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The Southbound had a half-day Charter Today

My group wanted to catch fish for dinner as they were part of a bachelor party in town for a few days. It was only a half-day trip today so we didn’t have a lot of time First of all, I congratulated them on being on time. It is not unusual for a bachelor party to be a little late getting to the boat in the morning. The fact that the bars in Key West close at 4 am gets most of the blame. The fact that there is usually one or more members of any given bachelor party that will go downtown and try to drink it all doesn’t help. We pushed our departure time back to 7:30 just to hedge our bets. The group showed up on time and ready to go. I was impressed

We went to the reef

and anchored up looking for live bait as we have been doing most of the winter. As it has been, the bait was pretty easy and come pretty quick. That is important on a half-day trip. On a full day, I will spend an hour or more if I have to try to catch the bait. It’s worth it in the long run. But on a half-day, we are very limited on time, so we have to get the bait quickly. We  did catch some nice Yellowtail snappers while we were waiting on the ballyhoo,(baitfish), to show up.

Once we got enough live ballyhoo,

we pulled the anchor and started slow trolling with them. 2 baits on the surface and 2 baits down deep on the deep trolls. It didn’t take long to get bites. The Cero mackerel have been pretty easy all winter long and today was no different. We picked up a nice Black Grouper on one of the deep lines, but Grouper season closed on Jan. 1st so we had to let it go. We ended up getting 2 “keeper” mutton Snapper to go with our Yellowtails and Ceros. Plenty of fish for everyone to eat.

Black Grouper caught and released on charter Boat Southbound on a half-day today

Nice Black Grouper

Just before it was time to go in

We say a big “push” of bait nearby. When the bait “push” or jump in the same direction it is usually an indication of a large predator coming in to feed. This time of year it is often a Sailfish. This time is was 4 or 5 Sailfish coming in from the deep edge of the reef to feed on the schools of ballyhoo. we pitched to a couple that stole our bait. We did hook one big full sized sailfish, but he jumped off after a few minutes. Still it was cool to see and all the customers enjoyed the show. It was a good half-day today