[care in the community] consisted of Crispy, Tim the cuda kid and Harry the hammer. For the first time this week Roy and Keith thought it might be just possible to allow Crispy and the cuda kid out of their sight under the guidance of the very experienced Harry the hammer.
Captain Damon had a plan to speed off 45 miles into the gulf via the shrimp boats to catch some bonito for bait. It did not take to long to spot the bonito in the deep blue sea behind the first shrimp boat nor the three or four ten foot plus bull sharks circling under them. There is no point in trying to catch these 5 to 15 lb fish because as soon as you snare them the sharks are straight on them leaving you frustrated and hookless.
The decision was taken by Captain Damon to go try the next shrimp boat. Upon arrival it was evident that no one was at home. We were wasting valuable fishing time and Captain said “Right lads, I think we have enough bait anyway. Let’s go to our main mark which will be the P tower a former USA fighter jet Navy military navigation structure”. We tied up down tide of the structure and it was not long before we were joined by Roy, Keith and Gary and their boat was tied onto us.
We started chumming and thirty minutes later nobody has had a bite or spotted any fish in the chum line. Captain Rob and the A team took the decision to shove off to another mark. Captain Damon first of all though decided to check out the sonar screen upside of the tower where it was evident that there were large amounts of fish showing on the screen.
The anchor was dropped and chumming was resumed. It was not long before a steady flow of grey and yellow snappers were coming to the side of the boat and the ice box was filling very quickly. Myself and the Cuda kid concentrated on the snappers whilst Harry put down live baits for the bigger toothy critters. Not too long passed before the action started for the hammer. Goliath grouper, Black grouper and gag grouper were quickly returned whilst the cobia joined his mates into the ice box. By the time the tide stopped running I had added the biggest blue runner that captain Damon had ever seen plus a couple of jack crevalle and amber jacks to the haul. Among our chum line all morning there were two or three large barracuda hunting which of course had the cuda kids juices flowing but these wise old predators were having none of his baits today.
Crispy with a cobia.
Harry with the World’s smallest goliath grouper
Our last two hours now the tide had turned were spent 7 miles further into the gulf on a mark that had been good to our captain before. Another chum line was started and it was not long before another steady stream of more snappers, groupers came over the side of the boat. Our sharp eyed captain spotted a large but unknown predator circling our chum line and smartly hooked up a live bait onto the already prepared pitching rod.
The snapper had hardly been in the water for a minute when the rod tip arched over and the Cuda Kid sprinted from the other side of the boat yelling ‘I’m on it! With the rod arched over at a ridiculous angle the line took off at an express speed toward north Florida. After many heart thumping runs and scary moments for the kid a 6ft Kingfish was gaffed and bought abroad.
Now THAT is a mackerel! 62lb of kingfish
To say the Cuda Kid was excited would be an understatement but captain Damon was ecstatic! He was absolutely over the moon and said in the twenty years he had been fishing these waters it was the biggest he had ever seen. Not having scales on the boat he reckoned over sixty pounds. He went on to say that if it had been caught in a tournament it would have been worth $150,000 as prize money to Tim!
Whilst all this was going on I was having my own little battle with a goliath grouper which had snatched a snapper on my line. However after ten minutes of aching arms my light tackle gave in and that sinking feeling that all us anglers know when a line parts descended on me. Time was now getting on so after a fantastic days sport we headed into the setting sun for Pelican Landing and a well deserved beer for all of us.