Night trip on 12/30/11. Seas calm with light northwest wind. Very light northerly current with clean green water. Cloudless sky and half moon. A few jellyfish drifting by. Excellent fishing on patch reef. Muttons: Kept three 21″ fish and released an undersized. Great fight on light tackle in shallow water. The last one was almost lost to a shark–which hit the mutton right as we were netting it at the boat. Shark tooth marks in one side did not ruin the fillet. Bluefish: nice-sized blues bit almost the entire night. Lots of cutoffs because we were drifting baits with light mono line, but we kept seven. Assorted other snapper: we kept eight yellowtails and mangrove; released the lane snappers. A four-snapper species night. Pufferfish: this was the first time in memory that we caught a pufferfish. Is there any easier and more relaxing fishing than the patch reefs with light west winds? Four or five beach fires near area we fished; the light west winds blew the smell of woodsmoke to the boat. Were they grilling chicken or burgers?
12/31/11. The cool, clear winter weather brought light westerly winds that slowed surf fishing. A few bluefish were caught but not much action. Very calm seas with clean green water kept most fish offshore. Even the local Osprey had a hard time catching breakfast. I watched it dive bomb four times into the breaking surf without any success. A few jellyfish washed up on the beach.
11/29/11 night trip. The winds calmed and the seas were flattened by the light northwest winds. Very slow fishing early. Waning moon setting late. No current; no good fish–grunts and squirrel fish. Fishing made hard by the swirling northwest wind and light northward current. Later in 70′ with chunking and chumming the fishing turned on. A real smorgasbord biting: Kingfish; bonito; blue runners; a nice amberjack; a nice mangrove with some small ones; several nice yellowtails with quite a few small ones. Not much competition for the fish–very few boats out.
11/22/11 night trip. Unusually windy weather makes getting out a matter of timing the breaks. Thankfully, we got out Tuesday before Thanksgiving with a good catch to bring to Thanksgiving celebrations. A good catch of snapper and kingfish. Light winds and very light and variable northward current. The snapper stayed down–maybe because of the kingfish and the small sharks. We caught one small shark and released it. The kingfish was bled immediately and the filet was nice and white–and Captain Jeff reports that it was excellent table fare. I took the snapper north and it was exceptionally good–but that might be partly because the competition was turkey.
Early winter fishing requires making the most of the opportunities to fish between weather systems, mostly fronts coming down the state. Thursday night (11-17) was one of those windows. A week of wind followed by a short calm period followed by wind and rain late Thursday night. We caught a few keeper snapper (yellowtail and mangrove), but several undersize gag grouper and an undersize mutton. Small sharks and king cutoffs fishing the patch reef.
This is a nice fall snook from Lake Boca–the dark color must be due to its life in the shadows of the condos?
The first week of October brought strong winds out the the northeast and east from a tropical depression skirted offshore and then went northward inland. The surf fishing was excellent as usual when the surf laid down a bit: bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, and snapper. A early evening trip 10/11 to the patch reefs was very productive. The reef was alive. During daylight: ladyfish, blue runners, and I think they were bar jacks–hook one and the whole school followed to the boat. Once the sun went down the snapper bite began in earnest. Lots of fairly small mangrove and some nice yellowtail. Some big fish cutoffs with my 12# line–but that is the price for easy fishing on the patch reefs. Wind stronger than advertised out of the south ahead of a threatening squall. Nice light northward current and dark water. Full moon rise. Quit fishing by 9:30.
Late September and the heat is still on but it is fall for the ocean: lots of bait fish on the beaches, in Lake Boca, and the intracoastal. Mullet being busted–tarpon and snook? A surf walk at dawn Sunday morning: sand fleas; cool air when gusting from the northwest and warm and humid when gusting from the northeast.
Swimming at sunrise on 8/14/11. Summer calm seas; moon setting in the west as the sun rose in the east in a cloudless sky. Night fishing trip. Set up on a patch reef in 33 feet, dark green water with light northward current and light southwest wind. Huge schools of moon jellyfish floating by. Clear skies with beautiful sunset followed by a beautiful moonrise. Great fishing (one mutton, a few mangroves, and lots of very nice yellowtails). Back at the docks by 10:30, where a man was cutting up a huge nurse shark that considered great food.
8/7/11. Walked up to Jap Rock from Spanish River Park early Sunday morning. Snorkeled to survey the fish habitat. The areas north of the Rock, off the Rock, and cove south of the Rock are heavily sanded from the beach renourishment north of the area. At low tide I could stand about 50 yards off the Rock. There is almost no underwater exposed natural reef (except the Rock itself), and the concrete slabs off the condos to the north are also under sand. When the shoreline is scoured, there are large boulders in the cove which makes great habitat. The area has been sanded over for years. Fish spotted: quite a few baitfish (pilchards, blue runners, jacks), sand perch, sand drums, spots, one snapper, and a snook. Fisherman were not catching much. Jack says the fishing hasn’t been great, but some big snook have been caught. South of the Rock, two young spear fisherman (equipped with wetsuits, masks, weights, and guns) swam in towing a Wave sit-on-top kayak; they had a good catch of Florida lobster from a nearby patch reef.