Wednesday, January 31, 2007

1/30/07 Spring Cobia in January!

We left out of the Port about 9am with our family and Bill (coworker) in tow. We ran first to Snap 85 hole. Jack, Bill, oldest son and myself all started dropping lines. Oh, actually, my son "chummed" first, then was able to start fishing. The seas behind this picture don't do it justice. The wind-wave was low (which is what you see); however, the real wave action was at least 3 ft still. We were never in danger because it was a long period between wave sets, but it sure is hard to work while you're rocking.
This was the typical seen of the day. Double-hook-ups. Many juvenile Am. Red Snapper or black sea bass. All these are released.
When Jack brought up one of his Snapper, it was followed up by what I thought was a smaller cobia. Jack says it could have also been a large remora (sucker fish). I begged to differ since I didn't see the sucker on the head. I was also reeling up a snapper, so the cobia stuck around to take 2nd and 3rd looks at him. Meanwhile, Jack is frantically putting his cobia jig on a spinning reel. By the time he was ready to cast, the cobia had swum back down.

We reset up another drift over the area and Bill gets a big hook-up. He's grunting and making slow progress, but progress none-the-less. All of a sudden, his line is swimming away from the boat. Jack say, "Shark" in disappointment. When I finally put eyes on him, I yell, "Cobia!" Here is Bill's cobia upon swimming to the surface.
Cobia and shark are easily confused but there is no mistaken the cobia's pattern of brown & white.

See the happy faces? That was some big fish. The tail is sticking out of the cooler. I have spared you the bloody cooler shot that I had taken.
Afterwards, we were taking guesses on the weight. I guessed 43 lbs. Jack said 38lbs. I think Bill said less, but I'm not sure he settled on a number. After the fish was finally dead, we weighed it in at 25 lbs.
By the way, this fish actually rocked the cooler from within the closed doors. They are *really* strong fish.

After a couple more unsuccessful drifts over Snap 85, we moved on to Bill's former Grouper spot in 89 ft of water. My son was done with fishing for a while and so he took a nap on the side of the boat. My younger son took a nap on the front seat of the boat. We were actually underway to a new location when this picture was took. It's not like they were up at 5am and tired. I think the motors lull them into naps.

We had no success with keeper fish at the 2nd location. Again, all juvenile Red Snapper and Blk Sea Bass.

Location 3, we headed to Pelican Flats. Just off our mark, Bill locates this wonderful set of weed patches in 78 ft of water. The sun made everything impossible to view & search, but I did catch a glimpse several times of a female mahi mahi (cow). Umm...sweetie, you're lost. I think you're looking for Miami.
Jack spent about 20 minutes casting with his cobia jig to the mahi with no success. Bill cut up some sardines that we had on hand for bottom fishing. She would eat those up like candy, but if they put a piece on a hook, she refused. I guess she was aware of the "ice condo" aboard First Choice.
You may be wondering how I can get this angle with the camera. I love to stand on the cuddy cabin top. It is the best seat in the house for sight-fishing anything a few feet under the water. The black in the picture is the canvas top of our boat. My youngest has started taking a liking to being "up" with momma. He's got very good sea legs for a 7yo.
We fished Pelican Flats with only 1 keeper Lane Snapper and too many released smaller fish. We decided to call it a day. We cleaned off Bill's Cobia and took a moment for this photo opportunity.
Here are the happy guys. Capt Jack and Bill.
Happy Fishing

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