Finally after weeks of terrible weather and water conditions we got a break and got to go out in the boat. Andy, Lou, Catherine and I headed out yesterday on Andy’s boat. We had uncertain conditions, so we hoped for the best. When we hit the reef edge we were pleasantly surprised with 25-30 feet of visibility on the main reef. We checked the bar but the vis seemed actually worse out there. When I jumped in, the water was cold, not sure how cold but too cold to be wearing a 3mm wetsuit in my opinion.  The first couple spots we hit kind of sucked, little mangroves, the occasional forbidden grouper, a couple of ceros, really not much in the way of fish.

Because of the weak vis we headed in a bit shallower, 25-35 feet of water and hit some big rock piles. When Luis and I first hit the water and cleared the first rock, I saw two cobia laying on the sand and yelled to him.  I got over top of one of them and waited for him to get over the other before I took my shot. Right before we dove down a big nurse shark swam through and spooked both of them.  Luis hit his mid water and took off in one direction.  I hit mine with a gut shot and it took off in the other.  After a few feet it tore off but the fish kept swimming along the rocks so I followed it, reloaded and shot it again.  This time it took off in the other direction pulling me with it.  Andy had dropped some flashers in and my float line quickly found them and tangled in them.  While I was cruising along , there were nurse sharks all over.  Then I started seeing other types of sharks mid water column, first a couple big reef sharks and then a bull shark, then a bigger bull shark, all swirling around me.  I then realized that the sharks were going after the flashers, and tried to untangle them.  I called for the boat but they were tied up with the other cobia.  I got the flashers untangled and the sharks backed away.

The next drift brought more cobia, and more sharks.  Andy shot a nice yellow jack and the sharks turned on like you hit a switch.  They went from drive bys to 5 sharks attacking the yellow jack at once.  After that the sharks would not let you shoot fish: they ate whatever you shot.  Andy shot another big yellow jack and the sharks ate it and took his shaft.  One bull got so aggressive that Lou poked him in the face with a spear.  On the next drift the same bull charged me and at the last second backed off.  I’m pretty sure my gun would have blow him away if needed but still, after that we dove kind of back to back, and the sharks didn’t seem to want to get near us when we were in a group.

The rocks we were diving were covered with fish.  In addition to the sharks and cobia, there where big schools of barracuda, some of the fish weighting 30-40 pounds, groups of big permit, and big schools of jack crevelles.  Even a big jewfish came out to see what the commotion was about, and nurse sharks everywhere.  In some spots there would be 3 or 4 nurse sharks just laying around next to each other almost in a pile.  After the action cooled down, we all realized that we were cold and headed in.