Sorry for the delay in putting up a report, just been a little behind transitioning back from working to school. We had a about 4 solid days of fishing over that time frame, and a few short trips here and there scattered in. Figured I'd just post a recap type report of what we found, where we found it, and successful methods. The first day was still very cold/windy so we headed to the backcountry. Between 2 boats we found a plethora of the usual suspects i.e. snapper/grouper/cuda's/catfish etc. We poked out front at the end, and while still a little churned up we hooked one tunny on the reefline and called it a day without too much more action. The prize for that day was a legal Red Grouper from out back. The next day it had laid down a little bit so we ran out front. Tried to play with the mackeral inside of Hawks but after throwing the kitchen sink they just didn't want to play. By this time two other boats I was fishing with had tried trolling the edge of the reefline without any luck so I decided to poke out and see if I could find a rip/weedline etc. I poked out to about 175-200 and saw a sailfish breach and what appeared to be a flurry of activity around him, so I set out the spread and about 30 seconds later had a decent Wahoo hooked up. He ate a purple Williamson "Little Bad Darter" trolled shotgun. My good friend Taylor on one of the other boats poked out to about the same area and hooked up a much nicer 'Hoo on a naked skipping ballyhoo on wire, and then a 10lb Dolphin. After that the bite shut off, so we headed back to the reef. Current was pretty weak so the pickings were slim. We did however catch a very large lionfish. I had never caught one on bait before so it was a surprise to say the least. It was released dead as I didn't want too put him in the slush I had made for the 'Hoo and play roulette while emptying the cooler. The next day was still nice and I tried to replay the action from the day before and try and nab another 'Hoo but was unsuccessful, whilst my friend Taylor opted instead for a last chance grouper and got a nice 30" Black trolling a lipped plug over the patch reefs in about 15 ft. of water. Went out the next day for a short trip to the wrecks/patches, found nothing but 'Cudas and Jack Crevalles covering the Whilkes so pushed out a little further and found an Almaco armada, after playing with a half dozen of them we ran back in to about 10 ft. of water where I got the largest pinfish in the well smoked by my biggest Red Grouper to date at just under 26". I never seem to be able to get them over 22" while they're in season, so it just figures the day after they close I get my biggest one.It got real rough as the front came in so we decided to end it on a good note after the grouper and headed in. The next day my buddy Taylor and his father rented a skiff from Dolphin Marina and went out to the patch reefs. He found a nice King hanging under the boat acting like a 'Cuda and chasing the cero's off his hooked fish when they would come close. He wouldn't eat a bait though, so as they left they deployed some skipping 'hoo's and he slammed one right off the bat. He was 21lbs. The final day we fished the wind was supposed to be 5-10 but it was more like 15-20. It was on the brink of not enjoyable, but still fishable. We had planned to poke out front but with the sea state opted to stay in close and repeat the mackeral action over the patches. It payed off by getting a few nicer cero's to the boat, and losing another nicer sized kingfish. Also caught some more legal sized red's and a fat lane snapper at about 15-16". All in all a good trip with great friends.Tight Lines.
Some pictures from the trip:
The ride out the first day
My friend Taylor's Wahoo
My friend Taylor and his last shot Black Grouper
My "just missed 'em" Red Grouper
The chubby Lionfish
My friend Jack "jacked up"
The larger Lane Snapper
Of course after we're done fishing the bait in the marina knows