I headed 15 miles offshore with my dad on Tuesday and set up on some numbers in 65' to try for whatever was biting. The first spot produced the usual short Red Grouper, Porgies and Grunts. We also had encounters with the usual oddities such as Flounder, Lizard fish, Sand Perch and Puffers. Cut frozen squid and sardines put some fish on ice for us. I hooked one mammoth fish that broke my 30# leader so it was time to step up the tackle. I had some numbers from last year where we caught a few Gag Grouper while drifting so we headed that way to see who was home and maybe get some Snapper or Amberjack for the box or C&R some Groupers. I got us anchored just uptide from the numbers, put out a chum bag and started chumming pretty heavy with some old freezer burnt bait that had been sitting in an old freezer since last winter, pew! I upped our leaders on our bottom rigs to 60# florocarbon and we sent down some bait. With nothing going right away I threw a live shrimp out in the chum slick on a lighter rig with no weight and set it in the rod holder. Within minutes that rod was bent over and the drag was screaming with dozens of yards of 15# power pro peeling off. A couple of broken lines later we smartened up and put out two live shrimp on 3/0 circle hooks with 60# leaders, put them in the chum stream un-weighted and finally boated one of these mean beasts.
These fish are tough hombres and even though we were hooking fish 20' down over 65 f.o.w. it took 30# class rods with 60# leaders to keep from being broken off on the bottom.
Every time I threw out a big blast of chum it was followed up by a fish or two on the line.
Here is my dad holding up our first double.
Stopped to take a picture of another nice fish (30") and...A broken rod!
Both fish landed...technically, another double right?
We capped it all off with this 32" mule that pulled off dozens of yards of 40# power pro like nothing doing several times, we even had to pull our anchor to land this one. Wow, they are tough!
At this point we decided to leave this spot alone and hopefully come back sometime when the Grouper harvest season is open. I'll be dreaming of chumming this little ledge again in the months ahead, not to mention Grouper sandwiches... but the Grunts and Porgies tasted okay too.
Cheers and hooksets!