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Cedar Key offshore: King & grouper 4/18 15

On Saturday the wifer & daughter were planning on seeing the Jimmy Buffet concert in Tampa so after school on Friday Casey & I headed to Cedar Key with the thought of chasing kingfish and cobia on Saturday.

Saturday: With bumpier seas than I had hoped for we modified our plan by heading west to begin to troll for kings on hardbottom starting in 20+ feet (Kingfish Hole). After many passes over our old stone crab trapping rocks with nothing to show but 3 blue runners we headed out to 30 feet to see if we could find the kings (bluerunners went into the livewell). At 30 feet and trolling lures we couldn’t come up with any macs so we moved out to 40 feet. The weeds were getting troublesome too but the winds were decreasing along with the seas.

At 38 feet we tried a short bit of trolling with no action. Since the visibility was top to bottom in 38 feet we decided to switch gears and try for red grouper. Picking out a small patch reef we anchored but caught only small black sea bass. We put out a flat line with one of the blue runners out too but there was no interest. Knowing that when you catch black seabass you’re not gonna catch grouper we moved to a second patch reef 200 yards away.

Blue runner (king candy)

At this reef we immediately starting catching large white grunts so we knew grouper would be around. We put back out the flatline and caught grunts on trout rods for a bit for an upcoming fish fry. We put out a couple of bottom rods with cut bait too (white grunt) but no grouper action. While grunt catching I managed to bring up a 22 inch red grouper that gave a good give & take before it broke the surface. Twenty minutes later Casey managed our second red grouper on cut bait. A third red 30 minutes later was the largest (that went 10.9 lbs at the dock).

Casey with the second red

10.9 lbs at the dock (doesn’t look like it though…..)

For over an hour I kept telling Casey that it was crazy that a king hadn’t taken the bluerunner yet. As we continued to catch grunts we both heard a commotion and looked up to see a large fish out of the water landing next to the flatline with a huge splash. Casey got on that rod quickly and let the Bait Runner go. Giving it a couple of seconds Casey engaged the reel and it started smoking line. Realizing it was a pretty good sized king I pulled the anchor and over the next 10 minutes Casey brought the king to the boat a couple of times only to have it run off. With the mac exhausted we gaffed it and started some high fives!!

This was the largest king Casey has ever caught and the largest caught aboard Plan B.
At the dock it weighed 35.4 pounds

We then re-anchored on a different patch reef and 20 minutes later had another king on a flatline (bluerunner) but after two minutes the king bit through the stinger wire. With that we kept a few more grunts and headed in after a really great day on the water.

Offshore water temps was 76 ˚F with a fair bit of weed (turtle grass). With it being overcast and eventually the sun breaking free later in the day we only noticed top to bottom visibility in 38 feet (14 miles offshore).

Hoo Yah!!


  • Rick1-2Rick1-2 HorseshoePosts: 968 Officer
  • RedbonzRedbonz Posts: 4,538 Captain
    Way to keep after it Brian....
    If it don't fit force it. If it breaks it needed replace anyways. :banghead
  • JC_UF_ITKJC_UF_ITK Posts: 496 Deckhand
    Good job Brian! The weather Saturday was definitely not what they predicted.
  • bullbaybullbay Posts: 199 Deckhand
    Great work Brian - Can't believe how big your son is now.. Best to you and your family.
  • Fishin RodFishin Rod Posts: 2,620 Captain
    Nice report Brian. I enjoy reading your posts, thanks.
    "Be what you is"....... Isaiah Minter
  • Landlocked_Landlocked_ Posts: 590 Officer
    Looks good brother, we've yet to manage any grouper on our own
  • Red TideRed Tide Posts: 49 Deckhand
    Nice fish. It's been pretty cool watching your kids grow up on the forum. Not so little anymore.
  • GatoRellaGatoRella Posts: 521 Officer
    Great report Brian, nice to see some grouper moved back in.
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 10,505 Moderator
    That's a big king for around here. Nice fish.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • Ruff OneRuff One HomosassaPosts: 2,153 Captain
    First of all, I would have went to the Jimmy concert and gone fishing!! Small bluerunner have become one of my best cobia baits. Nice job. That is one nice smoker.
  • kingkong954kingkong954 Posts: 679 Officer

    Those reds! That is probably the best red grouper report I've seen all calendar year. Way to stick to the spots and produce! We tried at around 45' for ~2hrs last Sunday, and all we managed was one red short (1/2inch short, too!)... didn't have to measure those slobs!

    Wonder if slightly shallower was the golden ticket? Great report, Brian!
  • Big Bend BrianBig Bend Brian Posts: 1,443 Officer
    Thanks for all the nice comments!
    Last night I decided to try a Grouper Fish Head soup.



    Having never done one of these I was surprised at how much meat is in a grouper head.


    Was pretty good I thought but the wifer was not impressed. I'd do it again though.

  • CJMCJM Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    Thanks for such an awesome report... the grouper head deal has got me interested.

    Is the third photo of the plate full of meat what came off the grouper head? Is that an Asian dish of some sort? What's the recipe and how do you eat it/ do you just pick it off the head? I might try it. How does the head meat taste?
  • Big Bend BrianBig Bend Brian Posts: 1,443 Officer
    CJM wrote: »
    Is the third photo of the plate full of meat what came off the grouper head? Is that an Asian dish of some sort? What's the recipe and how do you eat it/ do you just pick it off the head? I might try it. How does the head meat taste?

    Yes that 3rd photo is all the meat from the head. The photo doesn’t really convey how much there was. I wouldn’t call it an Asian recipe as its common in the states although I’m sure there are some mean Asian recipes for fish head soup. The meat had a very nice flavor and tasted a bit sweeter but that’s probably on account of the method of stewing/seasoning and that the smaller pieces were more delicate on the palate as opposed to a forkful of dense/solid filet.

    I reviewed a number of fish head soup recipes and adapted them to what I like (I like simple).
    Below is how I did it:


    grouper head
    ~2 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 yellow onion - rings
    1/2 head of garlic - peeled and smashed
    2 stalks green onion
    ½ cup fresh cilantro
    ½ cup fresh parsley
    7 small round tomatoes quartered
    7 cups heated water

    Scrub & scale the head. Remove gills. In a large pot heat olive oil and sauté onions and garlic. Cook until tender. Add fish head and I added 7 cups of heated water (you don’t have to cover the whole head). Add ½ of your cilantro and parsley. Add green onion & tomatoe quarters. Lightly boil for 20 minutes. The head will start to come apart. I flipped the head over twice to help even cooking. Basically when the skin peels back on the side of the head facing up you can remove the head and start teasing away the meat. Then I strained the soup broth to remove solids.

    To the broth I added the teased meat along with remaining cilantro & parsley. Heating to keep warm before serving.

    **Note there are many things you can add to this recipe to tweak to your own taste.

    Bon appétit !!

  • CJMCJM Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    I like it. Once you get past the whole head ordeal, you're left with a bunch of meat. I'm definitely giving this a try on the next grouper. thank you for the recipe.
  • SloughSlough S.w. Ga./ St. JamesPosts: 5,553 Admiral
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you
  • Little_GeneLittle_Gene Posts: 371 Deckhand
    NICE FISH!!! :thumbsup
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