Back in the Saddle, Again

Everybody seems to be going fishing, add me to the list. In SC after 8 months in Montana and hoping to fish. Escaped just in time. On the thirteenth of January the low temperature in our town in Montana was -44 with a wind chill of -63. Two degrees short of the all-time low for any day and beating the all-time low for that date by 11 degrees.

Better here.

The three W’s (wind, waves and work) allowed my wife and I to get out on Sunday the 14th. Morning was cool (40’s) but not bad. Started gray and dingy but sunny by later in the day. Water temperature 52 inshore and 57 where we fished in 70 to 75 feet of water. Good run both ways and bright sun on the return run. Forecast was accurate.

Typical winter mixed bag of fish and a surplus of ARS with a few oddballs - always something different. Grouper were everywhere? All gags say 8 to 22 inches, not certain if it was a spawning thing or if, like ARS, becoming much more abundant. Had to move a lot to avoid the grouper and ARS - no reason to torture them but could not completely avoid. This is one of my favorite winter spots but never saw grouper like this before.

Ended up switching to drifting and found some nice BSB’s and porgies off the main marks and heavy concentration of fish. Legal BSB’s seem much more common in winter. Not a single shark seen. Kept 12 fish for dinners and headed back.

One other oddball. Caught a bunch of spot tail pinfish (aka spot tail porgy or ringtail), including some decent sized fish. I have always thrown these back but questioned myself and found some people on the internet that said they were tasty. Also, some said they weren’t edible.

Any thoughts on eating ringtails?

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Welcome back. I have a buddy in Billings that is miserable right about now, lol.

We always called the ringtails Sailors Choice and i have found them, like all grunts, to be a little boney. The bigger the fish the better the filets, less boney and more tasty

Keep that winter honeyhole number close to your chest, lol

Thanks for the great report and welcome back

I have a highschool classmate in Virgille, Mt. They run a float/camping expedition, on the Missouri River.

Also, the local Mercantile.

We keep in touch.

He comes back home, like you, in the winter, and heads back in late February.

Nice to see you back, and, thanks so much, for your pic, and the fishing report!!


If the Ringtails are there, the Grouper are.

Ringtails make good eats!

Yes, good advice.

The plotter said, “North Atlantic Ocean” as best I can recall.

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Virgelle, one of the last river ferry locations. Beautiful but hard country.

Will taste test the ringtails next time.

Great report, I kind of figured y’all would make a run in those seas.

We went through many ring tails and juvi grouper as well… also 2 of the guys got their personal bests snapper in the boat Monday as well.

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