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No good fish in this pond?

So I bought this big offshore boat and worked my tail off making it worthy of heading out. Been out 3 times to the artificial reefs and I'm not catching anything decent. Are there no fish in this pond ? I always head out of Ponce. Saturday I took a buddy (who also never really been offshore) and we hit the jetty at around 7:30am. Hit reef #5 first and we caught a couple medium red snappers and a few pins and a couple other junkers. Ran from there to reef #3 but really couldn't find any structure. So we headed to reef #2. Found structure there and saw "the critter fleet" charter fairly near us so we knew there had to be something. They kept moving so maybe no one was getting any bites. We caught a couple of little bass and some shark, but nothing good. Ran back near reef #3 where my old garmin said was a wreck. Never found it so we fished where it said it should be, but caught just junk. Went back to reef #5 on the way home, but didn't catch much there either. Hit the jetty for one last try before going home. Caught a dozen little mangrove, but nothing good. We used live grunts, pin, and the blue runners . Frozen squid and frozen sardines. Tried some frozen shrimp I had too. I did see a school of jacks and a couple schools of spades, but all I really saw much of was **** cuda. Unusually just fish a knocker rig at or near bottom.
Grady White 230 Gulstream twin 150 Johnsons. Me and my daughter fishing buddy's! Hoping to learn together!

Replies

  • bay20bay20 Posts: 1,490 Officer
    Patience is the key, the public structure gets hammered. I don't fish out of Ponce but i do out of Port Canaveral struggled just like you the first couple of years. My advice is learn how to live bait fish and troll these spots and watch your bottom machine, a lot of times when they put down this man made structure they tend to put some junk off to the side of it as there little secret. Also spend more time working the natural live bottom stuff away from the crowds.
  • beachsideandybeachsideandy Posts: 925 Officer
    Bay nailed it... time in, time in, time in.
    Funny cause my co workers who don't fish think you just go out there, drop the lines, and fill the boat with fish; LOL
  • buguybuguy Posts: 107 Officer
    Yeah that's my plan. I need a new tactic for sure. I ran through about $250 in fuel looking around. This is more expensive than I expected.
    Grady White 230 Gulstream twin 150 Johnsons. Me and my daughter fishing buddy's! Hoping to learn together!
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 13,290 AG
    Fishing is like golfing/bowling/most sports. you have to do it regularly to be any good and you have to put in a lot of time learning it. I've had a boat for a little over a year and i know enough to know I don't know anything lol.
    Like is like a Helicopter.  I do not know how to operate a Helicopter  
  • beachsideandybeachsideandy Posts: 925 Officer
    I would troll a mix of baits in the general bottom areas and mark structure and good looking bottom when you run over it. You can always start with a hot spots map that shows natural structure spots in 12, 21, and 27 fathoms then just branch away from the known marks. Heck, put out two ballyhoo/islander combos (blue/white, black/red), and two stretch 25 plugs (purple and sardine) and troll the areas at 5-7 mph. You have a shot at sails, dolphin, blackfin, kings, etc.. while finding new bottom. That's what we do when we troll here out of Sebastian. A few weeks ago we got a 28lb king in 90ft. trolling a yozuri bonita 18mph looking for hoo's... you never know!

    Although, some days are just off. We were out on Saturday but there was no current, no wind, dead still, and super visibility... Not great trolling conditions. However we switched over to looking for deep cobes and threw some snapper in the box to take home. They are definitely not all epic days.
  • gatorhookgatorhook Posts: 657 Officer
    Get some friends that are willing to fish with you and share the cost. Most won't give you numbers, but they will teach you hands on experience. You must have a thirsty rig or trolled all day if you burned $250. If you plan to fish solo in the future you may want to find a more efficient set up with a single engine. Fish are always moving, once you have some good structure numbers you just gotta keep hopping around to fill the box. And when the sharks show up it's time to move. Bad day fishing always beats a good days work.
  • BigwaveDaveBigwaveDave Posts: 319 Officer
    Don't give up, those P.A. reefs have fish on them. Up to you to unlock the secrets..:driver:
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,931 AG
    Fishing is like golfing/bowling/most sports. you have to do it regularly to be any good and you have to put in a lot of time learning it.

    This....

    There are ways to cut the learning curve. Once you settle on what you actually want to become good at ( Bottom ...Troll ) ...Charter the best local guys a few times. You will learn something (or should) with each one....The expense is the price of "tuition"...
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 13,290 AG
    duckmanJR wrote: »
    This....

    There are ways to cut the learning curve. Once you settle on what you actually want to become good at ( Bottom ...Troll ) ...Charter the best local guys a few times. You will learn something (or should) with each one....The expense is the price of "tuition"...

    we fished Key Largo last year and we caught some but really didn't know what we were doing. I know a lot more than i did now and going back for some redemption lol. The cool thing about an area is once you get comfortable and start catching what you're targeting it's a lot more fun going out knowing you will catch fish.

    I go to Tampa Bay and fish the channel as much as i can and we love it there because we know we can go to spot A and catch fish, then go to spot B and catch other fish. I was lucky someone shared a spot in the Keys with me and I expect to really have fun in 11 days.
    Like is like a Helicopter.  I do not know how to operate a Helicopter  
  • buguybuguy Posts: 107 Officer
    Thanks guys. I have a 10,000 pound Grady White with 2 old carbed 2 stroke 150 Johnsons. They are simply thirsty. I think my best and/or most economical way would be to run to a spot, and then try to set it up to drift it. Move.....drift. But obviously im just guessing. Id like to keep those pigs off as much as possible. Ive tried trolling a couple times but no luck. Usually I will throw out a couple sardines as I go wherever im going. I really only do bottom fishing because so far thats the only spot I seem to catch anything at. Even just a few feet off bottom and that pole sits still the whole time. Ive been putting 4 poles in with live bait as much as possible. One on bottom, one a few feet up, and another 10'-15' up.....etc....with the 4-5 poles I bring.
    Grady White 230 Gulstream twin 150 Johnsons. Me and my daughter fishing buddy's! Hoping to learn together!
  • dtmdtm Posts: 327 Deckhand
    Hmmm you say old Garmin maybe a new fishfinder might be helpful:shrug
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,931 AG
    dtm wrote: »
    Hmmm you say old Garmin maybe a new fishfinder might be helpful:shrug

    Technology will do nothing...

    without basics...
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • beachsideandybeachsideandy Posts: 925 Officer
    Exactly.. people used old paper plotting machines back in the day with great success... if they knew how to read the printout.
  • shamrock1188shamrock1188 Posts: 272 Deckhand
    buguy wrote: »
    Yeah that's my plan. I need a new tactic for sure. I ran through about $250 in fuel looking around. This is more expensive than I expected.

    If you want to figure how expensive offshore fishing is? Take you total expenses and divide by total pounds of fish. You will find it a lot cheap to buy the fish at the local market. I don't think anybody offshore fish to save money but they do spend quality time with family and friends.
  • buguybuguy Posts: 107 Officer
    I've been eyeballing new combos for a while. This one must be near 10 years old. I don't know that it would help me fish, but it would be nice to have more confidence that I will make it home. Also I don't mind spending some money, but I just can't explain to the family why I need ri spend $300 a week to go fishing. I'm going to try a few things before I do something drastic. Planning on hitting an artificial reef Saturday and maybe looking around to see what I can find.
    Grady White 230 Gulstream twin 150 Johnsons. Me and my daughter fishing buddy's! Hoping to learn together!
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 20,931 AG
    In any sport...there are coaches.

    In our sport...they are called " Guides "

    Maybe, You should consider the investment in some coaching...It will save you THOUSANDS in the long run.

    Maybe, trailer your boat down south and go with a guy like E-money...who will go on YOUR boat..and you can learn productive techniques.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • buguybuguy Posts: 107 Officer
    Maybe your right. But tomorrow I'm heading out again. I'm going to hit a couple artificial reefs then cruise to the party grounds and see what I can find. Never been that far out yet so it should be fun to see what's out there
    Grady White 230 Gulstream twin 150 Johnsons. Me and my daughter fishing buddy's! Hoping to learn together!
  • CountryBumpkinCountryBumpkin Fla. Piney WoodsPosts: 1,779 Captain
    I think you could benefit greatly from getting this

    https://store.intermediaoutdoors.com/products.php?product=Sportsman%27s-Best%3A-Snapper-%26-Grouper-Book-%26-DVD-Combo

    Watch the dvd at least 3 times and read the book as you have time. If you are starting out and don't have a friend that knows what they are doing to teach you.............this would definitely speed up your learning curve on reef fishing.

    Lots of good info presented by several different Captains from around the state.

    And believe me the reef fishing game is one where you can learn more in 4 or 5 trips with someone willing to tell you what they are doing all day and why..........than you will figure out on your own with no help in 2 or 3 years (going few times a month).

    Might be hard to believe that, but that is the way it is.
  • hodgie2411hodgie2411 Posts: 244 Deckhand
    If it has not already been mentioned you should get a Halifax Sportfish offshore chart. They are very informative..
  • screamin seamanscreamin seaman Posts: 1,492 Officer
    I have found some great spots from just watching the bottom machine as I'm trolling. Trolling in our area hasn't been very productive for most people recently, but drifting live bait and vertical jigging have produced plenty of action for us this past month!
    Mark the spots while trolling and keep notes on what you saw on the bottom, and go back to them after you pull lines in or another day. I have marked plenty of big ledges that I haven't caught fish on yet, but have marked other spots, that look the same, and have been awesome to us!!

    I mostly fish out of Sebastian so I can't help you on spots out of your port.
    Signature
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 443 Deckhand
    I saw you at the ramp last Saturday. If you were going fishing 9 am is to late. As others have mentioned get a Halifax sportfishing club top spot map and plug those into your gps. I have had some great days at port authority wrecks. SOmetimes you need to hop around and find which one they are on. Bait on surface typically means fish below..

    I try to clear inlet at latest when it is just cracking light on late summer days.
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

  • buguybuguy Posts: 107 Officer
    Thanks for all the tips guys. My will be and daughter went out with me last time. The wife said she gets sea sick (been on a couple cruises before I met her) and would never ever ever ever go on the ocean with me. They wanted to go fishing Saturday so I told them I would take them to the jetty. My daughter caught a good size shark and another boat that was near us, otherwise no bites at all and I didn't see any bent rods on the other boats. So I told them I would take them for a ride. I started heading offshore and the wife was pretty scared. She powered through and I took them to reef 5 and we fished that area for a solid 6 hours. Long story short, the wife asked me to take yesterday off work to take her back out! So this will make going out more often a bit easier. Then again, I spent the whole time out baiting hooks and getting Ruby lips, porgies, and sharks off their lines .
    Grady White 230 Gulstream twin 150 Johnsons. Me and my daughter fishing buddy's! Hoping to learn together!
  • buguybuguy Posts: 107 Officer
    hunterjw wrote: »
    I saw you at the ramp last Saturday. If you were going fishing 9 am is to late. As others have mentioned get a Halifax sportfishing club top spot map and plug those into your gps. I have had some great days at port authority wrecks. SOmetimes you need to hop around and find which one they are on. Bait on surface typically means fish below..

    I try to clear inlet at latest when it is just cracking light on late summer days.

    Yeah I took the family so that slowed me down. Usually Im at the ramp no later than 7, most of the time it's about 6:15-6:30.
    Grady White 230 Gulstream twin 150 Johnsons. Me and my daughter fishing buddy's! Hoping to learn together!
  • Raging RioRaging Rio Posts: 62 Deckhand
    try one of the other spots other than site 5. site 5 gets hammered day in and day out. i dont even stop there for bait
  • buguybuguy Posts: 107 Officer
    Oh I have. But this was the wife and daughters first time out and didn't want to go too far with them. I've only been out 4 times myself. I have tried 5, 2, 3, and the wreck (which I don't think I even found) near 3. I'm hoping to get out to the party grounds and around that area this weekend. I have 17 year old 2 strokes that are new to me so I'm easing out further every time.
    Grady White 230 Gulstream twin 150 Johnsons. Me and my daughter fishing buddy's! Hoping to learn together!
  • buguybuguy Posts: 107 Officer
    I have found some great spots from just watching the bottom machine as I'm trolling. Trolling in our area hasn't been very productive for most people recently, but drifting live bait and vertical jigging have produced plenty of action for us this past month!
    Mark the spots while trolling and keep notes on what you saw on the bottom, and go back to them after you pull lines in or another day. I have marked plenty of big ledges that I haven't caught fish on yet, but have marked other spots, that look the same, and have been awesome to us!!

    I mostly fish out of Sebastian so I can't help you on spots out of your port.

    I just bought my first vertical jig the other day. My wife doesn't like to just sit on bottom to fish, so we will see how much she like vertical jigging in 85 feet of water. I would give anything to see her face if she hooks a big Jack!
    Grady White 230 Gulstream twin 150 Johnsons. Me and my daughter fishing buddy's! Hoping to learn together!
  • Raging RioRaging Rio Posts: 62 Deckhand
    site 3 is solid, save for the now in force cold water upwelling
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