The winds finally died down and the crowds from lobster mini-season are gone, so got out on the water this past weekend. First day Catherine and I went out in front of Key West along with Eddie and Andy. We had a pretty good day, well mostly Eddie had a good day. He got a 20# black grouper and a nice red grouper. I didn’t really get much, a big mangrove but that was it mostly. Andy shot a nice yellow jack and some other stuff. Vis was kind of weak, 25-35 feet. The vis was supposedly worse to the west so we just messed around in front of Key West.
It was flat calm though and the lack of current made for very enjoyable diving. We also freedove on a couple of the wrecks out front which was fun but not really productive for getting fish. We also killed two lionfish.
Then on Sunday Catherine and I went out on Robert Trosset’s boat along with Nate, Dan and Lou. We did a long run west on the gulf side. The water is really clear on the gulf side right now which is uncommon. The amount of fish on the rock piles and patches out there is tremendous. Once you get 30 miles out, you are diving stuff which very rarely sees a diver. You add the fact that its dirty all the time, so there are even less diveable days out there, and you get tons of dumb fish.
Red grouper were everywhere, we had shot our limit before lunch time. Hogfish are everywhere, and big ones for the Keys, there are also lots of big mangroves. It’s awesome shooting out there, and in some areas you can shoot fish as fast as you can reload. The only draw back to me, is almost every fish is less the 10# at least on the shallower areas we were working. The distance from people also seems to greatly improve the health of the coral and amount of bait.
After we had shot our fill in the shallows, we decided to hit one of the air force towers. It added another 40 miles to the trip but what the hell with all the people on the boat it wasn’t that big of deal. It was well worth it. When we got there the tower was surrounded by schools of permit, along with the occasional cobia and shark, and an army of barracudas. I didn’t bring my new big gun because I didn’t think there would be any need for it on a trip to hit gulf patches, but that was a mistake. I bounced my shaft off a large cubera; that fish would have been mine with the big gun. At the long distance on a fish that large, my present gun didn’t even penetrate it. The shaft just bounced off while the big fish swam down into the muck. I shot a cobia, a couple ajs, and permit. The other divers put on tanks and dropped down to the bottom, the got some fish but said the base was just packed with jewfish.