I went 3 days as a deckhand with Add and Shelly Goff. As I was waiting for them to arrive at the dock I noticed some young banana trees and admired the transformation from a flower to the actual fruit.
We knew the conditions were not as forecasted. The seas would not allow us to go long for tuna so we just stayed close and found some snapper. We made only 1 stop and the bite was very quick starting with a double.
Unfortunately his daughter got dangerously over heated and dehydrated so we had to cut things short. Her condition got serious quickly. She lost color, got weak, and was loosing vision. Cool wet compresses on her forehead and the back of her neck and getting water in her stabilized her condition enough to get her back in safely without outside assistance.
We managed a few fish for our efforts. We had 2 more days to go anyway.
The next day Barry and Mike showed up so Kendal stayed back at the camp. Conditions were still on the uncomfortable side and reports from the previous day not good offshore. We went looking for mangrove snapper first. Current was strong and the water was dirty but through hard work we did manage a few. As we were going to an area looking for some grouper I noticed something floating and went looking for maybe some mahi under it. There were no fish around it but I picked it up and notified the Coast Guard of it's location.
We continued on looking for some grouper but found only red snapper. 2 were released in good health but I had trouble releasing the other. Although it appeared to go down in good shape we decided to go into state waters and find some red snapper we could keep. We had 1 single rig and 1 tandem grouper rig. The fishing was slow at first but I soon found the depth and the game was on. There was a boat tied up right next to us and as we were bailing on the snapper he was struggling to bring up very nice 83 pound grouper. Just the luck of the draw. Mike finished off our day with a double. A 15.4 and the other about 13-14 pounds.
Back at the dock a hanging and a fish cleaning party. When I got finished I went to the Coast Guard station and gave them the strut from the chopper that had gone down a few days before. I had already given them all the information on the radio earlier in the day.
The next day Shelly had some work to do and stayed back. Just the guys today. A front had gone through last night and changed things. There were still a lot of pop up storms around.
We went out looking for some weeds or maybe some tuna. It was not long before we knew we went the wrong way and the front had pushed the blue water out of the area. After some almost clean water attempts at tuna at Elf and 109 the decision was made to settle for mangrove and red snapper again. The tuna were there but not feeding.
As we pulled up to the rig we found the mangrove yesterday Mike Butler from Venice Marina pulled up and tied up where I wanted. I tied up close by and we settled in for some hot action. The conditions were not the same as the day before. There was a lot of current and the surface water was dirty. Mike had a lot of live Croaker for bait and after over a half hour only found 2 mangrove. I in the mean time was struggling with the red snapper until I found the thermocline they were in.
A 16 ounce sinker 30 seconds down was the ticket. As soon as you lock it in it was game on. If you miss the bite the bait was gone. I told Mike where the snapper were and he limited out quickly. He then gave us the rest of his live croaker and he headed for the barn. When you spend that much time there with live croaker and only 2 fish they are not hungry. We tried very hard but were only to find one mangrove the rest of the time. It ended up being 3 days of red snapper. Thank you LADWF for granting us this opportunity to enjoy our state waters and it's excellent fishery as it should be.
Life is Good!
Fishing is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.
CAPT HOOP -- OUR FREEDOM