I was the second Captain and second deckhand for Captain John on the cougar. The trip was almost canceled due to sea conditions. We were at the dock before 10:00 am but delayed leaving till almost 1:00 while the 20 kt. winds laid down a bit. We could not go East because that would have given us a beam sea for about 30 miles and we would have never gone far. We went to the West and ran an inside route that gave a long time of protected waters. We knew the tuna fishing was a shot in the dark but conditions forced us to go in that direction.
As we got to our destination the head of the party told us that if the conditions got any worse we could turn around. A few were already sea sick. By the end of the trip about 10 of the 17 on board got some sea sickness. The conditions were easing a little bit so the decision was made to fish and see what we could do instead of turning around at that point. I would have gladly gone back to the dock right then and there which I will elaborate on at the end of this post. We tied up to a rig and started fishing. The water was dirty green and only a few wanted to fish. Our first fish was this beautiful banded rudder fish.
The sharks drove us on to another rig where we found some very nice Vermilion Snapper. We literally bounced around throughout night. There were some almaco jacks, vermilion snapper, and a bunch of under sized amberjacks as well as a lot of sharks that kept us going all night. These amberjack would not even make the old limits let alone the new 34 inch size but they did keep the fishing going all night. I did not get many pictures due to the conditions. Our highlight of the night was this 86 pound Warsaw grouper. We lost another shortly after this that seemed bigger.
Here is another shot of the "slob" as we refer to them.
Conditions did calm throughout the night but the rollers did not ease as quickly. The forecast was for conditions to get extremely bad in the early afternoon so we had to keep an eye on the weather. We made the choice to go into state waters to find some red snapper so the kids could get have fun. Just as predicted things started getting a bit breezy and we knew the front was beginning to blow. On the way in we hit thick fog and had to go in red pass instead of tiger pass.
We hit the dock as the front was right there. A brief bit of rain with a lot of thunder near by as we docked. By the time we had the fish cleaned the front in all it's glory was upon us with high winds, heavy rain, and a good light show. We only put up a few fish for a quick picture with some of the kids. There were 14 on this trip.
On this trip I did something I never had done in my 73 plus years. I got "Sea Sick". That's right me sea sick for the well over 24 hours. The worse part was I came back alive. There were times I wanted to die. Do not know what set me off. Diesel fumes, going below decks to use the head, the smell of the bait, the rolling seas, or all of the above. I was that way before we tied up to the first rig and was still hanging over the rail at times at 11:00 the next morning. I still ran the deck and functioned as best I could through the entire trip. This was a very challenging trip for me.
Life is Good!
Fishing is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.
CAPT HOOP -- OUR FREEDOM