Vol 6 No. 10 - November 30, 2005

Offshore in images

Grant Vero, with Mike Schafer, holds a large grouper he caught on light spinning tackle.

By Rusty Chinnis

I admit it. I’m not a big offshore angler. Given a choice, I prefer the shallow grass flats to the deeper waters off our coast. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy an occasional trip to the deep, and when I do, snapper are one of my favorite pursuits. Over the Thanksgiving weekend I was invited by Longboat angler Mark Stratton to accompany him, Hal Christensen, Grant Vero and Mike Schafer for a long-range trip 35 miles offshore in 120 feet of water. Although the weather forecast was for eight mile per hour winds, we were greeted with three- to four- foot seas for most of the trip. Luckily, Stratton’s 34-foot Pursuit was more than up to the task, getting us offshore fast and on fish the very first stop. After deploying a chum bag, we dropped lines and immediately hooked up with lane snapper. Close behind were some very large mangrove snapper and then gag grouper to 20 pounds. It was some of the fastest fishing I’ve ever experienced, and by 12:30 we had enough fish for everyone on board. The ride home was into four-foot seas, but the Pursuit pushed through and over the waves, getting us back to Longboat Pass with a dry and comfortable ride.


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