Team Cobia 25 miles west of Tarpon Springs
Just a quick re-cap on the Saturday, 8 Dec 2018 Gag grouper trip out of Tarpon Springs. Jeff, Bob, Pops and I were able to sneak a trip in on a fantastic day between cold fronts. NOAA got it wrong. NOAA forcasted 2-3’s, which was still worth a go considering the frequency of cold fronts we have been experiencing recently and the hot grouper bite. The day turned out better than expected. Not only did we get our limit of grouper, but we also enjoyed very calm and tranquil conditions. Considering the day before and the day following, we snuck one in.
There are many reasons why Dec is an excellent month to go fishing……when you can. Compared to summer, 1. The grouper are in closer. 2. The grouper are feeding, 3. You don’t have to hike to the middle grounds and beyond. 4. No T-storms, no mighty thor. 5. No heat stroke, 6. No need to get up super early. 7. The ice last all day, 8. No mid-day doldrums. However, unlike t-storms, you can’t run from cold fronts, at least not in a boat limited to the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). When a cold front comes through, and they do about weekly, the day of and at least two days after are not fishable for obvious safety reasons. The wind is blowing and the waters are a sandy soup.
After baiting up at the south end of Anclote Island, we headed out to the area around Pasco Reef #2 about 11 miles offshore. We trolled large diving plugs and did get an out of season amberjack. After the troll we got to work just north of the Tank Farm and the bite was pretty good because the incoming was pushing strong, just could not get any gags over 24. Bob did get a beauty of a hog snapper on live shrimp. Once the wind died down, we headed out to a ledge about 24 miles out.This was the same spot I worked on 18 Nov and we again had success. In terms of keepers I scored 1st with a 25 inch gag. In rapid succession, bob got three. Jeff and Pa were getting shorts and broken off. We hooked a few sizeable sharks, one that was about to spool Bob’s old school Penn 4/0. The tide was winding down and the bite slacked, so we did some extra chumming to compensate. Jeff rallied in the 4th quarter and got a 28 and 30 inch gag and bragging rights for the day. We all caught 22+ inch fish we had to throw back. Jeff got an o-so short 19 inch Red Grouper that went back and unlike last trip, we did catch a few red groupers. Fortunately we did not have to deal with American Red Snapper. We got a bunch of tasty Key West Grunts for a fish fry. We brought home our limit gags.Gag season will only remain open until 31 Dec. They are in-close now. The surface water temp in the morning was 60, by late afternoon 65. This is the third trip in a row without any mangrove snapper.
Here is a quick vid of the run in. Absolute calm.
Taking the last week of Dec off for friends and family to get some fishin in. If interested, let me know.
Jeff aka Red Snapper
Bob aka SALT
Bob and Captain Ken aka Cobia Ken