Tampa Offshore Trip


So, Saturday started as a typical 5 a.m to 9 a.m. Pass-A-Grille Merry Pier day. Mike and I managed a few foot long snapper, and were about to call it a day when Cap’t. Andy of the Getaway approached. Seems they’d had a last minute cancellation, and they were looking to fill a couple of seats. Mike and I had been talking about getting offshore, so the timing seemed perfect. By 10:30, we were headed west.

The first stop was for bait, and we managed a mixed bag of pinfish, squirrelfish, blue runners and lizardfish. The next stop was at the 100 foot mark, on a nice three foot ledge. I nailed a Gag that measured just over 20 inches, and we also brought in a scamp, a triggerfish and a couple of big Mangos. On to the next spot, some nearby hard bottom. Up came a nice red grouper, caught by Roland, and more Mangrove Snapper. We inadvetantly nailed a couple of remoras that were hanging around the boat. Then, I saw a flash of blue and gold in the water. Mahi Mahi! We threw out some greenbacks as chum, as well as one big one on some light spinning tackle. Wham – the fight was on.

Mahi Mahi, aka dorado, aka dolphin, put up quite a fight. We got several jumps and runs out of this one, till a well placed gaff ended the battle. The mate threw out a Gotcha, and promptly hooked another. This one escaped boatside, though. Despite the fact that the school hung around for a while, we had no more hookups.

We returned our attention to bottom fishing when Mike got slammed. His rod bent double, and he proceeded to battle an unseen monster, 100 feet below. It was like trying to lift an elephant off the botttom. I was thinking Goliath Grouper or big shark. Or maybe…. a huge rusty belly gag. Mike slowly managed to gain the upper hand, gaining line a few inches at a time. Finally, we saw color. Then a shape… a ROUND shape… and a huge loggerhead turtle surfaced, with Mike’s line wrapped aound his flipper. Major disappointment. It was released unharmed.

We decided to hit one final drop on the way in. It was another ledge, this one in about 80 feet. We got the biggest fish of the day there, a 30″ gag that wieghed in at 12 pounds. Another scamp, another mango, and a few big fish lost. Just like that, we were out of live bait and it was time to head back to port. The ride home was a bit of an adventure, as we came through a very intense storm. Lightning cracked by the boat several times – you know the kind, where the flash and the thunder are simultaneous. But, we arrived safely at 7 p.m., to conclude 14 straight hours of fishing. The final tally was 5 mangrove snapper, 2 scamp, 1 red grouper, 1 gag grouper, and 1 mahi mahi.

So, yesterday we had the gang over for the first Buc’s game of the season. Grilled cajun blast mahi, grouper alacante, and bronzed scamp and mahi were on the menu. The fish was so good, it was almost enough to make you forget about the game.

2 Responses to “Tampa Offshore Trip”

  1. Steve Says:

    Hi Steve,

    Just read you’re off-shore report. Sounds like a great day. Someday I have to get out there like that. Got back from Lake Erie last Thursday after some well deserved time off. Unfortunately, the fishing was not so good. Just a couple of days before we arrived the lake had a big Northeastern come in, lots of rain and heavy wins that turned Erie into chocolate milk.

    The bite was off, not a fishing boat could be seen on Erie. The blow continues for a couple of day after we arrived. Finally things settled down and the water clarity began to clear up. Lots of boats out to fish for yellow perch then, some successful, but walleye and smallmouth were not to be had. I caught 2 sheep head both about 6 lbs and a big bluegill, all on soft craws. ($5.15 a doz.—Ouch) No one was catching fish, but we saw a couple of beautiful sunsets and really enjoyed the last of summer weekend.

    Hope to get out to the farm pond a couple more time before it gets cold. As always, I continue to enjoy your reports about Merry Pier….only wish I was there with you. Go, Bengals!

  2. Mike Says:

    Friggin’ turtles. It was definitely a great day! Come on, Steve, you need to post these recipes so I can stop rubbing oil and that spicy stuff on every fish I bring home!