During our September trip to Punta Gorda (FL, thanks to Irma, instead of Belize as planned), Kat and I found some new friends in Jeff and Laurie Audette. Jeff and I worked together for a while during the blackout, when the status of our life in the Keys was unknown, and hatched a plan to fish together when things were back to normal. With that plan in mind I secured Scott Collins for a pair of days in January, and we went out barracuda fishing after Jeff and Laurie drove down. Our plan was for Jeff and I to fish together the first day, then go out together as a group and see if we could find some snapper to eat, though our second day of fishing was thwarted by weather that moved in heavily after the first day. Despite this, Jeff and I enjoyed the first day out with Scott and had a great time running the new skiff and throwing tubes at barracuda.
Jeff got the tooth party started right away, in the middle of our explanation of what we hoped was going to happen. In a few casts, Jeff came tight to a big one and we soon had it in hand. Turns out he didn’t need any input at all:
After this we bumped around for a while, not finding a large group of fish to throw at but sticking with the plan to get in as much as we could before the cold hammer dropped. Jeff caught another in the afternoon to keep our interest level up, and in the final hours of the day things turned around. Scott found us a place teeming with life, and not only what we were looking for. We saw a large bull shark being escorted by a large permit, and kept throwing the tubes at the increasingly large population of barracuda as we talked about it. Jeff was the hot rod–until I came tight on a big one at the end of the day I was relegated to watching him catch a total of about 5 fish:
The only fish I caught was hooked deeply and we let it go as soon as we could to maximize its chances after a harder than anticipated release.
I’d like to thank Scott for a great day on the water, and Jeff for coming down and getting some time in without the overlooking specter of weather-borne destruction.
Up next: the last trip to the Everglades with Steve and Chad, then the Cuda Bowl and I’m current.