Father's Day

2018.

Hello everyone.  I know, I know, it has been a very long time since I've created a fishing blog post.  My apologies for that.  As an excuse, I'll say that my software company has grown quickly from 15 people to 35 people and I'm in the process of moving from a 2000 sq ft building to purchasing a 12,000 sq ft building.  In addition to that, we have already had one tropical storm pass through Tallahassee and we have been having some serious afternoon thunderstorms.  What drops out in the schedule?  Well, offshore fishing, unfortunately.

But as I write this, today is Father's Day and just for today - thank you God - the weatherman is calling for less clouds, less thunderstorms and less wind.  Now the best part?  Well, for me, perhaps not for him, is that Cameron is coming over from Jacksonville to fish.  Normally, that wouldn't be a big deal, but Cameron, in addition to keeping his grades up at UNF, is also working part-time as a bar-back at a night-club called Myth.  He works until 4 am.  Then, bless his little heart, he intends to drive from Jacksonville at 4 am arriving in Panacea, Florida at the dock at 8 am so he can fish with his Dad for Father's Day.  What a great kid!  Oh, to be young again.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

On the boat today for Father's Day is yours truly (somebody's gotta drive the boat), Cameron (he made it safely, btw), Tommy, Mike (Tommy's younger brother who has never been offshore fishing), and Tommy's Dad (Tom).  Two of them have fished with me before.  Tom has agreed to be our official picture-taker for the day.  Thanks Tom!

Fortunately, as I said earlier, Cameron makes it safely and we leave the dock around 8 am.  Sure enough, the seas are pretty smooth out here.  We stop to check my bait traps at the end of the channel.  Full of live bait!  Gotta love that.  Live bait is always preferred.  We pick up the bait traps and head 7 miles offshore to the bait grounds and re-drop them there.  Unfortunately, the ropes I have for them appear to be too short and the buoys are just below the water surface.  I waypoint them, but I may regret that decision as I may never find them again if they move due to the tide - which they probably will.  I am only dropping them out here because my buddies and I are fishing offshore again the week of July 4.  Why didn't I leave them at the end of the channel?  That was dumb.  Anyway, time to head offshore towards to V Tower.

Oh, I didn't tell you yet, we are hunting Red Snapper.  The Trump Administration has increased red snapper season from 3 days (Obama administration) to 43 days.  Thanks Mr. President!  Eight years of a 3-day season was a bit ridiculous.  And yes, that is as political as I will get here.  Time to move on...

On the way out, and before we reach K Tower, which is about 22 miles offshore, there is a reef called Oar Reef.  I like to troll over this reef, cause, well, you never know - and I have to pass right over it as I head to V Tower.  Within 3-4 minutes of trolling we catch a decent sized Spanish Mackerel.  Hey, its dinner if everything else fails.  Let's just hope that everything else doesn't fail.

Not too long ago, there was an old salt at Rock Landing marina named Fred.  For a while, he lived on a dilapidated house boat at the dock until a tropical storm took it out.  That guy spent most of his life fishing off the shores of Panacea.  To say that he had a lot of fishing spots would be an understatement.  Irascible at times, but extremely helpful at other times, he, over the years, gave me some of his numbers.  So, the first place we stop is a very small area of his numbers that he gave me - not too far from V Tower.  We are now about 40 miles offshore.  The ride out was VERY easy and the seas were somewhat flat.  In fact, it was kinda creepy because there were times when the water was like ice, with absolutely no wind blowing.  Man, that is weird offshore when it happens - only because it is so rare out there.

We arrive at Fred's waypoint and drop lines.  Immediately, someone, can't remember who, catches a decent size red snapper, then another is caught by someone else, then another, then another.  At one point, we were "tripled up" catching snapper.  Awesome!  These fish are like red ants in your yard.  They are everywhere!  Within 15 minutes we have 5-6 snapper in the boat and at least one red grouper.  We can only catch 10 red snapper (2 per person).  The red grouper is a bonus.  I let the boat drift just a little and within another 30 minutes we have 10 decent-sized red snapper in the boat. 

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

 You did a great job out there today, Mike:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

It is only 11:15 a.m. and officially, we are done fishing - well, for red snapper at least.  We could play the game of trying to catch a larger red snapper and throwing the smaller ones back, but that isn't really fair to the fish as their odds for survival after being brought up are rather slim. 

Umm.  Now what?

V Tower isn't far (2-3 miles away) and we have a live well full of bait fish and the weather is nice.  I ask the boys if they want to head in or keep fishing.  Unanimous... Let's keep fishing!  Okay, let's go have some fun then!

Now imagine that you are a big AmberJack and you live in 100 feet of water.  Its a "dog-eat-dog" world out there.  Well, actually, its a "fish-eat-fish" world out there, but you get the idea.  Imagine that you are swimming around a big tower and you see a helpless little bait fish struggling (a little fish who normally lives in-shore in about 7 feet of water 40 miles away).  You think to yourself, "Self: now that is unusual!"  Then you just can't help yourself, you gotta have it.  Its like candy.  Yep, I'm certain that is what the AJ are thinking.  I speak fish.

Within 2-3 minutes of dropping over our first live bait fish, Wham!  A big AmberJack hits it.  Here are pictures of Tommy with a couple of his:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Now I will be honest, I quickly lose track of who is catching AJs because the boat is going crazy with hits.  I think, at one point, we were "tripled up" with AJs.  It often takes 15-20 minutes to bring in one of these fish - if the line doesn't snap or it doesn't get eaten by a shark..  They are strong, and I would argue that they are one of the strongest fish in the sea - and I have caught a few species in my time.  Except for blue marlin, goliath grouper, and large tuna, these fish, in my opinion, are one of the strongest.  You will NOT win the battle for the first 5 minutes.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Mike:  You should really concentrate on catching the "entire" AJ.  Try and reel faster than the sharks swim:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Now imagine that you are a big-a**, mean shark.  You love eating big AJs.  You see an AJ struggling because, unbeknownst to you, he has a strange, sharp, silver thing in his mouth.  A struggling AJ is like candy to big sharks.  So you eat the AJ (The WHOLE thing).  Oops, you quickly realize that there is a problem.  Now you have something in your mouth that is very sharp and painful.  Did the AJ have braces?  And why is some weird force trying like "h", "e", "double-toothpicks" to get you to the surface?

Tommy always has to catch the biggest fish because he is the best at showing off - and he thinks he is the most photogenic.  What we can't show you is how much he was shaking after he landed this monster.  Sharks are extremely strong, and to make it worse (well, for him at least), Tommy obviously started with an AJ, fought that for 10-15 minutes, then the shark ate the entire AJ, then Tommy had to fight the shark for another 45 minutes.  How do we know his fight started with an AJ?  Well, when we finally released this 7 ft shark, he spit up the entire AJ.  Now, THAT was impressive - and a little gross.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  This is a BIG bull shark.  And bull sharks are strong and mean.  Ain't no way this boy is coming into my boat.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

After about an hour of this madness at V Tower, we decide to call it quits.  We can't keep the AJs anyway as they are closed.

I'm just guessing, but I think the Pescatore boys had a good Father's day offshore fishing together.  You boys look fantastic in those Capt'n Hook shirts, btw:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

I had a great Father's day out on the water also.  Cameron, bless his heart, really needed some sleep. Thank you again son, for joining us.  I know that wasn't easy for you:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Here is a picture of us at the dock with "some" of the fish we caught:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Here is a picture of the family eating some of the fish we caught:


Happy Father's Day, everyone.  Oh, and Lorraine - Happy Birthday.  I am publishing this post on your actual birthday so I hope you are enjoying it with a cup of coffee or a glass of white wine.  I figure the odds of one of those beverages being in your hand while you read this are extremely high.

Thanks for reading, everyone.



Kids and Fishing

Capt'n Hook

March, 2018

I like to read a variety of boating and fishing magazines. Who would have guessed, right? Somehow or another, these magazines have found me as they continue to send me free issues.  I'm really not sure what I have done to warrant free magazines, but hey, I like free stuff.  In fact, my two favorite types of beer are: free and cold.

In one of the articles in this month's magazine of  Power & MotorYacht, the publisher, Daniel Harding Jr, talks about the dearth of young people who fish.  Apparently, only old guys (like me) are fishing. According to the article's author, most young people aren't getting outside as much and tend to spend more time inside with their phones and video games.  Since I have children of my own, it is very difficult for me to argue with that logic. The author challenged us old guys to make an effort to take these "outdoor-challenged" kids out fishing.

So a few months ago, when a friend of mine from volleyball, Dave, called me and said his teenage daughter really wanted to go offshore fishing, I was more than happy to schedule a special trip for them.  Her 16th birthday was in March, thus we selected a March weekend for our trip.  March tends to be windy out there, so the odds were against us to succeed.  Nonetheless, we picked a weekend and hoped for the best.  That weekend was last weekend.

Sam brought SJ ("Sam Jr - who has grown a foot since last year"), so I had crew members to assist.  It is always nice to have experienced crew on the boat.

We left the dock promptly at 8 a.m.  Forecast was sunny and calling for 2-3 ft seas.  Not bad.  I have learned from experience though that I should double the sea forecast.  So I am actually expecting seas between 4-6 ft.  Trust me - this practice is more accurate then not.  Our destination:  V Tower - 42 miles offshore.  Absolutely EVERY DAMN SPECIES is closed, so we can't keep a single fish we catch.  (Don't get me started) on the ridiculous fish rules.

On the way out, I decided to do a quick run across Oar Reef since we go right over it anyway.  We are only trolling for about two minutes, when the birthday girl "Meagan" catches this nice gag grouper:

Capt'n Hook
26 inches.  Great looking fish.  Man, that would make an excellent dinner!  (Don't get me started).  Back in he goes.

We keep heading farther offshore.  An hour later, we reach V Tower.  There is one other boat out here - so we do have company.  They seem to be having fun catching fish also knowing that they can't keep anything.  Well, at least I am assuming they aren't keeping anything.  I'm not sure everyone plays by the rules.  Still, the fines for NOT playing by the rules are pretty steep - steeper for me as I would lose my license.  We watch them throw back all the snapper and Amberjack they catch.  So apparently, they are also playing by the messed-up rules. (Don't get me started)

For the first 20 minutes, we don't catch anything.  This is frustrating since the boat quite near us is catching fish.  Since I have now fished V Tower numerous times, I actually do have a favorite "spot" near the tower.  It isn't far from where we are fishing, probably only 75 yards, but nonetheless, I decide to drift over there.  We start fishing again.

Um, yeah.  For the next couple of hours, we kill it.  First up, some small snappers, groupers and AmberJacks.  We don't take pictures of every single fish, but here are a few:

Capt'n Hook
 Samia with a nice, small AmberJack. 
(I called her "CE"/ pronounced SEE cause she has such cool eyes - get it?)

Capt'n Hook
 SJ with a nice red snapper . We caught LOTS of those.  They are everywhere.

Capt'n Hook
 Oh, we caught more Gag Groupers also.  Here is smiling Sasha with a small and colorful one. 
(I called her Sasha cause that is her name).

Capt'n Hook
CE with another AmberJack. 
I should also mention that she was the best-dressed on the boat as her "matching fishing ensemble" was quite impressive.

Capt'n Hook
Red Snapper for everyone.  Sam doesn't like them looking at him.  No CE ums. :-)

Sam, as always, does a wonderful job all day helping the kids/teenagers and instructing.  I can't thank him enough for being such a great friend and crew member.

Back in the Gulf they ALL go.  (Don't get me started.)

Everyone is having a great time catching fish snapper and gag grouper.  Then things get a little more interesting.  Drum roll, please.  

The birthday girl catches the biggest AmberJack that has ever been on my boat - and I have had a LOT of AmberJack on my vessel.  We measured it at 39 inches.  That is a big damn AmberJack.  I didn't time her, but it took her at least twenty minutes to get this monster into the boat.  Bless her heart, she was so exhausted from bringing this fish in that she was shaking like a leaf as she tried to hold it up.  Here it is:

Capt'n Hook
Happy Birthday Meagan!  Nice fish dear.  35 pounds.  I hope you get this picture framed.  If you do, make sure you also use the Capt'n Hook logo! :-)  Sorry, no, we don't get to keep him.  Back in he goes.  (Don't get me started.)

Now I have bad news for the birthday girl.  It, apparently, is Sasha's turn.   Just a few minutes after Meagan brings in her huge Amber and although Sasha did not fight this fish quite as long as Meagan did, I have analyzed the photos and I know that this fish was 40 inches at 40 pounds.  Um, very sorry, but this is now the LARGEST AmberJack on the Capt'n Hook vessel:

Capt'n Hook
Monster AmberJack!

As you can see, even Sam is having trouble holding on to this whale of a fish - and he is a Marine.  This fish is a MONSTER!  40 pounds.  So sorry birthday girl, but Sasha currently holds the record for bringing in the largest AmberJack.  But hey, who is counting right?!  Personally, I am not very competitive.  I don't care WHO wins when I compete.  :-).  Stop rolling your eyes Cameron!  I can hear you do it even though you are reading this in Jacksonville.

Nice job cutting his tail off in this picture - Dave!  Although getting V Tower in the background is a nice touch.  Also glad you got both Sam and Sasha in it.

We continue fishing (and catching) for a while and Sam continues to assist and instruct.  (You can see in the background that Sasha has another fish on):

Capt'n Hook


Capt'n Hook
SJ with a nice AmberJack.  Back in he goes.  (Don't get me started)

Capt'n Hook
Meagan fighting her big AmberJack - or possibly some other large fish.  She was a busy girl.

The last story I will share with you:

Sam gets a Goliath Grouper on his line.  How do I/we know?  Well, because he has caught a couple of them at V Tower now.  We can tell because unlike AmberJack who race all over the place and snapper who are much smaller, Goliath just sit on the bottom for the first 30 minutes and refuse to move.  Bringing them up is like bringing up a barge. He fights it for about 20 minutes, makes almost no progress with getting this ancient fish off the sea bottom.  After 20 minutes, tension eases and he is able to reel.  He reels very quickly.  No Goliath, but in comes a huge red Snapper.  He and I look at each other.  WTF?  Then we both figure it out simultaneously when we see that most of the snapper's scales are missing. The Goliath had the red snapper in his mouth and simply held onto it in it's mouth for 20 minutes.  When it got tired of playing with Sam, it simply spit it out.  Normally, I would say that Sam would be disappointed but as he had another 50-60 minutes of severe back strain ahead of him, I'm pretty sure he wasn't exactly devastated to lose the Goliath.  That is now the 4th Goliath we have had on the line at V Tower.  They really should consider opening this species up to limited fishing - but they won't. (don't get me started.)

Bottom line:  As intended, it was LOTS of fun catching big fish for a few hours, but the winds have really picked up now.  Seas are now a solid 4 ft with crashing white caps.  Time to head back to the marina.

We troll away from V Tower and take a few more pictures:

Capt'n Hook
The Captain apparently trying to look serious.  I wasn't aware I was being photographed.

Capt'n Hook

This last picture is one of my personal favorites.  (Thanks Dave, btw, for taking all these great photos).  Sam and I simply love to fish; we love being on the water.  He is great with the kids (and all my guests) and like I said, I couldn't ask for a better friend.  I thank God for putting him into my life.  We don't even mind that we are in 5 ft seas.  Our smiles are as genuine as they get - we absolutely love being out here!

We eventually pull in the trolling rods and head back.

Somewhere during the trip, I let SJ drive.  I need to make a mental note to let him do that more often.  Not too sure about the Crimson Tide shirt.  We will need to work on that.

On the way out, I was able to haul-butt at 40 mph, but now I have a following sea and I can only get back in at 28 mph.  How are the teenagers doing?

Capt'n Hook

Capt'n Hook

Um, yeah.  They are all dead asleep.  :-).  If you had any doubts, I can assure you that offshore fishing is exhausting.  Just taking the long ride out and back in rough seas is challenging, but catching HUGE AmberJacks really does you in.  Those fish are strong fighters!  In fact, some of the strongest in the Gulf.   Well, I'm not that tired, I suppose.  I just drive the boat these days.  The teenagers did wake up at least once when we hit a rogue 7-ft wave which crashed over the bow and soaked everyone from bow to stern.  I must admit, that particular wave caught me off-guard.  I didn't see it coming.  It was definitely rough coming back in.  In a smaller vessel, I would have been pretty worried, but in my boat?  Yeah, not so much.  Steering in a following sea can also get challenging as the stern can, and does, broach.  While it definitely did that a few times, fortunately it was only 5-6 ft seas and my boat is very heavy.  That said, I still found steering challenging, and stressful at times.

Capt'n Hook
So glad Dave (our photographer for the day), made it into a photo.

Two hours later, we arrive safely back at the dock.  I thank God each time for that one also.  Time for one last picture (above).  Although we caught over 200 pounds of fish, there are no fish to clean, (don't get me started), but it IS time to have a few beers at Mad Anthony's.

Thank you Dave for my gift certificates signed by you and all the girls.  That was very thoughtful of you.

Once again, another great (and safe) adventure. Happy birthday Meagan.  Get your fish picture framed!  I look forward to my next fishing trip which will be the 2nd week of April.  Well, I am going bass fishing at Lake Cue this weekend, but that doesn't count, right?

See everyone soon.  Thanks for reading.  All three of you.  Actually, 14,170 site page views now.  Man, you three readers are hitting the refresh button - a LOT!

Jackson, when are you coming fishing with me?

Hello Caroline.

Tight lines everyone.

Capt'n Hook

Resolutions


January, 2018

For you crazy, obviously very bored readers who like it when I create LONG posts, you will like this one.  So go grab your cup of coffee and a danish and we will get started.

In regards to the new year, I don't really like the word "Resolution".  It seems a little too daunting.  I do like the word "Goals" though. One of my 2018 goals is to be: "More Adventurous"; especially on the water.  Another goal is to be less inappropriate, but obviously I will never accomplish that in this lifetime.

I don't typically fish much in January or February, and if I/when I do, I usually keep it pretty close to shore for safety reasons.  The weather can change pretty quickly offshore in the winter.  But the forecast for Sunday, Jan 21, looks like this:

  

Bottom line:  71 degrees as the high with 1 to 2 foot seas.  Yeah, I gotta fish. So I sent an email to my growing group of friends to determine who can go with me.  I have about 30 people on that list.  Typically, I get about 3 people who respond with a "Yes".  At least, that is what I was hoping for -  since it IS January.  However, I had about 18 people respond with "Yes".  Holy smokes!  Does everyone have cabin-fever or what?  My apologies to those of you who I had to turn down.  That never happens.  Next time...

And returning to the goal "Adventurous", there is no way I am staying near shore.  We are definitely headed to V Tower which is 45 miles offshore.  Apparently, AmberJack are open for 26 days this year.  Jan 1 - Jan 26.  They were closed for almost ALL of last year.  And, they increased the size to 34" at the tail fork.  Trust me, that is a LARGE AmberJack.  So yes, I understand that "they" are making it almost impossible for us to actually keep a fish, but no matter, we are determined to seek AmberJack at V Tower.

On the boat today are:  Sam, Mike, Ely (Leadership Tallahassee 35 Class), her son "GM" (my nickname for him), Paul, his son Lucas, and Bill Oliver (LT 35 Class).  Ely's son is only seven and Paul's son is twelve.

As we head out, smooth seas, although admittedly, a bit chilly at 47 degrees.  Brrr.  Why did I wear shorts again?  Honestly, I never really got cold all day, except for when we finally returned to the channel after a long day - I got a little chill.  It passed quickly.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

A short speech about safety and adventure before we head out:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Boys ready for an adventure.  I'm sure they're thinking, how do my parents know this Capt'n Hook character?

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Pretty smooth seas until we reach K Tower (20 miles out), then the seas start to increase to 3-4 ft.  Getting a little bumpy out here - especially at 40 mph.  I have a few people on the bow who are kind of getting beat up.  I'm starting to 2nd-guess myself with our trip out here.  Chilly and windy and there are ABSOLUTELY no other boats out here.  I haven't seen a single vessel since we left the dock.  Nice and sunny though!  The temperature has gone up to 45 degrees.

Without major incident, we approach V Tower.  I am still a few miles away (1st picture below) when I see a small spec on the horizon near the tower.  Over the years, and as a game/challenge, I try to guess the sizes (and type) of vessels from as far away as possible.  I have improved somewhat, so from a distance, I'm guessing this vessel is 18-20 ft without a T-Top.  That can't be possible though because that would just be plum crazy.  It's probably time to get my prescription sunglasses updated.  

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

We get closer....  See the spec on the right now?  Yes, that is a boat.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Hey, a 20 ft boat with no T-Top!  I guessed Key West, but it is a Cape Horn:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Worth repeating, uh, yeah:  20 ft vessel, 45 miles offshore, by himself, 4 ft seas, January.  God bless him!  I like this guy.  So much for thinking I am adventurous.  I'm not even close.  THIS guy truly understands the meaning of the word.

To prove my point, let's compare his boat to my boat:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

While we were out there, and after a couple hours of fishing, we actually meet this guy and he gives us some of the plastic jigs that he is crushing the AmberJack with.  What a great guy!  His name was Dan.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

He found me on the web and sent me an email that same evening. (So I know he made it back safely).  Here is my reply to him:

Hey Dan: 


When we next meet, I will assuredly NOT call you "Dan".  Forever moving forward, I will always call you "BA", which obviously stands for "Bad-Ass".  4 ft seas, 20 ft boat, 42 miles offshore, by yourself, catching Amber after Amber at V Tower.  Yeah, definitely 'bad-ass'.  


An inspirational story:


I had two young boys on the boat; before we left the dock, I gave them a speech about "Adventure".  I explained that we were going FAR offshore and no matter what happens, good or bad, they will remember this adventure for a very long time.  As fishermen, we may have grown more comfortable with it, but not too many people have ever been 40-50 miles offshore in a boat.  It scares the crap out of most adults.  Between K and V, as you know, the seas picked up to 3-4 ft.  I had a few people on the bow getting knocked around.  One of the boys (7 year-old who was with his Mom) got pretty worried.  My app said the seas were supposed to increase, not decrease, so I figured it might be a long day for him.  The entire drive out, I hadn't seen another boat, but as I approached V Tower, I saw, to my amazement, what appeared to be a small vessel with just a single person on it.  I'm speculating that you are tied up to the tower, possibly in trouble, and have gotten stuck out there without VHF.  As we approach, you have a large Amber on, and you simply wave.  I smiled and said to everyone, "Now that guy is a Bad-Ass"! As I kept talking about the differences between our vessels and how brave (crazy?) you are, that 7-year-old’s confidence immediately increased.  His actions on the boat went from timid (wouldn’t leave his Mom) to confident:  (“Excuse me sir, can I borrow that rod if you are done with it?”).   I'm telling you dude, you inspired him.  That kid was determined to figure out jigging on his own (he did) and he ended up catching AmberJack and Snapper all day.  He fell in love with offshore fishing yesterday - and your actions gave him the confidence to do it.  At the end of the day, I kept hearing, "Mr. Paul, can we go again?  Captain, are you gonna email my Mom again?  Mr. Paul, when are you going out again?"  😊  Although we fished apart all day on different vessels, you and I made a positive difference in that kid's life yesterday. (Or, we created a monster for his Mom)

Unfortunately, we didn't have any live bait (we tried), so we were forced to use diamond jigs and vertical jigs.  "Jigging" is the art of dropping a heavy lure that looks like a knife blade to the bottom and then start yanking and reeling like crazy.  Sometimes (not all the time), the flash and jerkiness gets the AmberJacks attention and it strikes.  It is very tiring.  I have had people do this for hours on my boat and catch nothing - and question my experience with these things.  I have had people jig once or twice and catch a big Amber.  It just depends.  I think the fish do tend to figure it out after an hour or so.  They definitely get smarter.

But today.... we sley them (Both Amberjacks and Snapper and...wait for it...).

Great job Ely on all the pictures and videos.

For the most part (not all fish are pictured), here is our busy and productive day at V Tower:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

 Bill enjoys catching the "smaller" Amberjack: (I don't know why).  In all fairness, he did have a HUGE AmberJack on, but the line snapped.  That was my fault as it was related to my knot.  Even though I have had to pass tests at Sea School for knot-tying, mine still suck.


Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Ely and GM staying warm on the bow:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Come on Bill, they must be MUCH bigger than that:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

That's more like it!:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Selfie time:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Paul and Lucas relaxing:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

V Tower in the sunshine:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Capt'n Hook looking "geeky" as always:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Sam looking "studly", as always:  (Helps that he is a Marine).
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Except for the ride out, this kid never stopped smiling:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

One of MANY snappers caught throughout the day.  They gotta go back in though:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Mike struggling with something:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Slaying em and having some fun:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

After much determined practice, Gabe "GM" really got the hang of jigging.  It takes practice to improve. I like tenacious kids!  Not only did he catch AmberJack, but he also caught big Snapper:  (As always, thanks Mike and Sam, for all your assistance).

I'm certain that kid fell asleep with that smile on his face.  That is a 27" AmberJack.  It is NOT easy to bring that in to the boat.  At times, they had to hold GM down so that he didn't fly off the boat.  His feet came off the deck several times fighting this fish!  AmberJack are STRONG fighters!  Their nicknames are "Reef Donkeys" cause when you catch one, it feels like they are trying to buck you.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Huge snapper are ALSO not easy to bring in.  Still smiling though.  He has the fever!  :-)

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

This one probably needs to get framed:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

 Nice fish gentlemen:   Bill's is bigger:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten CoastFishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

 Look at those white legs!  Man, I am ready for summer:

Capt'n Hook

Finally, Sam hooks into something that simply doesn't move.  For the first twenty minutes, Sam really doesn't make any progress with this thing.  He moves around the entire boat.  At one point, we thought he might have bottom, but every now and then the pole twitches.  Sam is a strong dude, but he is clearly struggling.  After 45 minutes, we of course, start making fun of him:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

An hour later, this beast finally surfaces:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

The pictures really don't do this beast justice.  This is now the 3rd Goliath grouper I have caught at V Tower.  I think they are becoming thick as thieves out there.  However, this one was the biggest, by far.  I'm guessing around 300 lbs. Could be heavier. Too bad we can't keep him.  I would be eating Grouper for a year!  Also too bad we can't pick him up to take a picture, but there is no way we are getting this guy into the boat without a crane.

Videos are tricky on this blog:  (Here they are, if they work in your browser)












As we leave V Tower, we are all pretty darn tired (okay, I'm not, although steering the boat is very stressful sometimes on my left pinky finger), so we troll for a 1/2 hour until we get to Bryson reef.  We don't catch anything trolling, but honestly, we are somewhat okay with that.  V Tower tired everyone out.  (Except Dan on the other boat!)

Beautiful drive back.  The seas did NOT increase, they actually subsided to zero, so the LONG ride back was quite nice.  Love it when that happens. Safely back at the marina!  Boat all cleaned up.  Time for a couple of beers at Mad Anthony's to finish out the day.  

Thanks everyone.  Awesome January day!  I'm now ready for work tomorrow.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

I gotta admit, I like my new 2018 goal of being adventurous.  What is your goal?  Looking forward to seeing more of you on my boat this year; that would be a good goal for you.

And I admit, I am jumping the gun....  In 2017, I put the necessary time in at Sea School and passed the test, but the Coast Guard has not sent me my new "Master Captain" credentials yet.  If they don't promote me, I will have to change my logo back.  Dang it.  For now though (in limbo and patiently waiting), I like the way it looks.  :-)

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast