If you think because gag grouper and American red snapper season is closed that you shouldn’t fish offshore, think again.
Captain Ryan Killoran has been very busy offshore, spending most of the past two weeks heading out where the fishing has been fantastic.
“We’ve been doing pretty decent on tuna, but a lot of clients can’t always seal the deal,” Killoran said. “It can be tough putting the heat on them, and between the goliaths and sharks, over two weeks we’ve hooked 15 to 20 and only caught a few.”
Like most fish-brained people, Killoran can’t get enough of being offshore. On an off day early last week, he teamed with Capt. Josh Prunier and Justin Gray to head back out to his tuna area, somewhere about 30-miles west of Anna Maria Island. It was a meat trip, and the crew was going to fill the fish boxes of Prunier’s 24-foot Ranger with a variety of targeted species, starting with blackfin tuna.
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“We brought 55-pounds of chum and a load of live whitebait and pinfish. We set up away from the structure to chum the tuna off and keep the amberjack out of our lines. We started it with a triple header on tuna and landed them all!”
Killoran said the tuna were fired up early, and the best thing to do is get a bait in front of them and they’ll eat right away.
Following the triple header, they landed three more tuna and a few bonita before something bigger and badder moved into their chum line.
“When the amberjack moved in, the tuna bite slowed down,” Killoran said. “We hooked the amberjack on the same tackle as the tuna, Cabo 50s with 40-pound braid, so the fight took about an hour and a half. The biggest one was about 75-pounds.”
With their limit of three huge amberjack on board and not wanting to be put through the pain of fighting more, the crew made a short move to catch red grouper.
“We drifted over an area of hardbottom and caught a few nice red grouper right away,” Killoran said. “We came back around, anchored, and caught our limit of red grouper and some mangrove snapper.”
The big debate was what to do next. Killoran wanted to go further south to try their luck at catching yellowtail snapper and African pompano, but swelly seas changed their plan.
“Josh [Prunier] has been dialed in on the hogfish so we went to 50-feet and did that. We caught about 25 hogfish in an hour with 11-keepers,” Killoran said.
With coolers topped off with fish, the debate was who would take what to eat. Luckily for Killoran, each angler wanted something different.
“I prefer the hogfish because I don’t get to eat it all the time. Josh prefers the tuna, so it worked out well. We also made some happy friends and family who got some fish as well.”
Capt. Ryan Killoran can be reached at 941-357-3350 or through his website FloridaInshoreAdventures.com
Source: U.S. Naval Observatory dat