THE FISHING TRIP: 36 Hour Fishing Trip from Fort Lauderdale to Key Largo and Back May 4th to May 5th 2013
Aboard the “Out Of Control IV” with Captain Ralph and Captain Dennis
The Spot : From Port Ever Glades to Key Largo Soldier Key
Weather : Partly Sunny then clear skies
Water: Calm with strong over 3 knot currents at first then cloudy with sand mix noticeable and 2 knot currents
Fish catches (from all in boat): cobia, amber jacks, mutton snapper, yellow tails, black groupers, gag groupers, and king fish
Biggest size Type : Amber jack
Techniques : Vertical Jigging, cut bait, and live bait
Jigs : 100-250 gram, Bullet type bucktail jigs, butterfly jigs, speed jigs, Pink, red/white, silver, and blue worked the most.
The luck still ok, but can get better
A new boat is in town out of Fort Lauderdale and it’s going to be doing long range trips to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. The out Of Control fleet just expanded with a 75 ft boat and a beam of 21 ft powered by two JohnDeer engines with over 500 hp each and can do 18 knot service speed and capabilities of over 22 knots. I am glad I was able to witness the power of these engines as later on you will read.
Prior to the day of fishing Nilson a friend of a few fishing years and I went on a bait hunting expedition for a couple of hours. We got 21 large size pinfish and kept them alive in a 15 gallon bucket with an aerator and a bit of aquarium ammonia neutralizer, a bottle of frozen water helped to cool down the water and keep the fish calm. One of them did not make the 1.5 hour journey to the docks, but that was expected.
On the day of fishing, we made it to the boat a couple of hours prior departure to find out that the crew already had a bait well with a decent amount of bait (blue runners and spot grunts). We loaded our gear and around 4:20 or so we were well on the way. By sunrise we were in the Miami Port Everglades Channel marker area catching more bait. A chum bucket was deployed and we loaded with 40 or more pins, 30 or so spot grunts and some blue runners. The boat had tinker mackerels, squid, frozen ballyhoo, and about 20 or so bonitos caught the day before. We had all the bait we needed for the trip.
Saturday started with slow fishing around Fowey Rocks lighthouse, and can we say “slow” a few small fish here and there. We had all the live bait and other good baits but we couldn’t quiet get the bait where we needed it, on the bottom. The current was ripping in over 200 feet so we moved shallower. A few fish came up among them a nice gag caught by Robert another fishing friend of mines and I got a mutton snapper as the night fall came.
The flying fish were all over the boat but were running a bit deep as they got close by. I waited patiently until I saw one that bluntly committed suicide by flying into the boat through a small gap and hitting the live well. I ran like a running back going for a Hail Mary 3 seconds left on the 4th quarter. I got the sucker and saved it for later. Well, it didn’t work out so well for me as I got a big shark instead of the mutton or grouper I was looking for. Later on the boat crew brought out a net and I was able to get 4 more flying fish with it. Got wet like I was under the rain and it didn’t pay off since we could not find a spot with slower currents. A baby African pompano came up on a flyer by Nilson. The plan was to make it to Isla Morada but given the conditions with stronger winds than expected and strong currents needing 16 ounces to bring the weights to the bottom, the captain decided it was better to turn around and find better spots closer to Miami. A few fish did come up, some yellow tails, some groupers, and some jacks.
On Sunday morning we found some wrecks that were holding fish. I lost my attempt at a large amber jack when my line was tangled by someone’s braid line and when they where told not to pull they did the opposite so I lost the fish. You just got to love when that happens. On the way back we hit many wrecks and the captain cranked that engine to make a speed wreck fishing race to the finish line. By Haulover we found a wreck that was holding nice amounts of vermillion snappers (beeliners). That saved the trip for some. Once again the captain cranked the engines even faster and mover over the county line where the fun began. I started as I did on some of the stops with vertical fishing. I was fishing a long 300 gram jig when a 35” cobia hit it. I got it to the boat and off to the cooler it went. That was one of three cobias caught that day. Right after that a nice 31 pound AJ was caught by my friend Ricky another friend of a few fishing years caught it vertical jigging a long jig as well. We all got into the jigging loosing some massive hits to the wreck. I had my reel drag maxed but it just ran like butter as if it was greased so I lost that fish.
In the end the crew and the friends is what made the slow fishing conditions fun and interesting, while in the other hand we had that one guys whom is always complaining of not catching fish but sleeping most of the time while others are catching bait or fishing. I ended with an over 15 pound king fish, the mutton snapper that won the biggest snapper pool, the cobia, and some vermilion snappers. It could have been much much better, but the weather did not get our memo. There is always that next time if it isn’t, I will hear “you should have been here yesterday”. So I have to keep on fishing to be there that one day when all hell breaks loose and fish are eating everything you throw at them including the bottom of the boat.
Rob and his Gag Grouper
Ricky and his AJ
Nilson and his African Pompano (released back into the water)
The Catch from the 2 days, looks very small for 14 people but given the conditions it was great.
Until next time