chub cay main
Three weeks back I got the chance to jump over to Chub Cay with captains Rick Murphy, Jeff Hagaman and Jim Ross of the Chevy Florida Insider Report. Murphy flew all the captains of the show over to his house in Chub so we could enjoy a little rest and relaxation and get to know each other better. (Check out a movie below of our arrival in Chub)
We left bright and early on a Thursday morning with a scheduled early Saturday departure – so we only had a couple of days to explore the area around Chub. Luckily, Murphy’s been fishing there since he was a kid so he knew all the best spots.
On our first day we decided to hit the rocks and reefs with some jigs in order to stock up on snappers and groupers for the next few days eating. A short, five minute run across the bay put un on a nice rock on the eastern side of Berry Islands, with the wide Atlantic stretching out as far as the eye could see. The rock was loaded with all kinds of stuff and I personally caught about a 6-pound Margate, a 12-pound horseeye jack and several flag yellowtail in about five minutes! The fish would snap up anything that went over the side as soon as it hit the bottom. Either that, or one jig, two jigs and you were on! We got into several small groupers, mutton snappers and wide variety of other reef dwellers for a couple of hours – it was the most fun I’d had in quite awhile! Several squalls eventually chased us off the water by around 2 p.m., but we didn’t care too much, the box of fresh fish was calling.
I’d seen a bunch of tortillas and such in the refrigerator, so I told the boys I’d cook up some fish tacos and some black beans and rice. Since I didn’t have a fryer handy to fry up the fish like you would to make traditional fish tacos, I grilled the fish with onions and peppers in an electric skillet. Although they weren’t crunchy like I usually make them, they turned out awfully dang good when loaded up with all that fresh grouper and yellowtail!
The next day also turned into a real treat for me because I got to catch my first bonefish on the flats. I’ve caught several on shrimp in channels down in the Keys, but I’ve never stalked one on the flats and caught one on an artificial. It was a pretty special fish.
My big score of the day, however, occurred after the wind kicked up and blew us off the flats and the bonefish bite. We were drifting a pass between two islands and working the bottom with jigs again, trying to catch a few more mutton snapper. The boys caught several little muttons and few mangroves, but they weren’t big enough to eat. On one of my casts I caught a tiny jack on my bucktail jig and immediately said out loud, “This one looks like a good bait.” Before even really thinking about it, I hooked the jack in the tail with the jig head and flipped him back out in the channel. Something crashed the bait as soon as it hit the bottom and it was immediately evident that this one was no munchkin!
After a brief tussle a beautiful (and I mean that, I’ve never seen a prettier snapper!) 12-pound mutton spiraled up out of the clear water – I was over the moon – that was my first mutton as well!
Unfortunately, the consummate professional that I am, I failed to put a memory card in my camera so both my mutton snapper and bonefish pictures never materialized! Luckily I discovered the error that night and I did manage to snap a few pics with the Go Pro and the big camera before we left on to come home. Check them out here — there are a couple of nice ones of Jim, Jeff and Rick catching nice bonefish on the flats.