It's hard to believe that something that occurred in Louisiana could have such a heavy impact on far away states such as Florida. I had a fishing trip planned with Mark Davis of Bomber Salt Water Grade and Capt. Travis Palladeno of www.livewirefishingcharters.com. Due to the closures enforced by the spill, up until the day before the trip, we were unsure as to whether we would legally be able to fish. Even though the leak was far from stopped and closures were in full effect, we finally got a green light to go. We made our way out and chatted about the situation. Looking back on the day, I realize now that the majority of our conversations were about the spill in one way or another. We didn't only talk about solutions to the problem but we also talked about what we had collectively heard through the rumor mill. Stories were told about anglers fishing out of the Keys spotting tar balls and anglers reeling up lines slick with oil not far from where we were fishing.
I was unsure of what we might find or not find as we headed out to the fishing grounds. Inshore, we had no problem collecting a well full of pinfish and once we were offshore, we dropped them down and found an abundance of bottom dwellers that were eager to eat. In all honesty, I've never had a day of bottom fishing with that much action. We caught so many fish including big American red snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, amberjack, and scamp grouper to name a few. What's more important than the number, size and variety of fish that we caught is that every fish that came up was as healthy as the fish I've caught in the Gulf in years past. And, for the few that we kept, they were every bit as delicious. We aren't out of the woods just yet which means areas will remain closed for an undisclosed amount of time. Even with the closures, there is still plenty of safe water in the gulf to fish and despite the disaster - the fishing has been good. Hopefully, now that the leak is stopped, every day that goes by will be one day closer to a clean Gulf of Mexico and fishing closures due to oil will be a thing of the past.
Until then, keep in mind closed areas fluctuate so until the situation is completely rectified, do not plan any fishing trips before checking http://www.saltwatersportsman.com/article.jsp?ID=1000082684. This link has the most up to date maps of where you are legally able to fish.
Here's a sample of some of the fish we caught that day. Make sure to check out Salt Water Sportsman's November 2010 issue to read the whole story.