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I apologize for the lateness of this report for the weekend of 1/25/19. Between the time it took for me to thaw out and taking a 5-day vacation to New Orleans a few days later I just forgot.

The combination of the bait fishing being slow and Gag season closed I decided to forgo live bait this trip. The cold played into my decision as well. Even though the trip started out windy and cold I was still excited to get back out there and see if they were still biting as strong as they had two weeks prior. Trolling on the way out was poor as the water conditions were cloudy.  It started raining a few miles from shore which brought an end to the trolling effort. Due to extreme cold few attempted it between spots the following day.

We started around 1:00 AM in weather more fitting for “Deadliest Catch” than FL Mango fishing. This was especially true on the bow. Winds were at least 25 Knots and the temperature felt like 20. Fortunately, or unfortunately I have a lot of experience in these conditions so I managed a steady pick of Mango’s all night. There was also a scattering of large Vermillion and Yellowtail Snapper. Of course, the Gags continued to chew as I caught and released six nice ones over the course of the trip.

The day didn’t bring much relief from the cold because the wind steadily picked up. As the seas picked up so did the boat swing making it difficult to stay on the spots resulting in a very sporadic bite. On one early morning spot two Cobia were landed both in the 30 LB. range.

Captain Garret decided to move to an area of “Pot Holes” known to hold Red Grouper and Scamps. Throughout the day I didn’t have much luck but there were some nice keepers caught around the boat on every stop. On one spot late in the afternoon I was walking around deck shooting some video when a fellow angler got slammed. He ended up with a “Fire Truck” Red Grouper in the 20 LB. range. Turned out he wasn’t in the Jackpot. (Opinion Tip) Always get in the Jackpot. I say this for two reasons. One you may win enough money to pay for your trip and secondly it will make you a better fisherman. As an example, people bet on Golf as the wager makes them compete more. I find the same is true in fishing.

I rarely look forward to a trip ending but I must admit I was leaning that way. The conditions were such that holding anchor was becoming a challenge. On the Sun set stop there was a flurry of nice Mango’s coming over the rail. I was hopeful but personally saw no action. After what seemed like an hour, I was close to surrendering. The Captain said we had about an hour left to fish but he didn’t want to move so we were going to ride it out on this one.

With the above information I decided to hang in there. Funny how the “Fish Gods” work. No sooner did I make this decision when BANG! Fish ON! Turned out to be a Goozer in the seven-pound range. Over the next thirty minutes I would land five more all over five LBS. You just never know.

Good news I am rested and battle tested but, most importantly thawed out. Looking forward to getting back out there this weekend.

See You Out There!

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