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Tampa Snook and Horseshoe AJ's

I've been pretty bad about making posts lately, even when the fishing has been good, so I'm going to play catch up a bit.

We had an anual conference in Tampa starting the weekend of the 12th, so we booked us a couple of inshore charters for snook and redfish. I booked the trip for six and picked up two boats. Capt. Danny Guarino and Capt. Jason Prieto. We launched at Ruskin at the Little Harbor Resort. The plan was for them to catch the bait and to pick us up afterwards at 9am. Capt. Danny called about 8:45 and said bait catching was tougher than expected and they would be running a bit late. We finally got on the water about 9:45 and the fun soon began. Although, they had to run all the way to the Skyway to catch the bait, we only ran about two miles to a nice mangrove shoreline to catch the fish. Of the two boats, the boat I was on did the best. I managed two keeper reds, at 21 and 25. Everyone on our boat caught and released snook from 15" to 30". We lost the biggest after a several minute fight when we tangled in the anchor rope. Great day on the water. Ended it around 1:45pm. Only pic I got from the day. Our capt. took a couple, but hadn't sent them to us yet. Bait for the day was 3-5" greenies.

Trying to get one last grouper trip in, we planned one for Saturday. My boss was slated to go and we were going to take his boat. He backed out at the last minute...and we took his boat anyway. :) He's got a nice 24' Triton with a 200hp Verado on the back. Awesome. We hit the water about 8am and set off to pick up some pins. We managed a few before giving up and heading on out to find some grouper. Hit the first spot in 42' and the seabass had taken over one of my favorite spots. We hunted everywhere around the area and finally gave up. Hit the second spot in 45' and the same thing.

Moved on out to the AJ hole and dropped the live baits down. First fish in the boat was a nice gag. Go figure! Picture and release.

Finally found the fish and anchored up. We burned up our live bait instantly and I broke out the jigs. I had about a dozen when I arrived and when I left, the only one in the boat was bent and the hook was straight! Not to mention, we were a little worse for the wear. This beating probably only lasted about an hour and a half, but when those fellows get ahold of you, it always feels like several. The first couple were babies...

Then they started getting bigger...

Then the big boy came along...

Left that spot tired and with three big ones in the cooler. Landed about ten and broke off a dozen. Hit spots out to 70' with no bites. Finally came back to one of my favorite 45' numbers and caught a few more of these...

Finally, at the end of the day, we managed one short red grouper and one nice one at about 25". Called it a day and headed in. Watched the sun set behind us while we were still about 15 miles offshore. Loaded the boat by the lights of the dock. Great day on the water.

Reel Time w/Florida Sportsman Guest Host
Sight Fishing AJ's, Say What


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