My name is Anthony. I am a travel writer for You, Me and The Dock. I had the opportunity, along with a few buddies to spend a day fishing. We chartered Captain Jeff and his boat which is docked at a private harbor on Isles of Capri.
The Captain’s 28 foot – center console sport fishing boat is powered by two-150 horse Mercury outboard motors. It has plenty of power to get us were we need to go. We loaded the fishing poles, a few needed items and headed out to open water.
On our way out to the Caribbean fed Gulf water, we saw several uninhabited mangrove cayes. The shallow waterways that surround these small islands are ideal for fly and flat-bottom boat fishing. The Captain planned his course and set his GPS. He took us out approximately seven miles southwest of the Isles of Capri and just north of Marco Island.
For the next 4 hours, we fished just off a man-made reef. The water’s depth was approximately 32 to 36 feet and was 78 degrees.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a free hand to take any photos of us bringing in our bounties. However, we caught plenty of fish but most were either out of season or not within legal length. Between the four of us we hooked quite a few Black & Gage Grouper, Amber Jack, Jack Cravelle, Spanish Mackerel, Red and mangrove Snapper. Overall, it was a great day for catch and release. But not all was lost. There were several fish caught that met the size and season requirements.
The fish stopped biting around 3-ish and with little to no shade, it got rather warm. We decided to pull in our final cast and head back to home port. The sea breeze felt absolutely fabulous while cruising along on the calm water. When we arrived back at the harbor and unloaded the gear and our ‘legal’ day’s catch.
After we cracked open a beer, Captain Jeff insisted that he would clean and fillet our fish. And that was a good thing! If one of us decided to do this necessary task, the fillet would either be to thin or torn up or both.
Captain Jeff makes filleting fish look so… damn… easy. He takes his 9 inch – curved stiletto like knife and starts just behind the gills. He slices just over the skeleton to create a perfect fillet. He does this with total accuracy and skill not honed by many.
As Captain Jeff works his magical strokes, he sweeps the remains from the cutting board out into the water. The pelicans, Crevalle Jacks and Freddie – a 60 lb grouper, gathered around for their afternoon snack.
Captain Jeff finished our fabulous adventure by filleting, bagging and icing down our catch. We ended up walking away with approximately 3 pounds of fresh caught fish. Trust me when I say, “There is nothing like cooking fresh seafood that was caught by your own efforts”. It also creates great memories!
All-in-all, this was a fantastic outing. During this awful pandemic and the rising turmoil that is happening all around us, the opportunity to escape reality for awhile was a God send. Spending a day on the water fishing is great therapy when you have to be cooped up for most of the time!
Look for more exciting travel articles coming this summer. Until then, “Love, Laugh & Travel Lots!”
Author: Anthony Scopel
Photography: Anthony & Maureen Scopel
Article Creator & Formatting: Anthony Scopel
Video Production: Anthony Scopel & Matt Kemper
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Technical Mastering & Web Support: Matt Kemper
Publisher: You, Me and The Dock