2019 gulf red snapper excursion

bryguy

Old Mossy Horns
Left good ole NC Sunday around 8 am and headed to tarpon springs and the Gulfstar for my annual trip to deplete the gulf red snapper stock. Traffic was horrible in SC. Once we got to the Georgia line it picked up and we booked it on down and got checked in the room. Slept good and got up around 8 or so Monday morning. Had breakfast and a few cups of coffee then it was off to check out a couple of tackle shops for any last minute needs or items that might catch my eye. Nothing especially great that I had to have, so picked up a couple of boxes of large squid and few small egg sinkers for knocker rigs. Got to the boat and got checked in and loaded up. Left right at 4pm and went and pulled pinfish traps. While we got a decent number of baits, not what was normally in the live well number wise. Off we go. Clear anclote inlet around 5:30 or so and head up to the middle grounds. About 6:45 or so I throw out a nomad DXT swimming plug and troll till dark. Had a couple of run offs but no hook ups. Pull the lines in at dark and head off to get some shut eye.
First stop is at about 1:30am Tuesday and a bit slow. A few mangrove snapper, but nothing special. Fish this spot for about an hour and finally pull anchor and move. My buddy that went with me got sea sick after supper and didn’t fish a lot. Weather was a bit snotty, but not horrible. So next stop is a bit better, mangroves seem to want to bite and pull about 5 off that stop. Make another move and start fishing around 4:30am or so. Switch up to a grouper outfit and live bait. First pinfish to the bottom gets mauled and I get the fish about 15 feet off the bottom and the hook pulls.....fire another pinfish down and get slammed again.....this time I managed to get the fish up and it is the biggest mangrove snapper I have caught.....8 pounds on the boat scale. Next bait down yields a 6.5 pound mangrove. Ended up catching 4 mangroves all over 4 pounds on that stop. Also caught a bucket load of 18 to 19.5 red grouper and small gags. The big boy alluded me this trip. Managed one keeper red grouper and that was it. There were a number of nice grouper caught, just not by me. My buddy finally got to feeling a little bit better and managed to catch a pretty nice red grouper around 12 pounds. After daylight we made the move off to around 200 feet of water looking for red snapper. First place we hit, fish were on fire for about 10 minutes and then just shut off.....make another move and while we are moving I throw the plug out the back and catch a false albacore. Have the mate strip it up for me for bait. Make the stop and this place is loaded with endangered red snapper. I manage to get my limit of 4(2 per person per day, and allowed a 2 day bag limit on these trips). We are all limited out shortly and we move back looking for grouper and mangroves. I break out my new slow pitch jigging outfit and proceed to have a blast catching a few nice mangroves, and more small red grouper and American reds. We dodged rain showers most of the afternoon and honestly I just didn’t feel like fishing in the rain so I took a break and napped. Finally slacked off and I went back out and fished on till about 7. Had dinner and then took a shower and fell out. Night fishing was slow. The forming tropical storm had a negative impact on the fishing. The fish were there, they just would never turn on. All in all another great trip and I am already planning on going back in October and over thanksgiving. Pics of the fish on the tailgate below.



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bryguy

Old Mossy Horns
Nice haul. How much does a trip like that cost?
Depending on the boat, anywhere from 500 to 775. The 775 covers everything, food, live bait, fish cleaning, dead bait and rigging. Plus the 775 trip is limited to 19 people on a 75 foot boat. Well worth the extra IMO to fish with fewer people. I have fished with Hubbard’s, but they will throw as many people on the boat as they can. Makes fishing harder and I think you catch fewer fish with the guys out of Hubbard’s versus Gulfstar. My buddy that went with me was a first timer for one of these trips and he fell in love with it....he is already asking about booking next year


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woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
The more I learn about the middle grounds the more it fascinates me. Bucket list trip for me one day.

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I spent some time in an airport this week going to and from Tampa for work - watched videos of the trips,,,ol bryguy gonna make me spend some money on a trip to the middle grounds
 

bryguy

Old Mossy Horns
I spent some time in an airport this week going to and from Tampa for work - watched videos of the trips,,,ol bryguy gonna make me spend some money on a trip to the middle grounds
Be warned....if you ever do one of these trips....you will never want to bottom fish here in NC......I have down these trips for 3 years now, and fishing out of the keys going to pulley ridge for a couple or years now....I would rather do 2 middle grounds trips and 2 trips to pulley ridge then fish NC every weekend. The bottom fishing is unlike anything I have ever seen. I love bottom fishing, and these trips feed my desire for it.
The charter boats have a guaranteed season from June 1 till July 31 in the gulf. I am probably headed down to the keys late next month or September to go fish a new place called half way ledge....from what I have seen, that place is amazing.....maybe the best slow pitch jigging bite as far as bottoms fish goes.


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