After a bit we moved to the 18 spot which is one of my favorite spots. I call it that because that is how it’s listed on Andy’s gps. On mine I think its listed as “big rocks”. The water was chalkier, but Andy and I jumped in and headed down. I got down near the bottom and was slowly drawing a bead on a big mangrove, when out of the corner of my eye I saw I small jewfish which I thought was a grouper for a second. Then I looked to the left and saw a decent grouper so I changed course. Then from under a ledge a big grouper came out. I used part of the ledge to block his view while I got closer and then nailed him, dead center. I saw the shaft shoot fully out his other side so it didn’t look like he would tear out but then he took off into a cave so far that almost all my shooting line went into the hole. I surfaced and immediately called to Andy to put on a scuba tank and help me get him. Andy had shot a nice yellow jack and was dealing with that. The Darkness had shot another yellow jack but was feeding it to one of the few sharks that live in the area. Andy grabbed the tank and got the fish. The cave it had gone in had an exit and the fish was just down there on the other side of the rock, so basically the tank wasn’t necessary . I had got worked up by the sharks and the size of the fish. I felt stupid but screw it the fish is on the boat and not shark food so it was a win anyway. The fish was 30#, 27# gutted.
We drifted around there for a bit and others dove but the sharks got more fired up so we moved. The next area was shallower craggy bottom. I drove for awhile while everyone else shot fish and Cat shot photos. I got so hot I had to jump in after awhile. I shot a nice trigger. Then Eddy shot a nice back with a Hawaiian sling but it took off with his shaft. Luckily, Ghost found it in a rock some distance away. We shot a couple red grouper and some other stuff, and the water kept getting dirtier so we moved.
The next day Eddy, Andy and I went out, and we headed to the gulf. We stopped at the jetty in the northwest channel and dove in. Vis was good for that area and it was top to bottom. The life on the jetty was amazing. Mangroves everywhere, and bait was so thick in some places you could not see. Huge eagle rays cruised by, along with schools of tarpon, schools of blue runners, the occasional shark, sting rays, dozens of barracuda and jewfish. Eddy and Andy crushed the mangroves. Pretty much all there was there to shoot was mangroves. Occasionally you would see a sheepshead or a little mutton, but mangroves everywhere. All that life and no camera.
Then we went west and the vis sucked. 12 feet of vis tops in most places maybe 15 and a ripping westbound current. We picked up a fish here and there but it was mostly slim pickings. Then towards the end of the day, Andy and Eddy shot 3 hogfish that were 5 to 6 pounds each. That’s pretty big for hogfish in the Keys and then we headed in.
The next day Cat and I went to the jetty with her camera for an hour or so, I drove while she dove. The vis was still good but none of the real big stuff was there, no eagle rays, no huge turtles, there was some bait but not like the day before. I have to make myself bring the camera every time.