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