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Destin Fishing Report: shallow water pelagics
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Destin Fishing Report: shallow water pelagics

Our 36’ center console eased to a slow stop about a quarter of a mile from our red snapper honey hole after running through a 3’ swell that made the ride a little bit like a roller coaster – lots of ups and downs. As we pulled up over the top of the bottom fishing spot, I immediately could see a well-formed line of sargassum grass a few hundred yards off the port side of our boat. My heart rate kicked up a few beats as the chance for catching a few Wahoo immediately sky rocketed and far outweighed snapper fishing 10 to 1. We decided to still make a few snapper drops – but after 10 minutes my curiosity got the worst of me and we put the spread out and made our way over to the yellow brick road.

The rip was extremely well-formed, with the thickest part being 20-30 yards of sargassum grass and the thinnest parts being 5-6 yards. We had been hearing great things about the shallower water wahoo bite over the last month, so we were all on high alert for the drag to start screaming hard. About 10 minutes into the first pass down the line, we were cut off by a Wahoo on a Ballyhoo with a small duster – we run straight fluorocarbon to all of our hooks due to the increase in the number of bites that you get, and I believe the risk of getting bit off is worth it for more shots at fish.

We put a pink and white islander with a Ballyhoo back out on the long rigger that we were bit off on and just as we set the clip and the drag, another Wahoo smashed it and the Tiagra 50w started screaming its normal tune. The fish came straight to the boat like a typical Wahoo but made 2 last ditch runs right out of gaff range at the transom until we put the steel in him. After a round of high fives and putting the fish in the box, we set the spread back down the rip to find the rest of his friends.

About an hour goes by without as much as a dolphin to show for it, when the shotgun went off quickly and then just had a dead weight on the end of it like we had hooked some grass. One of the crew grabbed the rod and started reeling it in when a few tell-tale headshakes of a Wahoo started happening and everyone realized we had a fish on. An uneventful fight ensued and a nice little “weehoo” made its way into the fish box with its big brother.

We put the lines back in and started to troll to the farthest west part of the rip and we found a massive 3-acre patch of grass that we were certain would hold a mass of fish. The boat made 4-5 passes on the mat without anything to show for it but a chicken dolphin, so we started back to the east where we had hooked the previous two fish. It is always important for us to mark where we are getting bites, because Wahoo will typically travel in packs and even more so for the smaller ones. The boat went on a dry stretch of 2 hours without a bite from 10:00am to 12:00pm when another weehoo decided to hit our DTX Minnow and ran off the flat line right by the giant 3-acre patch.

The day was getting into the afternoon, and we planned on running out to the spur to spend the night for Swordfish, so we ended up running back to catch a few snapper before going off the deep end. The FADs and spur report was about as uneventful as the local coffee shop in small town Texas on a Wednesday morning.

While at the FADs we went 0/1 on what we believe to be a big Yellowfin Tuna while live baiting and had a shark eat another one of our live baits. The grass was horribly scattered which made trolling impossible and catching live bait proved to be difficult. We spent the nighttime trying to find a swordfish near the spur, going 0/1 on a quick bite right when darkness hit and then 3/3 on sharks. We did not have much bait in our lights, which I would assume to be part of the problem and we moved around quite a bit to try and get away from the sharks.

Until next time! - Steven



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