Seas: 1-3 feet
Winds: 5-15 ESE
Temp: 80 F
Viz: 40-50 feet offshore
To say that I was looking forward to this weekend after the past few we have had would seem totally redundant. The last couple of weekends have been abysmal at best. But luckily for me, this weekend has let me make up for the past few (from a spearfishing perspective) and this blog will have me at my usual loquacious self with a little more verbal ammunition than I have had recently. Like last week, I want to talk about the weather, but this time it's to say how absolutely perfect it was. We had mild winds and seas and luckily those winds laid down early enough in the week so as to let the water clean up.
We started out a little early this weekend to try and beat the holiday traffic. A couple of friends had reported to me that there were a couple of slow downs on the 18 mile stretch, so we decided to take Card Sound Road instead (ok, so we flipped a coin). It turned out to be a great route and had me at the Ocean Reef intersection by 8:15p making excellent time.
Saturday - We started out the morning as we do most weekends when the early tide is too early to dive. We made breakfast for everyone and got everything ready for the dive because unfortunately the slack tide rolls around before you know it and it definitely does not wait for any man (or spearfisherman). The afternoon high tide was supposed to be at 11:45a so we headed out around 10:30 to make sure we were able to take advantage of slack. We started out closer to home and hit some of our spots that we an only hit at slack because the current gets too strong and these spots don't lend themselves to drift dives. We did alright on this dive (as you might have seen in the pics) but the highlight for me was when I spooked a 16lb black grouper out of a steel drum and didn't get a shot off at her. I know, so far not much of a highlight until I swim over to one of the holes we know in this area and find my nephew sitting over it with a small (but legal) black sitting outside. He told me he had just seen this black but wasn't sure about her size. I go down to investigate and measure up, when to my surprise I found my 16lb black holed up behind her. I sized up the smaller grouper and decided she was definitely legal (even though she looked smaller next to the larger fish). So I head down one last time and decide I can judge where the head of the larger fish is behind the smaller one and take the shot. A couple of minutes later and I am heading back to the boat with my shaft of over 25lbs of black grouper. Two-fers are always a treat.
This day actually had another nice treat. After the two-fer we headed offshore to some patch reefs when the current picked up a little too much. After a couple of nice mangroves and a Red Grouper, we come across a Cobia swimming along with a large nurse shark. My brother-in-law took off after it and chased it for a good 150 yards. He was just about to that point when you make that decision of continuing or not when he was able to make a dive and take a shot on it. He placed the shot right behind the head and it toggled nicely on the other side. He came to the surface with his prized catch and let out a holler. We don't get a large number of opportunities on Cobia and it's really nice to capitalize on it when it does come along.
Sunday - True to my word, I have gone on at length about this weekend (at least about Saturday). Sunday from a weather perspective was more of the same... Beautiful skies, mild winds and seas. We dove the afternoon high tide and while I did end up with 3 groupers by the end of the day, the catch overall wasn't as good as Saturday's. We did however make it out to Sombrero reef for a fun afternoon of diving with the kids. After a little cave diving with my nephew, I took a couple of nice fish pics that you can see here. On the way in we decided to stop off for a little shooting action where I got the 3rd of those groupers. All in all, still a great day in paradise.
Monday - The dreaded day we leave. We didn't want to leave early and we didn't want to have a 4 hour drive home, so we decided to commit the deadly sin of sloth today and not rush to get anywhere at any specific time and just hung out until it was time to go home.