As our trip wound down to its end, Ken and I felt an increasing pressure to nail our few remaining target species.
After some more masterful cast netting of mullet by our panga guide, we trolled around for roosterfish. A change in wind direction seemed to have blown more baitfish towards the surf and we intercepted schools of busting bait. Fast-moving lures secured our first Pacific crevalle jacks.
With an abundance of bait around, we had thought the roosterfish would eventually join the party. Despite our efforts there was no sign of them.
We then moved on to fish shallower water in hopes of a black triggerfish for George. This was a species of triggerfish George had been seeking for years! We did find the odd barred pargo and I caught a unique pufferfish. The colours and patterning on this fish simply made my day!
A pair of pliers helped me get a better picture of the sea catfish we had caught the first day.
Interestingly enough, it seemed these shallower fish wanted bigger chunks of bait and sabiki rigs only only yielded spotted rose snapper. We moved a bit deeper and George hooked up with a remarkable barred pargo of a few pounds.
As we moved deeper we came across another ball of busting bait. Our guide called them out to be our coveted black skipjacks, but we failed to get good casts in before they went down. After anchoring up, the bait ball re-appeared outside of casting range. Just our luck.
Deeper waters were quite vacant today, with very few hits and slow fishing. The wind was blowing towards shore and the sea was a bit more rough than the other days so it seemed like all the action was in that direction.
We had mullet to use so we tried a few wrecks with them. Not surprisingly at this point, we had several missed hits and pulled hooks. This was a reminder to yet again cut off our circle hooks and try J hooks. More missed his later, I finally connected with a white snook.
As I yanked the fish from the bottom, I heard everyone cautioning me to slow down, so I loosened the drag a bit. Apparently snook have soft mouths and power cranking them up can pull the hook out. Luckily, this didn’t happen.
We tried for a bit more, and I had another missed hit, but it was time to go. We trolled into the marina and George and Ken hooked up with leatherjackets again, but I missed my hit.
Back in the marina I gave the small goby-like fish yet another try, but as usual they simply swam away. Ken tried for surgeonfish, but they were remarkably shy given their close relatives, the doctorfish, are so voracious in Florida.