So I am about to move up to Augusta, GA for medical residency and have been trying to get as much spearfishing a possible before I go to a land lock city, and 100 plus hour work weeks. Headed out of Fort Desoto at 7:30 with my two best friends, looking to get mainly Hogs, mangrove and hoping to get some red grouper, (anything else would have been cake). Started off by stopping at the St. Pete Reef, but it was already insanely busy with tons of boats chumming up the water, but decided to dive on some culverts anyway looking for mangos and hogs in 30 feet. Our usual rubble spot was taken, as well as the barge, and tanks we usually dive so had to settle for something new. Visibility was only about 15 feet and there was al lot of particulate in the water. After searching the area the only thing we saw was a 200+ Goliath. It was one of my friends first real spearfishing experience and he was using my pole spear, but he didnít screw the tip on hard enough and it fell off after about 10-15 minutes in the water. My other friend shot one Mango but there werenít enough fish to make it worth staying, (think all the boat chumming were pulling them away), so we decided to move on. Next stop was the Permit Barge in 45ft of water, on our 10 mile run with two foot seas we decided to troll. Which ended up being one of the most fun ideas we have done. Using a deep diving plug at about 4.5 mph caught a bonita, a 22 inch Spanish, two 26+ gags, several smaller gags, about 5, 18-19.5 inch red grouper, and wait for it wait for it 2 lizard fish that were smaller than the lure. Got to the Permit barge and began diving with near top to bottom visibility, but the GPS was having a hard time figuring our position and we were unable to find it this time.
After our failure at the permit barge decided to go after our target, the HOGS! Search the bottom trolling looking at sonar for a small ledge, (caught even more barely small grouper and big gags) finally got to some round about weigh point and found a ledge. We were in 50 feet of water with top to bottom visibility, diving on a one foot ledge that ran probably 100 yards. Dove down saw ones of small gags, no reds, but found our Hogs. Ended up shooting 9 hogs there with biggest being 19.5inches. After scarring off al the fish decided to try our hand on the Permit barge again, (it has always been a good source of at least 2-3 hogs and some nice sized mango, have even seen 40inch plus amber jacks there)
Again since seas were what they were we trolled getting more gags, and more small reds, ending up with a total of probably 15 total grouper aggregate, (with no keepers, but still awesome time catching them). Finally arrive to the permit barge, and we found it anchored right on top of it, and began chumming the water with the bonita we caught earlier and some left over shrimp heads, and bait fish. Started diving, and visibility was worse than the before with only about 20-25 feet, but underneath the boat was a school of amber jack, but looked to small except one, (shot it but ended up being just shy of legal, so threw him back still alive). Finally got down to the barge, but there was nothing there. All of the fish were small, which was strange because previously we shot 20 inch mango and large hogs, after we swam around a bit the reason seemed pretty to be staring us in the face literally. There had to be around 4 goliath grouper one around 150 pounds patrolling its territory. So with that we decided to call it a day.
Total 9 hogs, 1 big Spanish, and 1 mango.
Great day. Could have gotten more mangos, and sheeps, but our freezers are filled up with sheeps and have become selective with mangos. Great last spearfishing day before a begin my real life.
They are the rapala x-rap magnums, you can see the colors. We caught the king/spanish on a spoon, but once we put out the green/chartruse one (stuck in my shirt), they left the other alone. The grouper didnt even mind the bit of wire leader we put on incase a bigger king wanted to play. Ive lost too many plugs and at $20 a pop, well I wanted to be safe.
Yeah I know the 100 plus work week was abolished, and we only have 80 work week but don't know how well that is followed. Doing a preliminary year, then dermatology after that. I appreciate the well wishes. Hope the report helps.