Thursday, March 30, 2017

Back From Naples

Successful Day on the Gulf
Well, I finally returned from my weekend in Naples Florida last night.  Every year our industry has a conference called APEC (Applied Power Electronics Conference) somewhere interesting.  Because some of my best fishing friends attend the conference and if it is in a convenient location, we try to arrange a fishing trip prior to the show.  I have done a trips to Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and this year we went back to Naples, Florida, where we fished after another industry event in early December, just a few months ago. We enjoyed our Captain on the Sea Legs from the previous trip however He recommended using A and B Charters out of Naples, it ended up being a great reference as we had a very good time.  On this trip were my good friends Glen Collins (Illinois), Bill Hardt (Wisconsin), Matt Davis(Texas), and Phil Gordon(Colorado). Our target species was Red Grouper as well as a number of snapper fish such as Gray Snapper (often called Mangrove), Lane Snapper, Porgy fish.  Starting at 7:00AM and running straight west out of Naples for an hour and a half we hit 60 feet of water and anchored on a reef.  Using what I call 3 way rigs, about a 1 1/2 ounce sinker at the bottom of the line then a hook about a foot up, we baited with cut fish and squid as bait and dropped them down.  It was an immediate bite and within minutes Phil landed his first ever legal (20 inch minimum) red grouper. We were surprised at the strength of the tide, I have experienced this before in Alaska were the tides get to 16 feet but these are relatively small, 2.5 feet.  Never the less the tide current had an effect on our presentation as well, the Captain stated that the grouper stay tight in their
Left to Right, Matt, Myself, Phil, Glen, and Bill
holes and crevices during the peak tides, which explained why we were mostly catching snapper.  And catch snapper we did!  Literally  as soon as you hit the bottom something was chomping on your bait.  Because of this, we caught mostly the snappers however by 12:30 the tide had diminished enough to entice the groupers to come out and join the action, which they did.  It was easy to determine if you had a larger grouper hitting your bait, it was much more solid and not so peck/peck of the smaller fish.  Once you hooked one the battle was on to try and keep the fish out of the rocks. Although we did have nice equipment, a 22 inch grouper can really bulldog itself to the bottom unless you really try and show him who's boss.  We ended the day about 2:00 as we had an hours run back to the dock. Although I am never ready to leave, I was getting wore out with reeling in fish as my left hand was starting to form a blister where it clinched around the reel handle.  Arriving at the dock we put the fish on a picture board, we had 8 nice grouper, a couple of nicer snappers as well about 50 or so of the smaller 12 to 16 inch which we were told are the best eaters! One of the things I wanted to do was to help clean the fish however I got ridiculed for my Minnesota method........while I wanted to make sure I did a good job, they simply cut the fillet diagonally from the top to the front of the rear fin, which basically eliminates any rib meat and a little of the top portion of the fish.  Not being used to that method it took me a lot longer to clean on but eventually got the hang of it.  I took a lot of ribbing however if my knife was sharper, it would have been a lot better, oh well.  We got quite a few more fish on this trip which some of them we dropped off at the restaurant we use last time and had them cook a bunch up for Sunday night dinner.  The rest of the fish I brought home and am hoping I can get my friend Mark Applen to pickle up a bunch of them snappers and I am betting they'd be excellent.

Grouper Bilbao
Next weeks post will cover the opulence that I had the pleasure of hanging around this weekend however I am really getting to like that area of Florida.  The restaurants are excellent especially the one we went to in downtown Tampa on Tuesday night.  Called the Colombia, it is the oldest operating restaurant in Florida and is the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.  I love fresh fish as I stated, we took our fish to the Boathouse near the docks and they took our Grouper and Snapper then we had it Blackened, grilled, and fried.  It was excellent with my favorite being grilled grouper.  Monday night I had grouper again then on Tuesday night at the Columbian, I had their special Grouper Bilbao, as the menu describes: Traditional Basque preparation of fillet of Red Grouper, baked in a clay casserole, layered with sliced tomatoes, potatoes, onions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and lemon.  It was absolutely delicious, the fish was snow white and flakey, the serving was fabulous and the ambiance of the place was incredible.  I would like to try making this at home as I do have a lot of grouper fillets.

So things will be settling down again for a while as I have a ton of work to get done around the house and my boat has to be brought into Frankie's to have a remote tiller steering attached to my rig.  So many things, so little time!


Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...
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Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Not to be a buttinski, but the tides in Cook Inlet regularly hit the 25 foot mark. We're very proud to hold the title for "the second highest tides in the world". One day out of the year in Turnagain Arm, the total water change from the high to the low tide is 42 feet.

Dave Anderson said...

Yes, our captain ran a ship in Kodiak and we talked about that!