Omar, Brant & Crew to the HorseShoe Rigs on May 2, 2015© Photos Posted by Mark Miller © Hi-Res Source
This was a fishing trip by Brant Finney of Gulfport, a friend of regular client Omar Vasquez. He had family coming into town from Ohio and brought his father Steve Finney of Millersburg, Ohio and brother-in-law Shawn Johnson of Columbus, Ohio as well as his friend Gary Womble of Orange Beach, Alabama and his 9 year old son Tyler. The weather forecast was good but we were greeted with 16 knot winds and a fairly robust chop in the morning, enough to put down a weather curtain. Things got better and better as the day went on and got very glassy by sunset. We started about 20 miles out and caught a few red snapper to get them used to the gear. We kept going, caught some hardtails for live bait and caught some Amberjack out at the HorseShoe Rig area about 60 miles out. Omar and I made a dive on MP308A just to the southwest in about 310 feet of water. We saw lots of fish and Omar shot a nice Scamp only to have his tip pull off the spear and bring his spearfishing to a sudden halt. I took lots of pictures and video of course as seen below. There wasn't as many tropicals on this rig, perhaps to it's vicinity to the deep water drop off. Surprisingly there was a big school of large red snapper rising from below 200 feet. Usually we don't see any red snapper on these deep water rigs. When we got up and on the boat, Paul had chummed up some Sharks and 2 Cobia. He was frustrated because the Cobia would just sniff his bait and not bite. He handed Omar a speargun and screamed for him to shoot one of them (the second Cobia had left). Omar could only see the sharks in the murky water so frustrated Paul got his gear and went into freediving spearo mode. It didn't take him long to poke the nice Cobia you see below.
We left that area and went northeast to the Salt Dome area and MP289B where Omar and I made another dive. We were greeted here by a somewhat lost Cattle Egret (photos below). This rig has a good tropical population and horizontals at 45 and 90 feet. The 45 foot horizontal is usually the prime one for tropicals but today the water was quite murky in that area but cleared up nicely at the 90 foot level. There was a good Angelfish population here and provided some good subjects for my photos. While we were diving one of the crew boated a nice Gag Grouper which unfortunately is not in season. We headed north from there and finished our limit of Amberjack at MP175A. Continuing home, we stopped at FH-7 and jigged our newly placed FAD2 on the Jumbo Barge. It produced a red snapper and several juvenile Amberjack, a sign of it's productivity. It was a fun full day that encompassed 196 miles, 15 hours, and 122 gallons of fuel.