What a perfect day to go fishing yesterday. The sky was brilliant blue, and the temperature climing towards the upper 70s.
Healy, Keith and I loaded up around 11:00 and hit the inside spots for a while a couple of hours. We could see schools of nice looking mangrove snappers swimming around, but nothing was biting. We worked our way out into Tampa Bay and headed down to just off the rocks near the St Pete pier. Bingo. We caught a few mangrove snappers, and action was quick. Some put up a pretty good fight on our small tackle. Joe also brought up a nice-sized sea bass, which gave Joe an idea.
After a couple of hours on the rocks we moved on out into the main shipping channel to do some bottom fishing. That was the best ever. We motored across to the east side then let the breeze drift us back across to the west side. Repeat. We each had a line in the water – Keith was using two. We had a couple of double strikes one triple, and for a moment had 4 fish on the lines at one time. (Was fun to watch Keith with that juggling act.) Joe brought up a pinfish & Keith substituted that for shrimp on one of his big rods and threw it over & forgot about it.
The sun started sinking low in the sky, but the fishing was too good – an occasional snapper but mostly sea bass. We even had the luxury of being picky – they were all over the size limit, but we tossed back anything that wasn’t a couple of inches over.
Then the big rod took a big bend – something huge hit it. Keith almost lost the entire rig. We’d forgotten about it with the sacrificial pinfish swimming in 40 feet of water. . . But it wasn’t meant to be. A strong hit, a couple of good pulls, but then nothing. Keith pulled in the line & the pinfish was still there without even a scratch on it. We’d like to think it was a giant grouper that hit the line then spit it back out whole. Probably 50 pounds and a couple of feet long. At least that’s what we’ll tell everyone.
By the time we got back to Joe’s dock the sun has set, the winds were calm, and the cooler was full of fish.