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My friend Dave and I were taking 2 sons each yesterday, but two fell out - 1 too sick and the other too sleepy. We went with my 9 year old Ben (his first trip) and Dave's 15 year old Jared (his second trip). Left Freeport and went ~45 miles to the first spot. First fish was a shark that backlashed a reel (I had to pick out the backlash while Dave held the rod and the line). Figured out we left the camera on land - I was kicking myself later on. After that brief excitement, we caught a few undersize snapper managing only a vermilion and one keeper red (Ben got that one). Hit lots of spots as we moved on out - seemed to catch a lot of small snapper and lots of sharks (10 total for the day) before noon. Then things picked up. Jared hooks something that was about to pull him overboard - he fought him a while until he was whipped (the kid, not the fish) so I took my turn. After about 10 minutes, I told Dave to take the rod and land the fish his son hooked - I had a pretty good idea what it was so decided to spread teh fun(?) around. Dave fights the fish to submission wearing himself out too. It was 25# AJ, and Dave and Jared were beaming as it went in the box. Energy is recharged and Jared's wants another so back we go. Next drift across the spot Ben hooks up on a fish - he is using fairly light tackle (Penn 975 w/levelwind) and is just holding on for dear life with the foam foregrip on the rail. Finally he can take no more and asks me to take the rod. I stopped my drop halfway down and handed him my rod - within a couple minutes, Ben has another fish on. The first I get in the boat while Ben fights the second all the way to the boat (way to go, Ben!). Two kings, 20# and 25#. We picked up a few snapper and the triggers moved in so we headed back north to another spot. After putting a couple more snapper in the boat, I hear "there's another shark". That's no shark, and I grab my spinning rod. First pass with artificial only gets a curious glance, but the ling is more interested in Dave's undersize snapper - nosing him to watch him flop. I get a piece of cigar minnow on the jig and told Dave to pull the snapper out of the water. The ling sees the jig/cigar minnow, starts toward it, and I let it fall. The ling noses over and catches it - 1,2,3 and we're on! Round and round we go until we get him on the gaff. Here's when the fun starts. After carefully telling everyone what to do when we get the ling in the boat, (Murphy's law) the ice chest lid doesn't get shut quick enough and we've got a jack-in-the-box ling. I wanted that ling! So it's me and the ling on one side of the boat and everybody else on the other. I'm trying to keep him in the boat hollering for someone to get my bat. Finally it's located and the whacking starts (me whacking him - he'd been whacking everything on that side of the boat already). Finally subdued, he goes back in the box. It was time to go, and as we headed in Ben asked when I go next, can he come along? Of course was the answer - looks like I've got a new offshore fishing partner! We ended up with the AJ, ling, 2 kings, and 6 snapper (and two exhausted but very happy kids - and dads!).
 
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