December 29, 2013

Florida Road Trip 2013 (Day 17)

Michael and I woke up early to find the wind shifted again, this time from the southwest. We simply went back to bed since the bridges would be murky and rough.

At about 8am, I woke up and decided to take a walk around the marina. I saw a little cardinalfish hiding under a ledge and ran back to grab my gear. When I returned, I couldn't locate again. After fishing there for over an hour, I still couldn't find it.

There were a lot of Dusky Damselfish and Threespot Damselfish. I tried for 30 minutes to get a few of the Foureye Butterflyfish to bite. They would follow my squid tentacle around if it was moving, but when it stop moving, the butterflyfish would lose interest. If it move too far out of their home range, they could lose interest as well. Frustrating!

At one point, I saw what looked like a Bicolour Damselfish and had it hooked on the tanago hook. But when the fish dove under the ledge, I tried to pull too hard and and the tiny tanago hook pulled. :(

Someone spotted a very small flounder and I think it might be a Peacock Flounder. It was only 2" long but it was in about 3 feet of water. It was difficult to track it and even more difficult trying to present a bait to it. Even when I had the bait about 2 inches from that fish, it didn't want to bite. It looked like it was just moving from one area to another in a hurry.

There was a huge school of parrotfish foraging on this one rock. They congregated there for the entire hour while I was fishing. They didn't want to bite shrimp or squid and I had no bread with me. I also didn't have a suitable rod to target them anyways since all I brought was the tenkara rod and an ultralight rod. Some of these parrotfish were over 4lbs.

I had to return to camp by 10am. Michael and Ellen was just getting up. We had to vacate our campsite by 11am and the next group had already arrived and they were waiting for us. We packed up in a hurry and went to get some lunch at Robbie's on our way out of the Keys.

Robbie's has this Offshore Sandwich that was basically a piece of seared tuna on a bun. I asked for rare but the tuna was still over seared. I like my seared tuna almost raw...5 seconds on high heat on each side and that's all! This piece of tuna was almost what you would consider pink if we're talking steak. What saved the day was the wasabi mayo. I would purchase a jar if they had it for sale!!!

We washed the seared tuna sandwich down with a slice of Key Lime Pie...this time without the raspberry sauce...

After lunch, we drove to our Miami motel where we would stay for the night. It was still early and my online friend Leo called to see if we were free to fish the evening. Hell yeah!

We met at the party boat for our 8pm departure. Since the waters off Miami drops rapidly, it normally would be a short 10-15 minutes ride before you start fishing. But the skipper decided to head way north on this night and it was almost an hour before we got lines wet. I don't know why the skipper traveled so far north. It was pretty rough and there were a few rogue 4' swells that rocked the boat quite well when we were hit broadsided.

The stern spots were "reserved" for regulars. It was hard for us tourists to get in. The captain wanted a $20 tip to get us a stern spot. I just had to laugh at it.

Since we couldn't drift baits back, Michael and I fished the dropper loop and had steady action with grunts. That lucky SOB also caught a Jolthead Porgy beside me. I hate his stupid luck!

But at least he didn't catch a Bigeye Scad :P

Bigeye Scad aka Goggle Eye (Selar crumenophthalmus) - Species #385

And I caught a 13" Graysby just to even the score a little. Michael hasn't caught a Graysby yet (not that I know about).

Leo fished beside me and he also caught a large Graysby. There is no size limit on them and the locals called them Strawberry Grouper. They were really good eating! Leo also caught a bunch of grunts and a legal Yellowtail Snapper. Michael and I caught a bunch of short Lane Snappers and Yellowtail Snappers that we released.

There was an older gentleman at the corner of the stern that landed four legal Mutton Snappers that night. There were also a few other Mutton Snappers, a few Graysby and a short Greater Amberjack landed.

Soon, 12am arrived and we head back to port. By the time we processed the fish, it was well after 1:30am. Leo had to work the next day so we bidded farewell and we hoped to fish again in the future. Michael and I sneaked in quietly at the hostel at 2:30am and Ellen was already fast asleep.

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