It wasn’t a very long run to the gps coordinates. Bait fish showed up on the Garmin and Mike quickly dropped the marker buoy. Next was to test the bite before anchoring and then after determining the drift direction setting the anchor. It was impressive to watch Mike run his boat and his systems, a pure pleasure to see such expertise.
Jen and I baited up with live shrimp and Mike hooked up a live pin fish. He was going after grouper and we were fishing for anything, perhaps even a hog fish. Now I have never caught a hog fish, even seen one for that matter, but I knew the hog fish bite was on.
Almost as quickly as we dropped down Mike had a fifteen-inch red grouper. The size limit is a twenty inch minimum so he released the fish and it swam safely to its coral home. Jen was next to catch a smaller fish and not sure what it was she released it. After catching several more, we looked the fish up and discovered it was a white grunt. They are usually not kept but do have an excellent rating so we started to keep the larger ones.
Jens turn for a larger fish was next and she landed a beautiful eighteen inch trigger fish. They are good eating but the season was closed to January first. I soon had my own trigger fish and and even though we released the triggers it was a new species for me.
My turn came again and I fought in a large fish. As it neared the surface we could see the bright orange color and the mohawk styled dorsal fin, a hogfish! It was a really nice one and measured eighteen inches.
We caught a few more large grunt and before Jen fought in her own beautiful twenty inch hog fish. I tried something a little differ and had a huge fish grab my shrimp. I fought it for a little while when suddenly Jens pole doubled over, we had a double!
However my sixty pound leader parted while Jen kept her fish on and finally landed a twenty one inch red grouper. The ice chest was filling with good eating fish and Mike was feeling a little frustrated as he kept catching undersize grouper and white grunt.
I could go on but before we left I had caught my limit of hog fish! Later, I cleaned the fish and Jen sautéed the fish in olive oil, lemon juice, and capers.
I must say that fresh hog fish are one of the best eating ocean fish I have ever tasted! Thank you Mike, for the great day on the water! Clear skies