Rebecca Shoal and Marquesas Keys 2018

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.

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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.

Tarpon migrating

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.

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In second came this nice Black grouper,MarquesasRebbeca201839Black 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.

MarquesasRebbeca201841 Goliath Grouper

Below is one of Bill’s Mutton Snappers and a nice Scamp Grouper.

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MarquesasRebbeca2018scamp 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:

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MarquesasRebbeca2018Black grouper

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.

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Mario had caught a couple of Mutton Snappers already when he got the American Red Snapper below.

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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.

MarquesasRebbeca201869AmberJack

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Mario was able to get a bait pass the Amber Jacks and hooked up this very nice Mutton Snapper.

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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:

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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.

Tight lines!

 

 

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Naples Middlegrounds fishing on Findictive 10-10-15

Alex Garriga a member of 360tuna.com setup a vertical jigging only fishing trip. We were to only fish with jigs and other artificial baits. This trip was meant for trophy Gag Grouper and Red Grouper with the hopes of a Black Grouper fish and not to just put meat in the cooler. With that in mind some of us knew our chances were lower than a regular fishing trip, but we pushed our luck and stayed on target with our agreement of quality.

As we got to the docks we unloaded our gear and spoke with Captain Michael of Findictive Charters, he gave us the bad news, no Gag Groupers had been caught near the area and the Red Grouper season had closed 2 days earlier by a decision of the commission. He did say that a 50 pound Carborita was caught a few days earlier (a Black Grouper) He suggested Yellowtail Snapper fishing, but we stayed on our mission for quality and told him that we were not going to use bait and wanted a chance at trophy groupers. He suggested we start at 150 feet deep and work our way up to 180 feet deep. We agreed and off we were to our adventure.

Below, Alex smiles to the camera as Jarred on the right speaks with Captain Michael. The boat is a Custom Built 31 foot Ocean Master

Naples Middle Grounds04Naples Middle Grounds06After the one hour plus ride we arrived at the first drop where my son caught a nice Scamp Grouper followed by Mike and his about 18 pound Red Grouper (a best for him), I ended with a medium sized Rudder Fish which we released. The day started with a hot bite of quality fish and we were very optimistic as to how the day would end.

Naples Middle Grounds08Naples Middle Grounds10On the second stop half hour later Mike got another nice Scamp Grouper on a Taifun jig.

Naples Middle Grounds14It wasn’t until 11 in the morning when the bite started to pick up, I was able to nail a nice 18 to 20 pound Red Grouper on a prototype jig using a 7 foot 400 gram prototype fishing rod I am co-developing with “Shark Sport Fishing Tackle”. I did risk it with using 60 lb leader as everyone else was using 80 to 100 pound test leader. But as I have fished in those waters before, I knew that there was mostly big plains of lime stone and small amounts of rocks for the fish to hide. My plan was if I get cut off on the rocks then I would change my leader to 80 pound test, but that did not happen.

Below is the video.

After my Red Grouper Mike was able to hook another Red Grouper and the bite slowed to almost non existent. We moved several times without success. The Captain asked if we wanted to have fun with some Amber Jacks and a possible chance at a  Carborita fish (a Black Grouper). So we said yes and as soon as we got there Alex was cutoff by a Barracuda and my son hooked up to an Amber Jack and released it. Jarred also hooked up and lost one, then almost instantly hooked up another and this time he was able to bring it to the boat. Both fish were released and Mike had changed to an old fashion jig with a grub tail allowing him to catch another Red Grouper that was also released. Well, all Red Groupers were released.

Naples Middle Grounds17Naples Middle Grounds26Naples Middle Grounds19Naples Middle Grounds20Below is a video

After the Amber Jacks, the bite slowed down and we went on for two hours with out getting anything as the Captain even tried anchoring and moving to many spots. Then Alex also changed his strategy from the verticals to an old fashion jig with a grubtail, this allowed him to land a nice Scamp that would be part of dinner some day.

Naples Middle Grounds27The bite slowed down again and when it picked up it was nothing but Vermilion and Lane Snappers biting on our jigs and grubs. So the trip ended and we got ready for our 2 hour ride back to shore. The boat has great speed of about 30 miles per hour and luckily for the ones that wanted to keep dry it had a cover that prevented the spray of water from wetting them.

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A bird came to us as we sailed away and promptly disappeared as no one fed it. Just a friendly reminder, please do not feed wildlife or it becomes a nu sense and you help change their habits.

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Here is a look at the boat as we docked at the end of our trip. We did not catch much on this trip but we did book a Red Grouper season opener for next year hoping to stumble on some Cobias as we fish for the groupers.  Naples Middle Grounds35

As always it was fun to fish with everyone. Mike that drove from Georgia whom I think caught the most fish with the grubs, Rayan that hadn’t slept for 48 hours and drove from West Palm Beach Florida (I think no sleeping affected his fishing), Jarred from Davie Florida, and Alex from Pembroke Pines Florida. Can’t wait to do it again.