Cat and I headed out of Key West this past week and to North Carolina. The weather allowed us to get a day out on the water up there with Albie and Lydia. It wasn’t freezing like last time I was there, air temps were in the 70s and the water temps were 65-70 degrees. Not really bad, but colder then Key West at its coldest.
We headed out though morning fog and the weather was beautiful. The spots in NC are way further off shore then in the keys and it takes a while to get to clean water. On the way out we saw life all over, pods of dolphin, schools of bait, birds diving it was great. Apparently Albie saw whales out here the other day but we didn’t see any.
Our first spot was a shallow wreck in 35 or so feet of water. Current was kind of ripping and got worse the longer we stayed there. The wreck was covered with sheepshead, black sea bass, tog, bluefish and schools of bait fish. Also on the wreck were numerous sand tiger sharks. The sand tigers don’t actually hold as still as you would like for taking photos of them. The tend to swim away when you swim towards them. There were curious about the speared fish but not aggressive.
The next spots we went to were around the frying pan shoal tower. This was really fun diving. There were huge schools of bait, schools of amberjack, bonito ripping through the bait, dozens of birds, sharks, and dozens of grouper. Grouper is closed there right now, just like in the keys and they were everywhere. Also closed is the black sea bass, they are also everywhere. The only legally shootable and desirable fish around the tower were sheepshead and trigger fish.
Cat entertained herself diving with bait and the schools of amberjack. I tried to get one the bonitos but was unsuccessful. A sand tiger swam by with a school of bait on him so thick you could only see his tail sticking out.
Next spot we hit was some deeper ledges south of the tower. We saw similar fish here but more of them. Big black sea bass, and grouper, more sheeps head. Schools of almaco jacks came to check us out along with numerous sand bar sharks.
The since it was close to the end of the day Albie put on a tank and went down and caught a 8# lobster along with some flounders and sheepshead. On the way up the lobster almost got away in the struggle with it Albie ripped off a bunch of its legs. The sound of the lobster struggling and the legs falling down riled everything in the area up. A school of amberjack came in along with 3 or 4 sharks. Along with sharks came a few cobia. I shot the closest one in head and the struggle was on.
At first when I saw the cobia I thought they were just average keys sized fish but once I had him on I realized he was a bit bigger then I thought. It took awhile to land it and Albie put a second shot in it. The sharks kept coming up behind us and then turning tail and zipping away again. Cat loved it.
Finally we got the cobia in the boat and headed in. We did not see one hogfish the whole day.