Thursday, December 28, 2006

Last week of December!!

Ummm, I'm not sure where to start off. It has been crazy since I last posted a real fishing report between super high waves (8ft+), the holidays and the hospital. Since this is a fishing blog, I'll just quickly say that gall bladder attacks are no fun. Secondly, we've had front after front move through our area, making it over 6 wks since I had been fishing. Last, our boat has been on the water 3x in the past week. Twice, we were unable to get past a mile offshore because the wave action quickly went to 4-6 ft waves. Above is Son #1 with a large blk sea bass.

Here are some photos from the one day we made it out to the Snapper grounds. Jack thought he had some secret spot and we were going to come home loaded up with Red Snapper (our legal limit would be 4 for us adults). Well, there were plenty of fish there but all the Snapper were undersized.
A couple commercial boat were running lines all over the area. Maybe they were Kingfishing, but they could have also netted the area for Snapper. Eitherway, nothing much was left but Juvenile fish. We were disappointed.

Left is a double-hook-up of 2 sea bass. We only kept 8 total, being about a pound each (roughly 14-15 inches).

Here I am with Jack and our double- hook-up on "Chicken" (Juvenile Reds)

At one point, we had a triple hook-up with all three poles bringing up fish. Son #1 was also fishing on the Penn reels. Jack and I were on the new Saltist reels. Oh my, those are just so smooth and easy to bring in fish.

In the background, you see our son bent over in pain. We had to do a little medical care on him, as he was hit with the Snapper dorsal spine when it was brought in the boat.

Unfortunately, accidents are part of fishing. We all came home with punctures and bruises.

See the band-aid on the ankle? ALWAYS keep hydrogen peroxide on your boat. Flush out the wound immediately, then neosporin and bandaid. Flesh-eating bacteria is nothing to mess with in salt water.

We managed to pull up fish every time we put our lines down, but all the snapper were too small to be keepers. Granted, the majority were under 15 inches, but we had a few at 18-19", few pound; and this makes for an exciting few minutes thinking that you may have a keeper. We had times where we pulled up double the fish, making it feel like a keeper but instead you'd have 2 smaller reef fish. Fun, but still not what we set out to get.

In the end, we went through 5 lbs of cigar minnows. The yellow/red fish is a Lane Snapper. This guy was a nice keeper speciman. They are the smaller cousins of the Snapper family but exceptional eating.

Here is one of those almost keepers, being 19.25". They have to be 20 inches to keep.

This one had to have his stomach vented in order to get him to swim down.

To the right is a Gray Trigger. I changed from dead bait to a jigging plug that Jack gave me in November. Anyhow, I'm not so good at enticing fish to eat the plug, but I still caught him in the side.

This particular fish went right back down. I do not like to clean triggers and Jack will only do it if they are huge. Pretty fish though.

At one point, I was letting my line down and my line began to burn the bottom of my thumb. Something had snagged the cigar minnow and ran for the border! Duh! I reeled and it made a run. I reeled again when it slowed down and brought it in -- Wow, a Kingfish. Not big, but a keeper size. Nice lil' bonus for the ice box. At first, we thought it was a really big Spanish Mackeral because it had its Juvenile spots still on it. (a first for us to see) A guy at the docks corrected our guess. Thankfully, it was still legal size and it is awaiting getting smoked while being vacuum packed in the freezer.

Jack locked up with something big at one point. No matter what we did, it would not budge. To us, this can only mean 1 species - Goliath grouper, formerly known as the Jewfish. They can reach upwards to several hundred pounds.

We ended up breaking the line in the end.

We were down to the final piece of bait in the bucket. One measley fish head. I put it on and sent it down to the bottom. Whack! No way! I had to straddle the pole to keep it from going overboard. It pulled against the drag. I tightened the drag. It pulled at will against it again. Ok, I was seriously out-matched. I tried with no success for 10 minutes, not to mention, out of breath. Jack took the pole and muscled whatever it was slowly up from the deep. It was something out of a Hemingway novel to witness.
We could see something massive coming up. Our first thought was a smaller Goliath grouper. Then, it turned sideways and I caught this picture as it was still about 10 feet down.

Shark! Big ol' Nurse Shark.

We caught a Nurse shark a couple months back with Bill, a coworker, on board. This one was definitely bigger.

After snapping a few more pictures, Jack handed the pole to me and I stayed on the far side of the boat, while he did his best to get that hook out.

He'd say, "Reel" and I did. The Shark then said, "No Way" and swam away another 6 ft. Finally, Jack got it, hook and all the line, back in the boat. Successful release and the beast swam back down.

We guessed the weight to be over 80 lbs. and somewhere around 6 feet.

Jack nearly had a heart-attack over this one. After he gained his breath, we high-5'd each other. I wish the clarity could come out better here. My original is just gorgeous. We headed back in and went to bed tired.

Happy Fishing!

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