THE FISHING TRIP: Florida Sportsman South Regional get together fishing trip
Aboard the “Outta Control IV” with Ralph Hawkins
The Spot : Fort Lauderdale to Islamorada Humps
Weather : Friday ESE up to 2 knots, Saturday SE up to 7 knots, Sunday SE up to 7 knot winds, rainy
Water: calm up to 1 foot seas Water color clear and strong currents at the beginning slowing down on Saturday afternoon.
Fish catches: Monster AJ, Monster Banded Rudder fish, Over 100 mangrove snappers
Biggest size Type : AJ upto 80 pounds
Techniques : Live bait and Vertical Jigging
Jigs : 80 to 300 gram, butterfly jigs, blue and pink jigs worked best.
This trip had been planed months ahead, I made all possible to be able to go on it. The plans started in the Floridasportsman forum by a member named Ryan (copout@castaways). many members have been in other outings but I had not. When I arrived I did not expect a bout full of joyful and great people. From the minute I got there it was all about comradery, helping one another load gear talk about the plans ahead and expectations on the trip. It all started to get together and then BAM! a bottle of Seagram’s and some Ginger soda hit the bait cutting table. OH BOY!!! Steve said and ain’t gonna touch that stuff, some one else said beer only for me. But it didn’t take long for everyone to become even friendlier. Yeap! the drinking did get started, the fishing stories were told, and then little by little some started talking on how they fish where we get bait what gear we use. As always the boat is spotless, the showers even have cold water and hot water, but you have to be careful on how hot you put it, it does get extremely hot.
We went to Bent bait and it seemed like it was drunker than many in the boat or was that the buzz? Well we were using plain sabikis but since there were no threadfin herrings or pilchards we tipped the sabikis with squid and off everyone went helping, some catching some de hooking some cutting bait and others, well drinking, what else? Not all fit in the back so why not let the other catch the bait. In the end everyone helped one way or the other. The bait caught was the good o’l mighty BooRunner (blue runners), a few pinfish, a few dozen spot tail grunts. We were set and off we went fishing.
A beautiful sunset over the Miami scene as we left the old Bent Marker
The first few stops did not yield much, a mutton snapper caught on pre frozen sardines caught by Ralph and winning the biggest snapper pool the as we moved and moved finaly there was a wreck closer to the keys where the AJ’s where hungry at night. Steve paid with the drinking and almost ran out of gas catching this AJ, the current helped the AJ fight stronger. Then as they stopped feeding the Captain moved to another spot, this time it was a sharkathon, all was shark after shark so he captain made a longer move, again , and again.
It was morning time and we arrived at Carysfort to try and get some yellow tails. The crew went on the mission of putting two 15 pound chum blocks (one blood and one tiny silversides), that rallied up some of the fish but the current was still going Bob Marley on us, it just kept JAMMING! i was able to get one yellow tail while another 2 muttons were landed. Then it was nothing at all. Carys Fort Reef Light is where we meet a very happy waving youngster, dad, and family moving next to the boat and drifting with their anchor all the way around to the propeller of their boat, wonder why it didn’t start and dad had to dive in the water for? Well they had their anchor rope wrapped around the bout and in between the propelers. Fellows be careful when renting a craft you do not know how to use, there are motorized crafts not bicycles. Well the Captain made a few more moves that were still pickings of small fish.
Night time came and what do I see? BANANAS? What? BANANAS? BANANAS IN A FISHING BOAT? YOU AIN’T GONNA CATCH NOTHING MAN!!! “No problem, I did not buy these bananas, the crew did” I think the trick is eat the banana while drinking water at the same time, the water sucks the bad mojo away. Then drink a beer an hour so you forget the banana bad luck thing.
Well, the very next morning while fishing for big AJ’s at the islamorada Humps he hooked up to a sailfish on a kingfish jig and let the sailfish go unharmed, so Karma got his back.
The first big, well I should say monster AJ came on board. it was Doc’s first ever big fish and he was happy to have caught it and was undisputed for the big fish pool. After this fish he was ready for another when most people would just sit down.
It was BBQ king Doug’s turn and this time he had an AJ on a small jig and was very happy for the battle and chose to continue as well. brave people I tell you most would just rest.
Then came my turn and Jeff’s turn to get into the AJ’s and were reward with some nice decent size fish.
Coming back from the Humps Captain Ralph decided to anchor by Alligator Reef light and catch bait plus what ever mangrove snappers we could catch. We loaded with mangrove snappers and bait and as we were doing so Jimmy caught another sailfish, DO NOT FREAK OUT!!! This was the second Sailfish of the trip. Jimmy thought it was a flying fish, looked at it closely and realized it was a sailfish after he took it out of the dip net. Took a quick pick and released it.
After the bait gathering and getting the boat’s limit on mangrove snappers it was off to the Isla Morada’s humps again. Where the battles began. We caught many fish on jigs but some were still trying to land a MONSTER AJ. Ernie took his turn with the kingfish jig and had a great battle with a big fish. We all thought it was a wahoo until the line came back up all frayed. Hmmm wahoo got very shark teeth, may be a shark but better think the boat was following a big wahoooooo. below is the Captain guiding the Co-Captain to following the fish.
My skipjack on a jig
Lots of rare size (for Florida waters) Banded rudder fish were caught. below is the one I caught on a vertical Jig.
Eddie is below showing off his AJ and in the background the rest of the fish caught by all 14 anglers.
For more pictures you can go to the main report written by Ryan, he is the one that set up this trip. We were all very thankful for him taking this long awaited task on his shoulders.