With another stretch of nice weather (75 degrees, heat wave) we were out on the water yesterday. Catherine, Luis, and myself joined Andy, Fenway and Cally on Andy’s boat. The calm seas and reasonably clear water inspired us to drive a little bit further out. Honestly driving further out wasn’t really where it was at. The Rocks and coral heads further inshore held the best fish, areas that nine times out of ten are dirty were clear so we dove them. The real inshore stuff was deserted, other then a young turtle that hung out with us for a bit, but halfway out to the reef was great. Big rocks covered with live corals and fish.
It’s odd how much more alive the coral looks more inshore; it seems like it would be the opposite. The bar is the furthest offshore and all the coral is dead, but in the dirty water halfway to the drop-off, the coral is living it up. We shot muttons, big mangroves, yellow jacks and a hog fish here and there. I had a big king fish swim up right next to me, I didn’t have my float line on and was going to try to shoot it anyway but it spooked when I swam at it, in the ripping current.
We tried the reef line to the west and it was kind of dead. Luis saw a cobia but it looked too short. We saw black grouper here and there, up to around 25#. A couple fish but nothing spectacular, the water did not get clearer as we went southwest. It stayed 35-40 feet of vis from Hawks Channel to south of the bar. At one point we saw Luis’s float pointing straight up with something pulling it under. He had shot a medium sized king fish which was going nuts on the end of the line. After that we went deeper to around 55 feet of water and saw amberjacks but passed on them. I followed two yellow jacks down a ledge when an African pompano swam in behind me, so I turned and stoned him. Pretty rare fish for the reef around here, supposed to be much more common in really deep water wrecks. He went 25 pounds.
Other things that was interesting was a donzi boat running through our spread of divers, pretty rare down here to have someone just ignore the dive flag.