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9/19 Offshore Pensacola - One proud fisherman with many firsts!

It's been awhile since I've been able to post a report, but after almost 2 months of being land-locked I was able to put a crew together and see what was biting, target - Amberjack on jig and if lucky, Grouper!

Seas were predicted to be 4-6 in the morning hours subsiding to 2-3 by noon and 1-2 later in the day, so we slept in a little and got on the water about 945am. Pinfish traps left overnight were unproductive, so we had to stop and catch some bait in the pass. There was a smaller boat out there running a track pattern from point to point trying to stay with the birds on the bait, we soon realized they were hand-feeding the dolphin some of their catch. Everytime we would get close enough for a picture they'd take off, I just didn't feel like burning gas for a picture to report them, wish I had taken the time because the dolphin chased off any chance of catching bait around us. We eventually headed to another few spots for bait, then proceeded offshore to a few wrecks that might hold some Amberjack. Waves turned out to be 2-3 when we started and perfect flat seas on the way in about 6pm.

On the way out there was almost no grass to be found, until we finally found the first spotty patch the only one in sight, chicken dolphin and one bull spotted! Tien shows us how to pull a few in and can't get the bull to turn his head, meanwhile Seth freelines a dead pinfish by the patch and outcomes Mr. Mackeral, fish on! First wreck, Navy Barge, never found it...confirmed and changed the numbers in the GPS and tried again at the end of the day, still couldn't find it...anybody have any good numbers for Navy Barge?

Next stop after several good PFF suggestions, Chevron, Oriskany, Tenneco, Anteres...we could see structure on each one and even a few fish, the first wreck we hit had about a half dozen flipper dolphins that wouldn't take off so the bite was slow. Even on our path to another wreck the dolphins were everywhere, we surely thought we were going to have a bad day with the abundance of dolphin active in the area. Caught a few small AJ's at each one on jig, but the big ones didn't strike until our last wreck of the day. I had been jigging with a pink/white 7oz jig all day while the other guys weren't having much luck on live bait besides Matt catching a 6ft bull shark and a few nice Red Snapper, way to fight that shark Matt, you never let up and you won that fight. No grouper with live/dead bait on bottom. Even though I was pretty much the only one jigging, the other guys still had some big bites that always seemed to get to a point to break them off, not sure what they had a chance of bringing in the boat but if we could have only seen or even boated them we might have had a few more fish in the box, who knows?

Between the last two points we decided to troll a little for about a mile or so, BAM! fish on! We finally got it closer to the boat and we all said "well, we got chum, cut the bonito head off and drop him back in the chum bag..." but no, were we wrong...once we got it beside the boat it was a Blackfin Tuna, SCORE! It was unfortunately the only we caught, but nevertheless an unexpected catch and the first tuna on the boat! The last wreck we hit was full of activity on the bottom, started bringing in some smaller AJ and then the barracuda's started moving in, two of them. I started reeling in a smaller AJ and before I get it up Mr. Cuda gets his share and with the trailing blood close to the boat his buddy comes in for another bite! These boys were smart, between 3 of us on the boat trying dead/live bait with treble hooks to get a cuda to bite, they all turned away.

Eventually I caught another small AJ, got him all the way to the boat and grabbed him by the jaw to take the hook out. Didn't see any of the cuda's around so I kissed my little friend goodbye and down he went, of course no farther than 5ft before he got smacked by a cuda! That big boy grabbed that AJ and started to swim away, but before he got past the motor we could tell exactly when he chomped down and blood, fish went everywhere which started a feeding frenzy between the two of them. What an amazing sight to watch the power of a barracuda, Tien caught the tail end of them finishing the AJ on video underwater, next time we'll have the camera underwater before a caught fish is released with cuda around.

All in all a beautiful day on the water and a great day with an old friend and a couple new, caught the first keeper AJ's, Mahi Mahi and Tuna ever on the boat(since i've owned it:D)...til next time, let your lines be wet and cooler full.
 

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