Last Couple Weeks Catch..

Not sure how many of you guys visit the General Fishing forum, but I'm the guy who had a rough first week of fishing on the new boat. Not so much the catch itself, but more of a hilarity of events from trailering the boat, launching, re-trailering, etc.. Anyway, I finally had a nice couple of weeks out with some decent catch, but wanted to check in to see if anyone had thoughts.. The last 10 days, the water has been amazing by the way.

I used this site as my own fishing buddy Match.com and met up with a really nice guy. He was tall and charming and really knew how to set a knocker rig like nobody I ever seen! He's experienced, I'm not. I followed his lead and we ended up with a cooler of lanes and a couple others in just a few hours, including a huge snapper of some sort that tasted delicious when I grilled it the next day. Hit a spot 25 miles out from the lighthouse and caught about 20 red grouper, all to 20", which sucked because I wanted to eat them for dinner.. According to my new friend, you aren't allowed to fillet a fish at sea and then try to explain to FWC that you swear they were long enough. On our way back, I ran out of gas pretty much a mile from Punta Rassa. What an embarrassing way to end the first date, but he took it in stride and texted me that night to send him the pics I took with my phone. I agreed as long as he didn't show anyone else. It would be embarrassing if everyone saw my 6" porgy. :blowkiss

Took my son out this past Friday. Hit Edison Reef and got skunked. Nothing, nada! Later that day, I ran into a buddy at Publix who is pretty avid, and he said he's had some success with some diver bombers there recently. We went southwest which took us about 25 miles from Punta Rassa. Found some bottom and hit grouper after grouper. ALL SHORT BY AN INCH OR TWO!! For my son, it was nice to have his rod bend quite a bit, but I'm told the bigger grouper keepers are more then 25 miles offshore. Is that true? Inside of 25 miles, should I be targeting more snapper, cobia, permit? I'm looking for AJ's and kings also. Maybe I'm just not in the right spot. :huh

Anyway, here are some pics. Hope everyone is having some luck! It's getting freakin hot outt there! :USA
2.jpg 95.7K
3.jpg 44.3K
4.jpg 84.3K
5.jpg 83.7K

Replies

  • whipachawwhipachaw Posts: 505 Officer
    There are keeper grouper closer but most times you have to weed through a lot of shorts. That can happen way out too but seems to be less often. Glad you are catching some fish!!!
  • larrywittlarrywitt Posts: 2,675 Moderator
    Thanks for your post. Looks like you are learning pretty fast. Yes snapper are a great eating fish, My families favorite.
    How large is your fuel tank? Just surprised that you ran out of fuel.
    larrywitt
  • RMDRMD Posts: 1,796 Officer
    There are keeper grouper all over the place. However, the short red grouper are far more prevalent within 25 miles vs their keeper counterparts. Gags can be caught within site of land, depending on the time of year. You just need to experiment, find and try different bottom, and keep a log (including time of year, time of day, lunar phase, etc, etc.) There are times we get all short red grouper in 80 FOW and there are times we get slob keepers in 80 FOW. As a general rule, I like to fish as deep as I can go safely that particular day.

    If you are stuck inside 80 FOW then I'd plan to bring 2 different types of setups. The first for grouper and the second being a light setup for snapper. You won't catch mangos or yellowtails on a grouper rig with any regularity.

    Definitely a bad thing to run out of gas, especially this time of year with the pop up thunderstorms. Glad you made it back in safely.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • stallan54stallan54 Posts: 88 Greenhorn
    Larry - I have 100 gallon fuel tank. I left the dock in the morning with about 50 gallons, maybe less. We rode around quite a bit. Dumb mistake. I'll take it as a learning curve with getting to know my fuel efficiency.
  • stallan54stallan54 Posts: 88 Greenhorn
    RMD wrote: »
    There are keeper grouper all over the place. However, the short red grouper are far more prevalent within 25 miles vs their keeper counterparts. Gags can be caught within site of land, depending on the time of year. You just need to experiment, find and try different bottom, and keep a log (including time of year, time of day, lunar phase, etc, etc.) There are times we get all short red grouper in 80 FOW and there are times we get slob keepers in 80 FOW. As a general rule, I like to fish as deep as I can go safely that particular day.

    If you are stuck inside 80 FOW then I'd plan to bring 2 different types of setups. The first for grouper and the second being a light setup for snapper. You won't catch mangos or yellowtails on a grouper rig with any regularity.

    Definitely a bad thing to run out of gas, especially this time of year with the pop up thunderstorms. Glad you made it back in safely.

    Thanks RMD.. I'm getting a lot more comfortable with the boat, so I'll probably do that next and head out a little further. Just this past weekend I brought 2 different setups. I've got spinning and conventional with #40 braid and #60 mono leader for a heavier setup and #20 braided / #40 mono on my ligher setup. I've been using a 1.5 oz egg sinker which seemed to get me to bottom quickly as the water has been calm. Do you find that snapper prefer mono line and leader? Does the green spider wire scare them off?

    Lastly, is there 80 FOW within 35 miles? I launch from Punta Rassa.
  • tilemantileman Posts: 1,118 Officer
    Your learning fast....My first rule of thumb! Never leave the dock w/o a full tank of fuel. I too have a 100 gal. fuel tank and have a fuel management system that tells me, fuel in tank, fuel used, using per hr. I also set my GPS trip to zero for my mileage for that day so I know exactly the distance I have traveled of how much distance I may go. ( approx. I use 2 mls per gal. on ave. ) like I mentioned, start off each trip w/ a full tank, you never know when you may go further than you expected or maybe the waters flat as glass and you want to go faster or deeper , or just plain TROUBLE. When I return home I dont refill yet, I keep my boat on a trailer and less gas is less weight. The morning I go out I fill up again, I always add Star Tron additive also just in case the boat doesnt hit the water for any extended period of time. keep on having fun and keep safe. :grin
    Here's ta swimn' with bowllegged women!
  • LastCheersLastCheers Posts: 26 Greenhorn
    Hahaha!!! I have had worse first dates ;)
    And we will definitely have a second because you called me charming!

    All new boat owners make some mistakes but I'm sure you won't ever run out of gas again! I've done it before.

    We will get some dinner grouper next trip!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • stallan54stallan54 Posts: 88 Greenhorn
    LastCheers wrote: »
    Hahaha!!! I have had worse first dates ;)
    And we will definitely have a second because you called me charming!

    All new boat owners make some mistakes but I'm sure you won't ever run out of gas again! I've done it before.

    We will get some dinner grouper next trip!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Yeah buddy! Looking forward to it.
  • RMDRMD Posts: 1,796 Officer
    stallan54 wrote: »
    Thanks RMD.. I'm getting a lot more comfortable with the boat, so I'll probably do that next and head out a little further. Just this past weekend I brought 2 different setups. I've got spinning and conventional with #40 braid and #60 mono leader for a heavier setup and #20 braided / #40 mono on my ligher setup. I've been using a 1.5 oz egg sinker which seemed to get me to bottom quickly as the water has been calm. Do you find that snapper prefer mono line and leader? Does the green spider wire scare them off?

    Lastly, is there 80 FOW within 35 miles? I launch from Punta Rassa.

    My heavy setups are 65lb braid and 60-80 fluoro leader. I like Yozuri pink but there are lots of options. My light setups are 30lb braid with either 25 or 30lb fluoro leader.

    What are you using for terminal tackle? Fishfinder rig, knocker rig, etc.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • stallan54stallan54 Posts: 88 Greenhorn
    I've been using a fishfinder rig, but was maybe going to try knocker rig this weekend as I heard a lot of captains prefer that. Any preference to fish? I plan on going out about 30 miles west of the lighthouse (240 bearing) this weekend which should put me in 70-80 FOW. Hoping to find a good spot. Going to have 3 lines at the bottom and a butterflied squirrelfish on a float. I'll take a bit of time and troll an 8" bomber while I have a drink break.
  • RMDRMD Posts: 1,796 Officer
    stallan54 wrote: »
    I've been using a fishfinder rig, but was maybe going to try knocker rig this weekend as I heard a lot of captains prefer that. Any preference to fish? I plan on going out about 30 miles west of the lighthouse (240 bearing) this weekend which should put me in 70-80 FOW. Hoping to find a good spot. Going to have 3 lines at the bottom and a butterflied squirrelfish on a float. I'll take a bit of time and troll an 8" bomber while I have a drink break.

    A couple thoughts regarding snapper:

    Bait: If you are using squid you will catch red grouper and lanes. Personally, I don't feel squid is a consistent bait for either yellowtail or mangos. If you switch to live shrimp and sardines, you will catch more mangos and YT

    Rigs: I'd limit your fluoro leader to 25 or 30 lbs tops. A fishfinder rig is definitely good for snapper. A knocker rig, although easier tie, is not as stealthy. I have caught plenty of fish with this setup, but mostly when the bite is on fire. When the bite is soft the snapper won't touch a knocker rig (lanes excluded). Many snapper guys use a light jig head with shrimp or sardine head. When the bite is really tough I will dial the leader down a bit and switch over to a jig head. It gives a more natural presentation of the bait.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • stallan54stallan54 Posts: 88 Greenhorn
    Yep, you are right. It's all been lanes and red grouper on the squid. I'll probably stop to sabiki some live bait on my way out. Interesting take on the leader. Seems like I need to cut down on my lines. I'm at bottom with #40 braided and #60 mono leader. Maybe I'll drop down to #20/30. I do like to jig. Have done it in past. I think going to larger live bait will help me weed out the shorts a lot quicker.
  • RMDRMD Posts: 1,796 Officer
    stallan54 wrote: »
    Yep, you are right. It's all been lanes and red grouper on the squid. I'll probably stop to sabiki some live bait on my way out. Interesting take on the leader. Seems like I need to cut down on my lines. I'm at bottom with #40 braided and #60 mono leader. Maybe I'll drop down to #20/30. I do like to jig. Have done it in past. I think going to larger live bait will help me weed out the shorts a lot quicker.

    Nothing wrong with 60lb mono or fluoro leader for grouper, that is what I use. However, for snapper that is way too heavy and they won't touch it. You also need to make sure you use the right hook size. For my grouper, I use 6-0 and 7-0 and will use 8-0 only for bigger baits. I use the Gamakatzu circle hooks. For snapper, I start at 3-0 and dial it down to 2-0 or 1-0 if the bite is soft. Gamakatzu also for the snapper.

    I have started testing out the Mustad circle Demon hooks 6-0 to 8-0 for grouper. They have a shorter shank which helps to hide the metal from the view and I can get most of the hook covered in the bait (when using fishfinder rig). They've worked out pretty nicely so far. When I use a knocker rig for grouper, I prefer to the 7-0 Gamakatzu hook because it has a longer shank and pushes the weight a bit further away from the hook.

    As far as weights, use the minimal amount that you need to hold bottom... this is especially true for knocker rigs. A fish won't bite a giant lead ball. So for grouper, I typically use 6oz but will go down to 3 or 4 oz if I can get away with it. For snapper, if I have to go above 1.5 or 2 oz then I don't use a knocker rig because it wont be productive- 0.5 to 1.0 oz is better. I also use some sparkly beads from Hobby lobby in my knocker rigs. That helps create spacing between the hook (bait) and the weight. The less they head butt the weight when striking, the better the odds of my hooking up with quality fish.

    As far as getting bigger baits, that is a good idea. However, if you're catching tons of shorts, its most likely the spot- not the bait. Small grouper all tend to congregate together. You'll pick up a few keepers here and there mixed in with the shorts, but you won't consistently catch a large number of keepers mixed in with all those shorts.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • roozterdvxroozterdvx Posts: 48 Greenhorn
    stallan54 wrote: »
    Larry - I have 100 gallon fuel tank. I left the dock in the morning with about 50 gallons, maybe less. We rode around quite a bit. Dumb mistake. I'll take it as a learning curve with getting to know my fuel efficiency.

    Always leave the dock with a full tank...

    ...I hold 250 gals and I top off before I get to the ramp.

    As someone else mentioned, the water could be flat clam and you want to run out deeper, or run around a pop up storm, and if seas are rough, your fuel burn can and most likely will go up.
Sign In or Register to comment.