Headed to the marina in Venice around 1:30 after a great easter morning with the family. Picked up live shrimp and left the dock with trolling gear and plastic eels for cobia rigged up. Seeing nary a cobia after running the beach for a bit, we headed to M15 and discovered a grave truth: our fishfinder was broken! That shot my backup plan of grouper fishing right away. Tried to fix it for a few minutes, then gave up and decided to troll around the reef for a bit. 3-rod spread went out, deepdivers as this was a good spot for kings. NOTHING! I couldn't believe it, this day was not turning out wel at all.
We saw a massive bait pod around a smaller reef nearby, made a pass and got no hits. Suddenly, a brown streak broke through and I grabbed the cobia rod rigged up with a bomber plastic eel. My buddy Derek grabbed a hogy and we started casting. The hogy once again proved to be the hot bait, it was inhaled in seconds. But we had a repeat of my last report, he shook the lure withing ten seconds of hookup. No others were spotted, so we decided to anchor at M16, since other boats were there and we could actually find the reef without a fishfinder. Threw in the chum bag and lowered down live shrimp, cut squid, and frozen sardines on our light spinning rods. That was FUN! We immediately started catching grunts, porgies, mangos and blue runners. Derek got a keeper RG on his light gear that gave him a real tussle! I threw in a sabiki and quickly filled the livewell with tomtate grunts and cigar minnows. Lowered a minnow down on my conventional gear and got freight-trained in seconds. Live bait is really starting ot work now! My hopes of another keeper grouper were dashed when I saw the familiar brown spots of a gag... but he was a good one! Vented him and he measured in at 28.5". I got the dry bag out and realized my second mistake... NO CAMERA! this really needs to stop, I get mad at not being able to brag. Caught some more RG shorts and grunts, as well as porgies and a few keeper mangos, when Derek got a bit green. He hadn't ben offshore for a year, and seas were kicking up from when we had left. Pulled anchor and headed for home, got a bit wet on the ride back. That's another item I need to start packing, rain gear. Even if the original plan didn't work out, I had a great time. Plus, there's always this weekend when I get the machine fixed! Cobia and kings are in grave danger