Went out this past Thursday with my neighbor Luis. Catherine had to work so no pictures. We fished the reef in front of Key West and had a pretty productive day on the water. We shot a couple big yellow jack, a cubera snapper, mutton snapper, triggerfish, cero mackerel and hogfish. The wind picked up and the vis dropped a lot in the afternoon. Vis ranged 25-50 feet with the best vis on the outer edge of the reef. Luis has been spearing in Key West for over 20 years and it was interesting to hear about how much fish there used to be here.
On Saturday Catherine and I went out. We brought a bunch of lobsterheads and chum and planned on chumming the outer edge of the reef. But when we got out to the edge the waves were just a bit much. So we came back on to the reef. We burned some chum in a couple shallow spots and it really didn’t attract a lot of desirables. Lots of triggerfish, mangrove snapper, mackerel and yellow jacks but not many grouper or mutton snapper. I have plenty of fish from Thursday and was pretty much just looking for blacks or muttons to spear. It did attract the biggest nassau grouper I have ever seen, around 15-20#. We also attracted a bonnet head shark and some huge barracuda.
Last spot, just as the chum ran out a fat mutton cruised in. I only had one band loaded because I was checking holes for reds and lobsters. I dropped down and hit him right in the middle and he went nuts. I could see the the flopper was barely held to him by a finger width piece of skin. So I did what I always do when it looks like a fish is going to tear off, I let go of my gun. But I had forgotten since the boat was anchored and it was shallow I didn’t have my float line. So there goes my gun out into the sand behind this mutton. After a crazy swim I get a a hold of it again and after 5 minutes of coaxing I get the barely on mutton back to the rocks, hoping he will rock up so I can get a hold of him. Finally I get him wedged between rocks and I grabbed the shaft and drove it all the way through. I think I am just going to shoot muttons with two bands from now on, even if they seem close.