December 26, 2015

2015 Florida Christmas (Day 8)

I had originally planned to have lunch with my aunt, but Michael and Bartek had to be picked up by their 11am check out time. So I bid farewell to my aunt and cousin after breakfast.

Elijah had went ahead to lunch at Chipotle. He tasked us to get some live shrimp for his later plan, and we got a block of squid and some shrimp for our later plan.

After lunch, Elijah would part ways with us. He wanted to target Striped Mojarra and Crested Goby before his flight home, while Michael, Bartek and I headed further north to Boca Raton to try for Parrotfish. All parties must eventually end; and it was quite the party fishing with Elijah!

The water was much murkier and the current was much strong than we had experienced in the past at this inlet. The poor condition simply followed us everywhere.

It was a bit of a consolation that the usual annoying bait thieves were less numerous, allowing us to get a better chance to fish for the Parrotfish. Unfortunately, the Parrotfish were nowhere to be seen in the murky water. We only spotted two Yellowtail Parrotfish under a cloud of Sergeant Major - basically impossible to fish for them.

I cast my sabiki rig into the middle of the channel and caught some Wrasse and Grunt. Then I switched to the dropper loop and caught more Grunts. Still, I had hoped to pick up a new species in the blind.

Meanwhile, Bartek spotted a larger fish among the pylons under the platform and it turned out to be a Grey Angelfish. We started to notice a pattern to catching these Angelfish...murky green water!

One surprise were the numerous Smallmouth Grunt in the area. I had never seen so many of them in one place. Michael and Bartek didn't know they were catch them until I pointed them out much later in the evening. This species was basically everywhere at this location!

Fishing was quite poor for species diversity. We had thoughts of moving but I wanted stay until night time since I had never fished here in the dark. We decided to move toward to a set of pylons by the bridge to see if we could find something interesting there. I had caught Parrotfish by the pylons in the past.

Bartek joined me later and said he saw two Spotted Eagle Ray. I had seen them in the past feeding on fish scraps, but they had refused my bait in the past...even when my bait was placed among the fish scraps.

I did eventually find a Redtail Parrotfish by the bridge. Then Bartek caught his second Grey Angelfish, followed by one on my line not long later. Michael was simply flanked out by us and he was starting to get frustrated.

By night fall, we were running out of bait. Bartek and Michael volunteered to make a run to get dinner and bait while I continued to fish. They did not miss out much during their break from fishing, since all I found were Grunts and more Grunts.

When Michael resumed fishing. He immediately caught an Irish Mojarra. I did not know they can be found far into the inlet, and I had been fishing in the same location for quite a while. I tried for a while to find my own Irish Mojarra, but it appeared the fish had moved off. I was simply catching more and more Grunts.

Bartek was having fun with some of the larger Grunts that started to bite. Michael was following a fellow angler's advice and throwing a swimbait around for Snook. I went back to the pylons by the bridge to find nothing but more Grunts. After exhausting the bait I had on hand, it was close to 9:30pm and I was ready to leave. I was walking back to pack up when I passed by Michael and he had some shrimp available. I told Michael that I have never seen as many Smallmouth Grunts in one place before, but he wasn't sure what they looked like. I put some shrimp on the dropper loop rig and caught a Smallmouth Grunt by the dock. I was just showing Michael that they could be caught in the main channel as well when there was a larger fish on the line. Oh wow! It was an Irish Mojarra!!!

Irish Mojarra (Diapterus auratus) - Species #483

I had tried to catch one in the surf zone at Dania Pier, but none were found. Elijah said someone did catch one from the pier, but they were sure no as numerous as we had seen at Anglin's Pier. Finally, when I had least expected to find one, it popped up at a surprising location. It was a great end to a day when I was expecting to go lifer-less once again.

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