All good things must come to an end

Trip started out with great promise as I was joined in my Pin Fish quest by two friends one of which was my neighbor going for the first time. We had no trouble catching our goal of 150 nice liveys. The ride out was a bit bumpy but tolerable and it improved throughout the trip. Trolling was spotty with a couple of Kings and one half eaten Bonita.

We ran a little further than usual as the Captain wanted to hit a wreck he hadn’t been to in a while. We started around 1:30 AM and the Mango bite was solid from the start. Nice Goozers were coming up all over the boat. I had 10 in no time. The gentleman next to me got his 20 limit before dawn. It was especially gratifying to see a pair of cousins with their teenage sons catching from the start as I had worked with them on the way out. One of the young men got hooked up on what I presume was a Goliath Grouper. It was fun seeing him hold that rod while the beast had his way. He got on twice, neither time did he come close to landing them but man what a fish tale. I decided to switch to live bait to see if I could get a Gag or large Red Snapper. It worked as I caught a Gag on my first bait but he turned out to be an inch short. No worries as we had plenty of time or so I thought. Gags and nice Goozers were coming up everywhere. One young lady was on her first trip with her father who is a regular. She was reeling up one of the many undersized Red Snapper when Bang! “Fish ON!” She wound up a Gag in the 25 LB range. It ended up holding and she and her proud Papa collected the Jack Pot when we landed.

Captain Bryon said we slipped off the wreck due to changing anchor heading. He decided the bite was so good that re- anchoring was worth a try. We got back on it and I figured why not drop a big bait and as I knew their had to be a big Gag with my name on it. Soaked it for a couple minutes and Bang! Big Gag! I manged to turn it and got it 3/4 of the way up as Will the first mate was positioning himself to gaff my catch another Bang! Big Goliath swallowed my Gag like it was a minnow. He promptly took me down to the bottom where he not only kept my fish but took my line for a run on the bottom scaring over 100' of it. No worries still plenty of time to keep my streak alive as I've caught a keeper Gag on every trip this year. I did mange to catch another short Gag and a few nice Mangos before we moved on.

We got on another spot just before sun rise and the Goozers continued to come up at a solid pace. They bit steadily until about 10:00 AM. Decent Gags, Red Grouper and some keeper Red Snapper cleared the rail as well. The trolling between spots was OK but not as good as it had been. We did mange to get one nice King in the 20 LB. range and there was a Wahoo hook up but it got away as it made the classic "I see the Boat" turn. Tip: If you have a nice fish such as a Wahoo on while trolling be prepared for it to make a last often intense run just when you see color. As you get it it closer to the boat back off the drag just a little more and be patient. One nice Blackfin was landed during the move between spots.

The fishing throughout most of the heat of the day was slow to say the least. But I did manage to get broken off twice by what I presume were Gags. Late in the afternoon people were getting a bit discouraged as we either had no bite or undersized ARS. I know the feeling well as I always say not catching fish will wear you out. You have to fight through this as not only do a few nice fish generally come up during this time but you never know when they are going to turn on. Late in the day we hit a spot where there were multiple hook ups. Most turned out to be AJ's but there were some decent ARS landed as well. The biggest AJ I saw was around 30" and even though they are also out of season having some action was welcome. I get a kick out of seeing some one hook an AJ and get the fight of their life only to find out the fish wasn't big enough even if the season was open. That is what keeps you coming back!

I put down a large Threadfin to get away from the AJ's and was rewarded with a large Goozer in the 8 LB range. I quickly caught another nice Mango but the sharks moved in and put an end to what seemed a promising bite. As dusk approached we picked at best but did land a few ARS with the biggest of the trip coming in around 12 LBS. As the sun faded so did my hopes of keeping my streak alive. Guess all good things have to come to an end. Well time to head for home and make plans to get another streak going.

See you out there!

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