Our goal was to go out and get a limit of 4 amberjack then play the rest of the morning and head in about 11:30 or 12:00. This is going to be an easy trip. Why the heck do I ever think that way? Think I jinx myself.
I brought bait and we had no problem getting bait At our targeted rig the water was dirty and there was little to no current. I wanted to fish the up current side but the people on the rig said I could only fish one corner because they had a diver down doing work on the opposite side. Nice of them to even allow us to fish it under that situation. We lost our first amberjack. the second fish was a nice red snapper. It blew it's air as it reached the surface as amberjack do so it went back without any problem after the photo.
Our quest for mangrove snapper did not happen. The Bermuda chubs were there stealing bait and occasionally getting hooked so they had something to pull on. Only one amberjack could be found on the down current side. I was happy to get that one.
My next move was to a rig 8 miles away. It is a large double rig but there were 3 recreational boats diving on it. I stayed out a bit and weeded through some red snapper. One of the guys after seeing the fight the fish were putting up told me he wanted a small amberjack. I explained a small legal one would hurt him. He got his wish. This one only made the legal size by an inch. That was all he wanted.
From there we headed in closer. Our third stop proved to be a waste. It was about 11;20 and only 2 amberjacks in the box. I contacted the other guys in the area and they were all struggling with the amberjacks. The head of the party told me he could stay out a bit longer so I started running out of the area and heading southwest. Suddenly I ran across a color change and turned to the rig nearby in clean water. This was the ticket. We started getting beeliners of good size. There was a lot of structure below and I was loosing a lot of sinkers and hooks as the fish were winning the battle.
Along with the beeliners we were able to also find some almaco jacks and a scamp grouper also a rock hind grouper. We also battled several red snapper of good 8 to 12 pound size. Our best fish of the day had me take a long hard look at it. It got tangled up with another line and made a big mess. That mess was well worth it.
This was the biggest bearded Brotula I had ever seen. These are very good eating fish. Due to the extended time on the trip we never had the time to have it checked or even weighed. The guys just filled 2 large coolers with the fish as is. This saved us a lot of work but I think this may have been a contender for the top 10 list. Wish we had the time for it.
Life is Good!
Fishing is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.
CAPT HOOP -- OUR FREEDOM