Don't be stubborn

After the last two bumpy weather trips it was nice to have a forecast as pretty as this Mid-week trip promised to be. The Weather Man got it right and boy was it nice. There is still a little chill in the night air but I’m not complaining because I know summer will hit any day now. Sad to report the red tide seems to have decimated the Bay and Inter-coastal Pin Fish. I didn’t have time to go to the Skyway so I was hoping to hit some hot spots I know but I was lucky to catch a couple dozen. Talking with some locals they reported seeing mostly dead Pins when the tide hit. Hopefully they will come back soon.

With great weather and a light load we headed out to that area known as the “Elbow” Fishing this area always makes me anxious. There is an excitement knowing this is where the “Monsters” live but also knowing when it’s slow its real slow. Fortunately the fishing (and catching) was pretty good. Started out trolling and hoping for some King Fish action as they have been moving into the area but the action was slow with no Kings and couple of Bonita. As the water warms up I figure so will the action. (Tip: Optimism is one of the greatest traits/tools a fishermen can have.)

We started out in 170’ around midnight and decent size Mangos hit pretty fast. Catching Mangos on a consistent basis can be can be a bit tricky which is why they are my favorite. This night was no exception as they were biting steady but lightly. The mates often post a count sheet for their own use to keep tabs of who has or is reaching their limit. Looking at it I could tell the experienced anglers were catching much more than the names I didn’t recognize. (Tip: Don’t be stubborn, watch what others who are having success are doing and try an emulate them. I’ve been doing this for years and you better believe I’m always looking to improve.) (Side note: I fished the bow most of this trip and had no problem limiting out on big “Goozers”)

On the way out I met a wonderful lady (Mary) who told me her and her husband often went out on the day trips but this was their first “Over Nighter” She was excited to try and catch some of the fish she’d seen pictured. I had occasion to walk back to where she was fishing and asked how it was going and she said she hadn’t caught a thing. I offered to help and started by checking her gear. Immediately I saw her set up was never going to work especially in the depth we were fishing. (Tip: any time you are going on trip you’ve never been on check out the boat’s web site as most have a section that tells you what kind of tackle to use for the trip you’re taking. If they don’t call and ask.) Mary’s main problem was the light spinner she was using simply didn’t have the line capacity to stay on the bottom. I got her squared away and then walked her through the basics of Goozer fishing on her second drop she caught one in the 5 lb. range. I really get a kick out of helping people. Back when I first started only a few “Old Timers” would grudgingly give up their secrets. If I can be of help either through this forum or you see me “Out There” I’ll gladly do it.

Throughout the night the bite was steady and most were good size. Nice Porgies and Vermillion along with some nice Gags and ARS thrown back. Just before Sun rise we hit a spot where I got broke off three times in a row. Couldn’t tell the size of the fish as it happened so fast. I also caught two nice Mangos and my line came up frayed every time. (Tip) Never put down frayed line or knots. Take the time to re-rig as you never know when a nice fish will hit and the feeling of losing a nice fish due to personal laziness will haunt your dreams.) I rigged up again and fired a threadfin down. After being down a couple minutes with no bites I lifted my rod tip and thought I’d hung bottom tightening down on the reel all of a sudden that bottom started moving. Twenty minutes later and half way round the boat I surface a Goliath Grouper That had to be at least 350 LBS. First mate Will did an excellent job venting the Beast and maybe we will meet again when he’s 500 LBS. Caught him on 60-60 on medium action rod. What a thrill, thank God for strong knots.

After trying several more spots Capt. Garrick announced we were heading to some deep wrecks in the hopes of hooking up some Monster AJ’s. I was excited for the 2 plus hour run as this would be a chance to troll for Wahoo and Tuna. Knowing how productive this area usually is I was surprised no one get even a strike. Not sure why as conditions seemed ideal. That’s fishing. We arrived at the first wreck ready for action. I promptly through down the biggest bait I had and was instantly hit by the “Tax Man”. Cudda’s were relentless. It was almost impossible to get a live bait past these guys. Determined I switched to jigging. On jigs quite a few nice Bar Jacks came up but only undersized AJs. The surprise catch was beautiful Kitty Mitchel Grouper around 15 LBS. Unfortunately the Angler was not in the Jackpot. In fact the three biggest fish were not in the Pot. (You know how I feel about this)

We hit two more wrecks and the overall result was poor although on the last wreck the toothy critters gave us a break and some nice AJ’s were landed with the biggest around 60 LBS. AJ fishing has been slow but it should pick up as summer approaches. The rest of the day was ok with the fish caught all being nice ones. The first mate caught the biggest Goozer I’ve seen in a while coming in at an impressive 10.2 LBS. a 20 LB. plus Gag had to be hand lined as it broke this fellows rod. We also caught some nice 1-2 LB. Vermillion Snapper that kept the crew hopping.

We ended the trip on some peaks that have produced Cuberra Snapper. I think one was hooked but the drag was too tight and the line snapped. There were signs they were there is well judging by some of the chewed up Porgies. One of the more interesting catches was a Jack Cravelle which is something usually not seen that far out. All in all a memorable trip, quick turnaround as I’m going on the “Full Moon 44hr” that leaves 10:00 AM. Friday.

See you out there!


  • TennesseeDaveTennesseeDave Posts: 308 Deckhand
    Thanks for the great write-ups John. I feel like I was there in person. I don't get to get out there like I used to. What lures are you guys using these days for trolling for kings and wahoo? Spoons? I had heard people were using some deep diving plugs for the wahoos. Any help/hints would be appreciated! I am also a subscriber of doing whatever the person who is catching fish does! We are never too old to learn! It is just some of us are too stubborn! Hope to be out there some time soon.
  • JohnABJohnAB APOPKAPosts: 203 Deckhand
    Great report John and spot on ..especially about the light bite..I ended up watching the rod tip like I used to while ice fishing for bluegills. Even caught a scamp doing that without feeling a bite! I too had three or four break offs plus one I brought in with the leader almost cut thru about 10" from the hook. That stopped once I changed to a heavier leader but that might be just coincidence. I did catch 1 AJ..2" too short. First one I've ever caught..just 1 big "thunk" and it swallowed a bee liner. Other than that though, for me personally, the daytime was a bit less than o.k....I prefer a bit more action. I wish I had signed up for the 44 hr full moon!
  • nightflynightfly Posts: 503 Officer
    Nothing better than winning the jackpot with a smaller fish because somebody didn't get in the pool. :dance:dance
  • john martinjohn martin Posts: 143 Deckhand
    I hear ya!
  • john martinjohn martin Posts: 143 Deckhand
    Just got back from the 44. Report after I rest a bit. Hope to see you again soon.
  • john martinjohn martin Posts: 143 Deckhand
    The Drone spoons are the most consistent on the way out and the diving plugs (stretch lures) seem to work best for the Wahoo once out in the deeper water. King action was pretty hot this weekend. I'll give a full report soon. Thanks for the feed back and hope to aee you out there!
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