Got out this week and the water has warmed significantly and also has been way more clear. We had vis up to 50 feet and water temperature up 73 degrees, great diving conditions.
I went out one day with Cat and Nate. We first did a check to see how close in the blue water was. It wasn’t close but the vis on the edge of the reef was a nice 35-40 feet. I drove around a lot looking for fish, many of my numbers had tons of bait and groupers on them but no other fish really. In fact every rock seemed to have a black grouper on it. We went deep for a bit and got a couple triggers but nothing else. I tried some patches inside the reef and there wasn’t much happening there either.
Finally out of boredom I shot a little cero and nice sized AJ came in and tried to eat it. I tore the wounded cero off the shaft and fed it to the AJ, reloaded and nailed him. I fought him for a bit then took a second gun from Nate and put a kill shot in him. Finally into some fish, I started shooting little bar jacks and live chumming them trying to get a big AJ to come in. The smaller ones came in and ate the wounded bar jacks but the bigger ones kept their distance. Finally I saw what looked like a school of horse eye jacks coming in with a pompano leading them. I got down close and shot the large lead fish, and realized the whole school was pompano. Pretty awesome really, I have never seen such a large group of that fish. After that we came in.
The next day Cat, Lou and Rafi went out with me. We got a really late start but when we got less then half way to the reef we found clear water all over. So we decided to dive near shore stuff. We had a great time, and got a bunch of hogs and mutton snappers, but had to pass on so many groupers it was kind of frustrating. I would shoot a cero mackerel and cut it up and the groupers would eat all the chum before any other fish came in. Pretty funny really watching red groupers stuff themselves to bursting on mackerel. One spot a nice gag and large black fought over the mackerel, the large black (probably close to 25#) pretty much just punked the gag out of his fish. On another spot Lou shot a mutton, and after braining it, accidently dropped it, a large red came out and tried to eat it, even though there was no way it could get it in its mouth.
The coral inside the reef is so much more healthy and robust then on the drop off, and it was a real pleasure snorkeling around it. I wouldn’t say it’s Bahamas level but it’s pretty impressive. Catherine had a great day taking photos of all the corals, horse conchs and red groupers.