Saturday, April 24, 2021

Back at Bill Baggs

 I was back at Key Biscayne with Davis today. After a few months of schoolwork and whatnot, we made sure to make a plan to finally head back and try to get on some fish. Despite not catching anything too big or notable, we had a great time being out on the water again, enjoying the 80-something degree sunny weather which will turn to the high 90s in a matter of weeks, given the volatility of Miami’s “seasons.” We went on a Saturday, and arrived at around 11:15 AM, but were pleasantly surprised to find that the second dock from the parking lot was completely empty. Last time we come at this time on a weekend, we had to walk all the way to the last dock in order to find a space to share with another group. We bought 3 dozen live shrimp for bait. The catching started off strong, with both of us getting hits almost immediately. Curiously, the bites seemed to be concentrated in a single hole by the right corner of the dock. There were some lulls in the fishing. They bit on and off. There would be 10 minutes of nonstop biting, and then the frenzy would inexplicably leave as abruptly as it came. We did see mullet, and when we caught a grunt and pinfish, we decided to throw them out on Davis’ heavy rod. Without a sufficient weight, we bled the fish out a bit, killing them, and threw them out; this way, the fish did not swim off to the side by the rocks, and the bleeding fish could draw attention. This worked. Despite setting the drag REALLY low, whatever took our bait, on multiple occasions, would hold on to it and break/come off when it get the tension of the line and rod held in the rod holder. Next time we will probably try to hold the rod or keep it resting on the dock, because by the time we picked up the rod for each hit, it would be gone. Based on the bite marks and slower hits similar to what we’d seen before, as well as the fact that we’d seen multiple Nurse Sharks swimming by the dock over the course of the day, I think it was a Nurse Shark, but Davis thinks differently. I guess we will never know.

We ended up catching 16 fish in total. I caught 9; 6 Blustriped Grunts, 1 Pinfish, 1 Porkfish, and 1 Mangrove Snapper. Davis caught 7; 5 Mangrove Snappers, 1 Schoolmaster, and 1 Bluestriped Grunt. At one point, we both hooked up and reeled in fish at the same time. Davis also was able to bring in a small Blue Crab that was resting on a piece of floating Sargassum. Sargassum is always cool; you can count on finding some shrimp, crabs, or fish hiding in a floating piece. Fisherman look for clumps of Sargassum offshore, of course, because on the open ocean they tend to bring shelter and ecology that attracts fish like Dolphin (Mahi Mahi).

All in all, it was a very enjoyable fishing trip. Being out on the water is always a great way to relax and spend time with friends. Stay tuned, and tight lines!

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