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CR offshore 04/23

wvinfl12wvinfl12 Senior MemberOcala, FLPosts: 248 Deckhand
Finally got offshore on Saturday, but might have been better if I would have waited a bit for the seas to calm because at 8 in the morning at about 25 foot, it started getting rough, and I mean ROUGH.....the current was tough but we muddled through and eased into our positions, some of those waves were a bit big, but I was not going to be deterred as the wife held on for dear life.......sky, water, sky, water. It was a rough, but we got there. Dropped anchor at about 35 foot and it was on. Dropped in the chum bag, some cut bait, and got the lines wet. We were busy all day bringing in them in steady. LOTS of groupers, some legal size, some not, but at least a dozen of them, so they are there and hungry. LOTS of mangroves, nice sized, LOTS of big grunts and several spanish macs, along with the typical amberjacks. Kept one of those to eat as I have never had one before, usually throw them back and honestly, it didn't taste that bad, but not a preference for sure. We thought about going out further but just wasn't feeling it after getting beat up on the way out that early........but we did just fine and brought in a cooler stuffed full of mangroves and grunts that fed everyone at night. I mean we had a crap load of them. No pics, sorry, but figured you guys all know what they look like :-). I hope everyone else had fun out there, it turned into a beautiful day after the seas laid down a little bit.

Replies

  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Senior Member Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,783 Captain
    Wow! An AJ in 35 ft is very unusual. How big was it and were there others around?

    I'm glad that you got into them. It looks like it's going to be another good year for nice sized mangroves.
  • capt louiecapt louie Moderator citrus countyPosts: 10,850 Moderator
    Snapper and grunts. I have no problem with that. I really need to find me a snapper spot.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • wvinfl12wvinfl12 Senior Member Ocala, FLPosts: 248 Deckhand
    He was right at the slot limit of 22 inches, lesser amberjack...............we were getting a lot of the blue runners, you know the ones that typically have that black spot behind the head, but this one was different and had the black line up coming up from the eye. Took me a while to make sure I was correct on the identification as it can be tricky sometimes............ we had gotten several of them but let them go and after a while decided to keep one to try out for eating. I was a bit surprised we got one too that shallow, but there were a lot of them there it seems on Saturday.

    Oh and I nearly forgot, the wife got 2 hogfish but both were 1/2 inch too short :-(
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Senior Member Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,783 Captain
    I've never seen a lesser amberjack that shallow but you never know. Are you sure that you didn't catch a rudderfish? They also have the line that goes all the way up to the head and are hard to distinguish from lesser amberjack. The difference is that the jaw extends back to the rear of the eye. They are not uncommon in 30 ft or so and will often hang around under your boat.

    Louie, look for the highest relief rocks that you can find in 30-40 ft. That's what's been holding the larger mangroves. Chum and feed them up with small pieces of cut threadfin. Sometimes they won't hit shrimp and only want the cut threadfin.
  • wvinfl12wvinfl12 Senior Member Ocala, FLPosts: 248 Deckhand
    Yep, for sure it was not a rudderfish, pretty sure it was a lesser amberjack...............I have read that they are found near shore and offshore, with them more common offshore, so it could have been a fluke and a couple wandered in, but for sure it was not a rudderfish. Thanks for replying Doc, hope to meet one day. I know it was busy out there this weekend, ramps were slammed. And yes, I was cutting and throwing in chunks of threadfin all day along with the chum bag and they were just tearing me up when I would drop down a shrimp or a piece of cut bait, surprised I did not get any sharks with all the chum I was throwing in, but the mangroves, grunts and groupers were all over the place.......just hope they are there when grouper season opens......seems some of them have wall calendars and know when the season opens.......lol.
  • m9000m9000 Senior Member Posts: 2,188 Captain
    How far were you anchored from the rock when targeting mangroves. I've wanted to add mangrove to my target fish for a while. Mighty tasty!
  • Rick1-2Rick1-2 Senior Member HorseshoePosts: 968 Officer
  • wvinfl12wvinfl12 Senior Member Ocala, FLPosts: 248 Deckhand
    Here is what I like to do. Since I do dive a lot, I have found that the mangroves like to stay close to the structure, but the grunts are braver and like to get out and about a little bit from the rocks and/or structure. So knowing that and how they act, based on me seeing how they act under the water, what I like to do is find the rock/structure you want to target, know the heading I will swing when the anchor grabs in and then approach that target on that heading, go past the structure on that heading and when I have passed by the amount of distance I will have out in rope/rode, I drop and then drift back until I am right on top and then tie off......it might require a couple passes, but in the end I have found that little extra effort of getting that anchor and heading right really pays off for me. Then if the drift is hard, I usually get a lot of grunts since the bait will drift past the rock/structure, or I use a heavier weight to get it to go straight down. Easy Peasy. Good Luck
  • capt louiecapt louie Moderator citrus countyPosts: 10,850 Moderator

    Louie, look for the highest relief rocks that you can find in 30-40 ft. That's what's been holding the larger mangroves. Chum and feed them up with small pieces of cut threadfin. Sometimes they won't hit shrimp and only want the cut threadfin.

    My 18' boat should be fine out there :grin
    "You'll get your weather"
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Senior Member Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,783 Captain
    I fish them the same way. Mangroves are the only fish where I set up right over the rocks. And Butch is straightening 2 of my anchors right now as proof of that. :cool:

    They move away from the rocks at night if you really want to get a mess of them.

    Louie, there are plenty of high rocks just north of the Barge Canal channel that should be in range of your boat. It gets deeper a lot faster than down where I am.
  • wvinfl12wvinfl12 Senior Member Ocala, FLPosts: 248 Deckhand
    I agree with Doc, 18 foot should get you there. Heck I have seen some pretty small boats out there in about 30 feet sometimes and I am thinking OMG, what a ride that must have been when I have had some trips where I am thankful for 26 foot deep vee, but they get out there too, just take their time I guess, but it sure would make me a bit nervous being way out there on an 18 footer, but there are more than enough rock piles in close that hold LOTS of the decent sized Mangroves that you should be able to find easy enough.
  • Almost PerfectAlmost Perfect Senior Member Bouncing between Leesburg and HomosassaPosts: 602 Officer
    I was headed out one day and it was getting ROUGH (and I'm in a 30' boat). Got to 30'-35' and I had had enough so I anchored up on some rocks that I had fished before. A few minutes later I hear bang, bang, bang and here goes a 20' or so bay boat headed West taking a pounding. I guarantee he needed a dentist and a chiropractor the next day.

    Glad to see life returning to the live bottom areas. Weather permitting I may waste some gas and run out to the 70' areas and see who is home.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Contender 27 Cuddy
  • RedbonzRedbonz Senior Member OcalaPosts: 4,538 Captain
    Try smoking the AJ, makes some of the best fish dip......
    If it don't fit force it. If it breaks it needed replace anyways. :banghead
  • wvinfl12wvinfl12 Senior Member Ocala, FLPosts: 248 Deckhand
    OH I never thought of that.......... I bet it would be even better with the smoked mackerel that I use to make some fish dip with.....thank you for the suggestion.
  • xmuskyguidexmuskyguide Senior Member Beautiful HomosassaPosts: 1,981 Captain
    Great trip with a lot of fun fishing out there. :thumbsup
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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