rather than the out of towners who came in to fish this tourney. Not that I do not appreciate out of town folks or anything like that. It is just nice to keep it local! Congrats again... That was a nice payday, I will have a crown and ginger! :)
Thanks... We weighed @ 6:45... 48.8lbs & 42.0lbs... I normally fish under 'Reel Stamas', but decided to change it up & go w/ 'Psycho-Dock' (I'm a shrink)... My boat is 'technically' un-named, except for the Stamas brand badge...

Split Shot
09-27-2011, 01:58 PM
'Psycho-Dock' has a good ring to it. :beer

reel stamas
10-16-2011, 05:34 PM
http://www.newsherald.com/sections/article/gallery/?pic=1&id=97212