Seas were flat calm today. Decided to head beyond the M Reefs and hit the D3/D4 numbers, which are about 105 ft. Caught a bunch of pinfish off longboat key on the way out to make things a little more interesting. D4 numbers were not showing much on the bottom finder, more like rubble, but we anchored up anyways and set chum out.
Boated six large mangrove snapper all in the 20" size range, all fat and almost red in color. All were caught on a 1/4 chartruese jighead, with shrimp, freelined to the bottom. Also caught a few nice yellowtail snapper the same way, yum... They would not touch squid/sardines or the pinfish.
The Amberjacks and Almacos were pretty thick near the bottom. They destroyed all of my pinfish before a grouper could get to them. Aj's ranged up to about 35 lbs. Caught a 4 ft sandbar shark the same way, perfectly hooked with a circle in the corner of the mouth, as well.
Peanut dolphin played in the chum slick, and several were caught on both squid and shrimp. Fun to see them play around the boat.
I am heading down in a couple of weeks and planning on heading out that way, although the AJ factor is what is keeping me thinking of doing more trolling than bottom fishing. I know it would be fun, but man those things will wear you out in a hurry, and no meat to show for it (since season is closed).
Sticking to live shrimp and targeting snapper, then heading West with a spread out is looking like the plan at this point.
Last edited by GASeminole; 07-05-2012 at 10:26 AM.
Here is a pic of the shark and a decent AJ. The snapper bite was on for about 30 minutes around 10 am, then shut off completely, the tide did stop moving and that may have been a contributing factor, or they just got wise...I was also using frozen shrimp because the shrimp have been so small at the bait shop.
All snapper were caught with on my light inshore rods. My fishing buddy has horrible ADHD and could NOT be patient enough to let the jig drop to the bottom. He kept wanting to use a heavier jig, even though I had already tied on a 1/4 oz from 1/8 oz, which was sufficient to hit bottom. The key was just paying out the line by hand and not messing with it till it hits the bottom. Easier said than done for some people I guess. The only snapper he caught was when I put my rod in the rod holder after the jig hit the bottom. The snapper never did come up off the bottom and really were not being marked on the sonar except for one piece of structure on D4.
As usual, several boats came up right next to me. Most boats were on D3, which I did try after the snapper bite stopped. D3 has much more visible relief on the sonar IMHO, but was full of AJ's and grunts.
Nuclearfishn-- I read your posts on trolling for grouper and got a few of the Bomber CD-30's in that cool dorado color. Never tried trolling before, so I have alot of learning to do. I tried trolling for about 20 minutes over some 50 ft ledges near M-8. I definately underestimated the ability of the CD-30 to track deeper than 30 feet. I was in about 50ish feet and bumped bottom with about 125yds out at 4 kts. I will need to fine tune my approach