CaptJoeVerdino

BST Users
  • Content count

    43
  • Joined

  • Last visited

    Never

Everything posted by CaptJoeVerdino

  1. This is turning out to be the start of a good year since I'm scheduling fishing trips and the weather has been good. Most of the time I'm looking at the forecast praying that it will change but so far I'm ok. That's a combo that's a tuff one to come by during the winter months. Wednesday I started out late around 1pm and we wanted to be back in before dark so 7pm we were back on the dock. The seas were just a light chop which allowed us to run out about 25 miles to some hard bottom patches. We made a couple stops along the way but mostly caught small stuff that would be good for bait the next day. Once out in 60 ft of water I remembered a tiny spot I had fished years ago and caught some grouper. This was before the hurricanes and I figured that spot to have been washed away. I was wrong and there was still just a small piece of structure showing on the sonar. The thought was since we were there we might as well give it a try. Much to my surprise the little honey hole was still productive. As the baits hit the bottom it only took a minute before the fist keeper sized red grouper was brought up. Then a couple shorts were released before taking 3 more keepers in a row. Knowing how small the spot was I decided to move on because I didn't want to fish it out. We made one last stop and found a few other bottom species that were good table fare. Even though the size was smaller the action was very fast. So we added a few more fish to the cooler before making our way home with the sun at our backs. The fish from the lucky spot Thursday was one of those days you get talked into. I have a very specific way of running my fishing trips but was convinced to deviate from my comfort zone. It's the only way to learn new things so I figured with my good catches on several trips in a row I could take a break for some education. Much like most old dogs I didn't take too well to these new tricks. The baitwell was over filled with live bait which made everything either die or half dead (I now have baitwell envy, mine is too small). Then we had a fish come unbuttoned because of a bad knot after hearing how "this knot has neverslipped", well it did today(I think someone should have knot envy). The final hardship was the current which was stronger than I've ever seen it for the depth we were fishing. With the wind blowing 10-15kt the current was pushing the boat back into the wind. The day wasn't a total loss as we had plenty of bites. First it started with some lesser amberjack and a couple 20 pound amberjack. Then we moved a little deeper to my "grouper hole" which produced nothing but lesser amberjack/rudder fish and one barely keeper sized gag grouper(which was taken on jig in 100ft, VERY NICE<- Insert voice of Borat here). On the last stop the current was so strong we couldn't get a bottom bite at all. We did finish getting worn out on 30-40 pound amberjack before heading in. It seems this year the amberjack have come in thick and they are on every structure deeper than 90 feet. Surprisingly there is plenty of variety in size from 20 pounds all the way to over 80 pounds all in the same place. So even though we faced a few challenges the day wasn't a loss. Everyone was tired from battling big donkeys and there was plenty to take home for dinner. I had mine cooked fresh right at the marina and it was delicious as always. You can't get any more fresh than a fish that was swimming two hours before. A pic of one of the Amberjack P.S Thanks to the kid that tried to break me away from my rutt.
  2. We started out with a rock solid plan to run out to some numbers my mate scored from a diver. We knew they were converted from loran and had little hope the numbers were correct. Then the morning of the trip we get the original loran numbers the conversions were made from. I happen to have a loran on the boat and I also sent 2 of the converted numbers to another captain and asked if he had numbers in the same area. He told me he had numbers there and one of the 2 was 100 ft from one of his number (he wasn't going to share what direction). Now hopes were high and thoughts of a boat load of big grouper and snapper raced through our heads. We made the run out during daylight hours and spent hours scouting from number to number and each one was a blank. I tried the loran and the converted gps for abot 8-10 numbers and nothing at each spot. In our travels from spot to spot I did find 2 good marks and on each one I got hit by a big grouper. The first spot we lost the fish because I had hooked a porgy and the grouper hit that on the way up. The second spot the fish hit my bait and then I had 255 feet of pulling to do against a 22 pound gag. We kept searching figuring we could always return to our new found numbers after checking all the ones we were given. So we searched some more, found nothing and decided to return to one of the new spots. It was a nice 8 ft drop that showed plenty of fish earlier in the day. When we returned it didn't show a thing, just a blank drop not even bait. We dropped a few baits and after 1/2 hour of nothing we headed in to a wreck in 180 ft. This was almost 25 miles back toward home so off we went with heads low. All that planning, all the time and money invested and we had one fish. At the wreck I anchored up and got a chum slick going and we fished for a few hours pulling up some nice mangrove snapper but nothing bigger. At about 1:30 am we passed out and woke at 4:30am for the morning bite. We tried for snapper but the wreck was swarmed by squid and bait fish so all we got was a squid. Just before sun up I decided to move a few miles east to a small spot that had produced a few nice grouper in the past. We were on location just before the sun peaked over the horizon and dropped a few baits on a drift. I must have hit my fish on the head because it was on as I flipped the lever on the reel. Another nice gag was in the boat maybe 18 pounds, seconds later chris had one too. We pulled 3 gags and 2 reds with the smallest being 12 pounds. Then as the sun was just clearing the horizon the bite stopped. We still marked fish but they weren't feeding, so off to the next spot. This spot is one that I think I'm the only one who knows about it. I know it's a wreck but that's all, I've never seen another boat within even two miles while out there. So we anchor and get chum going and we're already happy with our catch but had no idea of what was to come. We talked about how nice it would be to get a few more grouper to catch a limit. We also planned on a limit of yellowtail snapper, which are one of my favorites. The yellowtail came but not after losing about 15 in a row to AJ's. Then we landed a nice 50 lb AJ just because they were biting so well. We were talking about waht else we could catch since we were getting close to limits on our target species and I said a cobia would be a nice addition to the catch. Minutes later Chris is battling what we thought was another AJ. We soon found out it was a nice Cobia that picked up our pinfish from the bottom. We were amazed at our luck and Chris kept fishing the bottom and managed a pair of gags in the 25 inch range. We now knew we could only catch 10 grouper and we were close to the limit, Chris said another gag and a scamp would be nice, I commented that I'd like to see a 50 lb carbo since I knew they were on the wreck but clients were never strong enough to pull one up. This is no fish story, the very next bait to the bottom Chris almost gets yanked over, and after about a ten minute fight I look over and see a shadow and say "Jewfish" and walk away. Then Chris says "Jewfish? I think you better look again" so I did and couldn't believe we had a 50+ lb Black grouper (carbo) floating boatside. This was two fish in a row that I asked for and both times the kid delivered. We couldn't believe it and jokingly I said "you know I haven't had fresh tuna in a long time". and we both laughed thinking it would never happen. I guess the fishing gods have a sense of humor because minutes later I'm drifting a shrimp back in the chum slick and I hook a tuna, not an eater, but a bonito a.k.a. "little tunny". We got a good laugh and knew we had taken more than our fare share, beaten the odds, and were given everything we asked for, I put away the rods fired up the motor and pointed the bow home. I think of this trip as "the reward" for all the planning, and the expense, and time, we didn't find the new fishing area we expected. Yet the results were better than we hoped to find so far from where we fish every day. As if the day wasn't good enough I remembered on the way in that the line class records are open for black grouper. So as an added bonus, world record catch #4 for this year is a 56.8 pound black grouper. http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c1...8-20-08236.jpg 1/2 the catch (the bigger snapper are 20") http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c1...8-20-08240.jpg the other half http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c1...8-20-08239.jpg
  3. Ok, I'll bite, what is the deal with Brett and snapper? Is he a snapper fisherman or they guy at the bar picking up women during last call?
  4. You pretty much have it all figured out, just note its a 2 hour drive from Tampa to the Fort Myers/Pine Island area.
  5. This weekend was picture perfect for heading out into the Gulf. The air was cool, seas were calm, and the skies were blue. Luckily my timing was good and I was geared up for two trips back to back. Saturday I was fishing with some seasoned veterans and the plan was to target yellowtail snapper. Just like with any other well thought out plans we had to ditch them because the fish just wouldn't cooperate. At our first stop in 130 ft the chum went out and we tried bottom rigs, jigs, and flat lines. None of them produced anything other than amberjack. It seems they are in full force after all the cold weather we've had. So off to the second stop in the same depth where we always catch snapper. Well we caught snapper but they were the only ones out of season right now. Of course they were thick as fleas and nothing could get past the red snapper. We did get lucky and land a few yellowtail but nothing like what we had hoped for. At the end of the day we had landed plenty but the take home was not what it could have been. Sunday we decided to stay just a little closer to shore and we hit a few spots in 100 ft looking for grouper before the closure at the end of the month. Spot one was a hard bottom area with a small break that has held a few nice fish along with a population of mangrove snapper. We tried to deploy the chum but much to my surprise I had a couple bad eggs that were freezer burned and had almost become like leather. I never saw anything like it, the chum was this gelatinous skin like stuff that just wouldn't fall apart. Oh well, we continued on with our plans and just had to fish bottom for our snapper. The kids aboard had a blast reeling up mangos and a few lesser AJ's while the adults targeted bigger fish. Then one of the boys pulled up a reymore and we all had a good laugh letting it stick to my arm and then the kids. The grouper bite was pretty hot, as expected we had plenty of shorts and a pair of just keepers. Then it was off to our second stop which produced a couple gags with a little more substance. We also found a few more jacks and other mixed bottom dwellers some of which got a free boat ride. At the end of the day everyone relaxed with a beverage while we cruised home on glass calm waters. Then at the dock came the excitement of showing off the spoils of our hard labor. The whole crew The youngest angler as compared to the biggest grouper Forget stretching your arms, this is how you make the fish look big Can you clap your hands and say "Hercules!, Hercules!, Hercules!" The best way to show off your grouper
  6. I'll do all your west coast questions: Yes all the species are available in July. Venice to Miami looking at 4 hours / Naples to Miami 3 hours (this would be with no accidents or other major road restrictions). Skip the airboat, you get wind blasted, and getting hit by BIG bugs at 30+ miles an hour hurts. Unless you are looking for the I did that once thing, than go for it. The canal along 75 Aligator Alley holds peacock bass, not sure about 41 Tamiami Trail. If you want to DIY then stay in Fort Myers, Pine Island is some of the best Snook, redfish,trout fishing in the State. You would have to rent a boat but if you know what you're doing you will have a blast.
  7. Luckily in our "recession" it seems plenty of people can still afford to get out for a day of fishing. Maybe things aren't as bad as the reporters tell us they are. Also every day I've been out there have been at least 10 boats within sight so that's good for the whole marine industry. Enough about economics, So on new years day it was a bit windy and we decided the best bet would be to run inside Sanibel and come out of Redfish. That worked well since the seas were strong 4's with a 5 every now and again. Out at the pegasus/boxcars area we set the anchor and got the chum going but it seemed to be too rough for anything to get near the surface. Instantly we were hooking big lanes from 14-16 inches and also getting a few mangs and yellowtail in the mix. Our pinfish had a hard time finding a gag or red grouper but they always seemed to get grabbed by an AJ. One of the clients was using a real "butterfly" jig and that produced AJ's and a few almaco. Added to the days catch were one gag, a pair of keeper scamp and what I would consider to be a slob strawberry at almost 17 inches. New Years day http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c1...1/DSC01921.jpg Mike doing the make it look bigger pose, his first keeper grouper ever which was caught right after he said " I've never landed a keeper grouper, everyone else on the boat catches them but never me" http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c1...1/DSC01923.jpg The Jan 2nd we fished the same area the same way and with the same results. http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c1...1/DSC01924.jpg Yesterday we went out to 100' and hit some hard bottom and small ledges to try for a better haul of grouper. Again the anchor and chum went out and this time we had big mangos up in the slick. Only problem is the only thing they really liked was the chum. We tried flat lines with chunks of sardine or live shrimp, the same baits also went to the bottom and we picked off maybe 3-4 fish. Then the jigs came out and were tipped with shrimp and they worked great but every time we hooked up the leader would break. At first I thought I had some bad line but then we pulled in a small king. So I quick rigged a KF rig and pulled up king number two they were both keepers, perfect for fried fish fingers so we iced them. At that same spot live pinfish produced plenty of grouper strikes from fish in the 19-25 inch range. Later in the day we hit a small hard spot on the way in and pulled a couple more grouper for the table along with plenty of near misses and way shorts. At about 3 pm we were on the way in riding on almost calm seas and just enjoying the fact that we have such a wonderful place to live. The keepers http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c1...1/DSC01925.jpg The glory shot http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c1...1/DSC01926.jpg
  8. I had a group of seasoned clients out for another relaxing day on the Gulf. We headed out with a live well full of runners and hand sized pinfish hoping to get worn out on AJ's before turning to some yellowtail action. Everything went just as planned except for some divers that were on the Fantastico. They were on the last dive and we chatted for a few minutes before I moved to a safe distance to wait for the team to surface. The divers told us the fish were all over the place and there would be plenty of action if we got right over the wreck so that's what we did. I sent out the chum bag and within minutes the yellowtail were on the surface. My crew was getting plenty of action up top so we decided to drop a couple baits down to grab a few AJ's. I'm already fishing the new 30" minimum and that was no problen since these fish were in the high 40's. Chris put a cigar minnow on and let it hit the top of the wreck which read 93 feet and that's when it happened. With a few pulls and a couple grunts he had a nice fish turned so he handed off the rod. After a 10 minute tug of war a big black was flopping on the deck and I saw the first black we've taken from that wreck. Thanks to the guys that gave us the info, and thanks for getting that black out in the open where it could find our baits. The black 38 pounds A nice big AJ
  9. This weekend was picture perfect for heading out into the Gulf. The air was cool, seas were calm, and the skies were blue. Luckily my timing was good and I was geared up for two trips back to back. Saturday I was fishing with some seasoned veterans and the plan was to target yellowtail snapper. Just like with any other well thought out plans we had to ditch them because the fish just wouldn't cooperate. At our first stop in 130 ft the chum went out and we tried bottom rigs, jigs, and flat lines. None of them produced anything other than amberjack. It seems they are in full force after all the cold weather we've had. So off to the second stop in the same depth where we always catch snapper. Well we caught snapper but they were the only ones out of season right now. Of course they were thick as fleas and nothing could get past the red snapper. We did get lucky and land a few yellowtail but nothing like what we had hoped for. At the end of the day we had landed plenty but the take home was not what it could have been. Sunday we decided to stay just a little closer to shore and we hit a few spots in 100 ft looking for grouper before the closure at the end of the month. Spot one was a hard bottom area with a small break that has held a few nice fish along with a population of mangrove snapper. We tried to deploy the chum but much to my surprise I had a couple bad eggs that were freezer burned and had almost become like leather. I never saw anything like it, the chum was this gelatinous skin like stuff that just wouldn't fall apart. Oh well, we continued on with our plans and just had to fish bottom for our snapper. The kids aboard had a blast reeling up mangos and a few lesser AJ's while the adults targeted bigger fish. Then one of the boys pulled up a reymore and we all had a good laugh letting it stick to my arm and then the kids. The grouper bite was pretty hot, as expected we had plenty of shorts and a pair of just keepers. Then it was off to our second stop which produced a couple gags with a little more substance. We also found a few more jacks and other mixed bottom dwellers some of which got a free boat ride. At the end of the day everyone relaxed with a beverage while we cruised home on glass calm waters. Then at the dock came the excitement of showing off the spoils of our hard labor. The whole crew The youngest angler as compared to the biggest grouper Forget stretching your arms, this is how you make the fish look big Can you clap your hands and say "Hercules!, Hercules!, Hercules!" The best way to show off your grouper
  10. Man you must have a twin brother Nice to see you here too.
  11. That would be a smart idea, or call the office. Everything depends on where they plan on fishing. You should bring one spinning outfit (7ft rod and a 6500 size spinner with 20 lb mono, don't use braid) for yellowtail and mangrove snapper. The other rod should be a 50 lb class or maybe a 50-80 6-7 ft length with a 4/0 reel that has 50 lb mono or 60 lb braid. Leader should be 80 lb fluorocarbon for the big stuff, 25 pound for free line baits to snapper. Hooks all must be circle hooks from 2/0 for snapper to 8/0 for big grouper and amberjack. Spend the money on owner hooks they are worth the extra few bucks a pack. The sinkers will be egg style sinkers for the bottom fishing, 2 ounce for the soinning rod, 4-8 ounces for the conventional. If you are in strong current them you can double up on 8 ounces, no need for bigger sinkers. Also use 4-6 foot of leader it will make a huge difference in the amount of strikes you get. Good Luck and don't forget to post a report when you get back.
  12. You want to go to the Keys in the highest demand month of the season and do it cheap? All I can say is good luck.
  13. The "Bait Box" on Sanibel will have live shrimp and maybe some frozen stuff, but live greenbacks, pinfish, etc you have to net. Good luck
  14. The sanibel causeway is what I call "slot machine fishing" you just have to be in the right place at the right time. If you can rent a boat (usually $125 + fuel for 4 hours) try fishing the point at redfish pass. Another option would be the Ding Darling preserve on Sanibel, rent a canoe/ kayak and paddle to some awesome redfish and snook fishing. A nice spinning outfit is all you really need and you can fish the mangroves or from the beaches. If snook are running the beach get out there just around sun up and you should do well. If you hit the mangroves look for water passing a point and throw a live thredfin or pinfish and let it get swept past the point in the current. Big snook love to sit on the lee side of the points and wait for a bait to get washed to them.
  15. Thanks for the laughs guys, I still rermember people telling me " Your a landscaper in New Jersey, we could use you down here". Now that I live here I know it's the labor force that sucks.
  16. There is plenty of good fishing, will you fish insore, offshore, pier?
  17. Salty Sam's Marina, boat name "Heat Miser", name of the business is Play'n Hooky Charters.
  18. Yes , that fish was taken out at the wrecks in 120-130ft.
  19. Right now we are getting Mangrove snapper from 1-5 pounds, Yellowtail snapper 1-4 pounds, Lane snapper up to 2 pounds. We pretty much limit out on every snapper trip.
  20. JP, I'm assuming you don't have a boat, so try the old Snug Harbor pier inside Matanzas Pass. You can get to it from the Ft Myers Beach side of the bridge and the snook are stacked like wood. Use the biggest shrimp you can find and at least 40 lb line. You have to muscle thim in in a minute or two or they break you off in the pilings. Get there just before sunrise and you should get plenty of action. Good Luck