Friday, September 20, 2013


by Robin

 photo 2013-08-18204851FirstDay.jpg I realize I'm like a month behind on posting this but it was a busy month. We had just come in from scalloping vacation and headed right into school on Monday. Big boy went to dual-enrollment classes.  He's a Senior now!

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My youngest is in various co-ops. Here are their first day of school pictures.

It was a fast week that flew by and my head was still spinning. But, we jumped back on the boat on Saturday and headed offshore to red snapper.

On the way out to the grounds, we saw numerous large pods of bait fish.  I love this because it usually means we'll have a good day of fishing.  Below, you can see something crashing through the bait, making them scatter in a line.

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The camera does not like photographing things deep in the water but I tried.  You see the lighter color below is a school of bait.  We never did see what was attacking them.  We heard on the radio other folks say it was bonito.

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We went to our first 2-3 spots we had in mind. They were loaded up with boats, boats and more boats.
Below is our "secret" vermillion snapper & porgy hole.  Not so secret, eh?
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We were discouraged.  No lines in the water.  Storm clouds building.  No fish in the box except a porgy and a black sea bass.

We were so blessed when Jack's friend & coworker heard us when we hailed his boat's name.  We met him at a mid-point and he lead us to a wreck, which shall remain nameless here.  We had never heard of it before nor did we find it on the map.  Obviously, some of the good captains knew about it because we were not alone.  But, we were very thankful for the tip and then they left us.  They already had their limit and were continuing to look for Grouper now.

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Like I said, we weren't alone.  Several of us were making the drift past broken up wreckage below.  I don't even know if we were on the wreck or slightly off, but my pole bowed over and nearly came out of my hands.  It was game-on.  Normally when this happens to me, the big fish rock up and I'm done, but not today.  I kept reeling.  At one point, my arms were so tired that I was afraid of losing everything.  I tried my son's trick from when he was a little guy pulling up these big fish.  I sat on the pole.  Now, it can be dangerous, so we use it as a last measure, but yeah, I put it there so my one hand could hold the pole (sometimes both) and the other could reel.  I'm just not strong enough to keep it tucked in under the arm like most men.

I reeled and reeled.  It kept taking line and Jack was coaching me with the drag setting.  Tighten it.  Now loosen it.  Don't lose the fish.  Do you want me to take the pole.  "NO!!"  Finally, I guess s/he could no longer fight the pressure changes and settled down long enough for me to get it to the boat.  I was so happy I could not contain my big mouth.  Hooting.  Hollering.  Once I had it in my hands, I raised it up over my head and all the boats around me who had been watching the battle shouted with me.  Victory.

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In the end, SAFMC said she was only about 13 lbs but it sure did fight more like 20!  Total length was 28" and we donated the ear bones to research.

So, continuing on, now all the boats were over where we were and so fishing became more tricky.  Plus, storm clouds were connecting into huge fronts and heading right for us with lightening to boot.  Jack managed to pull in a small but legal red grouper.  Awesome.  Now we had 4 species in the ice box.  (I did take a picture but my camera only recorded part of the pic and so the fish part is missing. Boo.)  

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We put another porgy and blk sea bass in the boat.  Sharks found us.  One after another.  Then had to start running in.

The line at the docks was crazy.  People cutting past me.  A wife abandoned her hubby's truck when she could not back it down the ramp straight.  Abandoned.  I wanted to jump over and fix it but another man beat me to it.  In the end, we were all loaded and done with the research part when we got in the truck and the storm finally caught up with us.  Perfect timing.  Freshwater rinse for the drive home.

I'm really sad my guys didn't get to share in the experience with their own red snappers but I was thrilled that I finally had my big fish for the year.  I don't get many opportunities for it.

Happy Fishing & hope everyone had a productive Red Snapper Season.

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