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TOPIC: Skunked at multiple reefs

Skunked at multiple reefs 1 year 8 months ago #31524

  • FishinTampa
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Hi all,

from the advice of some friends I went to some local reefs in near-shore waters.

We went in a sort of far-to-near pattern. We eased under the north skyway pier and with 3 throws blacked out the livewell with bait. We headed past egmont key and headed straight for the 7 mile "north" reef. We did a "mow the lawn" pattern when we got there to survey the area and mark fish. There wasnt the greatest activity seen on the bottom machine but there was a boat with multiple divers and 2 other boats fishing. We anchored up, set up a nice chum line, and started throwing cut bait from the dead that did not survive the trip in the livewell.
We set up 2 heavy bottom fishing rods, akin to the carolina-type rigging, and several free-lined threadfins on lighter tackle. After 4 hours we had nothing to show for it!! We move to a different area of the reef about once per 45-60min, but to no avail. We did spot about six 30-35lb baraccuda's but thats about it. I cant figure out what we were doing wrong. The reef area couldnt have been THAT barren could it?? It was in 40ft of water which should have been cool enough in the deeper areas to hold nice groupers, maybe a cobia, etc.

Anyways, we hit the 3 mile north reef on our way back.....no luck.

And then we went to the 1 mile reef off anna maria island and were skunked as well.

We headed back to the bay and went straight to tarpon key for the outgoing afternoon tide and scored some nice reds.

Any idea why there was no luck at the reefs? are they really more seasonal or were we just not doing it right, or are those reefs notoriously not worth fishing??

Thanks guys,
Keep 'em bent!
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Re: Skunked at multiple reefs 1 year 8 months ago #31526

  • DavidT
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I get skunked when I go to reefs also...I don't know what you were doing wrong, but I know what I always do wrong: I don't know how to anchor good enough to settle right back on top of the structure. I always get on the structure and go into the wind and drop the anchor which sounds like it makes sense to me, but we always end up off of the structure and just decide to fish anyway because we know that we're pretty close to it....but it never works out too well. I catch a fish here and there, but nothing great and I know there's fish there because I see people roll up that know what they're doing and catch fish.

BUT, I learned a good anchoring tip from Vance Tice that worked for him when he was having the same trouble I was having, so hopefully that will solve my anchoring problem and I'll catch some fish!
If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles. -Doug Larson
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Re: Skunked at multiple reefs 1 year 8 months ago #31527

  • FishHawk
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This is an OFFSHORE post. I thought you were going to the inshore reefs inside Tampa Bay.

Looks like you did the right thing. In the hot water of today those reefs may not be a good bet. First the fish are fished hard there. There are lots of predator fish there to eat anything that comes out of that structure and ... it just might have been one of those days when the fish don't bite.

It's not easy to catch fish offshore. It looks easy when some do it but they have a "feel" for the currents, solunar periods, temperature, time of day, presentations and techniques.

Those closer-in areas are usually best Spring and Fall when plegic runs of fish take place at water temperature change.
"There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim."
Gen. Mattis
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Re: Skunked at multiple reefs 1 year 8 months ago #31528

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DavidT wrote:
I get skunked when I go to reefs also...I don't know what you were doing wrong, but I know what I always do wrong: I don't know how to anchor good enough to settle right back on top of the structure. I always get on the structure and go into the wind and drop the anchor which sounds like it makes sense to me, but we always end up off of the structure and just decide to fish anyway because we know that we're pretty close to it....but it never works out too well. I catch a fish here and there, but nothing great and I know there's fish there because I see people roll up that know what they're doing and catch fish.

BUT, I learned a good anchoring tip from Vance Tice that worked for him when he was having the same trouble I was having, so hopefully that will solve my anchoring problem and I'll catch some fish!

What is your anchoring tip?
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Re: Skunked at multiple reefs 1 year 8 months ago #31529

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srchn4salmon wrote:
What is your anchoring tip?
Use a compass! B) Sounds pretty simple, right? I don't know why I didn't think of that...when you're right on top of the structure head into the wind and look at the compass to see which way you're going. If you anchor and you're not right on the structure, pull anchor get back on top of the structure and use your compass again to go just a hair left or right depending on where you ended up the first time. It's tedious, but makes total sense to me
If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles. -Doug Larson
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Re: Skunked at multiple reefs 1 year 8 months ago #31530

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DavidT wrote:
srchn4salmon wrote:
What is your anchoring tip?
Use a compass! B) Sounds pretty simple, right? I don't know why I didn't think of that...when you're right on top of the structure head into the wind and look at the compass to see which way you're going. If you anchor and you're not right on the structure, pull anchor get back on top of the structure and use your compass again to go just a hair left or right depending on where you ended up the first time. It's tedious, but makes total sense to me

Great tip, would not have thought of that either. I do know it is very important to be right on the spot, 10' either way and might as well be fishing in my backyard.
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Re: Skunked at multiple reefs 1 year 8 months ago #31531

  • yelladevil17
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That sucks buddy! How did the other boats look like they did? My preference is always go light on the tackle...starting with 20# main/ 14# fluoro leader. I got turned on using a really long leader too. Then if I get broken off a lot, I move up to heavier gear. My last few trips offshore during the day been tough. We always ended up going deeper (80') as the water was cooler out there.
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Re: Skunked at multiple reefs 1 year 8 months ago #31533

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yelladevil17 wrote:
That sucks buddy! How did the other boats look like they did? My preference is always go light on the tackle...starting with 20# main/ 14# fluoro leader. I got turned on using a really long leader too. Then if I get, broken off a lot, I move up to heavier gear. My last few trips offshore during the day been tough. We always ended up going deeper (80') as the water was cooler out there.

I like the way you think. I think the people would have laughed me off the boat on my overnight trip if they knew how light of leader I was using on the middle grounds. But I was getting a bite within 10sec almost every time I dropped down, just couldn't get them to stick enough.
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Re: Skunked at multiple reefs 1 year 8 months ago #31584

  • sylvestermax
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Sorry you were skunked. It's happened to me several times as well. In the summer I try to hit les pressured reefs and ledges. T.A Mahoney sells a book of Lat - Lon numbers that mark a lot of bottom features close to the coast as well as in deeper water. Many of the numbers have paid off.

srchn4salmon wrote:
DavidT wrote:
srchn4salmon wrote:
What is your anchoring tip?
Use a compass! B) Sounds pretty simple, right? I don't know why I didn't think of that...when you're right on top of the structure head into the wind and look at the compass to see which way you're going. If you anchor and you're not right on the structure, pull anchor get back on top of the structure and use your compass again to go just a hair left or right depending on where you ended up the first time. It's tedious, but makes total sense to me

Great tip, would not have thought of that either. I do know it is very important to be right on the spot, 10' either way and might as well be fishing in my backyard.

I used to use my GPS's man-over-board feature to mark bottom features when I pass over them. Now I throw out a floating marker that unreels an anchor line to mark the sight. Then I come back around and anchor upwind/upcurrent and drift back over the marker and tie off the anchor line. Works like a charm, unless there is no wind or current.
Mark B.
Apollo Beach
US Air Force - Retired
Pathfinder 2200XL TE
Jackson Cuda 14
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