Do you have any red spray paint for these grouper?

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John21:6
Posts: 214
Joined: October 14th, 2017, 7:11 pm
Location: Tallahassee

Do you have any red spray paint for these grouper?

Post by John21:6 »

On Friday, we decided to burn a lot of fuel and go deep to where we’ve had a lot of success catching red grouper. Other parts of my plan included live chumming for blackfin tuna, trying again to figure out how to use my ike jime tool, and on the way in, targeting amberjack and mangrove snapper.

The first stop after leaving the house is Crum’s in Panacea where we buy squid strips and ice. If you haven’t noticed, most bait shops sell whole squid, but squid strips stay on the hook so much better. We also skipped purchasing our backup bait, frozen LYs, because we’re going to catch plenty of live bait.

We launch the boat at Carrabelle, and a few miles south of East Pass, the sonar comes alive with a school of bait near where we caught cigar minnows a few weeks ago. We stop and start fishing for bait. The Sabiki rig catches a lot of cigar minnows, but those fishing with small hooks baited with squid catch just a few sandperch.
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To put a variety of baits in the livewell, we stop at another spot a little deeper than 60’. At the second spot, which seems to have a little more rock and a little less sand than the first spot, the Sabiki rig caught next to nothing, and the homemade baited rigs caught pinfish, pigfish, and sandperch. After a few minutes, the livewell is about full with a variety of baits, just the way I like it.

Finally, at the first offshore spot, which has almost always produced red grouper and only red grouper, one of my buddies is straining to hoist a big grouper to the surface. We see color down in the water—it’s a gag grouper. How can that be, I’m thinking? According to the experts at FWC and NOAA Fisheries, gag grouper are practically extinct. If you think you’ve caught a gag grouper, you didn’t. You need to get your eyes checked or have your head examined. The odds of finding a four-leaf-clover or unicorn are much greater than catching a big gag—at least according to the “scientific” data. (See So Following up on the Gag discussion by Doomtrpr_z71 at viewtopic.php?t=45589&hilit=so+following+up+on+the+gag)
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Despite the odds, we’re convinced that the fish is a gag grouper, not a figment of our imaginations. So as we’re about to vent the fish, my friend asks, “do you happen to have any red spray paint to turn this into a red grouper?” Unfortunately, I forgot to pack the paint and the gag is released. Several other gags were released on the same spot.

While the others were fishing, I was playing with my Apexcam, a $40 imitation GoPro camera, to film the bottom. I didn’t get a lot of fish on camera, but here’s the best of what I got.
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Eventually, the red grouper started coming onboard. Despite failures to properly ike jime fish on prior trips, a few YouTube videos gave me the confidence to give ike jime another try. In short, ike jime involves spiking a fish’s brain, running a wire through the spinal chord, which is shinkei jime, and bleeding the fish, nuki jime. (If you want to learn how and why it works to improve the taste and texture of fish visit the Ike Jime Federation at https://ikejimefederation.com/ and see Japanese Angler Secrets, Ike Jime Part 2 - What "closing" does to the fish? at http://anglers-secrets.com/what-closin ... ish/?amp=1 )

I get out my ike jime brain spike. I twist it into the fish so I don’t bend it more than I already have. After poking the spike around in the fish’s head, the spike finds its target. The fish shudders and its colors brighten for a moment.

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Now for shinkei jime. I’ve figured out that if you properly spike the brain, running the piano wire through the brain and down the length of the spinal chord is easy—no force is necessary. (Remember the braindead fish is not feeling any pain now or suffocating.) As the wire runs through the spinal column, the fish turns grey and then about as white as the deck on the boat. With the wire removed, the fish quicky returns to its normal coloring. Next, I cut the membrane between the gills and the collars to bleed the fish in a bucket of seawater for a minute or two before putting it on ice.
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My friend’s video of me, shows that a novice can spike a brain, run a piano wire through the spinal column, and cut the membranes in less than 3 minutes. With practice, I think I can get this down to less than 2 minutes.

After taking videos of the bottom at our second spot, I put the camera up and start bottom fishing with the others. Image

For bait, I grabbed the dead sandperch that was floating at the top of the livewell. It wasn’t long before a bottom creature hit the bait nearly yanking the rod from my hands. I missed the fish. Surely my bait is gone—but it wasn’t. After two or three cranks of the reel to check on the bait, another hit and the beast is hooked. If feel the solid pull of a grouper, but with head shakes kind of like a snapper. What could it be? It’s a tank of a red grouper. It was about 32’’ and weighed just over 17 lbs.
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I was successful with ike jime on 7 of our 8 grouper, but I think I failed on the big one because my brain spike was too short. Nonetheless, he was bled like the others.
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With our limit of red grouper nearly reached, we headed north for a few miles and made a quick stop which gave us the last fish.

Although we had a great day, we didn’t find blackfin tuna that we had hoped to find while freelining and live chumming with cigar minnows. Not a bite. We also tried to chum up mangrove snapper in state waters using 2 lbs. of cooked macaroni that had been soaked in menhaden milk. The macaroni chum didn’t work, but it has worked before. Feel free to share tips on targeting blackfin tuna and mangrove snapper.

Fish pile picture:
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Last edited by John21:6 on May 5th, 2024, 5:15 pm, edited 13 times in total.
doomtrpr_z71
Posts: 818
Joined: March 3rd, 2015, 1:09 pm

Re: Do you have any red spray paint for these grouper?

Post by doomtrpr_z71 »

That was a tank for sure of a red grouper!

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Red Beard
Posts: 670
Joined: March 16th, 2020, 9:06 pm

Re: Do you have any red spray paint for these grouper?

Post by Red Beard »

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Nice firetruck!
John21:6
Posts: 214
Joined: October 14th, 2017, 7:11 pm
Location: Tallahassee

Re: Do you have any red spray paint for these grouper?

Post by John21:6 »

Red Beard wrote: May 8th, 2024, 8:18 am Image

Nice firetruck!
Thanks for the comment and for checking out my post. Have a great day.
illinoisfisherman
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Posts: 103
Joined: February 24th, 2007, 10:19 am
Location: Oak Lawn Illinois

Re: Do you have any red spray paint for these grouper?

Post by illinoisfisherman »

Great report and great fish. !!

Congratulations!
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