March 15, 2017 at 12:26 pm #416643
Did back to back trips last week so I’ll combine the two into one report. The Tuesday trip was blessed with good weather and for the fishermen a light load. Trolling on the way out was a bit slow but there were a couple of Kings landed. I expect it will get better with each passing day. We started around midnight and the bite was instant on Porgy’s and B-Liners. Mango’s were a bit slow to fire up but we did pick a few before our first move.
The next stop saw a continuation of Porgy’s as would every stop we made. The Mates love a good Porgy bite =) The Mango bite picked up and was solid all night. To get past the Porgy bite I began using small Pin Fish. On one cast my bait got slammed just a few feet down, RUNNER ON! After a great fight it turned out to be a King hooked on top of the head in the 30 LB. range. I kept targeting Mango’s and was rewarded with some nice ones. Even though I hadn’t seen any Tuna action I decided to try a Jig with a live bait just before sun rise. No sooner did my bait hit the water I was hooked up and cut off. If there were Tuna in the area they’d have to fight the Kings. (Note you can add wire to your Jigs and get Kings but Tuna rarely hit wire.) Being the stubborn fisherman I am I wanted a Tuna so I fired down another Jig. Got hit by a small Shark as soon as it hit the water which destroyed my Jig. Fired down another and got hit but not hooked stared reeling in got hit again but let go, kept reeling got hit again, kept reeling and literally had a “Smoker King” come out of the water after my Jig. Finally getting the message I went back to Mango fishing and Bang! Big fish! I thought at first it was a Gag but as I cranked I got excited as I thought it might be a big Mango. Turned out to be a Monster Goozer almost 10 LBS.
Day break so time to target some AJ action. First stop Capt. Byron said we were on a 20’ ledge that looked promising. I threw down the largest live bait I had but no instant bite like I saw all around me. Turned out there were plenty of AJ’s but most were under sized. There was also a number of Gags caught and released. I decided to switched back to dead bait for some possible Snapper action. Snapper were on fire but they were fiery Red as in Red Snapper. Most every stop the rest of the trip saw an abundance of ARS caught and released. Many were actually keeper size which bodes well for the upcoming season.
After multiple stops similar to the above I decided to focus on targeting Mango’s. I did this through using small Pin Fish and Threadfins. This proved successful as in between undersized AJ’s and ARS I managed to pick some nice Goozers. On a late afternoon stop I caught several Gags in a row on live bait so I switched to Threadfin and caught a few nice mango’s and a Red Grouper in the 10 Lb. range. Late in the stop I was soaking a large Threadfin with no action when Bang! Big hook up. I was using my Mango rod so I knew I couldn’t put much pressure on the fish so I let it run a little and then started working it back. After a few tense moments compounded by my line going under the boat I heard my friend Milo holler “Look at that Gag” It turned out to be a “Rusty Belly” at least 30 LBS. Good news is he went back down strong so I hope we meet again. Tip: People ask me how I manage to land so many large grouper. First I lose my share but the best short answer is don’t panic. Turn your excitement into focus. Know your tackle and its limitations and strengths. Pay attention to detail like your knots and the condition of your line before you drop it down. Lastly luck is a factor but remember “Chance favors the prepared”.
Last stop found us on a wreck I am familiar with. Capt. said it was loaded up so I thought I’d try one more big live bait and was rewarded with a keeper AJ. Try as I might all the rest were throw back size. Switching back to dead bait the ARS were unavoidable. Feeling I had no choice I went to small Pins and began to land some nice Goozers. On two occasions I was reeling up what I thought were nice Mango’s only to have the “Monsters” this wreck is known for swallow them. There has to be some record setting Goliath’s on this spot as I hook them every time we are there but I never see them. Oh well we will meet again. Time to go home and get ready for the “Full Moon 44 Hour Trip”
As the 44 hour leaves at 10:00 AM there isn’t much time to catch Pin fish on the morning of the trip. With this in mind and even though I was tired from just coming off a trip I went back out Thursday afternoon with my friend Larry to catch Pins and keep them over night. Note: Like most things in life success is the by-product of hard work. I chuckle when people say I have an “Unfair” advantage with the bait I use. An advantage gained by forgoing sleep, standing hours on end often under tough conditions not to mention hours of preparation. I am happy to show you everything I do and help you anyway I can but in the end you must do the work.
Trolling on the way out got hot once we entered the blue water. Kings were coming up on every rod with 15- 20 coming up over an hour period. About an hour before sun down the Tuna bite got hot! At least for one angler. I gaffed three in a row for my friend Larry. After this flurry no one else caught any and the bite stopped but, they kept me hopping running the trolling deck and I fully expect this to only get better over the next several trips.
We started around 8:00 PM since the Tuna were clearly in the area I decided to start with a Jig and live bait. Although I think my strategy was sound I got no action. For many the Mango bite was fairly steady. I say most as I struggled through most of the night bite. If there is any one thing my experience shows is to never give up as anything can happen and one stop can make a difference. This was certainly true for the last stop before sun rise as on this spot I got 10 nice Mango’s and a keeper Red Grouper. Over all the night bite was solid but the Mangos never really took off as they usually do at some point during a full moon trip.
Sun up saw a limited number of keeper AJ’s and a decent Mango bite. I mostly picked Mangos and released Gags one in the 20 LB. range. Quite a few big Vermilion Snapper and Yellow Tails were caught as well as a keeper African Pompano. Since most of the AJ’s were small Capt. Garret decided to run out to a deep water wreck. I took this opportunity to take a nap but some decided to troll and one was rewarded with the first Yellow Fin Tuna I’ve seen caught on this boat. Excited we arrived at the wreck with much anticipation.
Feeling there may be some unique fish on this wreck I put on a heavy sinker hoping to get to the bottom with a big live bait. I proceeded to catch back to back AJ’s both in the 30 LB. range. Though I continued to fire down big live bait all I managed to hook up were small AJ’s but did land two big Bar Jacks. The wreck produced some keeper AJ’s but not the “Monsters” we’d hoped for. Fishing can be both exhilarating and humbling. Time to move inshore a bit and close out on some Goozer action.
On the last couple of spots I made the decision to go with live baits hoping for large Mangos. The reward was multiple Goozers in the 5-8 LB range. My friend Danny ended up catching the Jack Pot Mango over nine pounds on the last stop. Well time to go as Day Light savings stole an hour from us. I was hoping for a quick turnaround but the Tuesday trip was cancelled due to weather. Now “Spring Break” which is great for Florida but personally it means we won’t get offshore again until March 31. I’ll have cabin fever by then.
See you out there!
March 15, 2017 at 12:27 pm #416644
March 16, 2017 at 2:31 pm #416650
You’re gonna tease with a “report” of a YFT and no pic!?!?!?
How big was it? A few smaller ones have been caught down here in the past week as well as many sightings of the big 500+ BFT’s migrating thru.
March 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm #416651
Good point. Here you go. I estimate 30 LB. range
March 17, 2017 at 9:58 am #416652
NICE! Don’t see that too often in that particular area!
That’s pretty much the same size YFT I have seen some others catching around here in the SE part of the State. We don’t get too many here either, just a few each year caught on this side of the Stream.
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