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Grocery Fishing!

The Palm Beaches to Key Largo

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Grocery Fishing!

Postby The BEAST » Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:43 am

Sunday afternoon, our normal fun crew decided to go on a little excursion to try and cash in on some of the good edibles being caught. We were looking for Dolphin and Blackfin Tuna. Amy and Devon (my daughter & son-in-law/mate), Missy (my daughter), Uncle Al (Devon’s uncle/my friend), and myself, all met at the slip at 1:00 PM. Our plan was to do some grocery fishing and then when the sun set, head over and scout out the Cubera’s to see if they were ready yet.

We took our leisurely time loading up and at 1:30 we turned the snarling BEAST out. We made our way to bait stop #1 and loaded up on Hardtails. I reset the throttles once again to cruise and the snarling turned into a purr as The BEAST set into a smooth gallop towards bait stop #2. We arrived and dropped the chum bag and the Speedos, Ballyhoo, and host of others found the slick in short order. The B’hoo were not so easy with the sun directly overhead but we managed to get 2 dozen or so along with some Speedos. With the wells teaming with fresh bait we made our way offshore. I pulled up just off the edge contemplating a start there, for Blackfin. We set out the riggers and I noticed a prominent color break not too far offshore. I powered up and in a minute reached the color line. WOW! It was so distinct it looked like a segment out of Offshore Handbook 101. We set up shop and it didn’t take long.

First up were some “schoolie” Dolphin with the nod going to a rigged squid as it was being put out for the center rigger. That was quick, but a bit too small, though! Well, if we can’t eyeball the fish and need to make sure by measuring it, we consider it too small. Devon and Uncle Al were working some speed jigs during the interim and I hear the telltale, “Ugh“ sound from Devon. Devon works his fish to the boat and, yes sir, it’s a nice 12# Blackie.


Then my Penn electric downrigger takes a crap for the umpteenth time. Not to be deterred, we put a weighted line down. The action was on again with “schoolie” Dolphin! Suddenly, I noticed the down rod start to bend over and I jumped on it. The big guy scores a 20# cow.


We continued on, hanging tight to this area. The action was slow enough to allow conversation and laughs, yet fast enough to curtail the offshore boredom that can occur. Uncle Al, Devon, and Amy each jigged up a Blackfin in the football size. Sashimi or seared… they were destined for soy and wasabi on the table.


The time is passing into late afternoon and the sun is trying to make the horizon. The Dolphin kept sweeping through in waves and a Hardtail on the down rod gets toasted by a big Caribbean Spotted Mackerel (Cuda). Missy was our designated Dolphin catcher.


Out of Bally’s now, we decided to start the Cubera hunt. I pushed the levers down and made the cruise to our favorites spots. Still a bit early when we arrived so we made a short run to a Mutton spot. Nothing much was happening. Uncle Al put down this lime green/chartreuse monstrosity with a Dolphin belly strip on it, that we named the “green hand grenade“. We ribbed him about that rig, on his beat up old spinning rod, for a drift or two. Third drift and you hear Al muttering “Uh, uh, c’mon… FISH ON!” We laughed until our sides were splitting and imagined a big Black Grouper coming up on the green hand grenade. Not quite, it turns out to be a 20# wreck donkey. I couldn’t resist jumping in the picture and holding up the “bomb”! Al released the Amberjack.


Getting dark now, we set up, for the Big Snapper’s. The current was strong through the area and the drifts were quick. The darker it got the more the sonar is lighting up. Got to be Cuberas but they aren’t biting anything. Matter of fact, nothing is biting at all, except 2 or 3 more Cuda cut offs. As the night progresses it appears the conditions are just not right and possibly a bit too early. Enough is enough, and we pulled the plug on the trip and pointed The BEAST toward the barn. I guess we’ll have to wait a few more weeks until the fish want to play.

Capt. Jim
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