Middle Grounds Fishing Report

We ended up making the run out to the middle grounds on Friday afternoon since the seas were calm. First time out there and it was awesome, although we did have some problems..

Left the dock in CR around 2:45pm Friday, and ran out to the flats to catch some pinfish. By 4:00 we had loaded up and were on our way. Lots of bait schools on the ride out.. at about 60' I veered off to check out some frigate birds, and they were on a huge school of Bonito. Caught a nice one and threw him in the box for cut bait.

As we were closing in on the middle grounds around 7:45pm, I spotted a floating log and went to check it out. Huge school of Mahi on it. Quickly rigged up a few pitch rods and caught 10-12 keeper schoolies. As we were getting ready to leave, the livewell / washdown pump stopped working! It was totally burnt up. The timing could not have been worse, with 50-60 pinfish ready for action. I lost a few, but saved what I could in a floating bait bucket.

I found some decent bottom and anchored up around 8:30pm. Caught a mess of huge Mangos up to 23" , Vermillion snapper, porgies, a few Red Grouper, and a 32" Gag. At this point I realized we had a huge problem.. we were running out of ice. This was my first time using the boats giant built in fishbox (normally use a big cooler), and it was not as insulated as expected. 100 lb's of ice had turned into a slurry by midnight. I knew we would have to cut our trip short in order to save our fish.

When I woke up at 5 am, almost all the ice was melted.. We quickly ditched everything in the big food / beer cooler and bait cooler, and tightly packed the fish in what ice we had left. There was a little space left for fish, so I decided to make one more stop before heading back.

I found some bottom in 130' that was marking fish and set up a drift. We had 3 rods doubled over on Red Snapper instantly, and caught our limit over the next 30 minutes. Also added a slob Red Grouper to the mix. At this point I had no more cooler space and no more ice, so had to head back in.

Even though the trip was cut short, we had a great time, and learned a few lessons for the next over-nighter.

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