Team Cobia Middle “Turtle Ledge” 6/22-23/19

Cy, Bob, Mark J, and new guest fishermen Bobby and Steve pushed off at high noon and went to go pin up for a very long range grouper, red snapper tripper west of the famous FL Middle Grounds.  After all this is the 2ndweekend in the Commoner’s Gulf of Mexico (GOM) American Red Snapper (ARS) season.   A solid blocking high pressure zone was sitting atop the state and this unique arrangement inhibited all t-storm development. In lieu of t-storms, we had high heat, which is a fine trade for long range trips.  I could not help but go. 

The process of catching pinfish was unusually longer and laborious.  We had to deal with the unhooking over a dozen slimy, barbed catfish. In the future, it would be prudent to save both time and energy to buy fresh pins from the local afloat bait seller.  Heat is hot and energy is limited, going to have to start doing that, particularly on long range, long duration safaris.  After saying enough of baiting up, we put up the sabiki set ups and headed around the south side of Anclote for a 95 mile trip to a target ledge in 191 feet.  As soon as we took a break from running in the middle grounds, I sent out a radio call to fellow Tarpon based grouper fisherman Glenn, but could not bring him up. That was at 5 pm. 

Once we hit Turtle ledge, I noticed the thermal Cline to be about at 170 down on the B175 tranducer. On his mere 2nd drop, Steve obtain the title of Fisherman of the day by wrestling up a whopping 43 inch Gag grouper from 190 feet.  The Big gag slammed a frisky live grunt.  The Penn Carnage II heavy rod was doubled over and the Torque was losing 80lb braid.  Half way through the fight and drama, I showed Steve the “low gear option” on the Penn Torque.   After we saw color, I thought, surely this a just another big **** reef donkey.  Then we saw spots, then the bubbles came forth and the mighty rusty belly floated to the surface.  The boat erupted.  This fish beats blow away the previous FWF gag grouper record of 38 inches caught by Bob Jones last summer on the middle grounds.  This so far is the most prized fished caught on the FWF.  

Steve also caught his 1st Razor Fish.  Tell us how this snapper taste.  I hear they are good as other snappers?
Tied for second place this day was Mark and Cy.  They both beat out yours truly, the Capt and 1st Mate birthday boy Bob Jones.  Cy got at least two Gags, a 28.5 and 28 and Mark got a really nice 36.5 inch Gag (2nd best of the day) and a 29 inch gag on the grounds.  On about 4 occasions Johnson had his Shimano set-up pinned to the gunnel.  Wish I took a picture of the grimaces on his face.  Hats off for hanging in there sailor.   Cy is being mentioned not for his sacrifice, but for getting at least three of our ARS and 3 Scamps and at least 2 gags.  Cy got the best production numbers. 
My notable was this Toro that ate by slow pitch jig.  Same jig got the trip’s 1st ARS. Lost the jig on the next drop to a toothy critter (mostly likely a local King).  But at 191, it could even be a wahoo. 

I did bring back 3 Kitty Mitchell Groupers and those are always welcome.   Bob for some reason was the one to catch bee-liners.   You just never know what is going to hit when you are out here. The last ARS of the night was the nicest one at ~25inches.  Bobby got this on a heavy grouper right rigged with half a lady fish.

 The volume, amount of undersized Red Grouper was very high.  We only brought home a single Red grouper that was barely 20 inches.   Bobby was the chosen one selected to figure that riddle out. The bite was very slow for 1-2 hours due to a long ebb tided starting at 1045pm.  The solunars were average, at best.  We actually fished the weakest tide of the day.  But you go when you can and the seas were exceptionally favorable with almost no t-storm threat which is incredibly rare for the summer.

Bob Jones gets a nod for two points.  Driving us out most of the way and for staying in fishing mode for a solid 50-hrs as this hard core sailor just returned from a 12-hour Hubbard’s overnight Mango snapper trip. 

The Garmin auto-pilot on the Fair Weather Fisherman (FWF) is out.  Something about the “ECU being not present.” There are also some other electrical gremlins that will have to be addressed, such as the underwater lights not working again. 

Two trip ago, Mark J gave up his RX glasses to Davy Jones locker.  This trip, Cy provided the ritual sacrifice to king Neptune by “donating” his vapor e-cig.  I am sure a bossy, hefty gag is enjoying water every juice that device still offers. 

2nd Honorable mention goes to 1st timer, young Bobby.  Bobby starting around 2am, manually drove the Cobia 296 76 miles from the middle grounds to the South end of Anclote, by himself.  I was beat and needed someone with sharp bearing and senses.  Bobby was the man.  All I had to do was monitor Bobby and the radar.  With the following ~8 knt wind into the moon light, it was about as good as ride was we could expect.  We averaged 33 MPH at ~36/37 RPM.  Fuel burn of 1.5 MPG.  That compares to our average speed of 30 mph and a 1.4 mpg fuel burn into the same westerly wind on the trip out. 

My good buddy Dr Blace and his son Max will be in town for next weekend.  Going to take Blace’s brother in law Jason the Chef out also.  Got one spot left.  The trips between now and this fall will all be long range.  The water is hot and the fish are out deep. 

This is Capt Ken signing off,

Tight lines,


Ken


Replies

  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,313 Captain
    Love the on the water photography.  Thanks for sharing! 
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 590 Officer
    I think what you are calling a razorfish is actually a squirrel fish (not to be confused with our sand perch, which most call squirrels around here).  They have fine, white meat as you would expect from a predator that spends most of its time hovering in place, but have nasty spines and super sharp gill plates.  I usually don't bother putting them on ice because I know I'm going to get stabbed or cut by them when I reach in at the end of the day to pull fish out of the ice.

    Did you really get 3 kitty mitchells in 190'?  That's pretty shallow for them.  If you're looking for someone to fill that last spot, feel free to PM me.
  • jay825jay825 Posts: 516 Officer
    Great pics!
    A BAD DAY OF FISHING! IS BETTER THAN A DAY HOME WITH THE WIFE!!
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,077 Moderator
    Great write up and some beautiful fish, west of the grounds is on fire right now. Thanks for the report.
  • SeaSearcherSeaSearcher west FlPosts: 62 Greenhorn
    What kind of grouper is in the second to last pic?  The tail and anal fins look different.

    Nice work out there, awesome gag!
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 590 Officer
    What kind of grouper is in the second to last pic?  The tail and anal fins look different.

    Nice work out there, awesome gag!
    Those are Scamp; run smaller than most grouper, are less frequently caught and are far better eating than most other grouper.  They tend to prefer only a few types of hard bottom, and are pickier eaters than most other grouper, hence most folks don't catch them as often.
  • swordawetswordawet 337 miles WNW of GTCPosts: 637 Officer
    Nice post and pics Capt Ken.  That's a stud rusty belly!  The sea state  gods were smiling on you and your crew. 
    "Today's the Day" .... Mel Fisher
  • SeaSearcherSeaSearcher west FlPosts: 62 Greenhorn
    What kind of grouper is in the second to last pic?  The tail and anal fins look different.

    Nice work out there, awesome gag!
    Those are Scamp; run smaller than most grouper, are less frequently caught and are far better eating than most other grouper.  They tend to prefer only a few types of hard bottom, and are pickier eaters than most other grouper, hence most folks don't catch them as often.
    Thanks, was thinking it was but the tail had me wondering, it looks really forked, must have been curled when pic was taken.  I just caught 1 on Tuesday in 100ft, tad too short though. 
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,313 Captain
    The Scamp Grouper:




    Scamp Grouper.  Scamp Grouper can be found in the western Atlantic, from North Carolina to Key West, and in the Gulf of Mexico including the southern portion of the Caribbean Sea.  Scamps generally live 30 years and reach a length of 42 inches and weight of 30 pounds. Note the green eyes & the distinguishing tail. 
    The Scamp Grouper above were caught on the Florida Fisherman ll in  230 feet of water. 
    To many, including myself, few fish are as good on the dinner table as the Scamp Grouper. 
    Here is one of them...




    Razorfish:
    We too call them 'Razorfish!'   Actual name is indeed Squirrel Fish. Be careful, very careful... Those things can hurt you! 

    Kitty Mitchell Grouper: 
     Out where we fish the Kitty Mitchell Grouper tend to grow a 'little' large:


    This is enough to excite any angler:


    These fish were caught off Madeira Beach, Florida.  Can you identify them?





  • PicmanPicman Posts: 167 Deckhand
    Yes bob WE know a big **** boat can go deeper and stay longer....SMFH....
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,313 Captain
    edited July 12 #12
    "Yes bob WE know a big **** boat can go deeper and stay longer."
    WOW! 

    Hopefully "WE" will not remain...

     Want to thank "WE" for enlightening us! 

  • PicmanPicman Posts: 167 Deckhand
    I guess age don’t make some people wise, Just wise ****🥵😎
  • HOME DEPOT GEORGEHOME DEPOT GEORGE Posts: 510 Officer
    Thats a streamer bass/longtail bass
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,313 Captain
    edited July 11 #15
    Want to thank them for enlightening us!
    After all... Without 'WE' how would the rest of us know that..." a big **** boat can go deeper and stay longer "
    "I guess age don’t make some people wise, Just wise ****"   
    "don’t make"   SIC! 
     Don't "GUESS"... I  KNOW  that when you are both**** That's something to be really proud of!  

    "Thats a streamer bass/longtail bass
    100% correct!
    Know what these are?


  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Posts: 624 Officer
    Yellowedge grouper and barrelfish. 

    How do the barrelfish taste? Never heard anyone talk about it much.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,077 Moderator
    Barrelfish is outstanding table fare.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,313 Captain
    "Yellowedge grouper and barrelfish."   
    100% correct!  Great job... You know your fish.

    "Barrelfish is outstanding table fare." 
    Thanks!   Good to know; have never eaten one.

    Take a look at some pictures from the deep.  These fish were all harvested in 600+ feet of water off Madeira Beach:














    Once you pass the 600+ foot mark the fish are a lot different. 

    Have any deep-water pictures from central Florida waters?  Please share! 





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