It’s impossible to disconnect anymore. It seems no matter where we go, we are tethered to our technology. Always checking the phone, emails, social networks, often, unconsciously. It’s a by-product of the fast paced, instant information age we live in.

Each time I head out on the water, I feel it’s a journey into something much bigger than myself. Slightly humble, my senses heightened, I become an acute observer and tactical hunter. It’s the feeling of being alive and part of the world.

Over the years, I’ve spent my fair share of time fishing offshore. There is something magical that happens once you’ve lost sight of land. The journey becomes entirely focused on the crew, vessel and fish. It’s that adventurous spirit that drives us to push the distances and go into the unknown, in search of the oceans treasures.Mutton-Snapper-1200-620x413 100 Miles Out: Offshore Grouper & Snapper Fishing Southwest Florida 2015 Reports Blog Fishing Reports

Planning and executing long distance offshore trips are some of the most rewarding and sometimes nerve racking experiences we can embark upon. A great deal of changes take place when you approach triple digit mile distances offshore. Help isn’t readily available, long range communication can be difficult and if any mechanical issues arise, you have better be self-reliant. These concerns are always quietly tucked away in the back of your mind as you continue to put miles between you and land.

100 Miles Out

We have some incredible bottom fishing opportunities here in Southwest Florida. A large 100 mile wide shallow flat slowly tapers out as it meets the ridge line far west into the gulf. These exotic destinations include areas like Pulley Ridge, Christmas Ride and Hambone Ridge. I’ve often laid awake in bed, imagining the boxes being filled with trophy fish pulled from the depths of the fabled grounds.

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Screen Shot Courtesy Navionics

Prepping for these trips can take several days. Procuring a well full of large, healthy live baits is one of the most important tasks. One to two days before a planned trip, we will head out and fill all the wells with sand perch, pinfish, grunts and spot tails. This preparation helps save valuable daylight on the day of your trip. Storing these baits can be a challenge, but using large plastic drums, prepared to hold bait fish by drilling holes and weighting the bottom allow healthy storage of massive quantities of big baits.

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Deep Water Tackle

If you are going to get serious about deep water fishing, it’s going to require some serious tackle. Fortunately, modern fishing equipment has advanced considerably and smaller, lightweight rods and reels are capable of hooking and landing some truly monstrous fish. I prefer conventional and heavy spinning reels from Shimano paired on Sewell Custom Offshore Rods.

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Big Baits = Big Fish

Generally speaking, the bigger the bait, the bigger the fish. Although elephants eat peanuts, frisky, over-sized bait fish can work wonders when presented properly. Another option is using large, jumbo-sized soft baits, like the Hogy Harness Jigs. These heavily weighted soft baits were dynamite on grouper while drifting over live bottom areas.

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Enjoy The Ride!

What it really comes down to, is take the time to enjoy every minute of these trips. This mini vacation from our all too connected world is sometimes just what’s needed to reboot!

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Capt. Ross

Longtime resident of Southwest Florida. Captain Ross hails from the historic waters along the Caloosahatchee River. Publisher of The Intrepid Angler, with a history of guiding anglers from the Florida Keys to Southeast Alaska. His mission is to target big game species with lures and does his best to do it by kayak when he can! Follow his adventures around Florida and the world.

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2 comments

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  • Captain Ross,

    You, sir, are a great writer and I thoroughly enjoy reading each piece that you post.

    I am a new permanent resident of SW Florida and I’m getting my feet wet when it comes to the amazing fishing this area of the world offers. I moved here from Colorado in January of this year for my job and my wife, 1 year-old son, and I have been trying to make the most of what this part of the country offers.

    I grew up in Rochester, MN and went to college at Creighton Universiry in Omaha, NE. So like you, I’m a Midwesterner who grew up fishing for panfish and bass, mostly. I’ve also been fortunate to gain some experience fly fishing that I attained while living in Colorado for 11 years. I’ve been able to fish both on the fly, lure, and live bait down here in Florida and I love it all.

    I hope to connect with you sometime in the near future. It’d be great to learn more about the fishing wonders of this part of the world from someone who’s experienced and passionate as you.

    Thanks for all of the writings/postings. They are very well written and even more enjoyable to read.

    Best,
    Kevin King