This past weekend we had Cubera Snapper trips on Friday and Saturday night. The weather was beautiful and warm with light winds and calm seas.
We met up with David Auerbach and his buds, Ed, Dave, and Jared. There was excitement in the air as everyone arrived on time. Devon unleashed The BEAST and we made our way out through the channel. We took some time to catch some Hardtails and tossed 9 of them in the live well. Although nothing compares to live bugs, it’s always good to have a backup. I set the big cat’s throttles on “purr”, and we made our way out to the patches for some real nasty bait. Visibility was good and we tossed Devon overboard. It took a bit longer and a couple of stops but he managed to put his hands on 13 bugs. Let’s get out of here and go fishing!
The guys opted to do some speed jigging and had brought along some of their specialized jigging rods. The first wreck we hit had produced several fish. Bonitos, Bar Jacks, etc. were setting the mood for the night. The second stop was another session of jigging as the sun is getting close to the water. This stop warmed the guys up for the night, catching a big HorseEye Jack, Amberjack, and an Almaco or two if my recollection is correct.
As the sun goes out of sight we made the run to Cubera town. We arrived at our destination and several boats were already working. I made a few passes around to get an idea of what was going on down below and then stopped to check my drift line and speed. WOW! A very light current at about ½-1 mph. I repositioned for drift 1 and Devon fired 2 crickets down. Nothing happened. We continued making drifts but all we could muster was losing 3 rigs and baits to the bottom. The fish were not in the mood. One hour passes, the second hour passes, hmm, the fish are there but it still wasn’t happening. A couple more drifts and a major adjustment when suddenly it all breaks loose. Bam, Boom, for the next hour it was helter skelter and we managed to catch fish from 18# up to 50#’s.
This chaotic fish fest had everyone fired up. It was past quitting time and we had gone through all our bugs and some of the fish baits. I decide to keep on fishing and take advantage of this melee’, using up the few remaining baits.
When we finally called it quits, we had used up all 22 baits. The group was fired up and said that the trip was well worth it and exceeded all expectations. We kept saying we caught 7 for 15 hooked up but when I reviewed the pictures the next day, we had actually caught 8 fish. A slow start but a phenomenal finish!
Saturday night Jorge Marquez a repeat customer from last year, arrived with his friends, Santi, and Carlos. Carlos was the guy that caught the 76¼ monster, last year. We made a few comments about going for an 80# fish this time. Same as usual, we untied The BEAST and made our way out. Once again the weather was cooperating beautifully. We caught a few fish baits before making our way out to the cricket farm. Once we arrived at one of our bug bait spots, we let Devon start doing his thing, collecting them. Oh Boy! Things were slow, real slow! Only 2 lobster in the well at the first spot. We pulled him aboard and headed for spot 2. After some time in the water, we only had 4 bugs in total and Devon came aboard. He said there were many shorts and even more “eggers”. That’s just great! OK, let’s try an old spot of mine from many years ago. We got there and in the next 20 minutes Devon grabbed 9 more. Whew! Man? it was getting late and I was sweating the bait situation! The guys were itching to go jigging, too.
We hit the first wreck and Devon and I gave the guys some tips on how to work these speed jigs to get consistent bites. We caught 2 really nice Yellow Jacks, 1½ Bonito and a Caribbean Spotted Mackerel (Cuda).
The second wreck produced 3 fat Almaco’s and the sun was fading fast. We packed up the jigging gear and made our way to the main destination.
Approaching the area we see 3 other boats already there and I began my normal routine. The fish were spread out and thin. The current was ripping at 2½ – 3 mph. This is not good guys, it’s going to be very hard to correctly present the baits. The guys brought there own gear, so we put the rigs on them and began our night. We struggled drift after drift, trying to keep the baits in the strike zone. 4 times we had gotten hung up and lost everything. I made adjustment after adjustment and couldn’t even draw a half hearted bite. The fish were there! They just had lockjaw. Monotony is setting in as we continued to make one blow-by drift after another. The current was so strong that each drift lasted only a few minutes, no matter what we did to counteract it. My plotter was turning black with so many track lines from the numerous drifts. Most of the other boats have left the area and I can’t say that I blame them because it appeared they were doing a lot of standing around in the cockpits too! It’s past quitting time, I’m miffed and I am not leaving until I get one! I made a wide return swing and found a group of fish that were closer to the bottom and hopefully feeding. As I set up for that drift I noticed the wind has now shifted, coming from the SW. The current slowed to a light 1 mph and we got a bite! The rod bent over, but only for a second. He came unpinned! Dang it! This scenario played out 3 more times with the same results. 0 for 4, it’s after 1 AM and I am dejected. A couple more drifts and it’s apparent that the only thing biting now were a few mosquitoes that arrived 5 miles offshore with this westerly wind. That’s just wonderful? just flipping great!
Jorge called the trip because he knew I would’ve stayed out there. He said “It was very obvious that we did all that we could do?It’s fishing!” I was still upset with myself and second guessing everything. Devon calmed me down by reminding me, once again, that sometimes, no matter what we do, it just isn’t meant to be. I knew that this night was coming! We were on a great run and it came crashing down. How can 2 successive days be so utterly and completely different? I have had some time to reflect, while eating my “Humble Pie”. It doesn’t taste good and I don’t like it! The next trip will be a mission of revenge and vindication. Look out, El Nasty, I’m coming!