After an hairy beginning when i was mistaken for a terrorist when i had in my possession a crimping plier at the airport. Apparently, its a serious weapons violation - don't try to go through security with one, they are serious. However, a 16oz. Diamond Jig with a huge treble is A-ok, go figure, whatever... anyway, get down to Stuart Tuesday evening and get set up.
The crew consisted of Minnesota Jimmy, Keith, Kirk, Capt Randy Turner, my partner Charley and I. We leave the dock around7am and head over to West End for check-in in just pretty conditions. Start trolling about 5 miles short of Memory Rock when we intercepted a mating pair of Mahis. We felt bad at first taking the bull and mama until we realized how good 50# of Mahi tastes. Next we got covered up with Cuda after Cuda so we went on the bank looking for bottom action. Minnesota Jim scored with a huge Mutton Snapper on 12# with a shrimp fished for Yellowtail - quite a battle! We bailed the snappers when the Ceros came to visit - they were very finicky but we got a couple in the box. Caught a few smaller groupers when we decided to do some deep dropping looking for a night spot to anchor.
After catching quite a variety of groupers we settled on a spot in 85' that held a lot of fish - that is an understatement! Nonstop action all night on snapper, groupers, ceros and sharks - BIG SHARKS.
After everyone passed out from exhaustion around 130 am i pulled a solo night shift - it was an incredible night of action, catching 2 big Blacks, a nice Mutton, and about a million Yellowtails and other
smaller groupers. When the Sharks kept chewing up everything i pulled up i got mad and broke out the 130 - yes, a Tiagra 130 on a standup rod! Big cable leader, hooked a live yellowtail and waited.
This shark was no baby - i fought him for about 10 minutes with 50# drag by myself at about 430 am (not real bright) when he bit through the 240# cable. I decided to wait for backup and went back to bottom fish until dawn when the troops awoke. It was a crazy night with Flyers committing suicide jumping in the boat evading hungry jacks and porpoises - one even hit me on the back of the head and paid the price by going out on a bottom rig and getting another nice black.
After pulling anchor we started hi speed Wahooing and took a small one and pulled the hook on a screamer. Went to conventional trolling and started to catch hoo after hoo - wound up with 13, including a 60#er that turned into 45#er thanks to another hungry shark. Hooked truly a slob Hoo and pulled the hook - it had to be 90-100#, fat as all can be - damn. A big white or small Blue one decided to munch on the planer rod bait but we pulled the hook.
The bite slowed so we went looking for another spot for the night shift. This spot wasn't as productive on the groupers but the Yellowtails were everywhere. A big Tiger decided to joiun the party and tore us up before getting bored and took off. When dawn came I decided to try to hook whatever was chewing us up again - this time I got him up - around a 12'+ Hammer! Biggest I have ever seen - no one was keen on leadering him so we just let him screw around b4 cutting him off. We started catching some big Jacks until the bite slowed. Went to trolling mode for last time and caught a nice variety of stuff including a nice sail.
The wind started getting up so we packed it in early and headed back 1pm on Friday. It was quite a scene at the dock when we started unloading the catch - a hell of a lot of meat from about 20 different species. The next 2 hours the 5 of us cleaned the catch then sent a bunch to King Neptunes to get cooked up for an incredible feast.
What an awesome adventure and what a truly great crew - it was very needed and welcome, no whining neccessary about the weather - 2 perfect days until a little sloppy Friday but I'll take it.
If you haven't gone across you gotta try it sometime - I can't wait for the fall for a return visit - hope to make it a regular deal for the Sushi!
Ready to go
Sushi in West End
West End Inlet
Leaving West End
Water just like Baltimore Harbor.....
Jimmy w/Nice Mutton
A nice Black
A nice Mutton
Jimmy and an AJ
Pretty Queen Trigger
How to turn a 60#er into 45#
ok, now I've had it
Fighting the Hammer
Another Nice Black
Charley and Keith w/a nice Sail
a new recruit