|Seas: 2-5 feet||Winds: 15-25 E-NE||Viz: 40-50 feet||Temp: 78 F|
Thank you for tuning in for another episode of "As the gripe turns..." I would think this episode needs to start on Tuesday as the winds started to die down and on through Wednesday and Thursday where some rain did roll through and finally Friday where the day saw picture perfect weather with 5-10 knot winds out of the East and 1 foot of chop inside the reef and get this... No small craft advisory for probably only the second or third time in the past 6-7 weeks. Of course this is all moot to me because I am stuck at work thinking about how wonderful it would be to be diving for the first time this year.
Fast forward to Friday night and I'm driving down solo to meet up with my brother in law who's been diving and fishing since Wednesday. Of course, he was kind enough to call me to let me know how great the weather was and how calm the seas were and how great the fishing was too. Wasn't that magnanimous of him? The winds had started to pick up around 2p and were already building beyond the 15-20mph mark out of the East, but I figured I had nothing to lose, so I keep heading down. The forecast had the winds 15-20E with seas 2-4 inside the reef and 4-6 outside with higher seas in the Gulfstream, but that didn't deter me either.
We wake up Saturday morning to find the winds had calmed down a little bit, so after taking care of one or two items around the campground, we head out to see if we can find some clean water. As we pass Hawk's Channel, the water starts to clean up nicely and we are very encouraged as we head out to hit some of our favorite spots. We get to the first of what would be at least 6 spots that we would hit that morning and my brother in law lets me take the first plunge, so I do.
It's a shallow spot, no more than 25-28 feet deep and I start scanning the reef in search of any of our usual quarry. After about 10 minutes at this spot, I've only shot a couple of mangoes (nothing worth bragging about) and we consider moving on, but I decide to make one last dive. I swim calmly along the bottom, trying to draw in any curious fish that may be in the area to no avail. I am just about at the end of my breath, when I see a large mutton come in to view on my right side. I decide I have a little more in me and descend once again to pursue this very nice looking fish. At first glance, I estimate the fish to b about 8-10 lbs. I pursue him until he starts to tail off when he gives me one last turn to the left. I take the shot and he immediately turns towards me and make a run for it. As he passes me, I realize he is considerably larger than I first thought and I also realize that I didn't give him as good a shot as I could have. Maybe I was a little off (it was my first dive) or maybe he was farther than I anticipated and by the time my shaft penetrated, he was not in the spot I was aiming at.
We finish off the day with our limit of nice sized mangroves and we leave a number of large mangoes on a spot that we hope to hit tomorrow. I shot some pretty nice video of these fish with my new camera setup on my gun (you can read about it here) and I have posted it in the Video Gallery along with pics from this weekend in the Gallery. I also shot some video of my shooting an Almaco Jack at the same spot we left those large mangoes. It was nice to have the chance to use my new camera setup and have it work so well for me.