Brought the family down over Thanksgiving week with high hopes for multiple productive offshore fishing excursions. Went out Sat Nov 17 and we were greeted with a pretty stiff wind out of the N/NE. Tried to find some snapper in 80-90 feet but the winds were just too brutal to fish comfortably while simultaneously ensuring the safety of my boys aged 8 and 9. Turned back around and anchored in 40 feet at a nice hard bottom area where we caught quite a few porgies and grunts, as well as a single yellowtail snapper. As the winds calmed down we headed out to 70 feet where there seemed to be an unlimited number of 20 inch red grouper. Being fearful of what Johnny Law might do if one of my fish shrank to 1mm short of 20, I threw back most but kept 5 fish in the 20.5-22 inch range. Unfortunately the winds shifted and started coming out of the NW and calm seas became pretty brutal. We headed back in slowly despite the constant beating from 4-6 foot waves. We used live shrimp most of the day with the grouper coming on pinfish
Tuesday Nov 20 we had Tim from Feeding Frenzy show us some pointers on flounder fishing. We used a variety of jig heads with live hand picked shrimp and did pretty well for a cold windy day, bringing home 7 keeper flounder and 4 nice sheepshead.
Friday Nov 23 we tried our luck with flounder again but the cold temperatures the previous night seemed to shut down the bite. Not to mention the shrimp were miniature that day which probably didn't help either. We switched gears and tried for some tripletail nearshore. We saw plenty of fish and casted to about 8 or so. We landed 4, 3 of which were short. I also managed to catch 3 crap trap lines, which shows me that I need some work with casting in high winds and choppy seas. Due to our lack of fish in the box, Sarasota Brewing Company provided the dinner that night with great burgers and wings.
As an added bonus, we fished a seawall near one of the condo complexes and my boy caught this nice tarpon using a dead shrimp on a jig head. I realize you aren't supposed to take a tarpon out of the water but in the case where the water level is 8 feet below the seawall and there is no ladder to climb back up, we really had no choice. He was handled with great care and swam away without any difficulty.
Overall, it was a relatively cold and windy week, with less than ideal fishing conditions, but it ended up being a pretty reasonable trip, the kids had fun, and it certainly was much better than working! The last perk of the trip was that my boys ended up meeting Dickie V, and since they are all hoops fans they thought this was pretty cool.