View Full Version : Boca Report

01-18-2003, 07:07 PM
Did a couple of tanks off Boca this afternoon. Near shore it was flat although I could see that the Gulfstream was rather bumpy. Water temp was around 72 and air was around 55 with a 10-15 knot NW breeze. Visibility was about 50 feet with a light North current.

On the first dive I worked my way out to the backside of the reef (about 90') but saw no shootable fish or lobster. As I was working my way back West to the inside ledge, I saw what I thought might be a 24" mutton. As I tracked it, I saw a hogfish off to my right. Not wanting to pass on the hogfish for what may turn out to be a big grunt, I switched over to the hog but could close no closer than 15". I took my best shot when the hog turned and hit it in the head. After I bagged it, I found the "mutton" was indeed a big grunt. I made the right call. Man it was cold when I got back in the boat with the wind blowing on me. I greatly appreciated the cup of hot cider that the divemaster handed me after she helped me back in the boat. They take good care of me.

On the second dive, I headed East to the backside and soon saw a 17" mutton. I hit a head shot from about 15". As soon as the spear hit the fish, 2 triggers descended on it. The mutton (on my spear line) swam right to me and did two wraps around my right thigh in an effort to get away from the triggers. I grabbed and bagged him before the triggers could get a bite. After that it seemed as if I could not get more than 40 feet or so without finding a lobster. I finished my second dive with 2 muttons (both about 17") and 6 lobster (biggest about 2.5 pounds).

Not exactly a big fish day, but I hit all 3 fish from about 15" in the head, and I came home with a nearly full ziplock bag of filets and tails. Not a bad afternoon all things considered.

Tonight I will camp out on the couch and try to get warm (Stones are on HBO at 9 PM). Tomorrow I will play pool and hopefully watch my Raiders beat the Titans. I would love to see an Oakland-Tampa Bay Super Bowl.

Am heading back out to dive Monday morning. Maybe I can find some bigger fish - and more lobsters.

01-19-2003, 09:49 AM
Cool report. I'm glad to see someones diving, cause I havent been!!!!!

01-20-2003, 08:42 PM
Today I slammed them - not in size but in variety.

Left this morning on a 2 tank dive. Water was 72 degrees; air was mid 50s. Sea was flat; sun was out. First dive shot 2 sheepshead about 24 to 26 inches. Saw lots of gags (mostly in pairs on th upcurrent side of coral heads and reefs) about 24" inches long. Didn't want to shoot a short and piss off my captain. Finally a 30" gag crossed over from the sand to the reef about 10 feet in front of me; popped and bagged him. Second dive I saw a 30" black moving around me about 40 feet seaward. I turned upcurrent and followed him to the coral head into which he had disappeared. As I was looking in the hole, I saw him again run upcurrent to another head - never saw him again. Continued on and picked up a 6-7 foot green moray as a dive buddy. He swam about 50 yards parallel with me about 8 feet off my right shoulder until he found a suitable hole. Fifty feet later I saw a 20" hog and shot and bagged him. As I continued down the inside edge of the reef, I spotted a 34" cobia slowly making his way over the sand. Shot and hit him about 3" behind the pectoral; he just laid there in the sand - must have hit his backbone. I stuck him in the head with my knife and bagged him.

Had such a good time that I decided to do another 2 tanks on the afternoon trip. Did a turn and burn getting fills, lunch, ice and a cooler in about an hour. On the way back out and down the ICW, we crossed paths with fishhunta returning from his morning dive. He gave us the one finger salute.:D

First dive in the afternoon was two wrecks that are about 150 yards apart. Tied off for the captain on the downcurrent wreck and swam upcurrent to the other wreck. Saw a school of 15-20 pound AJs on my way back but passed on a shot because I was tired and had better fish - pussed out I guess. Spent about 10 minutes laying on top of the rockpile that runs between the wrecks waiting for something to happen. Saw a big ray move past, but it had no cobia. Got buzzed by a big green turtle from about 2.5 feet. Could have shot him in the old days. Came upfishless. Did a drift dive on the second dive. Picked up 3 lobsters and shot a 22" red grouper.

Didn't shoot any monsters today, but I don't think I've ever shot a bigger variety of fish. The only ones that I didn't seem to get were the AJ (passed), the black (big enough but eluded me) and the mutton (saw several borderline legal fish). Never saw so many gags (about 20) in one day. Most were barely legal, but maybe it's a sign the big boys will be here soon. I had a great day.

Gulfstream looks like its settling down. Hope to swordfish the next couple of nights and duck and hog hunt this coming weekend before duck season ends. Can't wait to get back out under the water as the fish are definitely starting to show up. Good hunting to all.

01-20-2003, 09:36 PM
Cool post, Kite...a nice variety. And lots of sealife to boot!:D

01-21-2003, 06:30 AM
i would have given you the one finger salute with both hands if i knew you did so damn well- i love playing with those pretty fish and making $, but sometimes i just wanna kill some shit

01-21-2003, 09:11 AM
Fishhunta: Did you see any spearable fish where you were?

01-21-2003, 09:52 AM
Sound like you had a pretty nice day. Thanks for the scouting report too. Sounds like the gags are starting to come in our area (finally).

01-22-2003, 08:29 AM
I switched over to the hog but could close no closer than 15".

15 inches? Do you mean 15 feet? (15') Glad to hear you got something in the bag, the last 100' dive I did I saw nothing but Codium weed filling in the holes on the reef. When I dove the wrecks you were talking about I was overrun by a bunch of rays looking for a handout. The Sea Emporer used to be a great dive until some idiot turned it into Disneyland by going out and feeding the rays and morays... Thanks for the post, it's good to see some local talent on the board.

01-22-2003, 10:02 AM

15 feet it was - my error.

When I started spearfishing about a year ago, apparently there was some sort of "unwritten rule" that you weren't supposed to spearfish the Sea Empress because certain dive boats (down in Pompano I think) were using it as a marine feeding "sanctuary" that they could take divers to. Nobody told me so last April I shot and lost a small cobia that was following a ray that swam up to me (in hindsight probably looking for a handout). When I mentioned this to some of the staff at my dive shop, they told me about the sanctuary thing and not to tell anyone what I had done. I was rather indignant because I knew of no law protecting the site from hunting (If a cobia was going to swim up to me, I damn well was going to shoot it!). After that they banned fish feeding, and apparently it has stopped. I hadn't gone back to the Sea Empress quite frankly because I'd rather dive reefs and other wrecks. On Monday before I dropped in on the United Caribbean and the Sea Empress, I asked my dive boat captain about the hunting status, and he told me to shoot whatever I liked as there was no law against it. So I guess things have changed. When I visited it on Monday nothing (including rays, morays and jewfish) swam up to me looking for a handout although I did see 2 large rays nested in the sand on either side of the adjoining rockpile.

With regard to the weed clogging the reefs - I saw a lot of that the last few months - mostly on the backside of the 3rd reef in 80-100 feet. However, I haven't come across any weed this month. Maybe some of our recent storms washed it away. The lobsters seem to be moving around a bit more the last month or so; hopefully, the clean reefs will give them some shelter in which to hole up.

I'm new here so it's good to meet you and some of the other Boca people on the board. Good hunting!

01-22-2003, 02:29 PM
I never heard of the Sea Empress being some kind of sanctuary. I used to dive it hard and get a lot of big grouper and huge cobia off it. When Jeff Torode and his crew started using it as their own personal amusement park they ruined it by making the rays and morays "friendly". The damn morays would free swim right up to you. I even had one bite my hand when I wasn't looking. I'm glad to hear it's getting back to normal. It's a great night dive too. We'd go out and chum the shit out of the sandy area just to the east. Go for a swim through the inside compartments ( just for a little additional rush ) and then lay on the sand sweeping our lights back and forth to see what comes in. Awesome!

02-10-2003, 11:22 PM
Kitefisherman, you wouldn't be diving with Capt. Tony aboard Diversity would ya?

We used to honor a no shooting ban on the Emperor but would take bugs and hunt off to the east on the reef between it and the Noula Express. Then when they dropped the United we hunted on that all the time. Due west of the United about a 100 yards was a whole bunch of lost lobster traps all tied together that had muttons cruising by them all the time. Are they still there? There's some really big hogs in that spot and I take all my groupers there too.

Steel Shootin'
02-11-2003, 06:41 AM
Originally posted by kitefisherman
Man it was cold when I got back in the boat with the wind blowing on me. I greatly appreciated the cup of hot cider that the divemaster handed me after she helped me back in the boat. They take good care of me. Let me get this straight. You're greeted, at the boat, by a female divemaster, who helps with your gear, and immediately thereafter serves hot cider to you. Damn, where do I sign up for that gig??? I could have used her on the last trip! I could also use a healthy dose of some of that 72 degree water!

Thanks for the report, Kite. I saw some big ass grunts last Sunday, and if they're big enough they can throw you off. I thought that more than one was a mango, but then could tell by the shape of their heads they were grunts.

02-11-2003, 07:15 AM
Swathdiver: Yes. It was the Diversity. I've been diving with Tony once or twice a week since last May when my best friend totaled his boat while we were heading out on the first day of the Pompano Rodeo. Tony and all of his crew have been really great and have become good friends. My best friend is taking delivery of his brand new 28' Hydrasport Vector center console next week. I'm sure that we are going to be doing a lot of diving and fishing aboard the new boat, but I will supplement our schedule with trips aboard the Diversity.

I've never heard about the lost lobster pots. How long ago were you last there? I have only dove the Noula once and that was a week ago last Saturday. Fishhunta and I dropped on the United Caribbean. There was already another dive boat on the United so I took a heading due East and found the Noula and the surrounding reef. We had a brisk North current so after exploring the Noula (which is pretty badly broken up), I followed the reef North in about 80-90 feet of water looking for bugs and fish. I shot a barely legal mutton and lost a game of hide and seek with a nice black. Fishhunta instead went North and back and forth between the United and the Sea Empress. On the adjoining rockpile, he wound up shooting a nice hog and a 30" gag, in the middle of which he was beset upon by a large green moray that attempted to steal both fish from him. He finally fought the moray off his gag midway to the surface, but he lost the hog which was too badly chewed up by that time. Bigtasty was right about the morays.

Saturday, we dove the Hydroatlantic. Fishhunta tied off and promptly "missed" a 40 pound black because his safety was still on (a little narced maybe?). He redeemed himself with a 21 pound yellowmouth grouper. Captain Kyle and I dropped in to hunt and untie after everyone had gotten back on the boat. We didn't see much in the way of shootable fish other than several 10 pound AJs that were hanging down in the sand by the rudder. A little narced myself at 170 feet, Kyle watched as I stalked two large, high profile, black fish out on the sand only to discover that they were angelfish. Never saw any of the hogs or grouper that everyone else told us about. Next time Kyle and I will tie off and Fishhunta can untie. I'm not used to the competition, and he's making me look bad! :D

Scott: In all the time that I have known him, Tony has only had female divemasters - and he has a good eye in picking them too!:D Water is still running 70-72 here; I've had no problems diving my 3/2 all winter although I've seen others layering and switching to drysuits. The only time that I am cold is when I get out.

Divin' fool
02-11-2003, 07:58 AM
I've heard the best way to warm up your willy after a cold dive is to SOAK IT IN CIDER:D

02-12-2003, 02:00 PM
Kitefisherman, I was Tony's first full time professional divemaster aboard Diversity from '98 to '00. I had to leave for steady income as I have a family now. Karen and Tony are still dear friends, just don't have much time to see them often. I saw those pots when the United first went down in '00. That spot between the Emporer and Noula is great place to find gags, mature hogs and muttons. Due east of the Noula is another great place to look for gags, muttons and cobia. Have you dove the barge that's about 300 yards south of the Ancient Mariner and abuts the reef? Dove that right after they put it down, looked like a good place to hunt once some life starts growing on it. Is Shari still working with Tony? Tell them I said hello next time aboard.

02-12-2003, 02:20 PM
I've dove the Berry Patch which is tug that sits about 170 feet to the SSE of the Ancient Mariner just inside the reef. I don't recall a barge although I never followed the reef farther South because the current was always running North at the time. I do seem to recall that I wasn't too impressed by the reef as I followed it to the North. I'll ask Tony about the barge.

Shari isn't currently working for Tony, but she comes diving on her day off. Last year she took up spearfishing and started her own boat cleaning business. She still works a couple of days at the dive shop as she's building her business.

Thanks for the pointers on the reefs. I'll let Tony and Shari know you said hello when I talk to them.

02-12-2003, 05:43 PM
Not to barge in or nothing, but where does the Diversity leave out of? I used to work down in Hollywood at a dive shop and that name sounds familiar. Ever dive the Diversion? That was the shop's dive boat, don't know what is up with it these days, but we used to get out to all the wrecks from about The Rebel southward, occasionally diving the Cpt. Dan and RSB-1 a little further north. I've been itching to get over that way and do some damage before lobster season closes up. How's the buggin' been lately?

02-12-2003, 06:25 PM
The Diversity http://www.thediversity.com/Default.htm is docked at Pennells's Marina in Deerfield and runs out of Boca Inlet (15 minutes from the dock). They do a lot of drift diving on reefs and some wrecks. The farthest wreck South that I personally dove with them was the Rodeo 25 which is pretty close to the Capt. Dan; the farthest North would be the Castor and the Bud Bar up in Boynton. Wreck diving off a dive boat hasn't been real productive for me I think primarily because most of the grouper get scared off as a group of divers (Diversity takes up to 16 but will go with as little as 2) descend on the wreck. Unless you are tying off, everything, with the exception of cobia and AJs, is either hiding or out on the sand by the time you get down. I generally prefer the drift dives that allow me to hunt both fish and lobster on the reef. That gives me the option of hunting the big dramatic West-facing cliff (where most of the divers go because it is pretty) or working the top of the reef or the backside to the East where there is much less pressure and where the other divers may have scared the fish.

The lobster picked up dramatically in January. However, I dove 2 tanks last Saturday afternoon without seeing a lobster. I did shoot 2 muttons, 2 hogs and a mango though. In general though the lobsters have picked up significantly since the Fall, but it's still sort of hit and miss. Got 15 on 4 tanks on 2/1.

I'm not familiar with the Diversion, but that doesn't mean much because the only other dive boat that I've been on is out of Pompano.

If you come down this way, before booking be sure to check how the dives are done. A number of the boats out of Palm Beach send all the divers in one group on a guided "tour" led by a divemaster. I've never been on one of those trips, but I understand that it is not conducive to lobstering and doubt that they would let you bring a gun. In contrast, Diversity and most of the other South Palm Beach and Broward County boats let you divide up into your own groups and put you on your own dive flag to do your own thing. Be sure to ask if you can hunt before you book too.

Let me know if you come down this way.

02-12-2003, 06:40 PM
Yeah, you'll never catch me on a bubble dive with the palm beach boats. 3/4 of my dives have been solo and I like it that way. When diving north of the inlet don't forget to check out the fools reef to the west for bugs and fish. The barge is about 200 yards or so south of the Berry Patch, was put down in late '99 or '00 without fanfare. When I dive the Ancient Mariner I say hello to the golden banded coral shrimp in the toilet after tieing off and head over to the berry patch then south along and on top of the reef to the barge then reverse. There's some really nice- unusual formations of reef on top between the Berry Patch and barge, lots of places for big fish to hide- bugs too.
Anyone ever dove magic mountain off pompano?

02-12-2003, 06:40 PM
That's pretty much the way we did things too with the drift diving on the outer reef lines. Usually very productive. Split up into teams with flags and do a few drops and pickups. The old captain would let some of us jump out with our own ball, which was pretty nice too. Whenever I tied up to the wrecks, I got first crack at whatever was around, but as soon as the herd got in, everything but the grunts seemed to scatter.

The Diversion runs out of Port Everglades, so you can hit Tenneco Towers on the days they go down south. Awesome dive if you've never done it. Bulls, big bulls.

They allowed spearing last year, and I know the captain changed and the old divemaster took over and since he was a spearfisherman, I'm sure they still allow it. I've got friends that live in Sunrise, one of them works at Diver's Outlet over there. We come down to visit there and W. Palm Beach a few times a year. I'll give you a holler next time we get down that way.

The Diversity looks like a nice boat. Gotta love the Island Hoppers.

02-12-2003, 09:25 PM
Thanks to Shari, Tony has always let me dive solo. I think that it makes me a better hunter in that I can completely focus on my quest and not be distracted by another diver. Also one diver disturbs the fish less than two or more.

Last month Tony turned me on to the inshore rubble North of the inlet. Some nice structure there with lots of places for bugs to hide and a place for fish to flee to after they have been scared off the main ledge by the horde. It's also nice to have a somewhat shallower off the beaten path area to hunt than going all the way to the deeper backside like I had been doing pretty consistently.

Maybe I'll catch you on the boat sometime.

02-13-2003, 10:52 AM
that barge sucks. ive been there a couple of times freediving and once blowin bubbles. every time, i trick myself into thinking that ther barge is gonna hold fish, but it never comes through. ps-i caught and sold all the gold CBS's on the wreck-jk

02-13-2003, 10:49 PM
Fishhunta, you're talking about the Ancient Mariner for the shrimp? I've swum over to the barge a few times and each time saw a few AJs and once a nice black grouper. Those holes in the deck should make a nice hidey hole for them.