The Grinky Fishing Team met this past weekend in Grayton Beach Florida. Four of the ten team members were able to make the trip (Kobie, Chuck, Steve and Trent). Our accommodations exceeded past fishing camps, staying in a three bedroom home in Watercolors, also different from past trips girls were present for meals and the celebration of the catch.
Our first day on the gulf was attended by myself, Steve and Trent; to say it was exhausting would be an understatement. We were met on the beach by Captain Larry of Dead Fish Charters, he pulled his boat up on shore instructed to put on a pair of rubber fishing boots and climb aboard his 20 foot boat. The seas were a bit ruff at our 10:00 AM departure so we started fishing with light tackle rods for flounder. This lasted for about a half and hour yielding 12 to 15 flounder and other small fish. The wind had laid down, a sailing term, so we ventured out for deeper waters. With the aid of his GPS Larry was able to put us over an underwater formation and within minutes our rods were
being hit by 7 to 15 pound Jacks and Red Snapper at a depths of 55 feet. It wasn’t easy getting these fighters off the bottom. Adding to the struggle was the strict fishing rules. Red Snapper can only be kept if caught in season (June and July), Jack can only be kept is between 14 and 22 inches long, so many of our fish had to be released because they were out of season (Red Snapper) or they were to big (Jacks). Before our four hour voyage was over we had caught three times the fish that we were able to keep. Our arms were aching, our backs were screaming, and our spirits were souring. The three of us had caught more fish in those four hours then we had caught in our last 8 fishing trips combined.
You’ve got a big one,” Larry hollers as I set the hook on what feels like a large Jack. I reel for thirty seconds and “Wham” my rod tip bends to the water. “Your fish has just been eaten by a bigger fish,” Larry shouts.” I throw back my shoulders and lean back to pull my rod as high as I can and am immediately pulled back to a bent over position with my rod pointing down into the water. “You’ve got a 180 lb to 280 lb Shark. My thought was “I weigh 180 lbs.” I pull back and my foe peels the line off my reel with a wine. “Closer to 280 lb” comes from behind me. The fight extends for three minutes, every muscle in my body is screaming, and then the line goes limp. ”He broke your line.”
I’d caught twenty fish before that but this was the story of the day until thirty minutes later we spot three dolphins off our starboard side, I catch another Jack and forty feet from bringing it aboard “Wham and Wine” my line is peeling off the reel. “One of the Dolphins has your fish, he won’t take your hook but he’ll run with your fish, He’ll let go to come up for air then you reel as fast as you can.” I do just that then “Wham”. This dance went on for five minutes until the Dolphin let me have my fish, what was left of it.
The three of us went back to our Watercolors digs flying high but exhausted to find our forth team member, Chuck my older brother, arriving from Atlanta. After reviewing our day’s activity we all decided to abandon our plans to go out on a Destin Party Boat and call Captain Larry to see if we could book the Dead Fish for the next morning.
Larry’s first question was. “You know how it works what do you want to fish for today?” He got a unanimous response “Grouper”. We went out five miles and Larry put us over a man-made reef and as requested the four of jus started pulling out Grouper with a smattering of Red Snapper, Jack, Trigger Fish and Pink Snapper, but like the day before the rules had to be followed so the Red Snapper went back as did many of the jack and the smaller Trigger Fish. All and all it was another great four hours of fishing. Any time there was a lull in the activity Captain Larry would move us to another spot and the action would resume.
I feel confident we will be back on the Dead Fish with Larry in short order.
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