Running Hard

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    john martin
    john martin
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    It’s been a busy week what with three trips in a row and just one day before the next one. I’m going to combine all three trips into one report. Also I’ve gotten a lot of questions and comments on my last several reports that I simply have not been in front of a computer to respond to. Be patient as I plan to go back and respond to them all ASAP.

    This three trip marathon started with the Full Moon 44 hr trip on Friday and ended with the Tuesday mid-week trip and a special Sunday to Tuesday charter in the middle. I’ve literally lived on the boat this past week. Tough job but somebody has to do it,

    Live bait has been a bit tough to catch with all the heat we’ve had. If you plan to catch live Pin fish I recommend getting out just before sun rise as once that “Fire Ball” gets cooking everything (including this ole boy) shuts down. As the boat came in at 6:00 AM and left again at 3:00mPM I stayed on the boat for the ½ Day trips to catch big baits. This worked out well both times but there were a couple of issues which I’ll get to later.

    We pulled out right on time for the 44 hr trip with much anticipation for fishing all night. Trolling on the way out continues to be a challenge as there was spotty production on all three trips. Of course my friend “Jig Head” Ed managed to pull in a few on the two trips he went on including a great battle with a Cudda. Trolling between spots is the best but even it has slowed with the oppressive heat.

    We started around sun down and the Mangrove snapper chewed fairly consistent all night. We also picked American Red Snapper throughout the whole trip. Most were barely keepers but on several late afternoon spots some nice ones ranging from 10 to 15 LBS. were landed. By the end of the trip the boat was essentially limited out with the only anglers under their limit were there by choice as they held one spot open hoping to get a fat one. There were a few nice Gags and Red Grouper landed but the best surprise of the trip were the high number of big Scamp Grouper caught. I caught three that were all around 5 LBS, but there were several in the 8 LB. range. I know what you’re thinking “did he get a Gag” Short answer NO! In fact I didn’t even get a hook up but, I got close to my grouper aggregate as I added two nice Reds to my three Scamps.

    One of the best fish of the year was caught by Captain Garret as ge landed a beautiful Mutton on cut bait he predicted would entice the very fish he caught. He certainly made a customers day when he gave it away.

    The Sunday Charter was a blast as the boat was filled with 40 guys (and a few Gals) that basically all knew each other. They had one goal, catch a lot of fish and have a great time doing it. As for the fishing it was solid most of the time with results very similar to those described above. I still didn’t get a Gag but I limited out on Goozers with one of the better averages I’ve had size wise.

    For me the Tuesday trip was the best of the three with one notable exception. I came up with what I thought was the perfect plan to end my Gag less streak. I’d go on the ½ day and target big baits like Grunts, Pig fish and Squirrels while my buddy Omar would stay on shore and get some fat Pins. It worked like a charm. Not only did I manage to get what I was looking for but Omar came through in a big way as he had over 50 hand size Pin fish. Between us we must have had a 150 Grouper getters. Well the fish gods had other plans. The breaker to the live well pumps tripped on the way out and all the bait died. For a fisherman there is nothing more painful than being excited about using some bait you caught and opening that well and seeing them all belly up.

    Pondering my strategy with no live bait I made a decision. I was going to fish with my Mango rod throughout the whole trip using nothing but the boat furnished Threadfin. No Squid, no cut bait and no live bait even though I caught some during the trip. The result was stellar. I caught Mango’s the on every stop day and night as well as a limit of fat Vermilion all at least 2 LBS. On top of this I landed 2 Red Grouper and three ARS. The highlight of the trip was on my last cast. I was standing on the bow and I made a decent cast which my friend Jim commented “that was a nice one”. Upon reeling in I said to Jim “Let’s see what I got” I then walked all the way to end of the pulpit and let fly a cast that Jim said was at least 50 yards. Just as my bait hit the bottom Captain Bryon’s voice crackled over the speaker “I hate to do it but it’s time to head for the beach” just as he fired the engines BANG! FISH ON! I cranked and cranked and landed the biggest Goozers of the trip. Still no Gag but what a fun trip. Time to rest up for the final push of the ARS seasons. Only two trips left starting Friday.

    See you out there!

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