I probably should not admit this.
Especially on my website, but I think we cheated today. We caught a nice Black Grouper today. The size was legal. it was 28 inches. 24 is the legal minimum. That part wasn’t cheating. Grouper season is open. It opened May 1st, so that part wasn’t cheating. We don’t fish in any of the sanctuaries or any place else that fishing isn’t allowed. So that part wasn’t cheating.
The reason I say I think we cheated
catching the grouper was that we didn’t hook it. We scooped it up with a net. It was swimming around upside down on the surface with a bloated belly. I’m guessing another fisherman hooked it in deep water and brought it up rapidly. The rapid ascent causes the gases in the body of the grouper to come out of solution rapidly and bloat the fish. It’s like a big air pocket inside the fish and it can’t swim back down because of it. The fish probably got off the hook somewhere between the point where it bloated and the boat and just floated away.
When we first saw the fish,
I thought it was undersized. Our first reaction was to stop and catch the fish to vent it so it could go back down. Once we got it on the boat and realized it was easily a legal fish…..well, Black Grouper is one of my favorites and I don’t get to eat it often. I usually encourage my customers to take any legal grouper. They spend a lot of money to fish with me and I always want the customers to have the best fish to enjoy. I only had two customers on the boat today and they didn’t want it all. So guess what the Capt. is having for dinner tonight. Yup, fresh black grouper on the grill. Because I think we cheated catching it, I’ll try not to enjoy it. but I’m betting I do!
Once we actually did put lines in the water,
you know, fishing the “old fashioned way”, we managed to catch some bonito and a nice Wahoo. Wahoo is also excellent eating. Many of the mates on the dock consider it the best tasting fish we get from these waters.
I was glad my customers
had a tough decision to make. Should they eat wahoo or should the eat grouper. I talked them into taking some of both. The should have one of the best fish dinners they ever will. It’s a great way to end a day on the waters of Key West, Florida