Nearshore Mixed Bag

Headed out of Stump Pass with the whole family plus a cousin, which makes 7 in the 24 ft Cobia, this morning at about 10:00 (crew's not exactly early risers). We were immediately greeted by swells around 3-4 ft sometime spaced pretty tight combined with a breeze, and needless to say, the crew was feeling a little uneasy about the day ahead.
After braving a short ride out to 12 miles, we started trolling ballyhoo and an XRap around the reef to see if anything was hungry. This was the first time I had ever tried trolling myself.

First hard strike came on the ballyhoo but to no avail. Then, a bonito slammed the XRap and came up for some decent pictures. Funny enough, the front half of the ballyhoo had been completely bitten off but the predator somehow escaped. The ballyhoo would actually get hit hard two more times before I ran out of the pre-rigged ones I bought at the Englewood Bait House. A little while later, another hard strike on the XRap yielded a solid amberjack.

We decided to anchor up and send down some pinfish with cobia on our mind. A worldcat next to us brought up a really nice cobia, so I nearly wet myself when my little cousin's reel started screaming. A short fight brought him up to about ten feet under the boat when I caught a glimpse at what would have been our first cobia, but he got off. We also got another good strike on the pinfish, but whatever it was felt like a truck and hung tight to the bottom before we broke off. A couple more bonita went after my Yo Zuri crystal minnow, so we headed back towards shore with some shark and goliath bait.

The ride in was much drier and warmer, so it's fair to say morale was high enough to stop at the 6 miles out and fish a while longer. I slowed up as we approached the site, my brother-in-law tossed in the XRap, and over the reef we went. Just as I turned to tell him we were passing over the reef's center, a freight train slammed the XRap. After wrestling with it for about 15 min, he pulled up a stout barracuda. Last cool fish for the day would be a 22 in gag that took a pinfish on the bottom. This one surprised me because he was the only one we caught, he was nearly keeper-sized, and he bit the pinfish on the bottom. I had read everywhere that people trolled for gags like we did earlier.

The ride back home at about 4:00 was pretty wet, so much so that we headed due east and came back in at Gasparilla pass with following seas before turning north. The weather wasn't perfect, but having a successful day fishing with the whole family made up for it and then some.


  • RI RedRI Red Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    Were the bonita "showing", I mean busting bait? Birds working over them? I'd love to chase them with my fly rod for a morning. Thanks
  • YGAYGA Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    We did not see the bonita on the surface when we pulled up or even after we got some action, but like I said they did come up and hit a Yo Zuri so that may be close enough for you. There were lots of birds around though. Good luck
  • hidalgohidalgo Posts: 7 Greenhorn

    I know this post is a bit older, but I glad I stumbled on it. I spend time over in Rotunda over spring break and have been looking for information on fishing near shore out of Stump pass. Thanks for sharing.

  • PRassaPRassa Posts: 33 Greenhorn

    Have you ever been down to the southern part of the Gulf when the Bonita run?

  • SloughSlough S.w. Ga./ St. JamesPosts: 4,364 Captain

    Good Dill

    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you
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