Team Cobia Middle Grounds 7/7/17

Hello wall,

We now have three trips to the Middle Grounds under the belt and we understand by reading his sonar why the area is such an awesome fishing place and why fishermen are willing to pay the fuel bills to get out here. My good UT buddy Blace and his son Max wanted a third trip before heading back to NC and Friday the 7th, with ARS being open was the perfect opportunity. However, this trip was a mere 36 hours before the full moon and we know what happens on a full moon. No, not some werewolf bull****, but the fish chew at night three days before and after the full and new moons and they are not so active in the day because they are chewing at night. Regardless, we headed out with 4 packs of sardines and a mere two dozen pins. On this day, I really missed my cousin Lief's pinfish traps, but I thought it was a better use of time to get out there than delaying our arrival by and hour or so to catch more pins. Just like the 30th, 1, and 3rd, we marched out to my favorite table top spot to catch ARS. As on all other occasions, we got our limit, however, we had to work just bit longer at it and the Snapper where not taking to the the jigs. Most of the ARS we caught was on the bottom and the challenge was to get a sardines thru the trigger swarms. Bob got the biggest trigger of the day, which we had to throw back. However, I did get a 22 inch red snapper on a flat lined pinfish meant for a passing King or Tuna. Jeff hooked an brought to the surface the biggest Cobia I have ever seen. When the Cobia saw the boat, it surged and Jeff's locked down drag gave nothing and snap went the connection. This cobia was big enough to place a saddle on. It was at least 4+ feet in length if not more. Then to rub it in, the fish swam around the boat for the next half hour with a hook and 6 oz lead hanging around its mouth taunting us. The fish was big, but did not take the offerings we threw at him. So, we did what all reasonable fishermen do in such circumstances....tease Jeff. We limited out on the ARS and got one mango and then left the table top for the center part of the famous Middle Grounds.

By viewing, I knew that we were going to enjoy an incredible strong outgoing tide pull between 1230-1430hrs. And that was the case. We had a very decent bite during the tide pull and brought in a few nice groupers, some ponies, Blace got a rare raspberry grouper but we only got 5 mangos. What was noticeable, was the lack of a mango bite. To compare our 33 mango snapper haul on 3rd with a slower tide to a mere 5 mangoes on the 7th near the full moon says enough. However, the lunar correlation did not translate to less of a grouper or ARS bite interestingly. Anecdotal as it is, it supports the full moon mango theory. The moon face did not slow down the nurse shark action though. Both Max and Jeff had there turns ( a first for Max).

On the way in, I decide to divert to a really tough neighborhood called the RJ Thompson. This place is good....full of trouble. It is stacked with goliaths, cudas, sharks and probably trolls and other bullies. Why did I go here? Just because? Just because I had Max on the boat and he wanted to test his metal on Goliath groupers. I anchored up on the wreck and we dropped down a bonito head tied to a 16/0 hook with a 300lb mono leader to 100lb main line held by a Penn 9/0. This gear was simply not up to the task. Three times in a row, mad Max got pulled into the wreck to only bring up a shredded main line. However, we drifted off the wreck and the fourth time was a charm. Max dropped down a live grunt and got his hook up. Lo and behold, a small goliath. Victory to Max Nalavany and also honors for fisherman of the day.

On a final note, since it takes such a long hike to get to the grounds and back, making a 18 to 20-hour operation, I was researching on ways to get there faster. The video clip below caught my eye as a potential solution.



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