Seas: 4-6 feet
Winds: 15-20 SSW
Temp: 85 F
Viz: 25-50 feet
After a week of East winds (and the wind was still blowing), the clean water finally got pushed far enough West so we could try to hit some of our spots in that general direction. We headed out with 5 divers that morning hoping to find that clean water we had heard about from other fishermen and we weren't disappointed. The clarity was absolutely amazing in many of our spots from 25-35 feet deep. Unfortunately, the numbers of fish weren't there. We would find some schools at a couple of the spots, but no big numbers of the large mangroves. We were able to land 17 nicely sized mangroves from our regular spots before we decided to move on to some uncharted territory.
We were actually making way between spots when we saw a marked rise in the bottom and the depth finder was showing hard bottom on shallow side so we eased back and jumped in the water to see if there was anything worthwhile. My brother in law and I were the first ones in. As soon as I jumped in, I spotted a Cero Mackerel and gave chase. I took the shot, but the clean water must have fooled me into thinking it was closer (and smaller) than it really was. The fish was far enough away that my shaft didn't penetrate completely (at least 12-15 feet away) and the fish was able to rip off and make a getaway. It was at this time that I look in the direction of my brother in law and he points at the bottom to show me a beautiful Mutton Snapper swimming along the sandy bottom.
I immediately begin to reload as we give chase. Even from 35-40 feet away, this fish looked like a real beauty. We chased the fish for about 150 feet when it comes upon a rock sitting in the middle of the sand. Mutton's will not typically hole up unless they are hurt, but this one spots the rock and heads directly for it. After pausing outside the rock for a few seconds, it turns on its side and slides underneath. I couldn't believe my eyes. My brother in law gets his breath and heads down to inspect the fish. He is able to see it in the rock easily and takes his shot. The fish begins to thrash and he is unable to remove it from the hole, but I head down quickly to make sure it doesn't take off with the gear in tow. I reach in and pull the fish out which then proceeds to beat the crap out of me in 35 feet of water. I get it into a controlling bear hug and bring up the prize for him. This fish was an absolute prize at about 18-20 pounds.Underwater Pics of the fish since the water was so beautiful.We went out for a dive on Sunday morning after breakfast (with nowhere near as many divers due to the 4-6 foot seas), but ended up with a very light cooler after almost 4 hours of diving (1 grouper and 4 mangroves - sorry no pics of these). After realizing we were late for family fun day as we had promised, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the local shallow with some fellow campers after which we we packed up and made for home.