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Memorial Day 2010 - May 28-31, 2010

Bob Diaz | SpearBlog 2010 | June 01, 2010 | Print
Seas: 1-2 feet Winds: 5-10 E Viz: 40-50 feet Temp: 80 F

Well, the weather finally held up until I got down there and what weather it was this weekend! Saturday and Sunday had 5-10mph winds out of the West and a mild 1-2' seas as far as the eye could see. We only hoped that the change in the wind from the East last week to the West this week wouldn't wreak too much havoc with the fishing. We had heard that those that were dolphin fishing earlier in the week were having no luck in close and only a little luck going considerably further offshore (we heard stories of 28-35 miles with little or nothing to show for it).


This week we had a plan (very unlike us)... we would head to some offshore patch reefs in the morning and head back in closer to land to some spots that required slack tide. Slack high tide wasn't supposed to happen until about 1:30p so we figured if we were back by noon, we would have enough time to check out some of our closer haunts during slack.

As we headed offshore, the water cleaned up beautifully once again (just like last week) as we passed Hawk's Channel. Even at 30+ mph and in over 35' of water, the bottom was easily visible from the surface, so we pressed on (and excitedly so). We had left a couple of spots last week with numerous fish on them hoping for a calm weather weekend and since we were granted our wish, we were making good on our promise to return.

Unfortunately for us, our story was similar to those we had heard from our rod and reel friends going out for Mahi. The fish had moved. It's amazing how these and other animals respond to changes in their environment. I only wish I understood their reasoning mechanism so I could follow along to find them at their new home. I know it sounds callous to only want to be able to understand fish better so I can shoot them, but what can I say... a man's gotta eat!

After coming up with a less than bountiful catch at our offshore spots, we decided it was time to jump in on our spots closer to home to see if shallower and possibly warmer water held more promise. We hit a couple of spots with not much more than a Sheepshead and a couple of Hogs to show for it (not exactly, but thereabouts). By the time we got to the last spot we had been hoping to hit, we were disappointed to see that the current had started to switch. It was only about 1:00p but the damn waning full moon was imposing its usual influence on the tides and laughing at all the tide charts you can pull of the internet at the same time. So we dealt with what we were given.

This spot holds one very prize location made up of 2 brain corals that butt up against each other with one having a large cavity underneath that can and has held large grouper for us. By the time I spot the corals, the current has picked up the pace and it was getting considerably harder to hold our position. I descend and take my first look underneath to find quite a few very sizable Black Margates having taking up temporary residence. As I wait for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, I see the unmistakable large lower jaw of a nice Black Grouper. She sticks her head through the Margates enough for me to see that this is one I can take home.

I try to position my gun, but these two corals are so close together that I typically have to suspend myself inverted over them to be able to position my gun and my head such that I get a shot and a view of what I am trying to shoot. Unfortunately, the outgoing tide will not let me hold a position over the corals without getting swept away so I try multiple times to get a shot from a position where the corals are protecting me from the current. But alas, to no avail. There was just no way to position my Euro 100 in such a way that I could do anything but take a blind shot and with shafts at $70.00 and counting, I didn't feel like risking it. So this story has a happy ending for the fish as I wasn't able to eek out a shot and the current had made it too difficult to maintain my position any longer. Luckily for me, my crackerjack backup team had already identified the difficulty of the situation and had decided to observe my attempts from the boat! Thanks Guys.

Memorial Day Weekend - May 29-31, 2010 - Beatiful weather and calm seas don't always lead to a spectacular catch (except for one nice mango...)
 Kudos to my brother in law however, for spotting one very nice mangrove that we thought might have evaded us after taking off and hiding under a ledge. I was able to get the shot on him after he found the fish's hiding spot and it was the one saving grace to the diving day.

Sunday held more of the same in the way of calm seas and crappy fishing. We even ended up scouring an expansive system of finger reefs in about 50' of water with only one Black Grouper sighting that I didn't take a shot on because it looked about the same size from 5' away as it did from 50' away. A couple of respectable Black Margates at the Grouper spot from yesterday was all we were able to get out of that spot upon a return visit today. And yes, I checked, and no, the Grouper wasn't there. :(

Sunday night had us holding a celebratory farewell to the campground's head caretaker, Larry. He has accepted another position in the Keys and is moving on to greener pastures. We are all terribly happy for him and hope he comes back to visit from time to time. The night was full of good food (nothing like a roast pig to warm up a hungry crowd), good drink and good company. A good street party on a holiday weekend is always in order. We are sorry to see him go, but excited for him at the same time and we all wish Larry all the best in his new endeavor.

Monday, the winds switched to the South and picked up to an easy 10-15mph so it turned into a family sand bar afternoon before heading back to pick up and clean up the boat and head home. All in all, still not a bad weekend at all. The important thing is to realize what you're surrounded by those times your swimming for what seems to be miles over beautiful reefs with no fish to shoot. It's still a beautiful reef.