The month of June was about as up & down as we have seen in a while. Air temperatures, winds, clouds, rain, created a day by day scenario on the fishing. One day you’re a hero and the next day you’re working hard to keep from being a zero. This report will give a brief overlay of the type of trips we had this past month and their outcome.
Jeff, Pamela, Patrick and Brian, from Texas, met us for a full day outing and things were looking good. We started the day off searching for some Dolphin and managed to catch several “lifters” before the sun got too high. The deep rod had a tremendous strike but we didn’t get the hook up, unfortunately. Around 11 am we tried a wreck for some Permit but that was uneventful. I decided to slide in to the patch reefs to chum up some live bait before we moved on to the deeper wrecks. We tried a little slow trolling with the live ballyhoo on the way to one of our favorite wrecks. Nothing happening. At the wreck, we made six successive drifts trying to locate fish and the screen on the depth finder was blank. We decided to make one more drift and the screen was lit up this time and a rod doubled over, a 30lb Amberjack.
The next drift I located the Mutton Snapper and the action was good for a couple of hours! We managed to miss 6 bites and catch 2 in the 12lb range.
The Guard Dogs (sharks) were now alerted to all the struggling and the next Mutton appeared half-eaten. The remaining portion still measured 17 inches! Man, that would have been a nice fish and so would have the next one that was eaten completely!
We decided to try some more slow-trolling to finish the day rather than feed the “dogs,” but it didn’t happen for us after that. I think that AJ whooped up on Pam because she needed a nap on the ride back to the barn.
Another trip we did was with Julie, Martha, Ashley, and Casey, from North Carolina. Devon and I met them at the dock and we shoved off at 7 am. The first order of the day was to grab some Hardtails for bait. We also stopped on a grass flat and picked off a few dozen fat Pinfish, so we would have plenty of bait. Once again we started a search for Dolphin but they were scarce. We managed to pick up a small Skipjack. At 11:30 am we headed in to the wrecks looking for some action and that is exactly what we got. Game On!
At the wreck, we tallied five Amberjack between 25 and 35 pounds, two Almaco Jack, and one Mutton Snapper weighing 11 pounds.
To finish the day we slow trolled the last of our Hardtails. They raised a Sailfish which unfortunately was only window shopping. During the slow troll we kept working speed jigs and hair jig/bally combo’s and caught a Kingfish, Bonito and a Caribbean Spotted Mackerel, a.k.a. Barracuda.
A South Florida resident arrived with his friend and their two sons for a ¾ day trip. We managed to find three short Dolphin and one Barracuda in the morning. We did a quick hit on the wreck, but being two days after the full moon, the fish didn’t want to play. The current was ripping to the north at 3.5 knots and we had to start down current well over 500’ to get to the bottom by the time we reached the wreck. No problem pulling that off, but the fish didn’t want to go along with the program. We marked fish around the wreck, but they wouldn’t eat. Finally we speed jigged a Kingfish and when all the live bait was ignored, Devon put on the old tried and true, butterflied ballyhoo. We caught a small Mutton weighing about eight pounds on the next drop. Several more bites were missed on the butterflies due to angler error. Time was up and the fishing was less than stellar. I guess you can’t win them all!
One of our more frequent clients, Jon Clement, arrived with a co-worker, Mike, at noon for an afternoon trip, either a half or ¾ day. Realizing that this is not the best fishing time of the day he still opted to forego any wreck fishing and wanted to strictly try for Dolphin. The afternoon started off slow but progressed nicely as time flew by. We caught two “micro” Dolphin and missed two good bites on the planer rod. How these fish can bite off the ballyhoo on a double hook rig and not catch the hook is absurd, but it happens! We started getting hit regularly by Bonito and the afternoon was looking up when Jon announced that he had to cut the trip short to be back to the dock at 5:45.
Devon and I were prepared to fish until dark and take advantage of the evening bite. As the fish were turning on really good, we got the word to button up and head in. Oh well, maybe next time.
I hope everyone enjoys the festivities this weekend. Have a safe and happy 4th of July.