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Event Article

Multi-Species Madness in the Mangroves, Fishing in South Florida (continued)


While bass fishing is without a doubt my personal favorite type of fishing generally being in Florida I was eager to try something different, and got the opportunity the next morning as I head out on Paul Michele’s boat to run offshore. Also on the boat was Ali Hussainy from BD Outdoors and Glenn Law from Saltwater Sportsman, both of which are much more seasoned saltwater anglers than I am.


Day two, time to go offshore


Paul shows us the level of detail and control with the combination of Raymarine hardware and Navionics+ charts


I knew we were in for some fun when we left Marco Island and Paul powered out of the green water blasting “Danger Zone” on the stereo. Time for takeoff!


Running out to the Gulf with the theme to Top Gun blasting. Time to have some fun!


We ran for just over 40 miles into the Gulf and got a firsthand look at the latest from Raymarine and Navionics as we put the electronics hardware and software to work. Paul wanted to fish some small wrecks and finding exactly where to anchor offshore would have been difficult without the combination of the Navionics+ Sonarcharts and nautical charts. After two attempts we positioned the boat exactly over the wreck that Paul wanted us to be.


Okuma Azores reels ready for battle


We sent down shrimp on jigs first and within minutes were landing Almaco Jacks right over the wreck. After we had a few in the box Paul decided to tie on some Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows and we trolled around the zone, again using the Navionics+ HD bathymetry map to carefully target the boundaries of the wreck.


Glenn hooks up on a nice Almaco


Almaco Jacks right off the wreck


It wasn’t too long that I hooked into a Bonita and as it screamed to the surface we saw a shark right on the tail of the Bonita, but we managed to land it before it got chunked. For a bass fishermen a Bonita is a pretty impressive sight, but for the other guys on the boat it was no more than bait. Goliath Grouper bait to be precise.


Ali tosses out a crab targeting Permit


Yo-Zuri Minnows tied on and ready to troll


Paul took the reel cover off an Okuma Makaira and let out a big sigh. The reel had not been spooled up with 200lb. braided line and still was loaded with mono. He grabbed a smaller combo with 100lb braid, hooked the Bonita up and sent it down into the wreck. Before it could even hit the bottom the weight of the fish disappeared and the rod began to bow as he handed it to me. Wham! The weight on the end of the line stripped drag and forced the rod all the way down into the rail. I let out a few expletives as Ali directed me to put the rod on my knee and start winching. I barely got a few turns in before the Goliath was back in the wreck and severed the braid.


A decent Bonita, at least I thought so, until it was used as bait for a Goliath


I had never felt anything quite like the way that Goliath pulled that 10 seconds. Not only could I not stop it but it felt like I was yanking on a minibus on the end of the line. Paul explained that we really didn’t have the right gear set up to land a Goliath, but it sure was entertaining watching a bass angler like me get railed by one. Overall it was an amazing experience and Goliaths are now on my bucket list, next time with a beefier rod and 200lb. line of course.

Next Section: Day 3 - Inshore in the Mangroves









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