Well May 1st was the opening day of the long waited grouper season. I was going to take a few friends out for a grouper digging party, but it got belayed due to a last minute charter. I was called by a returning client whose friend was entered in the Seven Mile Marina grouper tournament and their captain had come down with an illness which wouldn’t allow him to fish. My crew consisted of Dave, who owns a construction business down here, John and Gigi who owns DOT PALM, and one of their employees, Shawn, and his girlfriend. So at the last minute, we gathered all the necessary equipment and tackle and left the dock at 8:00am and headed out to get the best grouper bait there is, white grunts. Most people overlook these small pan fish whose notoriety was known for grits and grunts back in the day. They come equipped with a natural grouper call, when they become distressed.
After loading the live well with 30 or so grunts we headed out to a wreck and couldn’t get anchored due to the fact that we had a short anchor line and not enough chain on John’s boat. He said after this day he was going to get the enough chain and anchor line so this never happens again. Since we couldn’t get anchored there, we headed just inside the wreck on the edge of the reef and set up. It wasn’t 30 minutes before we had our first bite, and soon after that we had 14 and 16 pounder in the box. Two very nice black grouper, but not big enough to win the tournament. So we waited for the boat that was on the wreck to leave, and when he did, we anchored right into the structure to get hooked up. After a 10 minute wait, we had a big bite and missed it. But it came back, and we got a solid hook up and John fought the fish for 15 minutes before landing a 21 pound black grouper.
Still not satisfied with the size, we kept fishing. Shortly after that Shawn hooked a monster which we ended up losing when the line got caught on the dive ladder bracket. It was getting late but I knew there are some big ones still here so we waited for another bite and it wasn’t long…but about half way up it got eaten by a shark. Knowing that the sharks are here now, we weren’t going to get anymore to the boat so we left to hit our final spot.
It only took a few minutes at the new spot before we had another 12 pounder in the box. We got another big bite and fought this fish up but lost it due to unseen circumstances…another fish lost due to the bracket on the boat so it was getting late and the weather conditions were getting worse so we headed in and weighed the fish in. Knowing that it would be a miracle that we could hold first place, someone upstairs was looking out for us and it held, we took first place with a 21.7 pound black grouper. If we could have kept the big one on we would have been heroes, because that fish was well over 40 pounds. Since I have caught black upwards of 60 pounds, I’m guessing what we had on I would defiantly say it was 40+ pounder. You couldn’t have a fish story if the fish didn’t get away, but knowing that he is still down there I will be back to capture him on a later date.
Come on down, we got room still left in May, It will be my pleasure to show you a great time and catch some of these powerful bottom dwellers. Book your trip through the web site and act soon to ensure you can get a day of some of the best fishing in Florida.
Tags: black grouper fishing, Capt. Dave Schugar, Fish, Florida, Florida Keys Fishing, florida keys fishing charter, Grouper, Outdoors, Recreation, Seven Mile Marina Grouper Tournament, Sweet E'Nuf Charters