Our plan was simple, it was foolproof...or at least we thought. I met up with Capt Jimmy Bennett the day before so he could drop off five bait traps. I told the crew we were going to take off about daybreak, go catch a limit of red snappers then try to find a few mangos on the way in.
Everything seemed to be going as planned except when we were pulling out of the marina I saw Scott (Blue runner) and his dad coming back in. They said it was snotty and there was a big storm just north of us. They decided it was better to sit at the dock than to get the mess beat out of them. Not the stuff I wanted to hear. We picked up the traps, that were loaded with little pinfish, and started to head out into the so called one foot seas and 3 knot winds. After rounding the south end of Anclote we were greeted with 2-4 foot seas and a stiff 15 knots. We made it out about 8 very painful and pounding miles before John (Capt. Sunburn) started questioning if we should turn around join the Blue Runner crew back at the dock. I assured the guys it would only get better the deeper we got, but we took a vote and everyone seemed okay to keep pushing further out. No longer were red snappers on the menu. I just wanted to push out to 100' or so in an attempt to catch some other species.
After another 2 hours of getting the crap beat out of us we finally made it out deeper to the first spot. We made a couple of drifts and it produced a mixed bag of jacks, gags, and mangos. Anyone who has ever fished with me knows that I hate to anchor but with the stiff winds, big swells, and ripping current it was a must. We dropped the hook and it was perfect, 7 feet directly in front of the spot. The next two hours we proceed to fill a 150qt cooler with big mangos. It would have been more snappers but we kept getting the occasional by catch or break off from big jacks or gags. Just before I decided to leave that spot I managed to catch a nice rusty belly on 30lb snapper tackle. I actually broke the fish off earlier because when I got him up I saw two circle hooks buried in the corner of his mouth. Greedy grouper couldn't stop eating those 3" pinfish.
We pushed further out to about 140' and that spot produced more of a mixed bag that seemed to be dominated with red groupers. I noticed Josh (Bear ohs) kept insisting they go in the fish box. He mumbled something about them tasting better than the tilapia he normally buys from Publix. I was like whatever, to each his own. Quickly I grew disgusted with this red grouper dominated spot and I pushed further out to 150' in search of some red snappers. We found the snappers at the last spot for sure, only thing was they weren't red. Mangos, mangos, and more mangos. We filled up another fish box and decided to make the long run home.
I can't thank my crew enough for their help. Jimmy and John did a great job of cleaning the boat. Rich and Josh cleaned all the fish. I did nothing....I sat around and took a break because I drove in that mess all day.