We were all in a state of “fishing withdraw” between windy, rough seas and life’s accelerating pace, when suddenly the planets aligned, my wife gave the nod, the Fish Trap splashed and we blasted out of Port Canaveral, Florida.
My friends Zack McCool and Anthony Puleio joined me for a spontaneous day of bottom fishing.
After castnetting a well full of two to four-inch pogies (menhaden) and watching a whale cruise by, we headed towards one of my favorite wrecks. But on the way, we would pass a small spot that I decided we had to check.
As we arrived on the scene, the depth finder blacked out with a school of bait. Two quickly deployed sabiki rigs had us teeming with greenies (threadfin herring) in no time. First we made a drift over the wreck, which produced an easy-keeper red snapper and our anchor heading.
We set up to anchor and as the rope stretched tight we stopped the boat at the leading edge of the spot. Multiple live pogies rode the ”lead express” towards the bottom but only a couple made it that far. The others were intercepted by a pack of hungry cobia. The hooked cobia had two more in tow, of which one was happy to jump the yellow jig, tipped with squid, that is always standing at the ready. Needless to say we were excited about this start to the day, but little did we know, it was only the beginning.
More cobia were hooked on the bottom on just about any bait we dropped. Mangrove snappers pounced on baits that were not jumped by cobia and so the frenzy continued. After receiving a couple of spankings on my snapper rod, I dropped a big greenie on my grouper rod and proceeded to catch a grey (gag) grouper followed by a fat mangrove. We were releasing cobia, and trying to catch more snapper when finally the action subsided.
When the dust settled, we had caught fourteen cobia of which we could keep six, eleven mangrove snapper, one red snapper and one grey grouper.
We reloaded the well with grunts, pigfish and pinfish and headed for deeper water. One stop in 21 fathoms gave us five more red snapper, which finished off our limit of six. At two o’clock we blasted out to continental shelf-break in 27-fathoms. Our first drift with big livies produced two fat greys. That called for the anchor.
Again the rope came tight and so did our lines. Zack bravely hooked on one of the three-pound blue runners we had caught and fired it down. It was quickly jumped and Zack won a serious battle with a 30-pound grey grouper. One more grey hit the ice to bring the total to five. Two amberjack also joined us rounding out one incredible day.
The ride home was spent reminiscing the battles, both won and lost, and trying to figure out when we could go again.
Fishing is definitely an addiction, a good trip does not satisfy you for a while, but gives you the aching need to go again. But what better addiction to have!