Plan was to run the beach and target tarpon. Had the 24 Pathfinder loaded with tackle (big spinners, bait casters, and Avets in case we headed offshore). Headed out of the port at day break and headed south looking for pogies and poons. No pogies at the pier and water temp kept dropping the further south we went. Loaded up on pogies near PAFB in 69 degree water and started spoting 40-100lb tarpon shortly there after. I hooked up in short order, unfortunately turned out to be a large bonnet head shark. Bruce lofts a pogie out in front of a large poon and is hooked up to a good fish, only it is not fighting like a poon. Holy snookinga! 44" of thick healthy snook, masterfully landed, revived and released.
Shortly after I cast on a poon, line comes tight, another bonnet head. Tarpon disappeared. We worked south to Satellite Beach, pogies everywhere, water temp down to 68 degrees. Upwelling is back, we are a day late for the tarpon. Closing in on on 10:00am it's decision time and we choose Pelican over 8A. Start slow trolling pogies, have two of three lines out, and zzzzzzzzzzing. Kingfish on!
Keep at it. Another nice king, cuda, nice king, shark, another king. Plan was to quit fishing at 1:00 and its already noon. So we leave fish to find fish in the hopes of some late season fins. Find a weed line in 125' decide to keep with the livies instead of ballyhoo. Atlantic sharpnose shark after shark, another king, cuda, shark, cuda... zzzzing schoolie dolphin on the flat line, zzzzzzzzing nice bull on the long line. Only the two of us, so we had our hands full. Almost lost the gaff with one hand on the rod and one on the gaff but managed to get get the schoolie in the boat. Over twenty minutes later and 1.25 miles from our hookup Bruce is still doing battle on the bull, afraid to bump the lever drag past 6lbs because of the small #4 treble on our stinger hook live bait rigs. We finally get within 20 yards of the bull (head and tail pushing out of the water, an estimated 48" spread) when the hook pulls. Oh well can't win them all. As we are reseting the spread, bam another 20lb+ kingfish, lost at the boat. Shortly thereafter 400 yards of non-stop zzzzzzzzzing ending in another pulled hook (big shark like fin out of the water when it took the bait). We went from batting 1000% to three straight misses. Humility makes me a better fisherman (I hope). Now it's well past our departure time of 1:00pm to beat the storms, but everytime we say it's time to pack it in zzzzzing, another fish (mostly sharks now, but enough cudas and kings mixed in). At 3:00pm after another zzzzzzzzing, we don't even reset, and make a mad dash for the port. Smooth ride in at 40mph, got lucky and just beat the storms.
One more look at Bruce's trophy snook
Seasul, my 24' Pathfinder has a 25 gallon rear livewell and a 20 gallon front console livewell with 800gph pumps. I've never counted, but 80-100 hand sized pogies split between the two wells is not a problem. Too many variables to give an exact answer (size of the bait, water temp, hotter water temps offshore are tougher on the pogies). Also my livewells are not pressurized like on well designed offshore boats' livewells. A rough, bouncy ride to the fishing grounds will beat up the baits, and cause some mortality. I also rigged air stones to both wells and can keep wells full of mullet, pilchards, and/or shrimp alive overnight with the boat on the trailer. I've had the boat less than a year and have been very happy with it. Ran close to 80 miles on Sunday and only burned 25 gallons of gas. I fish it inshore more often than offshore, can't get flats boat skinny, but can get in 13".
Last edited by jmsnookman; 08-16-2012 at 12:17 AM.
Thank you for the info, I am looking at a couple different boats in that class and have narrowed it down to either a Ranger bay boat or that Pathfinder. Both seem really well designed and are comparably equipped, the price on the Ranger is a little high so I have been leaning towards the Pathfinder and was just curious how those larger baits did in the wells. It looks like there is plenty of room in the fish box too!! Nice catch and thanks again for the info!