Home Panhandle General Fishing & The Outdoors

Pananam City Offshore - 5/26/12... limit of red grouper and a colorful box

Well, the weather cooperated yesterday and it allowed me to fish the area that I wanted to fish last weekend.

We made one stop a few miles inshore of where I thought the red grouper would be thick. The purpose of this stop was to catch those 20+ inch beeliners and hopefully a trigger or two, and to do so quickly. We boated two beeliners over 20" and a few triggers and a pair of small red grouper, but it was not fast and furious. We messed around at two other spots within about half a mile of there, and fished another one that we ran across, but the action was not good enough to stick around. Felt like the gaint beeliners that had been holding right there for the past 3 or 4 years got head boat found, but who knows.

Went ahead and made a sizable move offshore to the area that I thought would be holding red grouper. We didn't mark a whole lot, but the trigger rigs produced quickly, and the machine came to life so we decided to get situated on that spot and soak some baits. Probably 45 minutes later we'd boated 14 addtional red gropuper, a pair of kings, probably ten schoolie+ sized dolphin (for in close of NW Florida), 4 or 5 more triggers and a beeliner or two.

The red grouper bite was insane. They were jumping on whatever hit the bottom.

Here's me holding one that I'd just boated, while my wife is fighting another. If you look closely you can see her rod doubled over. She did pretty well at this spot and ended up with four of our keepers there... three of which came on the same mashed up grunt.


We had very little problems with gags or snapper. Of course we were targeting red grouper, but you never know what you're going to deal with so we did get kind of lucky in terms of absence of gags and snapper. We did boat one 15# gag. Pictured here....


Three or four snapper (our biggest of which we fed to flipper.... so stupid!) up to 10#, a small black grouper and then I lost what was probably the biggest grouper I've ever gotten off the bottom. Hd him coming and then... PLINK! As soon as I lost it I hollered out, "My ******* hook straightened out!" I was not sure just how I knew that, but that was my suspicision.

Sure enough.... I'm sure it was a gag, but he was a stud! Would have at least liked a picture. I'm guessing a 40+ pound fish. I'm guessing he was hooked right in the top of the mouth, or somewhere where just the tip was digging in and the hook never came through the mouth. Oh well. He would have just been released anyway.


So... we grouper fished, triggerfished and kept the flat lines out best we could. Everytime we brought in a fish, the dolphin would show up (I guess they were holding deep). We'd boat that grouper and then try to pull at least one dolphin off the school and we were usually successful. Was nice to have them for a little color in the box.

The grouper we were catching were all quality fish. None were huge, but all decent. Here is probably the third or forth biggest that my buddy put over the rail.


We also had two HUGE kings circle the boat a few times. I tossed a live hardtail on a single hook with wire too them and they'd chase it, but woudln't commit to it. The sun was straight above, water was almost blue and it was slick. I guess they just new sometnig was up. They were monsters, though. Probably over 50# because they were so wide and moving so slowy down deep that I thougth there were cobia when I tossed the hardtail up. They blitzed to the surface right there at the boat and chased the hardtail but wouldn't eat. I don't really care about kings, but when they're that big you can't help but get excited. The hardtail kept seeking the shelter of the boat, so I tied a balloon about 15' up line, hooked the hardtail in the butt and flipped it out there. That kept him away form the boat, and we got one big boil on the balloon, but nobody took the hook.

Anyway, after maybe an hour and half at that spot we four red grouper short of our 5 man limit. Figuring that we'd be able to pick them up on the way home, we decided to add some jack(s) to the mix.

On our way to the jack spot we ran across a little show and put two more red grouper in the box. Now we have time to burn and we're only two away from 20.

So, we pulled up to a spot that has traditionally held them the machine marked well. Looking back, we should have anchored. Instead we tried to hold up. We fired down hardtails on long long leaders and cranked them off the bottom. Soak. Soak. Soak. Soak. Looked like one of those days nobody was going to chew. Finally got off the spot. Put the boat in gear and when we did, one of the baits got hammered.

Bait was on a 30 year old solid glass rod that I like for small to medium sized grouper. It's a noodle with no real lifting power. That and a 4/0 equated to a 15 minute fight, but we eventually boated this guy. I'm guessing he's right at 50#. Will know more about that shortly as we're about to meet to clean fish. Hit the dock yesteray at 5:30 and we were all pretty beat.

I've also got a good video of him coming over the rail, but I have not yet figured out how to edit it so that photobucket.com will accept it. It's currently too long. A nice fish, though.


Here is the video of the jack coming over the rail... Oh, and we put him on a scale on Sunday... he went 52.8 pounds. I was pretty sure he was right at 50, if not a touch over, and I was correct. The biggest red grouper wa almost 18 pounds.

There was a pretty good current out there and during the fight we drifted 2/10 of a mile off the spot. We got back on it and it marked, but not like before. We sent down pretty baits fished them for jacks. Almost all got crushed, but they wouldn't inhale it. Pretty sure that jacks were well fed and they were just sport-crushing our hard tails. We tried every trick in the book, including various jigs and some flatlines. They just didnt' really want to chew, and we scattered them pretty good I'm sure with that big fish.

Hence my previous statement... we probably shoudl have anchored.

Anyway, we boated the jack and then spent a precious hour tyring to get another. Finally hung it up and said let's go to the house, but if we run across something let's try for our last two groupers.

Well, we put the high speeeder out (zero luck on it yesterday) and started headihng that way. About two miles later I realized that we were about to run right over a spot we've fished before. Sent two lines down in in short order had three keeper red grouper in the boat. Kept the bigger two. Boxed them and then started scrubbing the cockpit.

We're done!


Headed home and there's a hot plate of mexican food and margarita with my name ALL over it back on the hill.


Back at the dock with a couple of the nicer red grouper. I'm going to weigh some of the bigger fish this morning. I'm guessing the biggest grouper was probably around the 16# mark. But we'll see. No real monsters, but nice quality fish for sure.


Taking everything out of the big box for a picture. I also like to re-ice and layer them at the end of the day if we're going to clean the next day. This 1. Allows us to get a picture which we sometimes skip, and 2. Means that I can layer them by species so we're pulling the same kind of fish out at once and putting filets in same bags.

Anway, here we have most of the red grouper and no ice in a box.


Still had a few more. Just not going to close!


All on the dock. Not a bad haul!


20 red grouper
9 triggers
1 big ol' jack
17 decent little dolphin
11 good sized beeliners
2 kings

And this plus a filthy boat is what I have waiting on me right now. Guess I better get on it!


Raw carnage below. Check out the size of that beeliner up front. I think he was right around the 22" mark. We had a couple that size, but not as many as I would have liked. Pretty sure my handfull of beeliner wrecks through that area have been stomped on pretty hard.


Weighed the biggest grouper and the jack.... red grouper wet 17.8 and the jack was 52.9.
"Whatcha doin' in my waters?"


  • Snapper SlapperSnapper Slapper Posts: 119 Deckhand
    Awesome report and awesome pics! Will be headed down june 3rd for 7 straight days of hardcore fishing. Thought I couldnt be more ready, until I saw your pics!!!!!!
  • atty551atty551 Posts: 106 Officer
    Hope u ha be room in ur freezer for all that fish. Nice job man.
    Our children should not have to ask what they are supposed to remember on Memorial Day
  • stingwraystingwray On the creek Ga, Beach house FL.Posts: 791 Officer
    All looks good to me.
  • KlingerKlinger Posts: 1,904 Captain
    Great day fishing!!

    No point going when the Snapper season opens, as the freezer is full:grin
    In my many years, I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame,two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.-- John Adams
  • BeckBeck Posts: 2,332 Captain
    Sweet! Y'all crushed them! Thanks for the report......

    Sent from my Jet Pack using Tapatalk 2
  • GarboGarbo Posts: 1,262 Officer

    Nice Box.

  • KayakMacGyverKayakMacGyver Posts: 1,009 Officer
    One hell of a trip. Very nice job. Glad to hear there were no engine troubles and you were able to concentrate on the fishing. Congrats on a fine box and that is one STUD of an AJ on stand up gear
    They Can't Us "You Should Have Been There Yesterday"...........Because We Were!
  • Split ShotSplit Shot Posts: 6,184 Admiral
    Holy crap!

    Who'd want a nasty snapper after all that?

    Sure looked slick compared to what it was blowing like in the bay all day.

  • FlagtailsFlagtails MiamiPosts: 577 Officer
    So how did the new rods do?

  • Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 8,209 Moderator
    Rods are great. We bottom fished with them on the 19th. It was rough so I couldn't fish the area I wanted to. We used them on that trip and ended up with 10 small red grouer, a dozen or so triggers, 15 smaller dolphin and a dozen or so beeliners.

    Rods did really well, but they weren't on the boat this past Saturday because the reels have been sent to California. Needless to say, I'm not happy that they won't be back in time for this weekend's trip.
    "Whatcha doin' in my waters?"
  • crcattypccrcattypc Posts: 632 Officer
    Nice job bro! Those fins are a bit better in size! Love the vid... and the audio!
  • crcattypccrcattypc Posts: 632 Officer
    Congrats on your colorful box... :)
  • FS BlairFS Blair Posts: 1,775 Admin
    Awesome trip. I made a trip from Stuart to visit my in-laws in St.Petersburg this weekend, we caught countless 19 inch red grouper with three keepers. Looks like you did a lot better. Nice job.
  • JW_Ivey01JW_Ivey01 Posts: 154 Officer
    Congrats, nice work and mess of fish.:thumbsup
  • Hutch316Hutch316 Posts: 110 Officer
    Awesome haul!!! Gotta be proud of that one!! I would
  • TOCA928TOCA928 Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    Wow... I doubt you can eat all that fish... Hope you spread the eats, otherwise that is just greedy.....
  • Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 8,209 Moderator
    Well, we had four parties on board. So, go ahead and take what you see there on the dock and divide it by four. Now, take into account that it was Memorial Day weekend. One of the guys on board was doing a cookout on Sunday for 15 people. On Sunday they ate all of his dolphin, amberjack and most of his grouper. He froze a couple meals of grouper.

    My wife and I gave fish to...

    1. My parents who live in town
    2. Her parents who live in town
    3. One of my neighbors

    The other two parties have immediate family that live in town adn they did the same thing.

    So far I have had three meals from the catch. My portion of the jack is gone. I froze maybe 10 pounds of grouper (which I don't like to do, but we'll be sure to eat it quickly so it still tastes somewhat like fresh fish). So in response to that "spread out the eats comment," no, I won't spread it out. I'll eat it as quickly as I can while it still tastes pretty good, and then I'll go catch more if the law will let me. Anyway, all that's left in my fridge now is some dolphin that I will fry tonight and then it's gone.

    Anyway, everybody I know hates freezing fish and we make a point of giving the bulk of it to people who we know appreciate fresh fish. Back in the day when I could go catch whatever species I wanted at any time of year, we'd stay close, catch a few fish for dinner and head home. Can't really do that now, can you? I can't and the 100 or so people I know that used to be able to can't either. Thank the Gulf Council and NMFS for that. This being the case, I have no problem making the most of the 3 to 4 actual trips I'm able to make each year thanks to busy schedules, regulations and weather.

    The 30 or 40 people that will enjoy a meal or two from this catch... would you prefer they go buy something form the fish market? Would you like to have the by-catch argument. In about 6 hours of fishing last weekend we released maybe 4 undersized red grouper unharmed, released three gags unharmed, released maybe 4 snapper unharmed, and lost ONE snapper to flipper. Other than that, everything we caught was legal and was immediately iced, properly taken care of and will be enjoyed by many.

    I don't call that greedy, but I guess some might and that's fine.
    "Whatcha doin' in my waters?"
  • crcattypccrcattypc Posts: 632 Officer
    Dont listen to the haters Blair...
  • TOCA928TOCA928 Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    well that's great... I couldn't imagine someone freezing a mess of fish like that. I'm not a hater "crcattypc".... Great job..
  • BeckBeck Posts: 2,332 Captain
    crcattypc wrote: »
    Dont listen to the haters Blair...


    I try and catch as much as I can catch, when I can catch it, within the confines of the law. While freezing fish is not my favorite, it's still better than what I can get here in Georgia in the market.

    Seasons are so short, and with the expense of boat, fuel, tackle, etc., I don't feel bad at all about bringing a big pile of fish home to clean and vacuum pack to eat on all year.

    Last year, I froze 30 or 40 pounds of Grouper, Snapper, Triggerfish, Mahi, etc. I pull some out of the freezer nearly every weekend to cook with friends. I fried some Grouper Friday night from last September......it was **** fine!

    That's a mess of fish to be proud of PH!

    Sent from my Jet Pack using Tapatalk 2
  • upinthewaterupinthewater Posts: 202 Officer
    Fine box of fish - forget what any and all nay-sayers say.
  • diverritediverrite Posts: 167 Deckhand
    Wow slick day and catuching fish, could have not been better unless someelse cleaned them.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] Diverrite aboard "Step Into Liquid"
  • SeafighterSeafighter Posts: 54 Greenhorn
    Wow! What a busy day! Can't say I have seen a Jack that big.
Sign In or Register to comment.