Trip to the Salt Dome & Shallow Fields on October 20, 2019© Photos Posted by Mark Primo Miller © Hi-Res Source
Summer was drawing to an end and Tropical Storm Nester just pushed thru quickly into the Florida Panhandle the day before. Anticipating the 18 foot seas laying down, 3 members of the Mississippi DeepWater Mafia set out for an Epic Day of Spearfishing and Scuba Diving. We tried to get more to come along but nobody would and they really missed out. It was such an Epic trip that I had to produce 4 videos for this memory.
The 1st video shows our Trip out to the Salt Dome area. It's one of my favorite spots on the edge of the Continental Shelf where a limestone mountain rises up from 350-400 feet up to about 200 feet. Our first stop was catching live bait at the Triple Rig about 10 miles South of Petit Bois Island. About 30 miles or so further, we came across a small sargassum patch and found bait and Triple Tail. As we worked along the line we found a school of Mahi Mahi and the game was on. I pitched out a live bait that they could not resist. Sniper and Rebel were getting in for some Freedive Spearfishing so I pulled my fish over to Sniper so the school would follow and he could shoot one, but Sniper shot my hooked fish instead, LOL. Anyway, we continued our Mahem and boated about a dozen, releasing some of the smaller ones back to get bigger. What a blast and a first time for my crew to shoot Mahi. Todd also shot his first Triple Tail. We then headed out to the Salt Dome where I made the first dive. Sniper and Rebel passed on that dive opting for a big AJ at the next stop, MP289C.
The 2nd video shows my Salt Dome Dive which is one of my favorites, maybe the 3rd or 4th time I have visited this spot (See my Salt Dome Playlist). Always crystal clear but deep. I started seeing fish at about 120 feet and could see the bottom almost 100 feet below that. Lots of Mangrove Snapper, but the Yellowmouth Grouper caught my eye. Last time here I got one as well. This is the only place I have ever seen them. My regulator malfunctioned, freeflowing rather strongly at depth which caused me to be more cautious and not actually getting all the way down to the sand. After I shot the Yellowmouth Grouper and ascended, the freeflowing stopped. It was a beautiful fish and tasted wonderfully like a Scamp Grouper.
The 3rd video shows the dive for Ocean Sniper and Rebel on Platform MP289C, one of our favorites for big AJ (See my MP289C Playlist). Last year Sniper got one that went 107 pounds and Casey Craven boated one that was about 77 pounds (See that Video). The Rig is located at 29°15'N 88°26'W in 340 feet of water on the edge of the Saltdome. Rebel took the GoPro footage which shows Sniper taking on a brute of a Donkey that required 2 shots to land and some long 3 Level Deco Stops. While this was an advanced deco dive, the profile showed it was an acceptable safe one. The AJ ended up weighing around 68 pounds.
The 4th video shows my drop on nearby Platform MP289B where I got a small Scamp Grouper which tasted awesome as usual. I also took out an Ocean Trigger. We saw a Box Jelly Fish at MP275A where Rebel and Sniper made a dive. Didn't get any closeup video in the water though cause he was swimming very fast and I couldn't get Sniper's attention. From there we went Northwest toward the Shallow Fields. We stopped briefly around the MP270 buoy where I pulled a Marauder for Wahoo but hooked a Mahi instead. There was a nice school of Mahi there, but we already had plenty in the boat so we proceeded toward the Shallow Fields. I dove Rig 6/27 located just South of MP108 in about 130 feet of water. I was able to boat a small Mangrove Snapper and a Slipper Lobster. After that, Rebel and Sniper dove the Shallow Fields and got a nice Mangrove Snapper but did not find any of the Cobia we were hoping for.
Click Here to see my Dive Profiles or scroll to the bottom of this page. It was a long fun filled day that encompassed 185 miles, 104 gallons of fuel, and 14.5 hours.