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Marquesas reef / target wrecks

So I've been inside the Marquesas a couple of times but would like to explore some of the area outside.

It would take a nearly perfect weather day to even attempt this because my wife gets seasick sitting in 2.5 foot seas. A couple years ago we tried a charter (Delph) to fish out there, but it was 3 ft chop and she started getting sick so we had to run in to calmer waters. We still caught fish inshore and learned stuff and made the best of it, but it was not the experience I was hoping for. So charters are out of the question for us unless someone wants to give me a 2 foot seas guarantee. (Ha ha...yeah right...didn't think so!) Last year in the whole month of April there were maybe 5-7 days where we could get outside the reef in our 24' bay boat without my wife getting sick. We caught a bunch of fish and had a great time on those days. But when it's nice there are other places we'll want to fish offshore also, so realistically I'm hoping for 1-3 days in April to explore out there.

Anyway I'd like to try the reef south of the Marquesas for yellowtails and muttons, and whatever else may be out there. I'm not asking for numbers but can anyone suggest good areas to start looking or is everything pretty much good out there? I was looking at maybe Coalbin Rock or Cosgrove Shoal area or maybe even patch reefs.

Also I'd like to try finding a couple of the target wrecks. I have accumulated about a dozen numbers from public sources, and I'm not looking for people to give me numbers but maybe at least a little general info. Like how many real wrecks are there in that quicksands area? I tried finding one or two within a mile or so of the Marquesas and struck out, and then my wife started getting seasick. So I'm hoping to avoid a wild goose chase. I'm aware that the Patricia and Arbutus exist and have a pretty good idea which of these numbers is probably the Patricia, but am not sure about the Arbutus - is that way out around Halfmoon Shoal?

Anyway, thanks for any info...PM me if you want.

Replies

  • circus actcircus act Posts: 230 Officer
    Just wondering, does your wife use any drugs to combat seasickness? I've had people who "always" get sick have great days through proper chemistry; be a shame to miss out on days if there was a solution within reach.

    The Cosgrove/Coalbin areas can be productive, just look for the usual things (fish/contour). There are several wrecks still fishable out that way, one of the easiest to spot still has a mast above water (unless it finally broke). There are a few smaller wrecks which you can see on clear water days while running west also. There's also a tower several miles past the Marquesas that can be good.

    The reef is more of a sure bet (imo) compared to public numbers which seem to typically be a conversion from a number that appeared to be wrong in the first place = goose chase.
  • NauticalWheelerNauticalWheeler Posts: 445 Deckhand
    Yeah she has tried everything for seasickness. The thing that helps her most is scopolamine. Unfortunately she has inner ear damage so there's only so much the drugs can do. It's too bad too because she's a very good fisher-person and she would love to be able to fish offshore. When I say she is good, I mean she used to compete in bass tournaments, and she runs the boat and hauls it down to the Keys by herself. My role is more of guide, navigator, and mate. I know more about species, locations, techniques, rigging/bait but once we start fishing she can pick up on patterns very quickly...like after a couple of fish she can figure out what they are doing that day or tide stage. So one of my goals when we're in the Keys is to get her to experience some of the offshore pelagics such as mahi or sailfish that she just can't get to in the mid Atlantic. (I've been able to go offshore on a friend's boat to fish for bluefin, mahi, and other stuff, but not in the Keys.)

    So that one with the mast sticking up is the Arbutus, I believe. Without asking for numbers...about how many miles is that from the west side of the Marquesas?
  • DrCatcherDrCatcher Posts: 24 Greenhorn
    Arbutus..

    Bearing 275 degrees 7.37 miles.. From the west side of Marquesas Keys.

    If you see another boat on it.. (I can only speak for myself and my guys) - we ask that you approach slowly from a good distance off Preferably from down current... You will know if its one of my boats. Hail us we are on 72 happy to help....Sometimes we are working permit or cobia and the guys that come blasting in like morons really mess things up for us and make us crabby... Always be friendly it will get you much further.. local knowledge is priceless out there and we know allot..
  • NauticalWheelerNauticalWheeler Posts: 445 Deckhand
    Thanks guys.

    Yeah, I don't like being the 2nd boat to arrive on a wreck... I don't like it even on larger deep wrecks close to KW, much less a shallow or remote one like that. I usually try to find something else nearby like natural structure if I see someone else there already...there are plenty of fish and lots of water out there. Also we're 90% catch and release and the only fish in danger of going into the cooler from out there is a cobia - which is kind of what I'd be hoping to find out there as that's one of the few fish that keeps eluding us.

    Capt. Steven, we've been out on your Dream Catcher boats 3 times I believe (although not with you personally) and had a good experience each time. You run a good and classy operation. Beyond that, you've been very helpful a couple of times when we had boat emergencies on our own and didn't know who else to call, and I really appreciate that.
  • Deep PenetrationDeep Penetration Posts: 64 Deckhand
    The target wrecks will almost certainly hold cobia this time of year. With live bait you have a fairly good shot at some muttons and mangos. The buzzard wreck has a huge mast that you cant miss.

    As for the reef, anywhere between Marquesas rock and tail end is a good place to start. Head east to west while zig-zaging between 60-120 looking for good bottom and solid marks of fish.
  • michael.barnettemichael.barnette Posts: 58 Deckhand
    The USCGC ARBUTUS should be pretty easy to find if the mast is still standing. The VALBANERA is really the only substantial exposed wreck on the shoals (Half Moon) as the stuff in the Quicksands is usually buried. The VALBANERA is just east of a day marker so you should be able to find it as well - it's in two general sections, though it sands and unsands annually. The Patricia Target Ship is the USS WEBER (DE/APD-675). Nice wreck. There is another target wreck just over a half-mile from the southwest side of the Marquesas - don't know the identity of that wreck. There is also a wreck called the Barley Wreck NE of the WEBER, and I also don't know the identity of that vessel.
    Cheers,
    Mike
  • NauticalWheelerNauticalWheeler Posts: 445 Deckhand
    The USCGC ARBUTUS should be pretty easy to find if the mast is still standing. The VALBANERA is really the only substantial exposed wreck on the shoals (Half Moon) as the stuff in the Quicksands is usually buried. The VALBANERA is just east of a day marker so you should be able to find it as well - it's in two general sections, though it sands and unsands annually. The Patricia Target Ship is the USS WEBER (DE/APD-675). Nice wreck. There is another target wreck just over a half-mile from the southwest side of the Marquesas - don't know the identity of that wreck. There is also a wreck called the Barley Wreck NE of the WEBER, and I also don't know the identity of that vessel.
    Cheers,
    Mike

    Mike,

    Thank you very much. By the way, a couple of weeks ago I bought a used copy of your book "Shipwrecks of the Sunshine State". In researching that, I ran across some posts on a spearfishing forum from a few years ago where you said you were planning on updating the book or perhaps publishing another book with updated info for the Keys (I forget the details). Is that still in the works, and if so can you give us an update on the status of that? Thanks.
  • michael.barnettemichael.barnette Posts: 58 Deckhand
    The game plan was to publish three volumes detailing all documented shipwrecks and artificial reefs (vessels). I completed Volume I for the Atlantic Coast a couple years ago. I have not really pursued the other volumes (Florida Keys and Gulf Coast) as it was hard to justify the amount of work and money based on interest in the first volume. I may reconsider as there may be potential partnerships in the future that could make it worthwhile...
    Cheers,
    Mike
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,214 AG
    Mike,

    Thank you very much. By the way, a couple of weeks ago I bought a used copy of your book "Shipwrecks of the Sunshine State".

    I have a copy of that excellent book as well! I was trying to find info in it on a wreck that I stumbled across near Boca Inlet a few years back.....
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    The wreck SW of the Marquesas, if it is in Hawk Channel and the same one that I am thinking of, is the tug that capsized and killed Mel Fisher's son and daughter-in-law (or daughter and son-in-law)....now more than 30 years ago. When I was guiding, that wreck never produced a thing and we believed that this was because it was sitting on patchy bottom and so there was never anything to draw the fish in any great numbers. The wrecks on the quicksands all sit in a veritable desert, so they become refuges for passing fish, as do the wrecks out in the Gulf. Believe it or not, but I remember catching a bonefish on that wreck (or close to it) one windy day. A pinfish half its size would have fought better.

    Maybe things have changed and I would certainly be interested to know if they have, if someone wants to PM me. I can easily imagine that if one were lucky, they might run across permit and/or cobia on a given day, but at least back then, the fish never stayed long. Betcha there's a few jewfish there by now!
    .......Rick
  • NauticalWheelerNauticalWheeler Posts: 445 Deckhand
    In Google Earth I see two possible features that could be the wreck that Mike was talking about, west of the SW corner of the Marquesas by just over .5 miles. Or maybe neither of the things I'm looking at is the wreck - sometimes it's hard to tell. But I have found a few shallow-water wrecks closer to Key West using Google Earth. Too bad the detailed imagery stops about 1.5 miles west of the Marquesas.
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