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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gents,
First off I have to apologize as I left my camera in the house this morning and had to take some pictures with my phone...the wind backed off a little last night and we were able to fish in Hawk Channel today. We grappled into some rock pinacles in about 23' of water with the surrounding water about 35' deep. We fished these in years past. On my first drop to the bottom with a 12# spinning rod, within 30 seconds something ate my spanish sardine took me across the transome and cut me off....I grabbed a baitcaster with 30# braid and 10' of 50# mono, tightened up the drag all the way and sent down another sardine..within a minute I was hooked into a nice Red Grouper about 20 inches. Over the next hour or so, I had no stop action with Red and Gag Groupers..I lost count of how many. The Reds ranged from 12" to 20" and we had 4 gag's that went 24-25 inches...would be keepers if the feds had not closed the season. We tagged a bunch of them with yellow littotal society fish tags. Things slowed and it was not too rough so we tried to head out to the patch reefs..we got near the edge, almost took a wave over the bow and headed back to hawk channel. We anchored over another rock pinacle about 100 yards from where we started and caught a few more nice grouper...2 of the reds caught had our tags on them..later in the day we moved up the channel to the west turtle shoals and hammered the reds again,,,I have never seen soo many...great grouper day and not 1 shark,..here are some pics..
Nice 24" Gag Grouper..1 of about 4 tagged and released

Nice 20"+ Red Grouper...caught several of these..like a bulldog tog...

Nassua Grouper..3rd one caught this trip,,,never saw one before..

Tagging a nice gag..

Another nice Gag Grouper...getting kind of rough
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
For those of us northern guys who have not fished for grouper...it is just like fishing for big tog...you hook em and you have about 10 seconds to get them up off the bottom before they wrap you around something and cut you off..I had a nice 24" gag that I swung and missed at follow the bait to the boat, grab it about half way up and take me back to the bottom...awesome fishing when they are around....that same fish had one of my other hooks still in it's mouth when we netted it,,,
 

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Grouper are so fun to fish for.

Imagine a bluefish and a tog had a baby

thats a grouper.
Even on heavy tackle an 19in one will put a nice bend in the rod.
 

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You using circles?

I know down south it is mandatory to use circles on wrecks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We were using circles in the bay where they are required. I cant hook a damn thing with them....
 

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Ya the circles are annoying because your so used to jerking it and hooking them but really you just gotta real and let the hook, hook it self.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The circles are damn near impossible to fish like that...when something is biting and pulling like mad, it is hard not to pull back...as for the fish kill, it was as bad as they said. I stopped in Key Largo at the Caribean Club on Saturday for a beer and there were dead fish all along the shore line...I saw pin fish, snappers and ladyfish all sticking out of the weeds...I was talking to a flats guide in Islaorada yesterday afternoon on my way out of town and he said that the flats are barren....the bay used to be full of mangrove snappers..you could catch them everywhere....yesterday we saw one where as you used to have a school following the boat around feeding on the chum no matter where you went.....the water in the bay yesterday was 68 to 70 depending on how close you were to the ocean...a neighbor saw 64 the day before down near the 7 mile bridge on the outgoing tide....Marathon runner...we tagged 7 gag's and at least 10 reds and I think 3 blacks......2 of the reds were caught again the same day, but in a different spot..but only about 100 yards from where they were released....we caught a lot of reds..almost everywhere we fishedon the ocean side we caught at least 1....
 

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The circles are damn near impossible to fish like that...when something is biting and pulling like mad, it is hard not to pull back...as for the fish kill, it was as bad as they said. I stopped in Key Largo at the Caribean Club on Saturday for a beer and there were dead fish all along the shore line...I saw pin fish, snappers and ladyfish all sticking out of the weeds...I was talking to a flats guide in Islaorada yesterday afternoon on my way out of town and he said that the flats are barren....the bay used to be full of mangrove snappers..you could catch them everywhere....yesterday we saw one where as you used to have a school following the boat around feeding on the chum no matter where you went.....the water in the bay yesterday was 68 to 70 depending on how close you were to the ocean...a neighbor saw 64 the day before down near the 7 mile bridge on the outgoing tide....Marathon runner...we tagged 7 gag's and at least 10 reds and I think 3 blacks......2 of the reds were caught again the same day, but in a different spot..but only about 100 yards from where they were released....we caught a lot of reds..almost everywhere we fishedon the ocean side we caught at least 1....

Thanks Chris, Good luck the rest of your trip.
 
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