Puerto Vallarta Tuna Fishing and Jigging

Some people say this is a trip of a lifetime and they are not wrong. To get to the giant Yellowfin Tunas you need to go on Long range fishing trips. There are several options to fish the waters we fished for giant yellowfin tunas. Some come out of San Diego California but those can cost you upwards US$5,000.00 and the trips take 5 to 15 days to complete. On our search we decided to fish with the Osuna brothers from Marlas Sports Fishing in La Cruz De Huanacaxtle. They got famous with a world breaking record yellowfin tuna, a 400 plus pound fish that in the end did not make the record books of the IGFA simply because of technicalities in the rigging of the leader. Still, it’s probably one of the biggest publicly recorded yellow fin tuna caught with rod and reel. We were confident they would find the fish we were looking for.

 I took my flight off Fort Lauder dale Florida with United Airlines which is supposed to be fishing tackle friendly.  I was concerned with the rod case and oversized luggage fees which one of the persons at the counter questioned a supervisor about. But the supervisor didn’t say anything other than take the tube with the cart instead of placing it on the luggage belt. I was prepared with a copy of their website explanations on allowed measurements. My tube measured 64 inches and their site said 80 was oversized. When I got to the checking machine that was now a 62″ maximum. I still had to pay $65 to check two bags (1 luggage and my rod tube). I had a stop in Houston where I boarded a small plane to Puerto Vallarta. Around 10 am I woke up to the Mexican terrain and their housing.

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Upon arrival I met with Larry and took a Taxi to our rental unit in La Cruz. The Taxi service from the airport was very decent and priced right for our pockets. It was almost an hour drive for a cost of US$60. Below is the rental unit where I stayed at Villa Magnolia, a very nice place.11-2016-puerto-vallarta03

The entire property was nice. It used to be occupied by the owners who now own a house somewhere else. One of the workers told me that it was a venture between one of the instrument players of Los Lobos band that owned a restaurant at a near by city. Below are pictures of the property for your enjoyment. The BBQ pit used to be a well, where they actually got their water from but now there are public water pipe lines. It’s a good thing!

We had arrived early and with nothing to do we visited the Ocean Side Fish Market. They had fresh Snook, Huachinango Pargos (Red Snappers), and Coconaco Pargos (looked closely to a Mutton Snapper crossed with a Cubera Snapper). It was interesting to see the Snooks and the super sized shrimps. The shrimps made for a delicious cocktail like soup.11-2016-puerto-vallarta0411-2016-puerto-vallarta05

We then walked around the marina where I found out that the pangueros where charging around US$240 to $300 for a 6 to 8 hour fishing trip. This would have given us a chance at small Dolphin, Snappers, Groupers, and a hopeful Roosterfish. They told us to come back early next year for Roosterfish. We were undecided and continued to get familiar with our surroundings. 11-2016-puerto-vallarta0611-2016-puerto-vallarta07Yeap, don’t do yoga under the birds, not a good idea!11-2016-puerto-vallarta08

As we walked around 5 miles around the  marina we also looked to see where we could go fishing from the beach as a second option to the pangas. There were several family oriented beaches near by and we decided we might just come back and fish from them.11-2016-puerto-vallarta0911-2016-puerto-vallarta10

The next day Bill and LB arrived and shortly after we were surf fishing which did not turn so great. Larry managed to get a baby grouper and we went blank. Later on we discovered that there was a Red Tide problem. Oh well, we tried.

We got hungry and went to a small mom and pops restaurant near the marina. This is a fishing town, there are no big hotels and brand name restaurants nearby but the food in the restaurants we tried was good and reasonably priced for us tourists. Below is a plate of Chilaquiles (fried corn tortillas with sauce over it)

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We went back to the rental property and the next morning ate our continental breakfast Mexican style, a nice plate of fresh fruits with yogurt and granola. And a very nice pot of coffee.

On our way to our adventure we passed by the seafood market and on to the boat we went.

On the water we stopped near Punta Mita to pickup the famous Caballitos (goggle eyes).

Bait in the tank and on the way we went to the Tres Marias Islands. In a misty morning we were greeted by Piedra el Morro (I think)  a rock or known as La Mona and I can see why.

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The plan was to reef fish for snappers and skipjacks in the morning so I took the opportunity to fish with my slow jigging rod, a Shark and Cudaman SJ7 High speed and slow speed 7 foot jigging rod rated for 80 gram to 450 gram jigs. I used 40 lb test braid line and 40 lb test fluorocarbon leader. My jigs were Jigging Depot jigs like the SA220 jig below. Bill and Larry used speed jigging rods and other jigs like inchiku type jigs and butterfly jigs.                                                                p1040333p1040338

After a few snappers I got a pair of African Pompanos back to back and on the same SA220 jig plus the SC220 jig.p1040340

I must say African Pompano Ceviche served in a tostada (fried corn tortilla) was great!

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Bill and I also caught Huachinango Pargos on jigs, not in the pictures. The fish did not hit the Caballitos but did hit the jigs without a problem. As the afternoon came we trolled for skipjacks and got a few plus a bonita. There were no hits from the tunas so we went back to the shallower reef and jigged for snappers again. There was another boat near us. That boat lost two Yellowfin Tunas. One was lost on a kite and one while trolling. This was a sign that the fish were there. We kept seeing the sonar marking them at over 400 feet of water, but they would not come up. We even had a bait at 95 feet deep on the down rigger. Later on we saw a few Yellowfin Tuna jump but when we got near them they were gone. Unfortunately there was no luck on Tuna this day.                                                                    p1040341

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The sun went down and as night came we tried jigging. Night was not productive so went to sleep for a  bit. We moved and we jigged for squids. Larry, Bill and LB caught quite a few then I woke up and took their place. I only caught 4 squids while the Captain had already caught at least 10.11-2016-puerto-vallarta76

The next day we woke up near the Maria Cleofas Island. 11-2016-puerto-vallarta78

Below are Larry, Bill, and LB getting ready to do some jigging.11-2016-puerto-vallarta28

Captain Scotty Osuna decided to give my toys a try. He saw it was a productive way to catch snappers. When he tried it he was also able to catch a nice couple of Huachinango Pargos and Bacalao Groupers (these look like Snowie groupers). He used my Jigging Master 200 gram rod paired with a Maxel Transformer F50CH and 65 pound braid/80lb fluorocarbon to pull the groupers out of their hole.                                                                                                              11-2016-puerto-vallarta7711-2016-puerto-vallarta80

LB also got into the action catching a Bacalao Grouper on an inchiku style jig.11-2016-puerto-vallarta79

I got a couple of Huachinango Pargos which we ate along with Coconaco Pargos. Delicious tacos!11-2016-puerto-vallarta82

Below is Roberto, our chef, mate and co captain.11-2016-puerto-vallarta32

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Luck was about to change after lunch. We trolled for skip jacks and got a couple adding to the one I got jigging. Bill got hit really hard on his trolled flying fish but we never got to know what it was.                                                                                   11-2016-puerto-vallarta2911-2016-puerto-vallarta3011-2016-puerto-vallarta31

We started trolling the skipjacks very slowly and as we were doing so Larry and I were popping the surface at the bow. Larry went to the transom and shortly after I heard the screaming Herbert! Herbert! when I got there the mate had given the rod to Larry, he continued on as the fish would come up to 125 feet and then would run back down.

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Larry was having issues with the Braid harness digging on his legs but he continued trying to reel and then the rod was taken to the bow. He was reeling in a big tuna and was exhausted, the bow presented a better chance to reel in the fish because he could use the rail to assist so the mates moved it. We saw color and soon after the fish took another run to deep waters and then deeper.

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With Larry being exhausted I took over. The fish did two dashes to the deep but I was fresh and was able to bring it in a few minutes. Total time to bring the fish in was about 1 hour.herbert-on-the-tuna-puerto-vallarta

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Below is Rex the mate, the man worked hard.11-2016-puerto-vallarta94

A nice size puffer and a squid came out of the tuna’s mouth. Ir’s belly was full of squid. 11-2016-puerto-vallarta34

We then took a few pics with the Yellowfin Tuna.11-2016-puerto-vallarta9511-2016-puerto-vallarta9611-2016-puerto-vallarta97

After this cow of over 200 pounds there were more jumping around the boat but none hit our baits. At one point we had 6 rods with baits but none hit. The kite was out, the balloon was out, free lining Caballitos was done, Caballitos and squid on knockers rigs were also used but nothing hit.

The Captain decide to make a move but before we did he gave the Pangueros a bottle and some Caballitos. We then headed to some humps on the way to port.

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After laying on the deck a bit the Yellowfin Tuna was filleted and surprisingly we were served a nice plate of sashimi which we enjoyed with soy sauce and the chef’s own Serrano peppers and soy sauce mix. We did add some wasabi. I got to tell you if you do this watch out! Your lips will be like a catchers baseball glove and your face will be on fire! But it was delicious.                                                  11-2016-puerto-vallarta99

Then again, and again we tried all areas of the fish.  Delicious!11-2016-puerto-vallarta35

At night we gave it a try for some tuna but to no avail. We moved a couple of times only finding  bottom fish like these Ojodeperros jacks and a few snappers in between. All these fish were caught jigging and were to go to the community in La Cruz.

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Having relaxed and eaten well we headed back home.11-2016-puerto-vallarta33

Bill and Larry packed up three coolers with Yellowfin Tuna for the trip back home, I imagine they enjoyed it very much. The Red bag and the carry on next to it in the picture below are two of them. Also next to it all are our rod tubes. A PVC pipe that carried 6 rods. A Sportstube that was crushed in the airline causing one of Bill’s rod to loose a couple of guides. And I used a Plano Airliner Tube which carried 4 rods.

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I hope you all enjoyed, if you have any questions about the trip please do so in the comments.

A great thanks to Bill for setting this trip up. It was fun to meet with him and LB again and it was fun to meet Larry in person for the first time. I enjoyed fishing and sharing time and stories with all of you. Definitively a trip for the books. And thank God for letting me get home to my family safe and sound. I missed them as I always do when I go on fishing trips no matter how small or long these are.

Until next time! Tight Lines!

Pulley Ridge Lite Mini Tournament 7-7-16

July 7th is only a few days away. We will be fishing a Mini Tournament about 175 miles off Key West Florida. I am writing this post to thank our sponsors, without them we could not add the additional excitement on this trip. Making it competitive will make all anglers fish harder and they will be able to test new or known products. Thanks to those that sponsored our trip!

http://yankeecapts.com/

http://h4ljigs.com/

Osage, he sells on ebay by the name of okmeans

http://jiggingdepot.com/

Captain Phil Caputo, a newly certified 6 pack boat captain

Captain Rare of Boatlessfishing.com

Also thanks to the forums that allowed my posts:

http://www.boatlessfishing.com

http://www.360tuna.com

 

Pulley Ridge Trip 2016 Mini Tourney rules

Pulley Ridge LITE – A Jig and Bait Adventure

Many have adventured to the Dry Tortugas fishing grounds; some have adventured to the Pulley Ridge area and fished the deep drop zones in the daytime and shallower areas at night. Not many if none have only fished below the 500 foot mark and the shallows of Pulley Ridge a full 3 days (if someone has congrats you kept it quiet long enough). This trip started when members of the Boatless Fishing forum got together at a BBQ, some dreamed of a long range Florida fishing trip, since a few of us had done this before we suggested a few options and one topped them all so we said lets go on the Yankee Capts, let’s put a date and ask the options. I emailed Captain Greg Mercurio of the Yankee Capts and asked him for rates and dates. He came up with a great idea that involved less sharks than in the Dry Tortugas and less quantities of small size fish, but a novelty on its own, something a little different; A focus on quality fish, let’s go to Pulley Ridge and explore fishing on top of the bank in less than 400 feet and doing so full time. No deep dropping that requires electric reels. That was the main idea behind this trip and what can I say, he was right on the money. We found quality and plenty of it. I can only let the pictures speak for themselves.

We told people not to focus on buying expensive baits like goggle eyes. A lot of people still did, well, it didn’t work so well here The fish wanted oily or bloody baits like speedos bonita. Squid did well enough in my opinion. As for gear just stay with the regular Dry Tortugas gear. Just like Captain Greg recommended; 50 pound test braid was perfect to get the bait down, a 15 foot top shot of 50lb test mono was sufficient, a 10 to 12 ounce bank sinker tied to a swivel placed on the main line and then a bead on the main line. Then another swivel and about 10 to 15 lb test mono with a 7/o in line circle hook was the preferred rig  ( http://yankeecapts.com/tackle-section/ ). For the vertical jiggers, 50lb braid to 10 feet of flouro carbon line and 220 gram jigs to 350 gram jigs was all that was needed under the conditions we had.

We were to depart at 8pm, but Captain Greg contacted me the prior day to see if we could leave the docks earlier since we had a long drive to Pulley Ridge. We all got there with in minutes to 3pm and waited for the boat to return from filling the boxes with ice and the boat with fuel. We all gathered by the boat and looked like a Marine Flea Market was about to happen.

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Bill, who drove from Georgia wasted no time and started to troll with his rod as soon as we hit the depper waters of Key West as we approached one of those Key West sunsets

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We all prepared our final adjustments to our gear as the night approached. After many ours to Pulley Ridge morning time was there and our co Captain was waiting for the morning wahoo bite. But we had to wait for that one.

Pulley Ridge fishing She knew we were getting close to the fishing grounds and in no time our Pulley Ridge veteran came up with one stud of a 17 pound Scamp Grouper. Winning the prize for first grouper caught.

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Coincidentally, Bill who is an avid traveling fisherman was slow pitch vertical jigging and hooked up on the very first Mutton Snapper of the trip. He won a prize for doing so.

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The day started on fire, there was hook up after hook up. Bait and vertical jigs went head to head. Here is Jarred a new comer to vertical jigging and now an avid slow pitch jigging man, he hooked up on a slow pitch vertical jig with a Red Grouper.

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The bite had slowed down on the first stop and so we moved to another and then a little deeper. Nilson, did not take long before hooking up with a nice Amber Jack which was released.

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A lot of screaming reels all over the boat with double hook ups, up to quad hookups, the over under screaming of the mates could be heard from one end of the boat to the other as the mixed bag of fish started flooding the decks. Some bonitas (little tunny) found their way into the mix and a regular scene to happen of the days of fishing.

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Andre, a new face to our group was enjoying some vertical jigging action and caught a nice Almaco Jack.

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Will, a now vertical jigging veteran showed his jigging machine aptitudes switching from speed jigging to slow jigging when the moment required it, but he also threw a pencil to change routine from time to time. Next to him is Chris, a new comer to the Long Range scene hooked up on not only a good fish but on the urge to go back and do it again.

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The bite was still almost non stop, we hit the right place at the right time. On came Quy, he jumped on the trip after another fisherman hurt his knee. I got to to tell you he made the right decision as he was getting some nice fish. Next to him is Art who once again nailed another quality fish and not to be his last either.

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Well I was not only documenting the trip I also got to fish and this time I hooked up on a nice Amber Jack from 400 feet of water on a Shark Slow Pitch Jig.

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The the jigs kept on bringing fish up to the decks, this time bill and Jarred had double headers on slow pitch jigs. Jarred was also having good luck with Shark Jigs. Jarred has a Yellow Edge Grouper and Bill has a Snowy Grouper.

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Rori joined the party with a nice Blue Line tile and Nilson got himself a Snowie Grouper snack.

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Jongsoo hooked up with a nice Snowy Grouper.Pulley Ridge fishing

And then again with an Amber Jack using a Shark Jig.

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Nilson and Imran hooked up on some nice beauties Queen Snappers.

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The variety kept coming, big Gag Groupers started to show on this trip. Below is Danny with a nice 27.5 Gag Grouper caught at 11:30 am of the first day of fishing. This fish was caught with a whole squid.Pulley Ridge fishing

Some more Amber Jacks were showing up in between the Gag Grouper Catches.

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It was a madhouse again with a mixed bag of fish comng over the rail and them again more Gag Groupers made a showing. Jongsoo got a nice one that went over 20 pounds.

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I got another Gag Grouper that went 29.5 pounds.Pulley Ridge fishing

Then Victor joined me as he was part of our triple Gag Grouper hook up.

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The hot bite was quick, it only lasted 30 minutes and by noon things had calm down. The only thing caught for an hour was strangely enough, a startfish. No worries it was released back to the ocean. Then the fishing got a little slow with a few fish on every drop and so the sun  started to set many took a nap or stayed away from the hot sun. That was a good choice.

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Night time came with a another nice mixed bag of fish. Rori started it with a Red Grouper and William caught a nice King Fish Mackerel on a Pencil.

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Danny got in the action with Black Fin Snappers and Rori got a nice Mutton Snapper.

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Then Rori hit it big with a nice Red Grouper at around 10 at night.

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Once again the bite slowed down and slow pickings were back on, but then at 2am things turned around. Chris got a Mutton Snapper and right after that a very nice Dog Snapper.

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By 2:30 am Nilson got a nice Blackfin Tuna. Many of the were to come via vertical jigging with glow jigs and even with non glow jigs close to the boat. Sorry that bite was just too hot for me to put the rod down to take pictures.

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I followed with a Mutton Snapper and a Nice red Grouper.

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The bite kept on going on and off with waves of fish coming and going, this lasted until about 7:30 am and after it slowed down the Captain decided it was time to move and try something else.

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I keep telling people if you brought the gear to troll, do it. Rory did and he was rewarded. Up came a nice 35 pound Wahoo. I know that left a great taste on many people’s mouth. Got to love a quality fish like that.

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I fell as sleep during a hot Mutton Snapper bite that lasted a short 30 minutes. It goes to show you that you should always sleep when the boat moves and not when it stops to fish. Well, after that was over a few quality Kitty Mitchel were caught and some were released. Here is Jarred again with another Slow Pitch Vertical jig caught fish.

Pulley Ridge fishingBelow is a video Jarred shared on his Slow Pitch Jigging

The quality Queen Snapper did not stop showing up. Here are Bill and Nilson with two more beauties.

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As the Queen Snapper were hitting the decks 3 sail fish were hooked. One by William on a vertical jig, one by Patrick as he was deploying bait, and one by Art. Hopefully the video will come out good. To top it off a Mako shark was hooked up and lost right at the boat.

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Chris and Art kept on the quality hunts.

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Art dialed in.Pulley Ridge fishing

It was almost the end of the fishing trip and I nailed the smallest fish so far to hit one of my jigs. It’s amazing what fish will try to swallow when they are hungry.

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The day ended for us at the bow with Bill and a super nice Grouper.

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And Victor with a very nice Almaco Jack easily over 20 pounds.

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All good things must come to an end, and this time with an awesome Pulley Ridge Sunset.

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Rori and Bill did not give up on the trolling until the very end.  Chris and Rori were hoping for a last minute Wahoo.

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The fishing crew last resort was rest and wait for a dinner snack.

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The boat crew lined up all the fish on the side of the boat, getting ready to dock. In total we filled the 2 back coolers and one quarter of the third. Not bad for so many who were here for the very first time. That goes to show that when people follow instructions they get results.

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Once docked we got ready to receive our fish and tally for the prizes.

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Pulley Ridge fishing

These were the 2 contenders for biggest fish. I happened to win that category, but did take my self out of the non cash prizes since I organized this event. The cash prizes were a pool and had no sponsors in it.

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Below are the runners for biggest Snapper. Imran won that category.

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Below is William, he won biggest tuna and 2nd place most Mutton Snappers, Groupers and Blackfin Tunas, he received a fishing trip with Captain Phil Caputo.

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Below is Art, he won First Grouper caught. He got a nice set of jigs donated by OSAGE my self and a prize bag donated by JimyjigsUSA. The jigs had a very nice finish to them and the glow paint is high quality. I and others were impressed with the finish.

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Below is Bill, he won First Mutton Snapper caught. He received two one pound spools of mono donated by Art.

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Below is Quy, he won most Mutton Snappers, Groupers, and Blackfin Tunas Combined. He received a free 3 day Dry Tortugas fishing trip on the Yankee Capts.

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Below is William, with his prize for biggest tuna caught. He Receive OTI poppers donated by OSAGE and a prize bag donated by JimyjigsUSA.

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Below and again is William, he also won Heaviest fish caught on jig. He received a Vertical jig pack donated by OSAGE and my self. He also received a prize bag donated by Jimyjigs USA.

Pulley Ridge fishingAnd Once again William won with heaviest combined weight of Snapper, Grouper, and Blackfin Tunas.

Shark Tounament Winner

Below is Andre, he won 3rd Place with most Mutton Snappers, Groupers, and Blackfin Tunas caught. He received 2 Packs of Mentos and a $50 gift certificate.

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Below is Chris, he won 4th place most Mutton Snappers, Grouper, and Black fin Tunas caught. He received a Harness donated by Patrick and a JimyjigsUSA Koozie.

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Here is another look at Art’s Queen Snappers. These were runner ups to biggest nappers.

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Victor and Danny show us their groupers once again.

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here is Victor showing off his Almaco Jack

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The crew cleaning the fish.

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And to finish it all off here is the group shot and two panoramic shots.

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Pulley Ridge fishing

Please visit our trip sponsors. They were generous and very professional with their Prizes.

Our trip not only became a special novelty trip, it became a mini tournament on its own thanks to officer Chris’ idea, a California Long Range trip and Dry Tortugas trips veteran on board of different vessels. I started to look for sponsors right away and was very happy that Capt. Greg Mercurio sponsored us from the start, not only did he waved the fuel surcharge for our Long Range Fishing Trip, he also donated a free 3 day fishing trip to the Dry Tortugas. Also to add to our prizes Nilson Soto a member of several fishing forums and avid Land Based Fisherman and with several Dry Tortugas fishing trips on his belt donated an unusual prize. Osage a vertical fishing veteran also donated jigs to our mini tournament. Art who is another Florida Long Range veteran and an original Pulley Ridge pioneer donated 2 full spools of mono. I posted on several places looking for sponsors and JimyjigsUSA came on board on their own, we really appreciate they did that and were impressed on the quality finish of their jigs. Shortly after, Captain Phil Caputo donated a full day fishing trip as well. Jongsoo, a representative of Shark Jigs came on board with a full load of samples and great prizes. The jigs functioned perfectly and were of high quality. We were very grateful to all those that donated to our mini tournament.

YankeeCapts

Yankee Capts, Key West’s Originators, Leaders and Pioneers of Dry Tortugas/Pulley Ridge Fishing Trips since 1977

http://www.yankeecapts.com

Shark by Jigging Depot copy

http://www.jiggingdepot.com

JimyjigsUSA

http://jimyjigsusa.com/

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Pulley Ridge fishing

I Shot a Permit Fish In Cayman Islands

I shot a Permit fish in Cayman Island and did so with my under water camera. It was an awesome experience to swim right next to a school of permit out in the ocean and then add the hundreds of Blue Tang fish that let me join their feast on the corals. Let me just say the Cayman Islands are one of those places where I have been and where I always want to go back to. It is such a small place but has so much to offer. I just wish I had the money some people in this world have in the banks of this tiny beautiful island. The Cayman Islands was the last stop in our voyage, and as always we left happy and accomplished. We had decided to sleep in late as the excursion we chose was basically at noon. We saw the excursion information and fell for it at just $70:

  • All Inclusive food and drink. Check!
  • Beach umbrellas and snorkel equipment are available for rent. We had our own, Check!
  • Return air-conditioned transportation to the wonderful Tiki Beach Club located on Seven Mile Beach. Check!
  • Beach has natural reef areas close to shore and therefore may be rocky; extra caution should be taken. Check!

We boarded the tender boat, we cruised right by the Holland America cruise ship, landed soon enough and on to our air conditioned ride to 7 Mile Beach.

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The beach as always was a nice white sand and soft to the touch. Some areas had rocks and plenty shells but there was plenty space to choose from.Cayman Islands044

One thing for sure was that if you venture pass the through and encountered rocks there would be plenty chances to step on a sea urchin. So when you go, just be very careful as there might be plenty sea urchins out there.

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If you snorkel, make sure to peak under the rocks and you might find some snappers or schools of grunts lurking in.

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Bermuda Chubs are regulars through out the Caribbean and they sure were here in large numbers.Cayman Islands008

The beach offered plenty rocks and scattered corals to be appreciated.Cayman Islands009

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Cayman Islands011If you look well enough you will be able to see Sting Rays and some other animal life that are good at camouflaging themselves.Cayman Islands006

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Brain Coral was scattered around and some had nice tones, some were just almost a plain beige, but still awesome to look at.

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A lonely Blue Tang was just posing for a picture but did not allow me to get any closer.Cayman Islands024

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A shy Squirrel fish also posed for me and vanished as soon as I took the picture.Cayman Islands027

This I guess is a Butterfly Fish that ran way from me but not before I had a chance to snap a picture of it.Cayman Islands028

A school of grunts was hiding perfectly under the rocks.Cayman Islands029

Then came my big surprise as I just passed the first set of rocks I looked under as hundreds of blue tangs and other fish schooled together to feed on the corals. It was amazing as they only took a couple of bites from one and went to the next as if they were schools of bees jumping from flower to flower. I followed them and as I spent more time with them they let me get closer.

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As the Tangs guided me through the reef yet another surprise came about. A small school of 4 to 5 permit were feeding on the crustaceans in the sand and rocks. I followed them and I got closer and closer without making sudden movements and it was within minutes that they were swimming around me.Cayman Islands035

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Cayman Islands039I found it curious that they would come from under me over and over, I hadn’t noticed that I flipped a Sea Urchin from under me while I tried to turn around and see what they were doing. I am always careful as to not touch the corals or even the live rocks as I do not want to crush any potential reef growth. The sea urchin must have been trying to move as it was swept by the current of my fins. The permits took advantage and had eaten it in seconds. I tried switching to video and captured a bit part of it then switched right back to picture mode.Cayman Islands040The fish were beautiful and had their fun with me, they swam faster and left under the fins of unsuspected snorkelers that were near by. My guess is they are now familiar with people flipping Sea Urchins for them to eat.Cayman Islands041

Cayman Islands042Once again, a Needle Fish said good by to me as I was leaving the water. It was time to get some Rum Punch and some food, yum yum.Cayman Islands043

ayman Islands Beach Panoramic

Our all inclusive included Rum Punch and a BBQ lunch which we enjoyed to the fullest extent. They had good choices of meats, but we picked the usual BBQ chicken we would normally eat.

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The Rum Punch was good enough to get you to smile for a while.Cayman Islands049Once again our vacation almost felt as if it was over, we boarded the Tender Boats and on to the ship we went.Boat TenderIt was yet another amazing vacation. Can’t wait to see what our 30th anniversary will take us in 2016.Herbert Hans and Lilly

Thanks for reading and or looking at the pictures. Until next time!

Isla Roatan, Honduras Snorkel & Free Diving Adventure

This was stop three of our 2015 annual Anniversary cruise vacation. We arrived at Mahony bay which is the port at Isla Roatan, Honduras. We had been here before and enjoyed the beach and surrounding areas. This was a very relaxing way to enjoy this port of call. After looking at brouchures  we decided that this time we would plan a nice snorkel and free diving adventure.  After talking with the clerk at the excursion desk we reserved our tickets to go to Tabyana Beach. It was advertised that pristine corals could be seen just a short distance from the beach. The clerk confirmed it as the do get to enjoy the attractions at the port of calls and most of them have actually been at the sites advertised. I must say, I fell in love with coral life. It was an awesome choice.

We arrived at Mahogany Bay, the area specifically made for the ship’s arrival. A few nice shops and restaurants to make you feel comfortable and entice you to open your wallet and have some fun. They really work at making you forget your busy life and enjoy your true vacation.

Isla Roatan Reef & Island034We went straight to take a mini bus that took us to the beach Upon arrival we were some of the first to get there. that was great. I was able to prepare and get to the free diving part.Isla Roatan Reef & Island001I spoke to one of the workers and asked what were the boundaries and what area was safe out of the currents. After a few suggestions I went in the water and started to snorkel my way to about 20 feet were I dove down to get some pictures of the corals.

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The area was well taken care of, they even had signs in different languages to basically guide you away from the shallow areas so you would not touch the corals.Isla Roatan Reef & Island015I was in just 2 feet of water when this Palometa fish pass by saying HI!Isla Roatan Reef & Island004The corals were pristine, the area was well taken care of. It was an awesome sight and delightful free dive and snorkeling. From the beach it was not even 10 feet of water and the corals were there already.

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Isla Roatan Reef & Island007After an hour or so I went back to the beach to join my wife for a local beer and some patties.

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Once we took a break we went back in the water to continue enjoying the sights of the reef and the colorful fish. Once again I encountered more signs, this one in Spanish.Isla Roatan Reef & Island018From the water you can appreciate the natural contour of the Island.Isla Roatan Reef & Island016And then back under water we continued to appreciate what nature has to offer.Isla Roatan Reef & Island011Shcools of Blue, Brown, mixed in with Parrot fish and other species were the constant sights all over the reef.Isla Roatan Reef & Island017

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Isla Roatan Reef & Island023It took us quiet few hour to explore and enjoy the reef. It was getting late so we decided to go back in relax and get on our way back to the ship. Below are the restaurant and shop areas of Tabyana beach.

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Below is an interesting stop to get the sand of your body.Isla Roatan Reef & Island027

Isla Roatan Reef & Island026On our way to the boat we were.Isla Roatan Reef & Island028I snapped some picture from inside the bus. I always like to remember how things were when I visited a destination.

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 Isla Roatan Reef & Island033  One last taste of the local brew and on to the ship we were.Isla Roatan Reef & Island035

Mahogany Bay Shops

Carnival Conquest

Thansk for stopping by, our next stop would be Cayman Islands!

An UnBelizeable Day In Caves And Zip Lining

“Are you ready to have an un Belizeable day?” That’s what the guide said and we were hoping it would be. We had tried to go to Belize before but were not able to as our itinerary was changed due to some ruckus in the Island (so we were told). This time we were hoping to land and explore a little of Belize. Our plans were to be able to do some zip lining and cave excursions. Upon arrival it was a good 20 minute short boat drive on the tenders. Some of the tender boats were on the small side and some like the one we took were very comfortable. Nothing to complain about they were there in numbers and they got us to land quicker than I thought.

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Once we landed we took a bus to the zip line and cave area. Quite a ride that reminded me of my old days in the Nicaraguan Atlantic Coast. Small towns here and there with roads that seem to go no where but passed by places you would not think people would be at since there were no houses to be seen. This is because of the forest hiding them out of sight, then in the distance you can notice an urban area here and there.

On the way out of the city we passed by an old cemetery where they even utilized the median between the main roads, very interesting.

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An urban area can be seen at distance from the main road.Isla Roatan Reef & Island015

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We got to the Jaguar Paw Jungle where we were to do two excursions, one was the zip lining and the other the cave tubing. I had just passed the shop and the restaurant area when I took the picture below.The lockers were of good size, with all the towels and extra clothes that we took we were able to fit all in just one locker.

Once we reached passed the Jaguar Paw Jungle gift shop and the changing area we saw a nice pool area and no one in it. I wish we could have had the time to take a nice swim in it after we finish our tours.

The Zip Lining

Zip line tourOnce we put on our swimming shorts and water shoes, we gathered to get our zip lining equipment.

It was a nice walk to get to the top and we had to be careful as we stepped on the sometimes slippery steps. It is a rainforest so expect for it to always be a bit muddy and very humid.Isla Roatan Reef & Island037

It was nice to see the trees in such a natural area, almost undisturbed but of course you cold a bit bit when something was arranged for the aesthetics of the tour, or was it?

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We have zipped lined before but many haven’t and the couple of times we have done it there was some different instructions as there was different equipment to be used.So I would absolutely recommend to always pay attention when they are giving instructions.

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So here we were, ready for action and as to my wife? For some screaming fun 🙂

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Zip lining was tons of fun and was faster than us climbing to the top, but that is to be expected on all zip lining. We ended at the start of the next adventure, Cave Tubing! something on our to do list and so we scratched if off, we started the Crystal Cave Tubing part of our excursion.

Here is a short video of the Zip Lining.

https://youtu.be/NKLGLhDuR_4

The Cave Tubing

Crystal Cave

Got to love his job! The minute we got there we were all with our tubes and ready to go.Isla Roatan Reef & Island035We picked up our tubes and started to descend towards the caves.

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As soon as we got closer we were able to appreciate the stalagmites forming right at the entrance of the cave.Isla Roatan Reef & Island008

Once inside you could see more and more formations. I had a lot of trouble with my camera and tried my best to take pictures, below are a few.

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At some point after tubing and seen formations that looked like dogs and other animals, we got of the tubes and were guided through the caves where we had to duck and walk in true darkness while we listened to stories of the Mayan civilization, how they might have used the caves and about the entrance to Xibalba. Very interesting stories.

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Our cave adventure had ended, my camera batteries died trying to take pictures in the dark. But was able to get one camera going after we got back on the bus.The trip towards the dock started and went from the dirt roads and rural areas to the paved roads and the city.Isla Roatan Reef & Island001

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Isla Roatan Reef & Island003I just had to have a taste of one of the local brew. A dark beer with a sweet taste. What a treat a the end of the trip.Isla Roatan Reef & Island011

Good bye Belize, all your people were good to us and we did have an unBELIZEable day!

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Thanks for reading or looking at the pictures, next time it’s Isla Roatan Honduras with some snorkeling and free diving the awesome coral reef.