Neptune, Marlin, Ram Powell, Virgo - July 31, 2014© Photos Posted by Mark Miller © Hi-Res Source
My son Ben is getting ready to start Flagler College and wanted to make a deep water trip before going. The weather forecast was right and so we took off on a Thursday to make it happen. On board was my son Ben along with his friends Josh Cortner & Isaac Vlahos. Our plan was to catch some live cigar minnows at the oil rigs and take them out to the deep floaters to catch some Yellowfin Tuna. Of course, I was in it mostly for the diving, so I took lots of pictures and video. We started by trading a couple beers for some trash fish off a shrimp boat. From there we went to the Neptune Spar VK826 (Beer Can Rig) which is in 1930 feet of water. The spearfishing was below par on this trip and we did not find any Tuna. I did find the hole which we were asked to look for on a previous trip. It was at 85 feet down on the northeast quadrant. I am not sure what they wanted us to do with it and we could not get anybody on the Rig to answer our hails. We then moved on to the Marlin Platform in 3,254 feet of water. We took a couple Mangrove Snapper and a Parrot fish for Supper. I did my videography thing as you can see below. From there we went to the Ram Powell in 3,234 feet of water. Again we tried our luck with the Tuna. We were chumming and drifting two live baits off the back. I decided to put a third one out close to the boat on a much lighter rod (Penn Squall 60D). We got some excitement on the 80 wide that turned out to be only a Shark. While messing with the Shark, the Penn Squall went to screaming. We had a hookup that was going straight down fast with no sign up letting up. We were worried we were gonna get spooled but then for no reason, the fish turned toward the boat. We thought it must have gotten eaten by a Shark but when she saw the boat, she started fighting again. It took another 45 minutes to land the beauty estimated at around 80 pounds. We tried a few more drifts but with no luck. We then headed 10 miles north to Virgo VK823 in 1139 feet of water. I really liked this platform and the first horizontal is only 47 feet deep with the second at 107 feet. I did my videography thing and was greeted by a Spiny Lobster. After finishing my dive, I went back down to try for the lobster. I did not realize he had a narrow gap in that tube to back into and he managed to elude me. We then went another 10 miles or so north to MP283A (300' depth) after trying fruitlessly on the Data Buoy. Isaac Vlahos and I made dives there and it was a pleasant dive. We then headed home stopping a few times to fight some Amberjack. It was a grand day that encompassed 227 miles, 15 hours, and 123.6 gallons of fuel.