Rick cast one of the pinfish weighted with a small sinker to the cruising fish and was rewarded with squealing drag. It was an undersized cobia that, nevertheless, put up a spirited fight. The crew let it go, baited another rod with a pinfish and looked for more cobia.
Meanwhile, the elder Stanczyk baited a heavy-duty conventional rig with a pompano from the live well and dropped it to the bottom. Moments later, the rod tip began to bounce. Then the entire rod bent in an arc. Rick reeled up a Goliath grouper that looked to be about 100 pounds.
“Get a pinfish rod ready because a cobia will come up with the Goliath,” Rick said.
Richard dropped a pinfish into the water right beside the huge grouper, and a cobia popped up and ate the pin, as predicted, even before Rick could let the grouper go.
This cobia was larger than the legal minimum size of 33 inches (fork length) and put up twice the fight of its undersized brother. Richard had to sidle around the boat to keep it under control and out of the anchor line. After a five-minute struggle, he brought the fish to the side of the boat and released it.
By all measure this had been an extremely successful fishing day, and many anglers would have counted their blessings, thrown in the proverbial towel, and headed back to shore to celebrate in the closest bar. But Richard, still smarting from the snook loss, suggested they try for yet one more species: Spanish mackerel.
Rick motored for about 15 miles south to a shallow bank where they found another fishing boat already anchored on their spot. Fortunately, the skipper turned out to be the Stanczyks’ friend Andy Newman, who was happily catching Spanish mackerel with buddies Mike Zimmer and Rick Berry. Newman invited them to anchor beside him, as he and his party were nearing their limit.
Within moments of setting the anchor, the Stanczyks and Modra caught the first of more than a dozen Spanish mackerel to about five pounds using jigs tipped with shrimp. They also released their only bluefish of the day.
“My idea was to see if we could catch one of everything,” Richard Stanczyk said.
Not quite everything, but plenty close enough.