If you are one of the Mosquito Fleet boaters, those with smaller seaworthy boats enjoy offshore fishing, I hope you have been able to head offshore this week.
Conditions like we have been enjoying this week are common at this time of year. However, they generally do not last long, as the seas start kicking up at some point. The dog days of summer are typically filled with such nice weather.
The Gulf of Mexico shrimping season opened July 15, and early reports indicate good numbers of shrimp boats working approximately 40 miles south/southwest of the South Jetty.
Ricky Hayes and Dale Marshall headed offshore in Hayes’ 20-foot Wellcraft boat earlier this week with the fishing buoys marking the old Buccaneer Field as their initial stop. After almost two hours of fishing the two buoys, they had only spade fish, sharks, three undersized red snapper and a couple of smaller kings to show for their efforts. None of the fish were retained.
Spotting a shrimp boat in the far distance to the west, they headed for it. Three drifts behind the anchored boat resulted in one king and a bunch of nasty pilot fish. In the far distance, several anchored shrimp boats were spotted, and they headed for them.
A great decision indeed, as there ended up being seven shrimpers in a wide area, and they trolled from one to another. Several kings were caught, with a 33-inch smoker retained.
While landing one of the kings, a huge ling approached the boat and could not resist a fresh ribbon fish tossed its way. After a 20-minute battle where at one point most of the line was spooled, the big guy was gaffed and landed.
After that exhausting battle in the hot sun, it was back to the boat ramp with the big king and ling.