Parker party of 3 onboard yesterday (repeat client). Ran out to about 45 feet of water approximately 18 miles from Wiggins Pass. Started off on anchor for the first hour. Put out 3 balloons with a variety of baits. One was specifically for shark rigged with a king mackerel carcass. The other two were rigged with a blue runner and a Large Pilchard. Chummed and live chummed with the pilchards I caught before the trip, but nothing grabbed the baits under the balloons. We were catching a lot of fish on the bottom rods while we were waiting for a big bite. Lots of short Red Grouper, Lane Snapper, and Grunts. After an hour and a half I pulled the anchor and started drifting over the reef. We used Spro Jigs and Knocker Rigs with live squirrel fish and sand perch that we caught while we were anchored. We caught less fish drifting, but the size of the grouper was bigger and we managed to catch one legal one on a live sand perch. Tried with and without the Drift Sock deployed…seemed like the faster drift helped yesterday anyways. We fished hard and and ended up keeping about a dozen lane snappers and the one grouper which made enough for dinner. I’m thinking we need to bump out a little bit further to get into the groupers a little better and to get into some nicer lanes, but on a 6 hour trip we usually don’t go more than 20 miles offshore. Overall not a bad morning!
Got back to Cocohatchee at 2 cleaned up the boat and then took out the Baynes party of 6 for a dolphin tour. We left Wiggins and ran the beach up to Lovers Key State Park and Estero Bay. Made a lap around the bay and found a pod of dolphins on the North side of Mound Key. Pulled alongside and the Dolphins followed the boat for almost 20 minutes. On the way back to Wiggins I taught Brady and Rose (the two kids onboard) how to drive the Intrepid. We made S-turns down Bonita Beach and wove around the crab trap buoys along Barefoot Beach on the way back. Had a blast on the Dolphin Tour. We have been so busy fishing its the first one I have had time to do in a couple weeks.