Seas: 1-2 feet
Winds: 5-10 SSE
Temp: 82 F
Viz: 10 feet
More of the same (or actually worse) with respect to the viz this week. We hit a couple of shallow spots at slack but found no fish, so we headed a little bit offshore to see if the water had cleared up since last week. To our dismay, we found the water conditions were probably about as bad as they were last Sunday. We were in 30 feet of water and diving 20-25 feet to get a clear view of the bottom. This first spot only had a few fish that were worth shooting, so we picked off the couple that we deemed worthy and headed off to another spot.
The next spot had us in just over 30 feet of water and the clarity was just as abysmal. We did find a few more fish here, but it was a lot of work due to the fact that you couldn't follow any fish from the surface. We picked off a few more here and tried heading a little more west to see if the water would clean up, but it didn't. By now we've traveled about 13-14 miles so we decided to cut our losses and head back east to some shallower spots and see if we could finally limit out and head home. We hit one of our spots in less than 20 feet of water only to find that the outgoing tide had actually made everything worse. The only way to even get a shot on a fish was to lay on the bottom until they come up to you so you could pick out a good one and then hope that by the time you stretch out your arm and gun that you could still see the fish off the end of it. The longer we were there, the worse it got. It quite literally got to the point where I almost couldn't see the end of my gun and shooting fish was more like an exercise in predicting fish swimming habits, because you were basically trying to guess where the fish was from the last time you could actually make its shape out to the moment you pull the trigger. In the end we headed home short of the limit because nobody wanted to short the small legals that were left. Luckily, we still have tomorrow...
Saturday and Sunday were no better. We spent both days looking for clean water regardless of the tide and we were unsuccessful to say the least. We were able to limit out on both days, but the size of our catch was unimpressive to be kind. I haven't gotten around to editing the pictures yet, but I will put them up soon (as unimpressive as they may be). This weekend was also our annual Lobster Enchilado (or Creole for you non-spanish types) cookout. Before you go break out the number to the FWC, the lobster was from last year's catch... We brought down about 20 tails we had in the freezer at home and cooked up a huge cauldron of that tasty lobster in red sauce and ate until we could no more.
Saturday did have one high point while we were out on the water. We headed out into some deeper water to see if and where the water did clean up so we could possibly guess when we might be able to find some in the depths we frequent. Even though we were not able to find that elusive clean water, we came upon a very large school (about 100 yards long) of running bait fish (Blue Jacks) running along in about 230 feet of water. They were very agitated running along the surface so we closed in to see if maybe whatever was encouraging them to move might be worth shooting. Although we could not see what was making them school in this way at first, we were soon joined by an extremely large pod of bottlenose dolphin (anywhere from 60-70) working the bait fish.
We followed along as closely as we could (even though they didn't let us get too close very often) for at least 30 minutes. We had a lot of fun watching these dolphin tail slap, jump and just plain have fun with this school. The members of this pod ranged from juveniles to some specimens that I would guess weighed somewhere around 500 lbs. I did manage to get a couple of pics, but nothing that I would consider my best work. They were moving along so quickly with the bait that I didn't have an opportunity to jump in to take some underwater pictures (even though the water was still extremely dirty even at this depth). So after spending some time with the dolphins, we decided to head home and start to grill for lunch.