Fishing Reports of interest to The Naples Florida Fishing Club Members,
By Capt. Ray
November 12, 2016. After weeks of high winds and waves I finally got off shore. The crew for this trip was Lew Williams, Dave Huff and John (fish fear me) Gooding. When I left the house it was 62 degrees. While the waves were larger than forecast in the morning it was a beautiful day. After getting some fuel we headed out to a bait spot to add a few live baits to our grouper arsenal. I got us out to my major fishing area fairly quickly. The catching was slow and then hot and then slow again. Every time I got the guys on a good reef everyone got action. We did get 5 keepers. Lew got the big fish at 23 inches. Gooding also brought back a number of nice size grunts. The ride home was very pleasant. I ran the boat at 28 MPH and because the water was very flat the crab traps were easy to see and avoid. A good day off shore. Capt. Ray
The date was September 29, 2016 and the crew consist of Lew Willams, Bob Roesing and Gary Altman. After getting some fuel and stopping to get some live baits we headed out on a direction of a a bit north west. Weather conditions were excellent. Waves less then 1 foot and no rain. Crab traps where still gone except for a few stay ones they never took out. It was a usual day. We caught 50 to 60 grouper and had 4 keepers. The guys also brought back lots of porgies, lane snapper and large grunts. At our far out stop we had lots of shark encounters. Two small shark were released. Lew had a shark cut a very small grouper in half and I had one take a bit out of the middle of a17 inch grouper. Gary had something hit his line and took off like a rocket. After taking tons of line the line broke. My guess was that it was a large king fish. If also could have been a good size shark. We headed back to shore at 4:30 pm. A few storms were here and there but we did not encounter one. A good day off shore. Capt. Ray
The date was August 21, 2016 and the crew consist of Jay (I love to fish) Bishop, John (Fish fear me) Gooding and Tony Caggiula. My boat has just got new bottom paint and new shaft seals and I was eager to see how it performed. The weather man was correct with a forecast of flat sea. After getting a bit of fuel and stopping to get a few live baits we headed out. We actually got a little grouper action at our bait stop but they we very small. As we moved from spot to spot we caught plenty of 15 to 18 inch grouper. It was quite awhile before Jay got us a keeper. Along the way a number of snapper, large grunts and porgies made it to the cooler. At the far out spot for the day I added another keeper and at a spot on the way back I got another keeper. The largest fish of the day was 22 inches. If you fish off shore you are going to lose some rigs to coral and toothy fish. You need to have prepared replacement rigs on shore so you can quickly get back in the water. I find that when I hasten to tie on a new hook the knot often fails. At the end of the day we were running out of bait from all the action. It was warm but all in all a good day off shore. Capt. Ray
Went off shore on August 20 with a crew of Jerry Neis, Chris Peruski and Steve Ziolkowski. Chris and Steve were first timers on my boat. The sea were less then a foot and the crab traps we not out yet. Again I tried my gag grouper spot with no luck. We tried lots of spots and did catch about 40-50 under size grouper. I did keep one legal fish. What was interesting about the day was the variety of species: large trigger fish, sharks, lane snappers, mangrove snapper, porkies, large lizard fish, grunts, white baits, red grouper, yellow tail snappers and a king fish. Jerry caught the 34 inch king while fishing for snapper with his small rod. He had quite a battle and was lucky he was using a jig with the hook getting caught just at the back of the jaw. We had a very smooth ride home and did not have any rain or storms to deal with. In short a good day...OFF SHORE...Capt. Ray
Well, let me say every trip is not a good one. Normally the problem is a boat issue or a lying weatherman. This time it was the weatherman. The date was August 7, 2016 and the crew consist of Jay (I love to fish) Bishop, Boe Roesing and Tony Caggiula. Tony is a first timer on my boat and not a retired mafia Don but a college professor. We topped off the tank with a little fuel before we loaded up last time. We did not stop to catch bait for Jay brought a ton of stuff. Our first stop was a gag grouper spot and no one was home. At this point we were about 18 miles off shore and it was rough. My main target for the day was several spots about 30 miles out. There was one boat issue. In rough seas the drip -less shaft seals were letting water in and while the bilge pumps could handle it I did not want to be 30 miles off shore if it got rougher and caused more of a leak. Therefore we started working our way back to shore trying lots of spots along the way. All we caught were the occasionally under size grouper. The crew started to fish for snapper and that is what this trip turned out to be - a snapper trip. The largest grouper caught all day was 19 7/8 inches. A bit short of my 21 inch rule. Therefore we arrived at the dock with a bucket of snapper and no grouper. The good news was we did not have a storm to deal with all day. Will be looking for a calm day to get out again. Also have scheduled the boat for a bunch of work on September 12. Capt. Ray.
July 23, 2016
I headed of shore this date with a crew of Jay Bishop, Dave Huff and Scott Murphy (Scott is a very new member). The weather forecast was for calm seas and the weatherman told the truth this time. After taking on a good supply of fuel and going thru my safety talk we went to a spot about 10 miles off shore to get a few live baits to fill in for all the frozen bait we bought. The fishing was a bit slow until we hit a spot I call area 84. There the action was very good. As usual we caught alot of red grouper. I estimate between 50 and 60. Also as usual they were in the 12 to 19 inch range. We did get 6 keepers and lots of lane snapper. A couple sharks, porgies, grunts, pin fish, a bonita and a couple lizard fish also came on board and were released or became bait. We visited one of the new artificial reefs that is far off shore. It was well marked and very visible on my bottom machine. With the stone crab traps gone we had a very nice ride home in the care of my auto pilot. In short it was a very good Day...OFF SHORE.
June 27, 2016
The Crew for this trip was Kat McNabb, John (Fish fear me) Gooding and Joan (Fish Slayer) Vatterott. Weather forecast was good. After getting a frew gallons of fuel we headed off shore. Our first stop was to get a few live baits. At about 18 miles out we started the search for Mr. grouper. as usual, small grouper were the most frequent catch. Hopes were high, for Joan wore her special lipstick and Kat had on her magic fish catching hat. John wore an intense look. As one might guess, John got the most keeper red grouper. The ladies had a few equipment issues that the Captain had to deal with but they did contribute to the number of keepers. Kat with the hat had the big fish of the day with a 23 1/2 inch red grouper. John also caught a really large lane snapper. The rides home was nice with the crab traps gone and the weather held off until the boat was unloaded and we were ready to clean the boat and clean the fish. Then the sky opened up. All in all, a good day off shore. Capt. Ray
Headed off shore June 11th with a crew of Bob Roesing, Denny Noll and Jay Bishop. This is probably one of the best trips I have ever had. First when I got to shore I had the same number of people I left with and they were the same people. Second, those damn crab traps were gone. Then the details. Very smooth water, not to hot weather, no storms, lots of action, the boat performed extremely well and 6 keeper grouper. Denny got the big fish at 26 inches. He also got a nice mangrove snapper and a nice lane snapper. In fact we brought back a bucket full of snapper. We were off shore about 35 miles at the major spot. The ride home was very pleasant. Auto piolet did all the work. In short, a very good day OFF SHORE. Capt. Ray
I went out April 7. Roger Wiiilams, Gary Altman and John Ortaldo were the Crew. The results were the same as the last two trips so no need for details. What I will do is provide a few facts about red grouper since they are the primary target in our area off shore. All start out as females and mature when about 16 to 20 inches and 4-6 years old. They can live to be 25 years old. There is no set time or size for their change to be males but most do not change until they are 23 inches. Spawning takes place from March to May with April the peak. This may be why we are not finding large fish in the 20-30 miles range currently but my log does show catches in previous years in April. Red grouper can span as many as 26 times in a season. Again this is why we catch so many small grouper. Larger fish are usually found out beyond 100 feet of water. The Florida State record is a bit over 40 pounds.
Well, if you have been checking the website for fishing reports you have not seen any recently. It does not mean I have not been going off shore. It means I have been a bit lazy. So, here is a recent one. On July 18th I organized another trip for myself and 3 other members of the Naples Fishing Club. My crew for that day was Jay Bishop, Andy Plavick and John (Fish fear me) Gooding. The weather forcast was for smooth seas but possible afternoon storms. As it turned out the weather was excellant: Smooth seas, not too hot and no storms in our area. We had gotten fuel a day earlier so we headed out at about 9 a.m., no need to rush. We stopped and caught some live bait to add to the supply of frozen bait I had purchased. Since our last trip a bit north was of limited success I headed southwest this time. The key to grouper fishing is finding where thay are residing today. This means hitting lots of spots. I prefer to drift fish so I can avoid the process of putting the anchor down and up. For somethimes it gets stuck and if I cannot get it free the cost is about $500 to replace the anchor, rope, chain and connectors. We hit a number of spots from 18 miles to 30 miles out. We found red grouper everywhere bus as usual most were under my size requirement (21 inches). We did get 8 keepers with Andy getting the largest at 25+ inches and me a second place with a 24 inch plus fish. We also brought back 15 lane snapper. Trips like this are currently costing us about $100 each. Even though grouper is expensive at Publix it is probably cheaper to buy it than to catch it but you lose out on the life experience with friends. OFF SHORE....Capt. Ray
Finally got an off shore trip on my boat in early June. Weather forecast was excellent, weatherman speak with forked tongue. In the AM it was rough. The crew was Lew Williams, Franco DeCarlo, John Gooding and Rick Uffalussy. The plan was for a long trip out some 50 miles but because of the weather we did a normal trip. We caught lots of grouper but only 4 that met the 21 inch limit I use on my boat. The guys bought back about 18 lane snapper. The most interesting catches of the day were an octopus that let go just a Lew was about to bring him on board and a 16 inch plus manger snapper. The good news was that the seas did calm down and we had a smooth ride home. There was a boat issue. One engine ran about 20 degrees hotter then the other.
I have not been writing a report for some time because my boat has been in the boat yard for repairs for the last 2 months. A new shaft, new cutlass bearing, new bottom paint and a few other things bought the bill to a bit over $9,000. As you know when a boat just sits around things go bad, so when I got the boar back there were issure with the auto pilot and a few other small things. Finally after all the repairs we got off shore on March 23, 2014
my crew was John (fish fear me) Gooding, Franco DeCarlo (New Guy) and Rich Uffalussy. We tried a number of spots before we found keeper grouper. At the end of the day we had 9 keepers with the largest at 24 inches. The weather was excellant. There were a number of notable events during the day. First we were stopped and given an inspection by FWC.some 30 miles off shore. We passed all the enspections including the flares which I had replaced a month ago. Next was a surprise catch by Gooding. He caught a 34 inch mahi, mahi (Pictured below0 and finally, a small bird which had lost it's way landed on the boat. The poor bird was glad to find a place to land and did after a bit make its way into the cabin. It stayed in the cabin while we fished and only exited when we were back at the marina.
Normally all these reports are about trips on my boat. However, this is one about a charter trip. Three board members and three members went out on the charter boat Dalis. This trip was a test to see if we were going to try and work with the owners of Dalis to put together charters for our members. We departed the docks on time and headed out into what was a cool morning with calm seas. After catching some live bait we made the long trip out to about 90 feet of water. We had good action with everyone putting keeper red grouper into the cooler. I personally caught two fish that were over 30 inches long. Around 2 o'clock we hit the limit of 24 fish and headed in to shore. The boat was very clean and well equipped. While I know every trip off shore does not result in limit catches, the total experience says we will be helping to arrange charters for our members with the Dalis Charter group. Capt. Ray
Next trip had John (fish fear me) Gooding, Jay Bishop, Bill Monetta snd Jose Rios. Jose is a Wounded Warrior that took me up on my standing offer on the web site to take Warriors fishing for Free. The weatherman said "Good Weather", and it was almost as smooth as glass. The first spot I tried was a spot named Rays Gags. Well, the guys did get 2 nice gags there as well as a big red. We then tried another secret spot and got 4 more keeper reds. Jose got a nice 23 inch fish. As usual we caught tons of smaller grouper. We also brought back a number of nice lanes grunts and porgies. It was a good day. Many of our members offered to help with this trip. Lots of good hearted fishermen.
For me the most interesting thing the past two trips has been the weather. In both cases the forecast was for very flat seas. Then the night before it changed for the worst and the actual was even rougher than the forecast. In the first case we aborted the trip after getting just a mile out of Gordon pass. The next trip was Nov. 2nd. The crew ase Jim Bowles, Dave Huff, Brett Weingarten and Danna Postilio. Danna again came as an outting person and did not fish. She acted as net girl and assistant in getting bait and removing fish. Once we cleared the pass I was forced to change my trip plan because of the rough conditions. As the first several spots we only caught small grouper. Jim finally got us going with a nice 27 inch plus fish. He added a 23 inch fish later and I also put one of that size in the cooler. We actually never got to the spot I wanted to fish because of storms. We actually quit a bit early to avoid getting caught in some really bad weather. Capt. Ray
This trip was on October 1. The crew was two old timers: John Gooding and Bill Monetta. By old timers I mean they have been out on my boat a number of times. The new person was Jay Bishop. We went to get fuel and found my favorite place was still not finished with their up grade program so we got fuel at the City Dock. The weather forecast was excellant. As you know the weather man lies. He did this time. We got a few live baits and headed out to my first spot. Well we started off big time, John Gooding got an enormous 28 inch plus red grouper. I used the word enormous because in addition to the lenght this was a big fat grouper. I now only keep 21 inch or larger. It was rough so I waqs heading to spots closer to shore. As I passed one of my favorite spots I decide to take a chance the weather would improve and went to fish that area. We caught lots of grouper. Jay put a 25 inch grouper in the cooler and I added a 23 inch one. Earlier Bill had caught a very large mangrove snapper plus we also had a number of large grunts in the cooler. The weather did improve so the ride home was not too bad. It was a good day off shore. Capt Ray
My next trip occurred in late August. It was an unusual trip in several aspects. First I took 4 members rather than my usual three and one came just for the outing, no fishing. The crew was jim Bowles, Dan Kozlow, Danna Postilio and Rick Uffalussy. After getting fuel and stopping to catch some live bait we headed out on a southwest heading. At the first 3 stops we caught very few grouper of any size. These were stops on the way to the key area I wanted to fish. At this location the action went from little to frenzy. The guys were catching grouper as fast as they could get lines in the water. In addition to many short, several 25 inch fish went in the cooler. Danna the outing person, acted as net girl. We ran out of bait and headed into shore. The final count was 11 fish most in the 23 to 25 plus range. Yes, there is a fish god! Good day off shore. Capt. Ray
My next trip had the same crew of a couple weeks ago. Rick Uffalussy, Lew Williams and Jean Uffalussy. This is a very experienced bunch of off shore fisherpersons. The start of this trip was not good. Th place where I buy fuel was out of diesel. I forgot to stop and buy bait and it was a bit rougher than forcasted. However I already had enough fuel, I had brought some bait from home and the weather improved. After catching some live bait at Gordon 9 mile reef we headed out. We had good luck at one of my spots and got a number of keepers. While everyone caught keepers Rick did a particular outstanding job. We tried a couple of other spots with no luck and then at our final stop we tried a spot I often tell about from many years ago. This is a spot that while fishing by myyself and catchng nothing for several hours I stopped at this spot and caught 4 keepers in just a few minutes. Well, we put our lines in the water and within less than a minute had 3 hookups, all keepers. I added a 4th within the next 30 seconds, also a nice 23 inch keeper. The interesting thing about my catch is that I did not have any natural bait on my line. I was using a jig with a large plastic worm/fish type item. In total we had 11 keepers for the day. Most were over 23 inches and the largest was a bit over 25 inches. We released several legal fish that were just at 20 inches. This was a record catch on my boat. We also brought home a large number of lane snapper. We did have one boat issue. I have a device called StartGuard. It keeps the electronics on line when the engines are started if they draw off too much electricity to also keep the electronics working. Every time we moved I had to turn off the electronics and reboot them after I had the engines going. Another interesting point about this trip is that once we went beyond 12 miles we did not see another boat all day. After catching those last 4 grouper I decided at 4 pm we had fished enough. I had one complainer but as Captain I ignored him. We had a bit of wine during a smooth ride home. A good day off shore. Capt. Ray
It was late July when I organized my next trip off shore. The crew had one experienced fisherman in the person of John Gooding. The other two were first timers to my boat, Jim Bowles and Monica Zbyr. Yes that is really her last name. The weather forcast was for 2 foot waves in the AM and 1 foot waves in the afternoon. Well the weatherman was a bit of a liar. It was rough in the AM. This caused a change of plans and resulted in us fishing fewer spots. We had a difficult time catching bait at Gordon 14 mile reef. I did bring along a bit of frozen bait so we did have enough. No real actions at our first stop. It took a while but I got us out beyond 25 miles. At this spot we had lots of action. We caught grouper as fast as we could get the lines in the water. The bad news is they were 20 inches or less. I now only keep the fish if they are 21 inches or larger. Because of the lack of big grouper we started loading the ice chest with land snapper and porgies. We headed back to shore around 4 pm and for this part of the day the weatherman was correct. We had a smooth ride home and I was able to use the auto pilot for there are no crab traps out. Capt. Ray
The weather forecast was excellant and turned out to be accurate. The waves were less than 1 foot. With overcast skies it was hot but not terrible. My Crew for this trip was my good friend Llew Williams, Rich Uffalussy and his wife Jean. Jean is not just a pretty face she is a serious fisher person and often out fishes the guys. After getting fuel we headed out to one of my bait spots and put a few pinfish in the live well. Our first stop was in an area where I have caught gag grouper in the past but no one was home. The next stop was far out and one of my best secret spots. Here the action was fast and furious. We got 6 keeper red grouper. The largest was a very fat 29 inch big boy that Rick brought on board. Llew also got a nice big fish and the rest were 21-22 inches. We released 6 grouper that measured just at the legal limit. By the time we get to port these fish often measure less than 20 inches and the FWC is not happy if they come on my boat to check out our catch. As usual we caught 30 or more small grouper. We tangled with 3 sharks. We also had a number of lane snapper, yellow tail snapper , grunts, porgies and one fairly large mangrove snapper. At one point we stopped and had a birthday celebration for Rich and jean had brought cake and champagne to drink. My birthday was July 9th. The ride home was on water also as smooth as glass. We had quit before what I had planned for the crew was tired of pulling in fish. The poor babies.
My next trip off shore had Les Hickman, John Principe and Daniel Dickson as the crew. As we cleared Gordon Pass the water was almost like glass. As we headed out we encountered pod after pod of bait fish. We stopped at Gordon 9 mile reef to put a few bait in my live well. At our various stops we were catching lots of grouper but none were over 20 inches. I finally got us a keeper that measured about 21 inches. We were fishing a spot where on a previous trip we had caught 6 keepers but on this day only smaller fish. I started to head to another spot and the wind had really kicked up and the waves were making it hard to see the crab pods. I decided it was best to go and head in to shore. Gettina a crab pod caught in the drive shaft is a real disaster in wrong weather. Better than sitting at home but not a great day off shore. With good weather I decided to get in another trip fairly quickly. This time the crew was Denny England, Bill Monetta, John Principe and Danna Postilio. We stopped at Gorden 14 mile feef to get some live bait. I tried a few spots in route to one of my secret spots but no one was home of any size. We did get lots of action at my spots and got 6 keepers. Danna got a nice fat 24 inch red grouper. She has an effervescent personality so this was an exciting event for her. Generally it was not too hot and the seas were calm. Denny was Captain for most of the ride home. He kept a sharp eye out for the few crab pods that are still out but all will be gone next week. I hope. Some time hope works. On May 20th the crew was Llew Willams, Denny England, Dennys daughter and son. At Gordon 9 mile reef I put the England crew to work catching live bait. I tried lots of spots but we never got a keeper grouper. We did catch plenty of fish, lots of lane snapper, sharks grunts pin fish and small grouper. We even tried the R tower. There Llew tnagled with some of the resident Very Big grouper. The grouper won. The weather turned bad for part of the ride home. No real boat issues so it was a good day. Capt. Ray
Next trip on April 7th had Gilles La France, Jim Bowles (first timer) and Jean Uffalussy as my crew. We went south. With Jean on Board expectaions were high. She holds the ladies world record for blue marlin on light tackle. Giles bought live pin fish and Jean brought some live bait and some frozen bait. This, with all the frozen bait I bought allowed me to skip stopping to catch bait at 9 mile Gordon reef. We tried a couple of spots on the way out with no luck. At the first major reef I stopped at we were all fishing for grouper and Jean had a king fish rig out. All of a sudden that rig started to scream. After a fairly short battle I gaffed a 42 inch king for her. We tried lots of spots in a place I call Area 84 with nothing but under size grouper until we finally got 2 keepers. We then tried a spot I call Naples Springs. This place is about 25 miles off shore. We were shocked to see 3 young men in a small flat boat there with scuba gear. We then move back to a spot we had tried on the way out and anchored up for the first time to try for both grouper and snapper. We had plenty of action. In addition to some nice grunts and a lane snapper we got four keeper grouper. The most interesting catch of the day was made by Gilles. Fishing with a Sabika rig he caught 4 small red grouper and one lane snapper on one cast. This gives one some sense of how well the red grouper population is doing. We headed in at 4:30 but first got everyone a drink of bourbon or rum to celebrate a successful day off shore. Capt. Ray
Well April 1 was the first day of open season for Red Grouper after a two month closure. As one would expect there were lots of boats on the water. My crew for this trip was Llew Williams, John Gooding, Roger Williams and Peter Duggan. Peter had won a free trip on my boat at the auction the club had for Wounded Warriours. Llew and Roger are not relate as far as we know. The weather was excellant, cool, not hot and smooth seas. As usual we started off at 9 mile reef there was another boat there and I thought it might be my friend Gilles La France. we had talked and I told him that was where I started and he said he may also go out April 1. Well it was not Gilles. We went to the first spot and no grouper. We tried lots of spots and got few grouper. Finally Roger got one that measured 20 1/4 inches. Yes a keeper but I now only keep ones that are at least 21 inches. Many more spots and few grouper were found. Then Llew got us on the board with a nice 24-25 inch fat boy. At 3 pm I decided there were just not many keepers in the water we were fishing so we started fishing for snappers and porgies. The guys got 17 porgies and 4 lane snappers. As we were fishing for these smaller fish Peter hooked into something large which turned out to be a 21 inch red grouper. We had a very smooth ride home and when we cleared Gordon Pass the FWC was not there to greet us as they usually are these days. A fun day OFF SHORE!
I did finally get off shore in the middle of March. The crew for this trip was Dave Huff, John Principe and Llew Williams. The plan was to target Kings and then try to get some snapper. First the good news, the weather was good. Not to hot, not to cold and the waves were 2 feet. We started off trolling around 9 mile reef with no luck. We moved out to an area that is where king are often found and trolled with no luck. We then moved to a spot I call Ray Gags. Here we fished for snapper. We only caught a few fair size lane snapper. A few small and mid size red grouper were caught and John did get a small gag grouper. The snapper were so few we started to keep large grunts which are also excelland eating fish. Most of what we caught was fish I use for grouper bait so I kept four zip lock freezer bags full for grouper season. We had some pelican friends that insisted on helping us. Our next move was to a wreck about 24.98 miles out. I had not been to this wreck in many years. The first time I went there it had a relief of about 15-20 feet. This time I found only a small structure. Anchored near by was a shrimp boat. It is possible that over time shrimp boats tore up this wreck. We caught nothing to talk about on this site. There were a large number of dolphins in the area. They were probably following the shrimp boat waiting for the by catch dump. The boat ran well and we had a nice run home with a stop 2 miles off shore for a drink of bourbon. Capt. Ray
Last trip we went south with not alot of luck, so this time we went a bit further north. The crew was John Gooding, Rick Uffalussy and Vinnie DiMambro. I had bought frozen bait but we stopped at my waypoint Bait 5 for some live ones. Our first real stop was far out and as usual we started catching under size grouper. Fianlly Vinnie got us going with a nice 25 inch red grouper. A bit later I got a 22 inch red grouper. That was all we got at this secret spot. I was disappointed for we usually got 5 to 9 keepers here. We tried two areas further out with no luck and returned to my secret spot. We put out chum and tried for snapper with minimal luck. The FWC showed up (we were about 30 miles out) and did another inspection. I think these guys are following me. This time no proulem with grouper but I got a warning for a lane snapper we used as bait. At 4 pm we gave up and headed home. Rick took over as Captain and drove the boat to Naples. The water was very smooth so it was a fun ride and the crab traps were easy to see and avoid. Capt. Ray
It has been quite some time since we got the opportunity to go off shore. The weather and tides would just not cooperate. Finally the fishing Gods demanded we go. The crew for this trip was Denny England, Gary Zera and Peter Duggan. All had not been out with me for some time. It was a cold morning, it was 52 degrees when I left the house. The weather forcast was for 2 foot seas. After getting fuel and clearing the pass it was clear the seas were a bit rougher but not too bad. We started at Gordon 9 mile reef (my GPS says it is actually 11 miles out) to catch bait and while there Gary got a keeper red grouper. Based on reports I got later we probably should have stayed there. We proceeded to try a number of my other spots and only got under size grouper. We kept trying spots with no luck and finally moved out to what I call area 84. We or I should say Gary, got 2 more keepers. My new rule is they have to be at least 21 inches. See my earlier report to understad the new rule. The highlight of the trip for me was no sweating. The summer trips are brutal. After cleaning fish and the boat, dark was upon us, so I headed home to dinner, my spa, wine and my first wife. No one took pictures. Capt. Ray
This was a very good trip. First the weather was wonderful. Not only were the waves of a reasonable height but it was not hot. It was not cool but pleasant. The crew was some of the usual suspects. Rick and Jean Uffalussy plus Bret Weingarten. We stopped at Gorden 9 mile reef to add to our bait supply. Everyone bought some form of frozen bait but we want some live bait to increase our chances. At the first spot (a secret one) we did put some keepers in the cooler. As the day started out it was the Captain (me) that was the only one getting keeper size grouper. We moved out to an area I had never fished before and found 2 other boats in the area. We add a few keepers at this spot. After a bit we move back closer to shore at Lucky ledge and added a few more keepers. As we headed for shore there was what we believed were 8 keepers in the cooler. At Gordon Pass we were stopped by FWC. After checking all my safety gear they measured our fish. We had 2 fish that only measured 19 inches. Those were the fish that hours ago just measured at 20 inches. They took these two fish and gave me a worning. I have been stopped and boarded by FWC about 5 times. This is the first time there were issues. As a result of this event I have adopted a new rule for my boat. If the grouper do not measure 21 inches they go back. It appears you can get significant shrinkage while in the cooler for several hours. All in all it was a very good day OFF SHORE!! Capt. Ray
The crew for this trip was Lew Williams, Les Hickman (first timer) and Bob Roesing. It was hot but we had very smooth waters. We went south on this trip with a stop at Gordon 9 mile reef for bait. The first several spots we tried did not yield any grouper of any size. We finally found a spot where we caught a number of 19 1/2 inch size fish but we did finally find some keeper size grouper. Les got the big fish of the day with a 26 inch red grouper. Each of the rest of us also got a keeper for a total of 4. We tried fishing a wreck for awhile but got no action except for a number of barracudas circling the boat. Despite various attempts to get them to strike all they did was investigate. We had no boat problems to deal with. While it was not as hot as a couple previous trips it was hot and I am ready for some cooler weather. Capt Ray
Just got back from the August meeting of our fishing club. I had not got around to writing a report on our last trip, so I will make a few comments about the meeting first. Pete Peterson ran the meeting. We had the usual low summer turn out. In fact there were also as many guests as members. The September meeting is being held at Joe's Crab Shack because Hamilton is closed that month for remodeling. Now the trip.....This trip had Peter Duggan, Rick Uffalussy and Norm Podskalan as the crew. As normal this time of the year the forecast was for hot weather but the seas were to be 1 foot. Somehow those 1 foot waves became 3 foot waves. Yes it was hot and rough. We got off to a slow start but finally got a nice number of baits in the live well. The rough seas screwed up my plan to do drift fishing. I ancored once but the rough seas caused the anchor to really dig in and it took us about 20 minutes to get it free. We finally got enough weight on to get to the bottom while drifting but were catching only a few small grouper. We worked hard and did get 3 keeper red grouper. Rick got the big fish of the day. The boat ran well and the seas did calm down enough to make a nice ride home. We forgot to take pictures. Capt. Ray
My view of this next trip was more of a family outing than a fishing trip. The crew was my sister Carol and her husband Greg MacKeen. Greg did not share my view. He had been out with me a couple of times before and had never caught a keeper red grouper. He handles the web site for me and has been reading about all the grouper we have been catching. He was determined to change his luck. As usual I stopped at Gordon 9 mile reef to catch some bait. The water was very smooth this day with waves less than one foot. That was the good news. The weather started off warm and got hot. We had a slow start with only a few under size grouper. Fianlly my sister got things going with a just a bit over legal size red grouper. After catching one almost keeper size and several small grouper Greg finally got himself a 24 inch red grouper. My sister is not a hard core "fishergirl" so I turned on the A/C and we took a lunch break in the cabin at 1 pm. The rest of the day was uneventful with only a few undersized grouper. This was probably because I did not go out beyond 25 miles to some of the areas where we have been catching fish on recent past trips. Giles LaFrance also was out this day. He fished about 60 miles out close to the California wreck. He got 7 keepers with one over 30 inches. Capt. Ray
This next trip was a real treat for me for I was going as a crew member on someone else's boat. The Captain was Gilles La France and his first mate Luce. Gilles is a Naples Fishing Club member and keeps his boat close to mine in the River Pointe Marina. He has a 30 foot Boston Whaler with twin 275 Mercury outboards. The forth crew member was Jean Uffalussay. Because Gilles's boat is much faster than mine the plan was to go far out in search of big grouper. We did get out a bit over 50 miles. The trip was unusual for we did not catch lots of under size grouper. The grouper we did catch were mostly keepers. Jean got the big fish of the day with one a bit over 32 inches. I came in second with one over 30 inches and Luce had third place with a 28 inch grouper. In total we had 7 keepers all over 22 inches. The exciting time of the day was when Jean hooked into a large king mackerel. After a good fight she got him to the boat but he cut the line on the boat for a quick release. The fish looked to be 20 to 30 pounds. We had good weather, over cast sky kept the heat down and we had a fairly smooth ride home. Life is good off shore with friends and some wine to toast our success. Ray
I was preparing the boat for the next trip and I cut myself so badly I had to go to the emergency room. They ran some tests on my blood and advised me I have "fishitis". The doctor advised this is a disease that manifests itself with the behavior of accumlating large quantities of marine equipment and spending many days off shore pursuing an advanced degree in Ichthyology. Well I went back and finished preparing the boat. The crew for this trip was Rick and Jean Uffalussy plus Bruce Bennett. We got a late start at 9 am but experience has shown the fish do not care. Since we had such good luck last time we stopped to get bait at the Gordon 9 mile feef. Like before plenty of pin fish and grunts made their way to the live well. We also had a good supply of white baits, squid and octopus. We tried lots of spots and got a total of 6 keepers. Burce got the big fish of the day with one over 26 inches. At one point we linked up with another club member, Gilles La France. He and his wife got 4 keepers. As often happens we had boat issues. The windless would not work properly so except for the bait stop we drift fished. It was very calm so that was not a problem. At about 3 miles from Gordon's pass on the way home we had another hose leak. The mid range bilge pump was putting out lots of water but it was keepin up with the flow for the second pump never came on. All this is good for the retirement accounts of my boat fixers....Capt. Ray
This trip was to be a bit different from the recent past. First gag grouper season opened July 1. Also I plan to start out doing some trolling. At first I planned trolled over some near shore reefs with Rapala 18 ft. down lures. When I reached the Naples Ledges area I would add some Mann 30 feet down lures. Weather forecast was very good for waves but very hot, real feel of 110 by 1 pm. The crew was Lew Williams, Bob Roesing and Rick Uffalussy. Well we did just a little trolling and then went to one of my special spots out in the Gulf of Mexico. This is an area with ledges and the gags like to hang by this type of structure. The guys missed several what seemed to be larger fish. Finally Bob hooked one and brought a 31 inch plus gag onboard. Lot of under size grouper were caught so we moved to another spot. Rick got a nice 22 inch red grouper. It was hot, the boat ran well with its new starboard turbo and the ride home was almost glass.
After waiting for the right combination of tides and weather we got another off shore trip launched. The crew was Denny England, Kat McNabb and Brett Weingarten. All members of this crew had been out with me before. In fact to date I have taken 46 different Club members off shore fishing. The boat has made over 200 trips with some members going off shore many times since 2003. The plan was to go a bit to the north and try some ledges, patch reefs and a couple secret spots. The red grouper bite this year has been fantastic. Now we are going to see if we can find them on this trip. The weatherman lied. It was a bit rough. At gordon 9 mile reef we quickly loaded up on live bait. I skipped the ledges and went to some secret spots. It was a slow start but we finally started catching lots of grouper. Plenty of double hook ups with most under size grouper. We did get 6 keepers. Denny got the big grouper of the day with one that was a bit over 24 inches. Kat got the big fish of the day with a large barracuda that was about 30 pounds. It did calm down a bit later in the day so the trip back to port was not bad. Have scheduled to replace the starboard turbo charger on June 18 so probably no tirps until that has been completed. Ray
Well if you read the previous report you know we had boat problems. It turned out to be a split hose on the starboard engine that brings in salt water to help cool the engine. The crew for this trip was Bill Monetta, John Gooding and Joe Moceri (first timer) The trip plan was what I wanted to do the last time. After getting a little fuel we headed out. The fishing reports in the newspaper have been saying lots of big red grouper were being caught. We planned to test those reports with our first spot at about 20 miles out. Hello Houston, we have a problem. The starboard engine turbo would not kick in. I decided we may have a fuel blockage and I continue to work the boat down the bay and finally got it up and going. The good news is we had no more engine problems the rest of the day. We had so much bait we skiped catching bait and went straight out to my first secret spot. The waves were a bit more than forecasted but slowly calmed down through out the day. It was not long before we were putting grouper on the deck. Joe got the big boy of the day wich was about 27 inches. We got a total of 6 keepers plus quite a number of lane snapper, one big grunt and a shark (he went home as bait for another trip). We had smooth water coming home and the crab traps were out so I could relax and let the auto pilot do the work. Lot of fun and freedom. Monday we should remember who makes that possible. Ray
The weather forcast was absolutely wonderful. It turned out that the weatherman did not lie this time. The crew for this adventure was Rick Uffalussy, Ron Berk and Bruce Lansford. While some venture out at ungodly early morning times, we went for a more respectful 9 am departure. We had plenty of frozen bait with both purchased items and fish we caught on the last trip. After getting fuel we headed out and made our first stop at about 12 miles out. This was a bait stop and it was very successful with a number of pin fish and grunts making it into the live well. At about 20 miles out we started to fish. As usual small grouper made their appearance. Ron who had fished yesterday on a charter put the pressure on by showing us a picture of a 34 inch grouper caught. He and 5 others from the Naples Fishing Club got a total of 18 keepers. We made a short distance move and Rick got things going with a nice 24 inch keeper. He was using one of those butterfly jigs with a little something for smell and flavor. Meanwhile the rest of us were getting the usual 15 to 18 inch grouper. After another short move Rick got another 24 -25 inch keeper. We were in the process of making another move of about 2 miles when the starboard engine alarm went off. A review of the gauges revealed a temperature spike and I quickly turned off that engine. We were unable to determine the cause of the problem and decided we had to abort tnd head to port on one engine. I always believe to error on the side of safety. We could have played around on one engine, but I never like to be out far with only one engine. About 3 hours later we were at the docks. This was very frustrating for we had only been fishing a short time and already had 2 keepers. Tomorrow the boat mechanics will come to see if it is a minor or major problem. Ray
It was a bit chilly chilly as we headed down to the River Point Marina. Also the wind was a bit stronger than the weatherman had forecasted. Well with the weather you never know until you know. Today the plan was to search for the Mr. Grouper in an area south of the R Tower. My crew for this day was john Gooding, Rich Uffalussy and his wife Jean. It was a bit roughas we cleared Gordon Pass but not a problem for my 43 ft. twin diesel Pursuit. At about 12 miles out we stopped for bait with not much luck. The good news is I had brought plenty of frozen bail. At one of my special spots about 20 miles out we started fishing. Lots of shorts and one keeper. We moved out to about 25 miles and got lots of shorts and one keeper. At one of my favorite spots about 30 miles out we had plenty of action and got 5 keepers. We also had excitement when Rick hooked into a large shark which resulted in a 20 min. battle to get that big boy to the boat for a quick release. I made one more move to a spot a bit closer to shore and I caught the largest Grouper of the day. The final count was 8 red Grouper and a number of lane snapper. The weather had imporved significantly and we had a very smooth ride back to port. Ray