Another beautiful morning(6:30am) was in store as we left the Sanibel causeway after picking up my clients to head offshore for some bottom fishing. As we round the Sanibel lighthouse and make our way some 40+ miles offshore the weather is outstanding with flat calm seas, air temps in the high 60’s with an afternoon temp of 80 and the sea surface temp was 70 degrees. My clients Tom & Paul were from Michigan and had never fished offshore before and I knew they’d be in store for some great catching.
The boat ride takes about an hour and a half while we cruise at a smooth 30mph. Once we reach our destination I drop anchor and get the rods ready to be baited. On this day we are using both conventional and spinning gear(Penn, Shimano and Newell) in the 30-50lb class(Power Pro Braid) with 3-5oz egg sinkers on a knocker rig with hook sizes(eagle claw)ranging from 3/0-8/0.
This trip we are targeting grouper, snapper, porgy and other reef fish.The bait we are using is cut squid wings and cut sand perch(aka,squirrel fish) both a grouper favorite. We will also use live squirrel fish and drop those down on the heavier rods to try an entice the larger fish to bite.
We only made 4 different anchor drops on this trip will all the spots being within a half mile of each other. On the fist stop the bite was on immediately we hooked into numerous grouper, snapper and porgy with one really nice grouper and releasing the rest as grouper need to be a minimum of 20 inches overall to legally keep. We boxed some nice lane and vermilion snapper all within the fist hour. The 2-4 spots also produced the same hot action including catching a scorpion fish(rare for offshore), a puffer fish and lost a few big grouper and hooked a few sharks that were a little too big to boat. By the end of the day we had a cooler full of fish some very nice keeper grouper, snapper, porgy and some very tired arms. Both Tom & Paul couldn’t believe the action we had all day as they had no idea what bottom fishing can be like in SWFL. That’s what I call catching!