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Mostest Bestest Member Ever!
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Had McGolfer, Steelersfan, Minnows and my buddy Don on board boath days.

Day 1 resulted in a few nice sized Grey Snapper and a couple of AJ's with one @ 25 pounds and the other 42 pounds.

Day 2 resulted in a 47 pound AJ, a 32 pound Warsaw and about 13 snapper to 13 pounds.

This was Don's first trip and he got to experience everything offshore had to offer from rough seas Fri morning to slick calm conditions on Sat as well as catching a 42 pound AJ, a decent spinner shark and a few snapper. I'm sure we have another convert.

Thanks again to my fine crew, you guys were all a plesaure to fish with!

Pictures to follow. Hopefully Steelersfan got a better picture of Saturday's catch since mine only shows the crew.

Pic 1 - Don with the shark
Pic 2 - Don bowed up
Pic 3 - The AJ in the water
Pic 4 - Steelersfan, Don and McGolfer with the AJ
Pic 5 - The crew (front row L-R Steelersfan, Minnows, me - back row Don, McGolfer)
 

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Thanks again.

Thanks again for the invite bg. It was a great trip shared with a great crew. Minnows and McGolfer put on a fishing show for sure. Too bad we couldn't land the other 8 or so AJ's we hooked up to. Maybe next time. My picture from Saturday turned out a little better. Also, got a picture of Gunner's catch from Sat. of some nice kings, a cuda and a nice gray snapper. Thanks to everyone at the house for the hospitality and thanks to Eric and his grandfather for hosting the event. Great food and friends all around.
 

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Nice catch Bernie & crew. I had to do a family reunion Saturday and I kept thinking about how eveybody was doing. BTW, it is borderline cheating to fish for AJ's with McGolfer on board.
 

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Thanks, Jim. It might be almost cheating but if you want to get a new guy hooked on the sport, I can't think of a better way to do it than a 40 pound AJ! His seasickness disappeared within 15 minutes of landing that fish!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
The long version of the report, now that I've had some sleep...

Crew for the weekend consisted of Justin (Steelersfan), Rick (McGolfer), TJ (Minnows), Don and me.

Thursday, July 29, 2004 â€"

Picked up Don at the airport @ 11:45 after his flight got delayed for about 40 minutes by weather in Dallas. The plan was to fish our way down from Matagorda to Port O’Conner but the wind had picked up overnight and seas were running 3 â€" 4 foot on a 5 second interval so we decided to run the ditch (ICW) instead. The trip from dock to dock was about 31 miles. After getting to the house around 4:30 and getting everything unloaded we ran over to the fuel dock and gassed up the boat and the 6 5 gallon jugs and picked up a quart of live shrimp so we could fish under the lights for some trout. Went back to the house and fished until dark for piggy perch and other bait fish for Friday and then fished for trout. We caught a few dinks but nothing of any real size so we turned in around 10:30 or 11:00.

Friday, July 30, 2004 â€"

Up at 6:00 and checked the buoys. Seas were still running 3’ on about a 5 second interval but we decided we’d hit the short rigs and try for some kings or something just to get a pull since this was Don’s first ever trip offshore. We left the doc @ 6:30 and stopped to pick up a couple of bags of ice. Typically I’ll get 5 or 6 bags this time of year since it goes pretty fast but I wasn’t really expecting the conditions to be all that fishable and didn’t want to keep any kingfish anyhow. We cleared the jetties shortly after 7 and were greeted by some pretty choppy seas. Luckily we weren’t taking them head on so we were able to make about 15 knots but it was still a little bumpy and wet. We got to the first rig, about 8 miles out in 70 feet of water, and put out the chum churn and started the menhaden oil drip and put out a couple of flat lines with Cigar Minnows on wire. We also made a couple of bottom drops while waiting on the flat lines. Caught a couple of undersized snapper while we were waiting and finally had a run on one of the flat lines after about 30 minutes. We didn’t get a hookup and since the action was so slow, we decided to move. Went to another rig about 12 miles out and about 80 foot of water and fished it for another ½ hour or so with nothing to show for it except for a Spinner Shark Don caught and released. By now, the seas had started to lay down and Don was sick. Don did his thing and we decided to go ahead and run out to about 40 miles since the seas were lying down so we headed out to the 133’s at about 20 knots. We got there and caught a few 3 â€" 5 pound chubs and put a hook in one and sent it to the bottom and in about 15 minutes we were bowed up. Drug the fish out of the rig and put Don on the rod and he landed a 42 pound AJ in about 5 â€" 10 minutes. Shortly after that, his sea sickness was completely gone. We hooked up another chub and sent it down and got another hookup in fairly short order but it got into the rig and broke off before we could drag it out. Made another drop and hooked up again but came unbuttoned as we were dragging it out. In the meantime, TJ, Rick and Justin were busy catching some nice Grey Snapper. After the AJ bite stopped, we pulled up and headed to another rig where we picked up another Grey and nothing else so we decided to go see if we could find anything around Dunbar. We hit the first rock mark and saw a nice pile of fish but never could find them again and didn’t find much else looking at the other marks around there so we ran over to another rig where Rick caught about a 25 pound AJ on a diamond jig and we caught some small red snapper and a keeper or two. I can’t remember what all we had in the box at the end of the day but we decided to head in about 5:00 because the 2 bags of ice we’d gotten were pretty much gone and we were concerned the fish wouldn’t keep. The ride in was nice and we were able to make 25 knots until about the last 10 miles when it got really choppy and we had to slow down to about 18 knots again. We made it back to the house around 7, dropped of the guys and the fish and went and fueled up for Saturday. Finally got the fish and boat cleaned up around 8:30 and headed to The Spot for the “Map Party” and dinner where we stayed until about 10:30. In bed around 11:00.

Saturday, July 31, 2004 â€"

Up at 5:00 to check the buoys and things look good for the day with seas running about 2’ and wind at 5 knots or so. We load up and stop for ice, this time buying 5 bags and clear the jetties by 6:00. Today’s plan was to stop at 133 and pick up some big chubs for bait and then head to Falcon’s Nest (370’ deep) for some BIG AJ’s and then to troll or work shrimp boats to find some Tuna or a Wahoo. Well, the first part worked pretty well and we stopped at 133 around 8:30 and picked up our chubs right off and were on our way to Falcon’s Nest before 9:00. We got there around 9:30 â€" 9:45 and there were a number of big sportfisher’s trolling the area but not getting a lot of action. We went over to the rig and rigged up a bait with 2 pounds of lead and sent it down but the current was ripping so strong that it was running out at about a 75* angle behind the boat. This bait got broke off in the rig and we rigged up another with 3 pounds of lead but still had it running out at about 60*. We tried fishing like this all around the rig for almost an hour without any real hits. We did manage to get some small blue runners on the Sabiki though. About 11:00 or so, we decided to troll a little around the rig in hopes of getting a Wahoo or something so we setup the spread and started trolling. We got a knockdown about 15 minutes later on a pogie tipped Bait-o-matic but the fish never felt the hook. Re-tipped it and continued trolling with another hit on an Islander, that again didn’t feel the hook, about 10 minutes later. Trolled for another 10 minutes or so and decided to troll over to the East Breaks and around there a bit. We set our course and about 5 minutes into the troll I’d had all I could stand so I made the decision to pick up the lines and run over there at speed until we got about a mile away and then put them back out, which we did. We trolled the area for another 10 â€" 20 minutes and I got so bored I could hardly stand it so I decided that was enough of that and told the guys to pick up the lines that we were going to go catch some fish. It was about 1:00 now and we didn’t have a single fish in the box yet. We ran over to 105 and saw a commercial boat fishing (a day before they were supposed to) so we took some pictures of them. A guy on the rig started yelling at them and they got the picture and untied and left. We tied up about where they were and started catching some decent snapper. We also had one of the chubs near bottom waiting for another AJ. The chub went unmolested for a while but Justin was getting some nice bites on the smaller blue runners so we pulled the big line up only to find that our chub was gone. Re-baited with one of the blue runners and sent it back down and about 15 minutes later it goes over double. Rick takes this one and fights it in the rod holder landing a 47 pound AJ. We’re continuing to fish this rig and pick keeper snapper off of it and Justin gets about an 8 â€" 10 pound snapper followed by TJ landing a 13 pound snapper on a whole pogie. Everybody then switches to pogies and the fishing continues. We get another good knockdown on the rod Justin had near bottom with a blue runner and I start fighting the fish. I’m gaining a good bit of line when it suddenly decides to make a run for it and is pulling drag towards bottom and I lose it after a couple of minutes. Don and Rick kept hooking something big about 150’ down that would pull them into the rig and the couldn’t get out. Don did this 3 times and we weren’t ever able to get enough force on the line to break it with all the stretch so I had to cut it all off each time. On the 3rd time I had to respool the reel, a first for me offshore. Good thing I brought extra line. We fished this rig until about 3:00 when we start getting a lot of small snapper and haven’t had any more bites on the live baits for a while so I decide to move back over to 133 where we’d caught the big AJ the day before. We get over there around 3:30 only to meet up with our commercial boat again. We tried tying up to the rig but the current and wind were such that we were either drifting into the rig or into the commercial boat so I decide we’d drift it instead. Start drifting the side (all the time with a big chub near bottom) and the guys start catching more keeper snapper but no bites on the big bait. Justin catches a nice big barjack on one of his snapper bites and I reel up the big bait to switch it out with the chub only to find that at some point something cut the leader so we no longer had a hook. We put on another hook and send the barjack down and start the waiting game again (it was my turn on the big rod) and continued to catch some snapper. Around 5:00 I decided to move around to the other side of the rig where we’d caught the AJ the day before, even though the current and wind was going to make drifting it difficult, in the hopes that his buddies would be hanging out. We went around and made a few drifts with some OK snapper getting hooked up but a lot more small ones than we’d had on the other side. Rick hooked up with what fought like a small snapper around 5:15 and was reeling it up when all of a sudden his rod bent double. He fought the fish for a few seconds and we all realized he really had something so we motored away from the rig to give him a good shot at it on his lighter snapper tackle. He fought the fish for about 15 minutes and then TJ sunk the gaff in a 32 pound Warsaw grouper. It was 5:30 now and time to head in if we were going to get the fish and boat cleaned and still make the gathering so we called it a day with a fish box filled to the rim. Ran in at 25 knots or better in 1’ seas and hit the dock around 8:00 after stopping for fuel and ice. Everything cleaned up and showered by about 9:30 and we headed over to the gathering to eat some fish and socialize then back at the house and in bed by about 11:30, completely whooped.

Sunday, August 1, 2004 â€"

Up shortly before 7:00 and watched the last of the sunrise over the ICW while waiting on Don and Justin to get up. We got the boat loaded up by about 8:00 and pulled out for Matagorda around 8:30 or 9:00. Got into the harbor and fueled up and put the boat in the slip around 10:00, cleaned it up and on the road home by 10:45. Stopped by the house to get the fish in the freezer and Don and I went to lunch, Academy and then I dropped him off at the airport around 4:00 and headed home. Finally got to bed around 10:15 completely exhausted from the weekend and slept like a rock (it was tough sleeping over the weekend because of a couple of snorers).

This was a fantastic trip and definitely one for the memory banks! Don caught his first ever saltwater fish, a piggy perch, on Thursday and then followed it up with a 42 pound AJ on Friday and is now ready to do it again. Everyone we met and at the house was great company as well which made the weekend that much better. Can’t wait to do it again next year!
 

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Great report BG. Glad to be able to visit with ya'll this weekend. You and your team sure put on a clinic for us rookies. Thanks for sharing the report.
 

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All I know is I am going to have to upgrade my tackle if I want to continue on tangling with those big AJ's. Hooking them is one thing, getting them in the boat is a whole different story! Looks like I need something with 50# of drag and at least an 80# class rod. I think I broke off at least 5 good fish on my rig alone. That doesn't count the ones on Rick's set-up that got unbuttoned or broke off in the rig. Anyone selling something I can use? :)

Anyone down here ever spool up with the braided wire line? That is a popular line on Lake Ontario for deep water trolling. I wonder if that would keep you from cutting off on the rig legs? I guess the only problem would be getting wrapped around a rig leg and not being able to break it. Guess you better hope your boat cleats are fastened down tight. Probably more trouble than it is worth.
 
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