While our goliath grouper plans worked out during our last trip to fish at Marco Island, Florida with Dave Rizzo, Crazy Alberto Knie and I received no such respect over the weekend.

Goliaths live in rough bottoms, and catching them is an all-or-nothing battle before the mandatory release. I might have had a small one on at the bridge while casting a small strip of fish on light spinning tackle from Dave’s center console to the bridge for a live bait, but never had a chance with that fish which quickly broke me off.

We stuck it out despite record 96-degree air temperatures until a likely goliath got under a dock before Alberto could get to the rod. Shortly after that there was another shot as the fish put a big bend in Alberto’s heavy rod and even pulled the anchor before getting off. The hook pulled even though the white grunt bait was intact.

When we tried again Labor Day morning, I got one light bump on a live grunt, but nothing else until I checked to find the bait that had been hooked in the mouth was gone. That goliath must have been working with a hook remover!

Dave had the only luck as he blind casted a slim metal jig intended for ladyfish and instead hooked a 3-4-pound pompano — a most unusual lure for that delicious species. Dave’s luch ran out when he ran into a bay with a few tarpon rolling — though they ignored the live sea catfish we were offering. At least there was some breeze and we got in before the usual afternoon thunder storms. Best of all, we enjoyed the great meals provided by master chef Alberto!

Small craft advisories are going up tonight in NY/NJ Bight, and are in effect until late Wednesday night. Northeast winds at 15-20 knots with gusts to 30 plus showers are forecasted.

Dave was the lucky angler as he caught a large (3-4-pound) pompano while blind casting a small slim metal lure — a most unlikely way to catch that species. Dave found scattered tarpon rolling in a bay where we fished live sea catfish that were totally ignored. The lack of respect was humbling, but at least there was some breeze and we got in before the usual afternoon thunder storms.

Small craft warnings are going up in NY/NJ Bight from late tonight through late Wednesday night. Northeast winds will be 15-20 knots plus gusts to 30 and showers.

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