Turning a predator problem into a banner day

By: Capt. Bruce Andersen

When you’re fishing on the reef in the Florida Keys, two things can definitely be true. First, if there is a lot of life out there, and second, that you can’t forget that it’s a fish eat fish world. Often one of the biggest challenges in catching snapper on the reef, is getting them up fast enough to keep them away from all the predators that are looking to steal them from you. Sometimes losing snapper after snapper to the predators can be very frustrating, but it could also make for some great action.
On a recent fishing charter aboard the Captain Easy, my good customer Scott from North Carolina had mentioned to me that his friends coming out with us that day had never caught anything really big before and if possible, he wouldn’t mind trying to catch a shark or something big that day. As usual, there had been quite a few sharks out on the reef interfering with our yellowtail fishing, so I brought the heavy tackle out with us hoping to get some payback on a few of the sharks that had been bothering us for weeks.
Everything came together perfectly that day. We managed to catch our limit of yellowtail snapper fairly easily and as we got close to the snapper limit, the sharks started showing up. Chasing a few of the yellowtail snapper right up to the boat and taking a few of them from us. I dropped a bonita that we had caught earlier that day down on the shark rig and not 30 seconds later we were hooked up to something big. I assumed at first it was a shark, but it did seem to be fighting weird for a shark though and after about 20 minutes a very large goliath grouper probably in the 150-to-200-pound range came up from the deep. The guys were ecstatic! They had never caught anything that big before and were really impressed. After safely releasing the grouper, I redeployed the shark rig and not two minutes later we were hooked up again; This time to a large bull shark, probably about a 300 pounder. He fought for about 30 minutes until we tired him out enough to pull him up to the boat and get some great pictures before releasing him. Everyone on board was psyched! They had caught two of the biggest fish of their lives in a span of about an hour. We picked up the anchor and headed home with a cooler full of yellowtail snapper and some great pictures and memories of some sea monsters. Some days everything just works out perfectly.

— www.captaineasycharters.com
You can reach Captain Bruce Andersen at Capt. Easy Charters,
MM 85, call 305.360.2120 or email at: captbrucekey@comcast.net

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