A buddy and I reluctantly decided to give it a try on Saturday even though all the "regulars" were otherwise occupied and the surf was pretty loud from my place north of the Jetties (a good indication that the seas are to be reckoned with). I just had the engines serviced and wanted to give them some exercise prior to a deep run, so we decided to check out the conditions and stay inside 15-20 miles, depending. We picked up 6 dozen handpicks and a few chum blocks, then stopped outside the jetties for the obligatory sabiki dip. Pinfish were hungry. We headed out to a ledge at about 8 miles SW that I hadn't fished in probably 7 years, on the old boat, and found the seas at 2-4 with an occasional 5-6 footer thrown in - but not too bad. It was somewhat difficult to see the ledge on the sonar with the rolling seas, but I marked some fish and John was quick to respond to THROW IT! Relatively easy to anchor with the wind, and we dropped back just a little west of the Suremark. Let's give it a try... Started with the Key Westers, but figured what the heck, let's keep 'em and see what else happens. Sandwich-sized. Chum slick starting... Mangroves started slowly, and they weren't braggers, but again, we weren't expecting big ones, and these eat just fine! We were both fishing shrimp on lighter tackle. Next I lock down on something that's not a mangrove. Gag! Measure him at 24.5" Ok, I like this! Not too much later - another at 26". Third time was at least that big, but cut off! Still catching the grunts and mangos and a few short RG's in between. Lastly, came up with something that felt different. Hogfish! Cool. Been fishing here 30 years and this is a first above-the-water catch!

A couple small sharks invaded, lemon and a blacktip. Finally decided to check out a show we marked in 30ft. on way out. Anchored on that and John pulls up the biggest Gag of the day at 28". Not much else at that spot...

Dang, I think I may just reconsider spending $600 plus in fuel on those deep trips! Had a very good day - back at dock at 2PM and actually got a shower and nap in that afternoon before the broiled hogfish dinner! Only bad thing was that the cell phone and emails were still annoying me. I guess I gotta just turn it OFF.

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