Snappers are Snappin’ in Summerland Key!!

I love this time of year!! There is lobster diving during the day and tons of snapper in the evening. It’s too hot?? No problem. Spend your day in the water….or go out fishing when the sun goes down. Need to fish in the daytime? No problem. You can fill a cooler by 10am and finish your day by taking a dip in the pristine waters off of Looe Key or one of the other Maritime parks we have located near us in the Lower Keys. No matter what time of trip you want you have some goodies to choose from here in the world famous Lower Florida Keys!!

On one recent trip we did a split trip option…..which is where we go out for a half day trip, come back to the dock and the customers get a chance to go get a bite and/or a nap and shower, and then we meet up later to head back out for some more fun!! We started off taking advantage of the incoming tide to go lobster hunting on the Gulf side of the Keys. We arrived to the grounds to find a lot of boats(it is opening week so we kind of expected that) but some openings that we could see. We started out drifting over some nice ledgy areas, but with the heavy fishing pressure over the previous several days, the pickings were slim. We ended up catching about 30 lobster or so but only a handful were keepers. Oh well. Everybody had a great time and there was enough lobster to make a couple of meals for my crew. We got back to the dock about 1pm and the decision was made to meet back up at 6pm for an afternoon/evening snapper trip.

6pm arrives and we load our stuff into the Triton and point our nose South East towards the snapper grounds. Armed with a well full of beautiful pinfish, a cooler full of ballyhoo and chum blocks, we were ready to catch some fish!! We arrive at the first area and it’s looking good. We set up, deploy a chum bag, and start drifting lines back in as natural a presentation as possible. It didn’t take long for us to start to catch fish, but they were mostly small Yellow Tail Snapper. Some were legal, but you can’t get much meat off of a 12″ fish. So as the sun was setting we made a move to another area I like about 2 miles away. Again we show up, again it looks fishy, and again we set up and deploy a chum bag. It doesn’t take long for us to realize that we made a good decision to move because the chum slick is full of juvenile mangrove snapper. Our goal was to try and target the larger snapper holding under the smaller fish so we loaded up the 5000 series gear and started floating back live baits towards the waiting fish. We started getting bit almost instantly and it was nonstop catching for the next 2hrs. We didn’t slaughter them, but we had a solid 2lb average on the Mangroves with a few nice fish that ran us into the rocks. We fished until we ran out of livies and then headed to the barn. All in all it was a great day with a great crew and plenty of groceries to go around. Did I mention I love this time of year in the Lower Keys?!?

Until next time, Tight Lines!

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End of June Fishing Summerland Key Style!!

The past week has been a great time fishing here in the lower keys. We had several days of good spear fishing(and lobster scouting too for that matter) as well as some stellar days offshore. I want to tell you the story of a quick afternoon/night trip that we did the other evening.

The day started out by meeting at the dock at 5pm. With some of our guests showing up a little later than expected, we didn’t leave the dock until 5:45ish. The first stop was to fish the pinfish traps, and armed with a livewell full of assorted sizes of live baits, we pointed the nose of the Triton towards open waters. Our first stop was a spot just off of the reef in 75′ of water. The bottom looked really nice so we set up and deployed the chum bag. It didn’t take long before nice sized yellowtails started coming in over the rails and the yeti started looking respectable. We stayed there for another hour, but with a slow bottom bite and the yellowtails getting smaller, we made a move to another spot I had about a 1/2 mile to the east. I pulled up and started marking good fish so we repeated the setup process. But, after the chum started working, I realized that the fish that I had been marking were hundreds and hundreds of undersized yellowtails. So, just as the sun was setting, we pushed off to the north about 300yds into a spot I like in 75′. This last moved proved to be a good one!

Over the next 2hrs we lost our share of solid fish, including a few to the sharks, but we landed some really nice ones too. The highlights were rock hind, several solid mangrove snappers, and a really nice mutton that came on the lightest rod on the boat! We were drifting live and/or dead baits down into the slick and picked our way towards a really nice box of fish. There is something very cool about catching big, hard-pulling fish on relatively light tackle! We gave it up when the wind started picking up a little and ended our night with a comfortable cruise back into Summerland Key. The end result was 9 bags of filets in 4hrs of fishing!! Not to bad for a 1/2 day trip. Until next time, Tight Lines!

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Lower Keys Reef Fishing at it’s Finest!! 5/2-5/6

It’s been a busy week here despite the busted weather.  Something is wrong when you get excited about 15knt winds and 3-4′ seas.  But, that’s just the way it roles sometimes.  Had several trips this past week but I’m going to run you through one of our days on the beautiful waters here in Summerland Key.

The day started out with George and LeeAnn meeting me here at the dock at the crack of dawn and by safe light we were motoring out of my canal.  After a quick stop to unload one of my pinfish traps we were heading towards open water.  Well, let me tell you that the forcasted 10knt wind and 2-3′ was a little off.  We were greated with 4-5’s and a gusty 20knt NW wind.  But, with some hearty souls on board, we made our way out(albeit slowly) to the reef.  First pass over the reef had us marking good fish.  We drifted once to see how the boat was going to track and then we ran back above the reef and dropped the hook.  First time was the charm because when the boat nosed up into the current we were only 30′ or so from our mark.  I shut the motor off and got out the chum bags.

Whenever I go out reef fishing down here I take at least 4 blocks of chum.  Chum is the life blood of reef fishing here in the Lower Keys and you can never have too much of it.  I always start with 2 blocks out and maybe even toss in some oats as well…..this gets the fishing going right off the bat!!  Toss in a few majua as sprinkle baits and the big fish aren’t far behind. 

After giving the chum a few minutes to work we started freelining baits back into the slick using 3000 series Penn Clashes paired to Memory Stix 773’s.  Add in 20lb power pro spliced to 20lb floro and you have a stick that can handle even the biggest flags.  And flags we found!!  We started catching 18+” yellowtails on our very first baits.  First LeeAnn gets a solid fish and then George joins the party.  LeeAnn then gets the next 3 fish while George missed a fish or 2.  And then, the problems showed up.  Remoras, sharks, file fish…..all kinds of bait and fish stealers!!  This made it a challenge but they stuck with it and kept a steady stream of fish coming over the rails of the Triton.  At one point, when the yellow tailing slowed down, George dropped a big live bait to the bottom.  Well, that bait never had a chance because as soon as it got near the reef a solid 33″ black grouper inhaled it.  A short fight later and into the cooler he goes.  Then those sharks really start kicking in.  Next grouper up gets eaten.  Then George looses a nice yellowtail to a shark.  LeeAnn, not to be outdone, loses 2 or 3 fish herself to the man in the grey suit.  All in all we ended up feeding the sharks 4 grouper and several nice yellowtail.  Oh well, that’s the price you pay somedays. 

With sore shoulders and full coolers to go around, we pulled lines and headed to calmer waters to do some snorkeling.  We stopped in the protected waters off of Little Palm Island and LeeAnn and George had a great time watching groupers, snappers, angel fish, parrot fish, and other assorted critters swimming around the coral heads.  It was a great way to cap off an awesome day!!  We were back to the dock by 1.  Now that is a solid 3/4 day trip in my opinion!

Until next time, Tight Lines!

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road all the way to the Lower Keys!!

Well, I had the day off today so I gave a call to Capt. Marcus of Hot Rod Charters up in Big Pine and we headed out to the reef to enjoy guides day off.  First spot was a nice area of the reef where I had caught good grouper at before.  There was a little life down on the rocks so we set out the anchor and started chumming.  The goal for the day was to scout some ground for the opening day of grouper season on May 1st.  Well, after an hour on that spot with only a handful of Bonitas and 1 yellowtail to show for our trouble, we decided to make a move. 

We crossed the reef again and headed back into Hawks channel to see if the coral heads were still holding the grouper they were last week.  But, with zero current and gin clear water, the bite was extremely tough.   We strung together a decent stringer of small fish and picked up and headed back out deeper. 

My goal had been to scout a few spots I had, but with the weather finally being nice, there were a lot of other boats out there today.   And, not wanting to crowd anybody, we ended up fishing in the same general area we had started the day in.  Again…..we set the anchor.  Again…..the reef looked good.  Again….we put out the chum block.  But, this time, we flat filled the boat with Yellow Tail with an 18″ average.  You see, when the snapper come up to the top the way they did today, we call it “the yellow brick road”.  There is no sweeter sight in the Keys! We added a nice grey trigger, a couple more bonita, broke off what I think were 2 grouper(I’ll be back for you!!), and even fed a few to a very aggressive bull shark that decided our boat resembled a buffet line. 

We ended the day by checking out some shallow areas that will be hotspots as the mangrove snappers make their move offshore for the spawn.  But, the fish weren’t there yet.  After catching 3 grunts we called it a day.  And, even with all of that, we still hit the dock before noon.  We both had a nice cold beer while cleaning fish and we went our separate ways with 2 bags of some of the finest eating on the planet.  Not too bad for an impromptu trip with a  buddy!!  You have got to love Summerland Key this time of year….and it’s only going to get better over the next 3 months! 

Until next time, tight lines!!



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End of February Charter Fishing in Summerland Key!!

I had the pleasure of having Derek and Lacey on board for 3 days of fishing and snorkeling in and around Summerland Key located at the mid-point in the beautiful Lower Keys. Our first trip was a half-day afternoon excursion out to Looe Key to sample some of the best snorkeling opportunities in the country! Despite the “chilly” wintertime water(76 degrees), these Oklahoma natives had a great time getting up close and personal with the abundant sea life found in the protected waters of Looe key. After everybody was safely back on board we headed to some good bottom fishing areas and deployed the chum bag. Lacey didn’t even need the chum because her first drop down resulted in a what would have been keeper red grouper had the season been open. The next bait down results in a just undersized black grouper, and then some 16-17″ mutton snapper. By this time the chum slick is rolling and Derek hooks into something with weight and up pops and 8lb mutton snapper!! A few small(but keeper) yellow tails join their mutton cousin in the yeti in between catches of grouper, sharks, and many just too short muttons. About this time the bait fish have found our chum slick so I tell Dereck to cast a Mucho Minnow back there and see what might want to chew. Well, it didn’t take long for a freight train to decide he liked the way that minnow was moving! Something with some shoulders smashed that plug and started heading towards the Tortugas. 3 trips around the boat and some serious up and down fighting later, a 28# jack hits the net. I said it in my last post but I will say it again, these things will put ALL of your tackle to the test!! About this time the sun is setting, the cooler has got some nice eats in it, and Derek was pretty much done after that arm crushing jack, so we headed to the barn.

Monday greeted us with some stiff 20+mph East winds…..not the best for fishing. But, because of the unique waters of the Lower Keys and Summerland Key in particular, there are plenty of secluded, wind protected areas to go have some fun!! We started the day on a flat I like to fish for some toothy barracudas. With tube lures tied on all around we let the wind “drift” us down the flat. First in on the action was Lacey(again) with a large hit followed by that little Penn 2500 reel getting SMOKED!! Several jumps and line screaming runs later, a close to 20lb barracuda hits the net. Now, we don’t usually keep these things, but for today they were going to play a role in the next phase of our fishing so into the cooler it went. Not to be outdone, Derek gets a line screamer of his own and he brings his own cuda on board for a photo op. But, unlike Lacey, Derek decides to lean in for a kiss with his new fishy friend. Lacey wasn’t so much jealous of the kiss as she was worried that he was going to come back without some lips!! But, the relationship between man and cuda took sour turn when Derek released her into the Yeti. After we drifted the same flat twice…..while catching 7 more smaller cudas and losing another full grown model….we headed North in search of bigger game. We posted up on a fishy looking flat and deployed the powerpole. Now is when our cuda friends were going to earn their keep. I butterflied the biggest one and hung him over the side on rope. The smaller one I cut into chunks and added the carcass to the same rope as her bigger brother. Well, it didn’t take long for the sharks to show up. Lacey, yielding her place as the first fish catcher, let Derek throw the first bait out. Well, it took about 30 seconds for a Lemon Shark in the 5′ class to inhale his bait and it was off to the races. For those of you who have never done this kind of fishing I’m here to tell you it’s a blast!! Crystal clear water, big fish, aggressive strikes, and blistering runs will make anybody’s adrenaline kick into overdrive!! After a boatside release of Derek’s Lemon, Lacey put out a bait and was hooked up within seconds. But, unlike Derek’s shark, Lacey’s was a Bull Shark in the 6′ range. Again, blistering runs, 1 jump, and a heart pounding charge at the boat made this type of fishing a highlight of the trip! After a quick boatside photo op, Mr. Bull went back to patrolling the flats. Having caught all the big fish they could handle we went in search of some food for the table. We ran farther into the backcountry and started fishing some deep grass flats. We spent the next 2 hours catching a mixed bag of mutton snapper, mangrove snapper, jacks, ladyfish, and a boat limit of some beautiful trout….all on MirrOlure Lil’ John soft plastics. Derek though couldn’t get away from the sharks and had a real surprise when an 9′ Bull Shark breached on the trout he was fighting. It was too bad about the trout but the show the shark put on was one for the books!! By this time we had done 3 different fisheries and found success at all 3. Again, with a cooler full of good eats and everybody with sore arms, we headed back to the dock with plans to meet for a half day trip the following morning.

The next day greeted us with even worse conditions…..25-30mph winds. With the ocean side not even an option we headed north into the backcountry. First stop was the trout grounds where we caught tons of ladyfish and jacks, but only 2 keeper trout. With a back to the dock time of noon we pushed on to find better fishing. We cleared the last key leading out into the gulf and set up on some rocks in 18′ of water. Fish started quickly coming into the boat with catches of yellow tail, mutton, and lane snappers, red and gag grouper, and grunts. We had fun catching many additions to the cooler over the next hour before the sharks moved in so thick that no bait lasted longer than 10 seconds without one of those toothy critters picking it up. With the day coming to an end we made one pass by the cuda flats from the day before, and with 3 bites and no takers, we called it quits.

In 1 full day of fishing and 2 half day trips we fished 5 different fisheries and got to do some world class snorkeling. People ask me why I moved down here and this post says it all!!

Until next time….Tight Lines!

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Winter Time Fishing in Summerland Key!! January 2017

Well, we finally completed the move down here to Summerland Key during the first week of January.  For those of you who don’t know Summerland is located equal distance(about 30mins) from both Marathon Key and Key West.   Being centrally located in the Lower Keys, Summerland is one of the fishiest places I’ve ever had the pleasure of casting a line!   I can be in blue water 6 miles from my dock or I can be in the backcountry in half of that.   Having the choices that we have here allows for a wide range of fishing opportunities….as you will see from the pictures!

One of the best things about this area is the variety you can encounter on any given day.  Have calm winds?  Head out to the Atlantic side to fish the reef for an assortment of groupers and snappers, king mackerel, and various members of the tuna family.  Winds are howling?  Head to the backcountry for trout, mangrove snapper, mackerel, sharks, and Barracuda. 

I’m just going to walk you through one particular day we had about a week ago.  I was busy that morning so the only option we had was a quick afternoon trip.  My buddy Danilo met me at my dock around 3pm and we headed out to the reef to take advantage of the nice weather and calm seas.  Because we didn’t have much time we elected to stay shallow and fish structure in Hawks channel.  We picked a spot that I had marked but never fished before and set out a chum block.   We gave it a minute for the chum to start working and then started sending baits back in the slick.  Armed with a well full of pinfish and a cooler full of various dead bait we were prepared for anything.  One of Danilo’s first baits back was quickly inhaled by a nice quality Mutton Snapper.  Dinner mission accomplished!!  After that was some keeper, albeit small, mangrove snapper.  Then a good thump on a live pinfish turns into a serious tug of war with a keeper, albeit out of season, black grouper.   A couple more just undersized mutton snappers hit the deck along with a 4′ moray eel that couldn’t resist my pinfish on a knocker rig.  Then we started getting cut off….almost as soon as the baits hit the water.  Curious as to what toothy critter was out there eating our gear, I threw a Guides Secret Mucho Minnow on my 5000 series Penn Battle II and casted it back into the slick.  I engage the reel and almost had the rod yanked out of my hand in the same instant!!  A few minutes and one lap around the boat later a 20lb king hits the gaff.  After that it was nothing but pandemonium on the Triton as cast after cast resulted in 20lb schoolie kings on the Mucho.  We quickly caught our limit and, with a box full of goodies and the sun setting, we headed back to the dock.  Total time from pulling away and pulling back into the dock was under 3 hours.  Got to love wintertime fishing in the Florida Keys!!

Until next time….Tight Lines!!

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1 Brown, 2 Red, and 3 Grey-Last of May to the First of June

Ok, so that title is a little weird but after you’ve been writing these for a while it’s hard to come up with good ideas all the time.

Over the last few weeks the fishing has been good all over the spectrum.  My wife and I returned from an anniversary trip on May 15th and I went right to work that afternoon.  Had some good trips over the next 4 days or so that included snook, reds, trout, jacks, and flounder all caught on artificials.  The week after that was mostly offshore with many, many red snapper, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, some really nice triggerfish, and one mahi that I failed to get a good pic of.  Then it was back inshore for 2 trips to catch a late season slot snook along with a few jumbo reds and jacks before going back offshore for a repeat of the previous week.  After being shut down for 3 days because of rain and wind, I am about to start up a really busy rest of June.  By the way, the one brown is flounder…..the 2 red are American Red Snapper and Redfish…..and the 3 grey are Gag “grey” grouper, Grey Trigger fish, and Mangrove “grey” snapper.

This time of year is great for fishing because of mostly moderate temperatures and calm seas.  I spend the majority of June and July out of the sight of land and hope to keep up that pattern this year.  If’ you’re interested in going offshore it is hard to beat the next 2 months here on the Treasure Coast.

I’m really sorry if you’ve called or emailed me about trips recently….I’ve just been so busy that I don’t have the days available that I usually have.  Please keep calling and we’ll get out there sooner or later!  Until then, Tight Lines!


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Shallow water snapper fishing!!

This is one of my favorite types of fishing to do here on the treasure coast.  The best part of this kind of fishing is that you can fill a cooler with some great eating fish!  Add to that you are only using really light gear….2500 series reels spooled with 10lb invisibraid attached to 20lb floro leader …and you are in for a real treat.  For this type of fishing our day usually starts with deploying  a chum block over some nice natural bottom.  After that I like to use small hooks and relatively small baits and present them as naturally as possibly.  And there is nothing like having your line drifting slowly back in the chum slick and then having it just start ripping out through the water.  You close your bail, raise your rod tip, and wait to see what is on the other end.  Sometimes it is a mid sized mangrove snapper that will strip a little drag but are great fights for beginners and experts alike.  Then on the next cast you hook into a fish that peels 30′ of drag instantly and you’re wondering what you could have on the other end.  A few minutes later you can see color down under the boat and then a beautiful mutton snapper glides into the net and then into the cooler.  Over the next few hours you can catch other species of snapper along with margate, sharks, various reef fish, palmetos, and undersized AJs.  It’s fun, fast paced fishing that the whole family can enjoy!



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Sebastian Cobia Madness!!

I met William and Jerry at my usual ramp located near the intersection of US1 and Hwy512 at 6:15am.  I had frozen bait and chum in the cooler, and our first stop of the day was going to be for some live bait.  We break the inlet to some beautiful conditions and make quick work of filling the livewell with an assortment of pinfish, pigfish, grunts, and bluerunners.  After that we made our way offshore to some good structure in 90′ of water.  The fishing was kind of slow at the first few spots with only a large throwback Red Snapper and some beeliners to show for it.  Then at spot #4 things change a little.  I hadn’t planned on stopping at that spot but we ran over it on the way to another location and it looked fishey so we gave it a try.  The first 5 minutes or so were like the other place and then it changed in a hurry.  My big rod gets hammered and it’s a nice fish.  At the same time Jerry, while using lighter tackle and a chicken rig, gets tight on a nice one as well.  My fish turns into a nice cobia that came off the bottom in 90′ while Jerry’s turns into one of my favorite fish to eat….a grey trigger!!  After that we deployed the chum bag and it was on for the next 2hrs.

Jerry continued to catch some fish on his chicken rig, but on one drop the line went slack half way down.  He comes tight, sets the hook, and soon sees that he caught a remora on the way to the bottom.  But, when Jerry reels that remora in, he didn’t come alone….he brought half a dozen cobia up with him!  I already had a jig tied on a medium/heavy action spinner so William chucks it out there and is rewarded with an instant hook up!!  After landing that fish and a few other triggers things were slowing down a little.  I was marking what I thought could be mangrove snapper under the boat so I floated a squid back on light tackle to see what they were.  It didn’t take me long to hook up and when I did it was another cobia!!  Only problem was that I was using a 2500 series Battle II with 10lb braid and 15lb floro for leader so it took me way longer to land that fish than I wanted.  But, land it we did and into the cooler it went.

After this is when things got really interesting.  We look over the side and see not 1 but 3 giant bull sharks all in the 400+lb club circling just under the boat.  That’s the bad news.  The good news was that they were covered up in cobia!!  Over the next hour we had multiple hookups with undersized or just legal cobia…all on artificials.  Every fish turned into a pressure filled fight to try and keep them away from the hungry Bulls.  We succeeded for the most part but still lost 2 cobia to the tax man.  One of the highlights was when I floated a squid back in the chum slick and hooked a good sized bonita.  Now I know most of us think that bonita is terrible eating, but I can tell you that those sharks don’t agree!  All 3 of them were chasing that fish all around the boat in their best interpretation of a fat guy during last call at the buffet.  One of the Bulls actually broached in his zeal and got my pretty wet when his tail slapped the water.  But, alas, it was not to be.  That bonita must of had some secret squirrel training because even with 1200lbs of bullshark chasing him he still managed to escape and evade.  I figured that he would want to cool off after that run and he went into the cooler too to be used for bait on my next trip.

The fishing was so hot that Jerry even caught a nice little 8lb king on a naked bucktail ment for a cobia.  That was a first for me.  We ended the day with a  3 man limit of cobia, 5 good sized triggers, that kingfish, and some beeliners.  We left the cobia biting so that we could make it in before the storms hit.  It was a great day with some great people!!


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Nearshore Fishing at it’s finest!! July 2015

We got a surprise this month.  The usual reefs we had been fishing for the last 2 months were all of a sudden devoid of life.  When you dropped a bait down it came back ice cold and even cut squid wasn’t getting touched.  Yes, the upwelling has hit us and hit us earlier and harder than normal.  This upwelling drops bottom temperatures to 50 degrees and completely shuts down the bite.  Well, while a good portion of our deeper offshore fishing wasn’t going to be happening this month, there is always something to fish for here on the Treasure Coast. We switched our focus to shallower water, with lighter lines and a more stealthy approach.   This resulted in great catches of several varieties of snapper including mutton, mangrove, yellowtail, schoolmaster, and lanes.  In deeper water we were catching mahi, kingfish, barracuda, and cobia.  We really did have some great days of fishing over the last several weeks.  And while all my trips are memorable, I want to relate to you the day I had with longtime client John.

John is a retired Command Sergeant Major from the Army who has fished with me maybe 5 or 6 times.  He was supposed to fish that day with his nephew but the nephew had work things to do and couldn’t make it.  So, it was only the 2 of us for what would turn out to be a great day on the water.  We began our day at our usual time of 6am at the Yacht Club Boat ramp right here in Sebastian.   I had a livewell full of bait already and off we went while it was just getting grey to the east.  We broke the inlet at safe light and tu20150724_081756rned the nose of the Triton SE to fairly calm seas.  Our first spot was only about 6 miles from the inlet and it was looking fishy!  After deploying the Minn Kota I-Pilot spotlock as our anchor, I got the game started by putting out a block of chum.   Usually it takes a few minutes for the chum to start doing it’s magic but not on this day.   John floats back a shrimp on a light tackle outfit and we have a drag screamer on almost instantly!!  After 2 or 3 solid runs(where John did a great job keeping the fish out of the rocks) up comes a stud mutton snapper! The next bait back results in break off, but after that comes in one of the biggest Spanish mackerel that I’ve ever seen.  After that was a couple more muttons of the same caliber before John’s line gets hammered.  This fish had half his spool dumped in seconds and was working on the other half by the time I got the boat started and chasing after him.  The fish drug us out deeper and sounded on us after a few long runs.  Close to 20 minutes later up pops a jumbo bonita that gave that little 2500 sized reel all it could handle.  We motored back into our spot and over the next hour or so we caught a total of 4 nice muttons and a few mangroves before the bite just died.

Ok, no problem, it’s plan B time.  We pick up and started heading deeper, trying a few spots on the way but without a whole lot to show for our efforts.   Finally we reach a spot that is marking good fish on the bottom and we prepare to set out the I-Pilot again when I see something out of the corner of my eye.  I stare at the area for a few moments before I figure out what it is….a20150724_121041nd when I do my blood gets pumping big time!  Because what I had seen was a giant manta ray right on the surface!!  And that means only one thing to me…..COBIA!  After some quick re-rigging while John kept an eye on the ray we were in game mode.  This ray had not been pressured at all so he didn’t care that we motored up along side of him and started casting jigs around his head.  The first jig out had 10-15 cobia chasing it down, with the winner being a solid 40lb fish.  John made quick work of that fish and we were back on the hunt.  We found the ray only about 100yds away and John hooks up another cobia on the next cast.  This fish ended up being right at the keeper mark but he went back in the water in search of bigger fish.  And bigger fish we got.  On the next pass on the ray I casted a jig behind the ray in what I thought was a terrible cast.  While I was just reeling it in to take another shot I see a football sized mouth open and inhale my jig.  I yell at John that it’s a stud fish and handed the rod off.  This fish was going to tak20150724_124111e a while and we settled in for a tug of war.  After the first long run where he tried to get back to the shelter of the ray it was mostly a vertical battle with the fish staying just under the boat for over 10 minutes.  But John eventually prevailed and a 53 pounder hits the ice.  Had to bend him in half to make him fit but hit the ice he did.  While I’m trying to pry the hook out of this big fishes face, John said “what’s that?”.  I look over the side and it’s a small manta ray, but there is nothing small about the 30 some odd cobia he had in tow.  I yell to John “It’s a cobia factory!!  Get your line in the water!”.  He opens his bail and drops the jig(not casts….drops) and 5 cobia are on it like a fat kid on a donut.  He clicks his bail over which stops the jig and it’s fish on!  I go over the help John out and soon we have a 30lb fish in the boat to add to the others.   I look up and realize a storm is starting to form so we call it and head it.  Turns out we should have headed in about 5 minutes earlier because it caught us just as we got to the inlet so we had a little bit of wet ride across the river.  But, a little bit of rain didn’t do a thing to diminish the fun that we had on that day.  We were back to the dock by 12 and I now had an hour of fish cleaning to do.  It was definitely one for the books!20150724_123905