We did 2 more follow up trips to “Nastyville”. El Nasty had made a chump out of us on the last trip and we were into these trips for redemption. Of course we wanted to get our customers on Cubera Snapper as well. The last 2 trips were a struggle with heavy current and foul weather.
Ryan and Matt met us at the dock at the usual time and they were pumped up to get after them. I warned them of the 2 previous trips but let them know that the conditions were much better and no matter what, we would give it 100% effort as always. The Briggle Brothers had fished with us before so they already knew that about us. Even though we had a fairly rocky start to the season we were exuding confidence as we unleashed The BEAST and made our way out for bait.
We began collecting “crickets” and Matt was throwing a very small speed jig. He had a good hook up and dragged in a very nice Mangrove Snapper, which he put in the livewell. The bug collection went off without a hitch and we took our time to make sure they reached their limit. This is the main focus when preparing for a successful night of hunting Cubera Snapper.
We stowed all the gear and I headed for some Yellowtail. We arrived and set out the chum while we readied the baits. The current was like the winds on that night… light. It was nice to see this soft leisurely current for a change. The B Brothers had a little fish wager going on and I believe they tied at 4 nice Yellowtail apiece (8 total) and they also boated 2 nice Cero Mac’s. With darkness settling in, we pulled anchor and headed out to deal with this Cubera issue.
Arriving at the spot, we were pleasantly surprised to see that we were alone. That was especially nice that nobody was anchored up making it harder to affect a good drift. The current was 1 knot or less. Awesome! We began our drifts and 30-40 minutes passed by when suddenly the rod tip thumps hard and then bends over violently. FISH ON! Ryan grabs the rod and we are counting our chickens before they hatched. Shhhh! Too late! We got the leader to the rod tip and the fish is just under the surface as Devon reaches for the leader. Ryan lets out a shout, “IT’S GONE! @#$%^&*()_+ !!!!” Devon grabs the leader and sure enough. No fish! Not a good start!
Time passes by extremely slow when the bite comes late. This night was exactly that, especially since we already blew a shot on a good fish right at the boat. 11:00 PM and I can see severe dejection in Ryan’s face. I asked him what he was feeling and he said something like “Here I am on The BEAST and I can’t get another bite. Bad luck just seems to follow me.” I told him that we weren’t done yet and sometimes it just takes more time. About 15 minutes later Devon saw the rod thump and called out to Ryan. By the time he got to the rod it had doubled over and the fish was straining to get away. To keep from repeating the outcome of the first bite that night, he remained intent on not giving the fish a split second of slack. This worked out very well for him as he boated a respectable fish.
The bite had fired up now and we ended up missing one or two more before Matt had his turn on a solid hook up. He and his brother Ryan witnessed this bite and Matt jumped on the rod. He was working up a sweat while working up the fish. Ryan and Matt now have had a crash course in how tough these fish really are. He managed the rod and negotiated the fish to boat side. Nice fish… pretty work!
We kept working but missed another bite or two and then the feeding mode shut down. A few more drifts and nothing. Unfortunately, we realized that we had our chances and now it was over as the fish went back to doing what Cubera do in August. We ended up the night, catching 2 fish out of 3 that were hooked up and missed 4 more bites. The best night out this season so far, both in conditions and active bites. We packed it in and I turned The BEAST for the barn. The B Bros were happy and considered the outing a success.
Our next trip out was with a very regular customer from New York. His Mother and his friends call him Eddie but we call him “Gimpy”. It’s a long story! To book this trip he must’ve made 37 phone calls to me and many of those calls were non-specific. I think he’s just getting lonely and wants someone to talk to! Devon and I are trying real hard to like Gimpy!!! I’m just kidding y’all. I know he is watching intently and waiting patiently for this report of his trip. I figured I’d take this chance to bust his chops, once again. If you knew the Gimp you would understand fully.
He and his mates met us at the dock, exchanged pleasantries, discussed the previous trip, loaded up and pulled out. Everyone was hoping for a repeat of the last trip, at least in the form of good conditions. We blasted straight out to get our crickets and that we did. We had plenty of them in the live well and then headed for a nice Yellowtail area. We anchored up and began the chum slick, tossing in some Glass minnows to sweeten the chum line. We didn’t have a stellar night on the hook but we did manage to catch about 8 or 10 nice Tails. When it got dark we closed up the chum and small rods and broke out the heavy gear. I cracked open the throttles and headed for Nastyville.
Arriving in Cubera City I quickly noticed that 2 boats were anchored on either side of the main drifts. It appeared that they were working together in some way or another and were fishing for Mutton or Vermillion Snapper, not Cubera’s. This was bad for us because the current was once again rolling through the area at over 2.2 knots. Not good, not good at all! I couldn’t get a drift line that would split in between the other boats because of their anchor rode, so I worked all around the town, from shallow to deep. There were times that I actually passed really close to the anchored boats trying to sniggle a bite out of the mass of fish I saw on the sonar in that area. Nothing was working very well. The anchored boats didn’t seem to be doing so great on their mission either.
Finally around midnight, they simultaneously pulled anchors and left. I took advantage of this and immediately moved into that area. I desperately wanted to contact some of those fish that I knew were there but couldn’t reach until the boats left. The screen was lit up with a good aggregation of these Snappers. On the second drift the rod doubled over and Big Tom began getting a lesson in Cubera Snapper fishing. Tom was remarking about the power of these Pit Bull Snappers. He took command and in short order, it’s a done deal. Tom is on the boards.
Well it appears the bite is on but for how long. I hoped we didn’t miss too much while we tried to outlast the other 2 boats. A few more drifts and the screen is getting lighter as the fish are disappearing from the sonar. Oh Crap! A couple more drifts and Kerplooey! Da’ Gimp knocks everyone out of the way as he busts a move towards the doubled over rod. Every man for himself is the way he rolls! He’s on it. Oh Lord… This may be too much for the Gimperella. I had to turn my head away as he is fishing with Rodney (rod holder) and double handing the reel crank. Folks, this was not pretty! A few minutes later and Gimpster finally puts the old Marine Corp manhandle on this fish. Well… He says he is a US Marine from New York, but I’m thinking he is actually a retired Merchant Marine from Jersey! Ok… He muscled his way through his friends and regardless of how ugly it was; in the end he had his first Cubera. Sorry… I had to get a couple more shots in on him! I can’t help myself!
OK… That’s 2 fish for 2 bites! We made a few more drifts and the large congregation of fish is all but gone now. We stayed and plugged away at it for another hour or so, and then I threw in the towel. Could we have done better if we hadn’t had to contend with the 2 anchored boats? Maybe yes, maybe no. It is what it is and we dealt with the situation the best we could. The guys had plenty of groceries to take home with them including lots of lobster tails. Oh Yeah! Hey Gimpy! Where are those special New York bagels you said you were going to bring down to me! Hey… that’s how he rolls!
Hopefully T.S. Isaac will not mess things up for the remainder of the season. We still have some availability for the upcoming full moon period if anyone is interested in giving it a try.