The lazy angler thing is just chumming heavy and not getting too crazy about yellowtailing. Catch enough for dinner, like the one in the photo, but put out some live baits on the surface and near the bottom to see what else the chum brings to the party. The live bait this time of year is generally ballyhoo which are normally very easy to catch. Well yesterday the ballyhoo wanted absolutely nothing to do with our plan. They wouldn't even look at the small baits we had on hair hooks and never got right to cast net had we have had the common sense to not leave it at the dock. Yep, that is right sports fans, I forgot my net and Elijah's dad who normally keeps his net in the boat forgot his. The only live bait action we had was a trade up from a yellow tail to a monsterous fish that likely never realized he was hooked. Elijah fought him for a spell but the small yellowtail hook straighten out ending that part of the show. So after catching a few yellow tails and not catching ballyhoo we moved into the shallower patches to look for Mangroves and other stuff.
More of the same really. There were tons of Mangrove in the bearly legal range with a good number of larger fish that we could never get a bait to. Had we had smaller live baits we would have probably tangled with a few, but we didn't so we didn't.
Next stop was the hawk channel rockpiles with not much time left in the day for fishing. Right off the bat we had a cut off on a dead ballyhoo then Elijah hooked into what was likely a pretty large Jewfish AKA Goliath Grouper. That battle produce some nice action photos of Elijah on the rod, but the Jew Fish aka Goliath Grouper turned back toward the boat and opened its mouth resulting in an end of that part of the show. Some small blue runners showed up so we put one out and within 30 seconds Elijah's dad was hooked up on a 20 to 30 pound barracuda. On one of their lighter spinning outfits it was a good match and dad appeared to have a pretty good time. Elijah was promoted to videographer during the barracuda battle and deserves extra credit since he caught the bait. Dad seemed to have had a pretty good time as he posed for photos which somehow never made it to my email, so they are not in the post.
Another barracuda showed up and ate Elijah's blue runner. Unfortunately, the barracuda also ate all of the wire leader and cut the main line before ever feeling a hook. We manage to catch three live baits and all three produced some action within minutes of hitting the water. Unfortunately, the bait disappeared. With the bait no longer wanting to play we headed back to the dock.
There are a couple of morals to this story. First, never assume that your buddy brought the cast net. Second, never underestimate the value of those pinfish that you left at the dock. Third, even when you forget the first and second you can still catch dinner and find something that will pull a drag fishing in the Florida Keys.
Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.