Well the wind finally died for a couple days and we went out to the Atlantic. I am beginning to wonder if the Atlantic side of Key West is ever going to be clear again. Most of the vis on the reef was less then 20 feet, some places more like 10 feet of vis. Its been dirty in front of Key West for 3 weeks at least maybe 4 weeks.
We went out for a half day: Lou, Rafi, Albie and me. The vis on the reef sucks as did the bar at Sand Key. Once we got west of Western the bar was ok for a few hours, but then as the tide went out that turned bad as well. Those couple hours on the bar were awesome. You could see fish on the bottom at 40 feet, it felt great to actually dive a little since everything we dove in the Gulf recently has been pretty shallow. We shot triggerfish, muttons and Albie shot a big mangrove. We shot cero mackerel and a couple hogs. We didn’t get a lot of fish but it was really fun anyway. As the vis got worse, I saw a big silhouette under me and dove on it. Luckily it did not run and once I got down to its level I saw it was a nice kingfish. I shot it just behind the gill and it took off with my float. Not knowing if it was going to rip out after some struggle I used Lou’s gun to shoot it again. When we landed it we noticed at some point in the past a shark had bit it. The mackerel went 34#. After that the water was getting dirty and the sun was low so it was even worse, so we went in.
The next day I had big plans to go deep and chum a lot. I always talk about deep chumming but we never do it. The vis is always no good or there is too much current, or Hawks Channel is clear and it is never clear so we have to dive it. There is always a reason not to do it, but the real reason is has probably more to do with the chance of failure and not getting anything, while diving the reef guarantees fish (although now that grouper is closed the only guarantee is that they will be small and something you have shot a hundred times before). Well this day I was going to do it regardless. The reef vis was terrible but out in 130 feet of water it was divable, maybe 35-40 feet of green vis with lots of bits of stuff in the water. We started off with some blocks of menhaden chum, and quickly added chopped cuda to the slick.
To be honest the fish were going nuts, yellow tails everywhere. There were small amberjacks and almaco jacks, cero mackerel, even a big black grouper appeared around 65 feet down. We had a really great time but it did not produce anything we had hoped for. The water was dirty so I had little hope of a wahoo. We did kind of hope to see some black fin tunas but none showed up. Although overall it was kind of a bust, if the water was clear, maybe the gulf stream further in, current going east west instead of south, it showed potential. It was also fun to dive a little deeper then I usually dive. I was diving like crap, 60 feet felt hard, I don’t know if its because I haven’t dove deeper in awhile or perhaps because I was cold or maybe the dirty water. Whatever, it was still a fantastic time.
I have been shooting a new reef gun which has been auditioning as a replacement for my 130 rail gun. The gun is built by Jason Tiller (He should have a website I could send you to but he does not for some reason) it is an enclosed track gun (nice but unnecessary) designed to mimic my rail gun length and shaft size. I have to say the gun shoots great, I don’t have it dialed in like rail gun yet, but shot a lot of fish with it over the last couple days. The gun is made for two bands and a 7.5mm shaft and it has been ballasted to absorb recoil and I say again it shoots great. The enclosed track, make reloading way faster then the open muzzle I had before and frankly I am in love with this gun. I just need to sit down with a school of spanish mackerel and get the aiming spot on, it swings a little different then my rail gun so I am not quite as dead on with little targets which are constantly changing direction.