Winds: 5-10 South
Seas: 1-2 feet (maximum)
Surf Temp: +/- 80F
Viz: 15-25 feet
The viz was about as good as it was last weekend, but the important thing is... NO BULL SHARKS! It sure was nice to be able to actually shoot more than 1 or 2 fish before having to move to another location.
We took our time picking out the best of the schools and ended up shooting a couple of really nice mangoes and hogs. We've been going more for quality than quantity lately and it has been very gratifying.
The mangoes are still where we expect them to be in and around structures, but they also seem to be moving offshore a little earlier than in other years. We had noticed that some were already carrying roe, so I guess it shouldn't be too surprising that some of the more prolific breeders are already heading offshore to spawn. We don't usually see this kind of behavior until middle to late June most summers.
One thing that I have noticed this year is the incredible number of Goliath Groupers that we are running into. So much so, that I honestly believe they are running out our regular Black and Grey Grouper quarry. I actually did not see one legal Black or Grey Grouper this weekend, but yet I spotted well over 15 Goliaths. The Goliaths are notorious for finding the smallest grouper hole and then opening it up so it can take residence in it. When the numbers were less, it was great because all lthey did was open up our grouper holes to hold more fish. But this year it's almost as if they have run them all out of the area. I hope my theory is proven wrong over time, but if it isn't, I honestly believe that the protected status of the Goliath needs to be re-evaluated.
The FWCC has been increasing the size limits on the Blacks and Greys over the past 5 or 6 years to find that perfect size where they begin to breed before we can keep them. I think that the 24" limit is just that. We were seeing a tremendous jump in the number of groupers at all of our diving spots over that period. But if the continued protection of the Goliath is going to jeopardize all that work, then it's time to open it up again! Don't get me wrong, I don't think they should make it open season on the Goliaths, but open it up to tackle only and 1 per boat per day. This might actually help some of the smaller members of the species keep from being run off.
Oh well, I guess I will get off my soap box now... but if you are noticing the same thing, I implore you to write a letter or send an email to the FWCC!