Got a call from my buddy Tuesday afternoon inviting me to do some grouper diggin on Wednesday. Naturally I said "absolutely, who's boat we going on?". When he said we'd be going on his 18' Silver King I had to pause for a minute until he told me we'd be in 12-15ft of water, then I paused again and asked him what time I should meet him. Got the boat wet around 6:30 and headed out to the island for bait.
Whitebait was super thick and super tiny. After getting about 450 net wreckers and a couple dozen pins we headed back into the river to fuel up and ride. We hit the GPS and made the Looonnnnnggggg 5 mile run to his first spot. When I think grouper fishing I think straight drops on 4/0 reels and falling to my knees to yank em off the bottom(at least thats what Jayzilla claims, I slipped all 40 times ok). This was a whole different ball game. The water's so shallow we had to anchor way off and cast to them just like if we were mangrove or dock fishing. Basically once you hook up you have to drag them across 50ft of bottom that they can wedge themselves into rather than yank them vertically 10ft until you're safe. I've never had a 24'' gag fight harder then the ones we caught on this trip. Shallow water fish have a different gear, I swore everyone was 30lbs during the fights and the bruises on my arms and hips are testament.
After a few times in the rocks and a couple seabass later I finally had the rod nearly yanked out of my hand after an abusive minute or so we had out first dinner guest of the day on board.
One of the coolest things I've seen in awhile and probably the wildest moment of the day came in the form of a 7ft Hammerhead. I was bringing in an idiot remora that decided to eat... My buddy yelled out "look at that shark" I thought he was making fun of my awesome catch but when I looked towards the bow I saw he was being chased down by a beast of shark. The fish swam all the way to the boat and turned off only a few feet away splashing us with water he was so close. Very cool to see!
As the day went on we had a mix of by catch, shorts, getting rocked up and boxing keepers. We fell just short of our limit as the bait ran out and packed it up for home around 1pm. It was nice to do something different from the normal inshore thing and pretty cool to know you don't need twin screws or 20mile runs to put keepers in the frying pan mid-summer when most people don't even think about stopping in less than 40ft.
Not bad for a few guys in a flats boat
Tommorow I'll be back to the usual Snook and Redfish boredom.