It was nice to finally be able to go out and fish. After a car accident last year I was sent to the side lines and had to stay away from hard activities. I did my therapy exercises and and worked very hard on strengthening my back, but still was only able to fish 2 times and it was not pleasant once I got home. This time it was different, I went to catch the bait and felt good, I went fishing and did not spend weeks in bed suffering pain. I am very glad to now know my back is at least 95% good. For this trip our plan was to catch fresh gogs for the trip, make fresh chum, and hope for good weather to make a long trip as far as the Marquesas and perhaps as far as Rebecca Shoal near the Dry Tortugas Florida just in time for the grouper bite. We accomplished all.
As we got to the docks in Key West we loaded the coolers and got rid of a few, we had to play Tetris to get them in the 22′ Sea Cat. 4 fishing rods each, 3 tackle bags, 2 food and drinks coolers, 2 bait and chum coolers, and 2 coolers filled with ice for the fish is what we packed.
Once the boat was loaded we left the docks around 8am and got to our destination around 11 am. It was nice to ride on 1 foot seas so we went passed the Marquesas to near Rebecca Shoal area.
On the way there we were pleasantly surprised to see a school of young Tarpon migration through the distant shores, it was roughly 40 miles out near the Marquesas when we spotted them. We stopped, took a few pics and and threw a few casts but they just wanted to swim, below is a photo so you can get the idea.
Once we got far enough, well, as far as Bill the Captain had calculated we would have enough gas to get back, we looked for rock bottom and barely had any markings of fished but we tried anyways. It was about 11:25 am and to our surprise the fish showed up and started chewing like the was no tomorrow.
First up was Bill with this Porgy.
In second came this nice Black grouper,
We caught a couple of Mutton Sappers and then to my surprise after a big hurtful battle in came my Goliath grouper. I thought I was done after catching this fish but kept on fishing.
Below is one of Bill’s Mutton Snappers and a nice Scamp Grouper.
The fish were chewing well so I took out my slow jigging rod and my jigging depot slow pitch jigs. In came a Porgy, a few legal size mutton snappers of which I released a couple to let them grow bigger and a nice black grouper which I also released. Below are the pics:
After hooking up to a small Mahi Mahi using an H4L Wingman lure, things died down so we decided to go to a Public listed wreck around Rebeca Shoal that was in about 60 feet of water and it was Donkey King fighting all the way along with a few groupers and snappers. Below is my Amberjack which I released. I could not get a bait past the Amber Jacks so after this fish I decided it was time to take a break as I was hurting a bit.
Mario had caught a couple of Mutton Snappers already when he got the American Red Snapper below.
Bill saw the screen loaded with AJ marking and so decided to start speed jigging for them. He hooked up some nice fish along with a big Jack Crevale.
Mario was able to get a bait pass the Amber Jacks and hooked up this very nice Mutton Snapper.
In the end we were able to fill two 120 quart coolers with fish and no Amberjacks were kept. I got my limit on Mutton Snappers and groupers plus my porgy. It was a nice load. I have fish for quiet a bit now.
The main baits used were Google Eyes, Cigar Minnows and Flying fish. The gogs and cigar minnows were caught ahead of the trip, the flying fish just literally started jumping in the boat at night. Thank goodness for LED lights that attrack them and for the sharks and other fish that were scaring them enough to fly in our boat.
We butterflied the gogs as shown below:
I used an 8500H Calstar Rod. My reel was an Alutecnos Gorilla 12. My main line was 50 lb braid with 25 feet top shot of 80 lb test line. The top shot was already on my line and it wasn’t going to get in the way of catching mutton snappers but ideally it should have been 50 pound test mono line. The terminal tackle used was 5/0 4x Strong circle hooks with 10 to 15 feet of 50lb fluorocarbon leader. And yes, this is what I used to bring up that Goliath Grouper as well as the Amber Jacks.
As for the slow jigging I used my SJ& Shark and Cudaman jigging rod. My reel on this rod was an Accurate Valiant 400 2 speed loaded with 50lb test Daiawa J-Braid and 20 feet top shot of 50 lb flourocarbon leader. For the jigs I used http://www.jiggingdepot.com 230 grams slow pitch jigs. We were mainly fishing 180 to 300 feet of water and bare a knot of current. For my pitch rod I used a Calstar 8 foot rod and a Shimano Sustain 8000 with 30 lb test and H4L wingman lure. I did take a speed jigging rod with a narrow Alutecnos Gorilla 12 loaded with 70 lb test Daiwa J-Braid that I had to use to fish with after loosing the knob on my main reel. I gotta remember to use lock tight so this won’t happen again.
Thanks to Captain Bill for a great fishing trip!
Thanks for visiting my humbled blog. I hope you at least enjoyed the pictures. Until next time.