by CAPT. DOUG HEMMER
GREAT CATCH: Some trips go as planned, while others turn into something unexpected. This past week, I took out Harold Wirtjes and his son Harold Jr. for a half-day charter. Harold is 80 years old and has a heart condition. I figured it would be a good idea to fish the docks for sheephead and mangrove snapper. These smaller fish would be less stressful on Harold's heart. We headed for a cove that's lined with mangroves and has a deep hole at the end. The sheephead usually hang under a large boat at the edge of the hole. When we pulled into the sheephead hole it was full of big snook. I figured we might catch a few and head for a dock with smaller fish.
The first cast smoked Harold through the dock. This would repeat on the next three cast. He finally landed a 25-incher that put up a good fight. Harold Jr. pulled out a 30-lb outfit and cast a tail hooked jumbo shrimp next to the big boat. As soon as the bait hit the water, the fight was on. The fish was winning until I grabbed the rod and started pulling on it while Harold Jr. reeled. The fight lasted over two minutes but when it was over, Harold had a 32-inch gag grouper. The next cast was hit just as fast and produced another gag over 30 inches. Harold senior said he got so excited watching his son catch those two fish he could feel his heart beating. I didn't know if I should rig another shrimp or pull out the nitroglycerin tablets. We all had a good laugh and pulled the anchor in search of smaller fish
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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