Sunday we started to head out The ft. Pierce inlet on Fins, a great morning but we had a sea fog. Sea fog, what’s up? Cold water temp 74 degrees we did find some nice bait at the sea buoy, sardines and cigars. The mangroves were biting and we are 5 days prior to full moon. Today should be good, but hell why throw cold water at us. We stopped in 85 feet along a nice set of rocks off Ft. Pierce where the sea bass and vermilion snappers were willing. I took my laser temp gauge and took the first sea bass’s temp, 65 degrees ! Mangrove fishing would not be good. Would it be possible that the cold water had pushed inshore and the 27 fathom water better? I turned Fins north east off Vero beach to find out. The First drop no fish, I was worried. Rich pulled his rig over the side and I took a temp on his bank sinker, 83 degrees. O.k. we have good bait, good current and a good moon phase I thought so my hopes began to rise, we are going to catch fish!
Jim immediately gets another nice grouper a little bigger then the first. Third drop Sherri is on a big fish. Could it be another big grouper. It was kind of acting like an amber jack but not really. It turned out to be a very large Red snapper. See the venting needle in Rich’s mouth? These fish must be properly vented to survive. Please do not throw them back without venting. I did have a previous video on venting and you can call or e mail me if you have any questions.
The next two drifts the grouper were in control and breaking off on the rocks below. The bite was on but the anglers were tired, crap I thought. On another drift a big grouper grabbed a sardine and pulled big Jim to the other side of Fins. Jim’s arms were rubber and handed the pole to Sherri. The grouper is a large male we call a black belly as the color changes to black when the get large.
Then the amber jacks moved in on us! The entire furuno screen was lit up with the back breaking marauders. There was no getting past them. We took our limit and moved on. Amber Jacks move on and off the rocks as they circle around. There are many rocks and wrecks off Stuart and Jensen beach all the way up through Vero and Sebastien. You may be fishing without them and boom there they are. If you keep dropping baits they will stay and eat your live well and break your backs. I have found that you do have to cowboy up on these reef donkeys because you will average ten of these marauders to one grouper. Remember to vent them even if you think there OK because they are not OK out of site does not mean that there is no mortality. You also need to follow the rules and that is you must have a venting kit! I like to use a turkey baster needle it works very well and costs less then $10.00 This is a video of Sherri’s gag grouper. Note how it will float at the end do to the change in pressure.
On our next rock we caught Almoco jacks they have a stocky body bigger dorsal fin and a blunter head then the greater amber jack. The current picked up to where the grouper stopped biting and we were just getting our butts kick with jacks.