Winds: 10-15 E
Seas: 2-4 feet (sloppy)
Surf Temp: +/- 80F
Viz: 15-50 feet (depending on location)
We decided to play the tide game today and actually won! The last couple of weeks we were either busting our humps because we got to our spots too early (running into strong tides), or missed the boat altogether and still end up busting our humps in order to catch some fish in spite of missing the slack tide (this of course precludes the fact that we would still run offshore to some of our patch reefs in order to catch some dinner, but I'm ranting). So this week we checked out the tide charts and picked a time 2 hours after the tide chart showed for the spots we wanted to go to. Lo and behold, the tide chart says 6:24am so we anticipate 8:24am and get there around 8:00am, and the tide is just about full when we get there! We work a little for about 45 minutes and then the tide slacks off just like we planned (yeah, right. Prayed is more liked it). So we finally get to work some of our shallower spots without feeling like our feet will disconnect at the ankle when we're done. Unfortunately, we still didn't find the mangroves we were looking for. This is really starting to get under my skin by this point. Usually we're racking up the big mangoes before they head out to the reefs to spawn. So far this summer, they have all had a month long reprieve on their "death by Riffe" sentence to be handed out by yours truly.
So a little disappointed but no less determined, we finish up our shallow dive with a couple of grouper and a few really nice hogs (the nicest one is in the back row of the pic for this week). We always have to catch a few hogs for dinner because pan-fried whole hogfish filet has become the new favorite item on Chez Bobby's menu among the women in our group, but I digress. So we head out to some offshore patch reefs to see if we can locate the mangroves we've been looking for. Long story short... Eureka! We finally ran into the big ones we've been looking for. We were picky so we didn't even limit out, but we did catch 17 nice ones and we rounded out the catch of the day with a couple of muttons too. The seas were rough and sloppy (just ask our newly appointed "chummer" on the boat) but the catch really turned out to be worth it.
I hadn't been feeling extremely comfortable lately in the water and didn't really feel like I could go much deeper than we have been going so far. But strangely enough when we got to our last spot in just over 50 feet, I was able to settle in and get belly down on the bottom to peek under some ledges. This spot has the potential to produce some really nice grouper, but by the time we got there today, it was getting nasty and we had fish in the boat, so we left happy in the fact that we were able to go home and eat fish (and for me, that my comfort level was just a little higher today).