AmberJack 2022

May, 2022

Thanks Gene for the Crak Shak doormat.

Its been a LONG time everyone! I wonder if this old Google blog still works?  I know that Google was updating their blog platform and I can see from this new design format that things are quite different.  Since I only had three people who actually read my blog, I wonder if they will still get automatically emailed from this new format?  I read in 2020 that Google's old blogger email publishing vehicle (the one I was using) was going to be sunsetted, so I'm guessing it is entirely possible that I may be writing this particular post for nobody.  Oh well, I still enjoy reading my own blog.  :-)  

Obviously, it hasn't been two years since I have fished; I think I would explode if that happened, but things definitely slowed down during the crappy COVID pandemic. Then, the boat was broken for about 8 months because I couldn't get parts due to the crappy supply chain problems.  Who knows what problems will be next?  Baby formula problems?

On the boat today are:  Dave Marowski, his son Ryan (his birthday), my daughter Delaney, her boyfriend Caleb and some of my Ultimate Frisbee friends, Coia, Zack and Tom.  Today's weather calls for clear skies. Okay, then why the hell are these water spouts sprouting up everywhere around us.  Weatherpersons!  Water spouts aren't going to scare me/us away from fishing though, besides, they are behind us, where we just left - in Panacea.  I'm not headed that way. We're headed 40 miles offshore to V Tower. NO chance there is bad weather out there, right?!


Two water spouts.  You can see where the one on the right is actually hitting the water.  Part of me has always wondered what it would be like to be underneath one while I'm on a boat.  No, really!


We stop at Oar Reef and catch a small gag grouper while trolling.  Unfortunately, he isn't large enough to keep and even if he was, we are heading into Federal waters.  Gag grouper are only open in State waters right now - not Federal.  I made that mistake once - not again.  I get boarded a LOT by FWC.

We arrive at V Tower after 2 hours. My/our biggest problem is that we only have about 12 pinfish on board.  AmberJack LOVE pinfish!  There are 8 people on board, so we are going to go through pinfish very quickly.  Fortunately, with the pinfish we DO have, we start catching Amber quickly.  Ryan even catches a large Snapper using a vertical jig.  I can't say I've ever seen that.  Here are a few pictures:

Panacea Fishing

Too small to keep Tom - gotta be 34 inches.  This one is about 31 inches.

Um. No.

Tom, catch something we can eat, dude. Not this 8 ft Bull shark!  Well, I suppose we could eat him, but I'm not gonna.  No sharks allowed on my vessel. Tom complained for the entire 1/2 hour it took him to reel it in. Big baby.

Panacea FishingPanacea Fishing

Still too small college kids - both of them.  Lots of fun though.  Caleb, obviously, has learned the photographic art of holding the fish as close to the camera as possible to ensure the fish looks bigger than it really is.

Panacea Fishing

This beautiful red Snapper is big enough to keep, but its the wrong species, Ryan. Snapper are closed. Happy Birthday btw!  I'm glad your Dad and I could take you offshore fishing on your actual birthday.

Then, Delaney finally hooks into a large one.  Get em Delaney!  And after 20 minutes, she does. First keeper of the day. It did almost take her over the side of the boat at least once. AmberJack are STRONG fish. Then, shortly after that, Caleb also catches a keeper. I love watching people catch AmberJack. It has become my favorite type of fishing out there because of the battle. Nice job you two:

Panacea Fishing

Panacea Fishing
I'm pretty sure Delaney caught the one that Caleb is holding, but whatever... They were both nice AmberJack.  And yes Delaney, I promise to hang this picture on the 'Wall of Fame' at the Crak Shak.

Panacea Fishing
One of the funnier parts of the parts of the trip:  A few seconds after this picture was taken, Coia can't lift her pole off the gunwale. She looks at me and says, "Mr. Paul, I think I have a fish on". Because we are so close to the tower, I figure she is caught on the bottom. I'm standing next to her. She hands her pole to me. Strangely, I AM able to pull up on it, but then something pulls back. Goliath Grouper - probably 300-400 hundred pounds. I try to hand the pole back to her, but she refuses. So I fight the damn thing for about 30 minutes, not making much progress. Finally, I think the fish simply spits out the large blue crab that Coia was fishing with because I lose it.  But then it bites it again and then I lose it again. I actually don't think I ever had it hooked, it just didn't want to give up the crab. I also don't think I ever got it off the bottom.  I had at least another hour fight on my hands.  Anyway, that was funny. "Mr. Paul, I think I have a fish on". Yes, Coia, you have the largest fish in the Gulf of Mexico on!  A small part of me wishes I could have gotten it all the way to the surface though. Goliath Grouper are so ancient looking. But it usually takes 1.5 hours. They are ridiculously strong; like pulling up a VW bug; about the same size also.

As we are headed home, we have a little fun with the camera, well until we are boarded by FWC - Again!  Man, I get boarded a lot. We don't have any illegal fish on board - I (almost) :-) never do - so the boarding goes quickly, they are very friendly and they go on their merry way to board the next vessel.

Always a pleasure to spend quality time with my college "Straight A" talented daughter.  Oh, and you too Super Dave.

After the FWC inspection, we are forced to go through a pretty severe rainstorm before we make it back to the marina; too bad I didn't get any pictures of that. To be fair, it hurts a lot going 35 MPH and getting hit in the face with rain, so it isn't that surprising we didn't take pictures during this particular part of our nautical adventure.  Fortunately, no water spouts hit us as we navigate through the storm.  I'm still saying that would be interesting - well, until I died at least. Cool way to die though. How did Marc go? Oh, he got sucked up in a water spout while fishing!  Fricking A!!!!  Let's drink to him!  That would be epic.

Even after all these years, the old girl still looks pretty good. The hull isn't as shiny as it used to be.  You can see on the horizon, behind the shed, the storm we had to go through. It is moving North.  But we are back safely.  Time for beer!!

Dave does an excellent job cleaning the fish (and the boat) and we end up with 25-30 AmberJack filets. Did I mention they were BIG fish!  Here are a just a few of them getting ready to be grilled up by me at home.  Trust me - they are quite tasty and quite easy to make.  Olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh lemon, a little butter and redfish blackening spice.  That's about it.  I like to pan-fry them on the stove.  But they cook well on a gas grill also.

So if you get an email due to this post, please let me know. If you think my blog sucks, please DON'T let me know. Admittedly, I haven't been fishing as much as I used to so if you haven't gotten a fishing email in a long time, well that's on me and just being too plain lazy to write.

In my defense of staying busy, I actually started learning to play the drums and I started a band called Next Phase. That particular endeavor keeps me pretty busy practicing up in Havana on Thursday nights and also at nights at home. Perhaps I should probably blog about that someday.

Dave trying to sing.  Me, trying not to suck on drums.

Our origins in a Havana fertilizer warehouse.  The warehouse was cool.

Me practicing at home.  Drums are difficult.  I suppose ALL instruments are. If it were easy, everyone would do it, right?

Sometimes Brittany, our Lead Singer, even has "guest" singers.  Thanks Terri and Delaney for helping out.

Nicole on keyboard.  Killing it!  She likes jamming to Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Noodlers. Meagan, Ryan and Tom.


My friend Nick and I are walking the Appalachian Trail in July (Virginia).  Well, that's the plan at least, so I am also training for that.  Let's see if my body holds up.  Ultimate Frisbee is wearing me out!

Even with my other hobbies, I really should get on the water more often.  I still love it.  As do others.

I sincerely hope everyone made it through the pandemic okay. Yes, I got COVID. I got it early on in the pandemic. The headaches sucked and it kinda took some of my breath way for about 30 days.  I was fortunate in that my experience with it wasn't too bad and I didn't get Long-COVID. Hopefully, you and your family avoided it or got a mild case.  Either way, I sincerely hope everyone remains healthy and happy.

Enjoy your life people!  It goes quickly.

Thanks again for reading - all three of you.  :-)

Panacea Fishing