Reward Fishing Fleet – All Day Trip 1-9-16

I wanted to go fishing  this weekend so I called the Reward Fishing Fleet to book a spot on their special all day trip, for $100 it’s a nice bargain to go out all day fishing without having to go back to the docks and the wait for the boat to leave back on the next trip (taking two 4 hour trips on the same day).

The trip started by gathering bait. The mates and a few other fishermen collaborated with catching white bait, pinfish, and small grunts. Once the bait was non responsive we moved onto another bait spot, the famous Bent Marker outside of Government Cut Miami. There we met with a numerous amount of boats trying to catch bait themselves. Below is a pic of the Marker.

Bent Marker Port Everglades

We then moved up to several other spots where people were catching vermilion snappers, Amberjacks, and Almaco Jacks. Jongsoo caught an Amberjack that was tagged, the fish was lip gaffed, taken a picture of, measured and released again. Below is Jeff the mate before measuring the fish. Sorry I didn’t take a pic of you Jongsoo.

Taged Amberjack

On the next move we saw some birds but nothing was biting under them, we kept moving and then as we stopped to fish I saw a Mahi Mahi and let everyone know, I wanted to make sure someone got it before it left. Leaving a caught Mahi Mahi hooke in the water will bring others closer to the boat if they are schooling together. I went to get my plug rod as Will sent his out first cast catching the first Mahi Mahi. I sent my plug flying out and as I retrieved it with a sweeping motion I caught the next Mahi Mahi with an H4L Wingman plug. I caught another right after while using the same plug. One of the mates set up some pitch rods and people started catching more mahi mahis including Jared who was ready with his own pitch rod. A total of 12 were caught ensuring many would take a nice dinner home. Below is mines.

Dolphin Fish

At one of the spots we started to get a few small Blackfin Tunas, mines was one of the smallest ones and one of the fishermen by the name of Ben whom is another experienced slow pitch jigging fisherman that was only using jigs caught the biggest one, a football size one with enough meat to get a couple dinners out of it. Here is my small Blackfin Tuna, it was so greedy that it swiped a jig half it’s size.

Blackfin Tuna

As the day went by a few yellow eye snapper, sand tiles, and a rare Long Tail Bass was caught by Jeff another experienced slow pitch fisherman. I should have taken a picture but I was busy fishing, sorry guys, I was trying to maximize my fishing time. On the deeper end of the trip we fished down to 500 feet of water where Will caught a nice keeper Amberjack.

Will Amberjack

I was still fishing with my prototype slow pitch setup and Shark Fishing Jigs when I hooked up a Snowy Grouper and then sent my 500 gram slow pitch jig down again and hooked a Yellow Edge grouper. What are the odds, the only two keeper groupers caught were back to back on my setup. Below is the Snowy Grouper and the the Yellow Edge.

Cudaman Snowie Grouper

Cudaman Yellow Edge

The highlight of the day came when Jared hooked up with a Sailfish on a jig. He fought it for 30 minutes going around the boat 2 times until he got it close enough to touch the leader and made it an official catch. The jig was extracted using a gaff and the fish was released. High fives went around and the fish swam away to live another day. Below is Jared fighting the fish and also a pic of the Sailfish with the jig on it’s mouth.

Jared Hooked on a Sailfish

Below is a video of part of the fight.

All in all it was a good trip and plenty fun was had. We left with a full boat’s fish cooler. Back at the Bayside Marina Docks the fish were unloaded and the mates cleaned the fish for those that wanted that service. Below is the mate sorting and giving the fish to the fishermen.

Reward Mate sorting fish

Below is a fisherman that was using bait and tried out vertical jigging. He caught dinner and wanted a picture for him to later retrieve from the web. So here you are Sir. You are welcome to download your own picture, enjoy your fresh fish dinners. Just click on the picture to make it bigger, right click on it and save it to your PC or phone.

Fisherman

Happy New Year to you all and Happy Fishing in 2016. thanks again for visiting my site.

Vertical Jigging tips:

In order to reach the bottom use 1 gram weight per foot of water (if fishing in 300 feet of water use a 300 gram jig), if the current is stronger adjust accordingly by using a heavier jig. It works the same way for Slow Pitch Jigging.

If of any interest to you I was using a 60 to 400 gram Slow Pitch Jigging Rod, a Shimano Ocea Jigger 2000 with high speed gear 6.1:1 loaded with 30 lb test braid line, 40lb test fluorocarbon leader, and 3/0 size hooks with 2mm length  assist cord. two hooks on top and two hooks on bottom.

 

 

 

Iron Man 10 Hour fishing on the Reward Won 4-12-14

The was another 10 hour fishing trip on the Reward Won and this time we would go straight to the action with the amberjacks and anything else that lurked around the artificial wrecks around Fowey Rocks Light. The trip started by going to get live bait which again is included in the $100 of the trip’s cost. As we got to bug light and waited on Jimmy’s boat (the bait man) some started out tossing sabikis and started catching bait, some of us started tossing crappy jigs and got a couple of blue runners, the captain bought the rest to complete a live well full of big pilchards and thread fin herrings plus a couple dozen of goggle eyes (Gogs courtesy of Jimmy the bait man).

Live well 1

fishing for bait

Jimmy and his Bait Boat

Here is the live well after Jimmy the bait man passed by.

Live well 2

 

As we headed out 4 rods were set up for trolling, not so far out the day started with a football size blackfin tuna reeled in by my son  was welcomed aboard to the fish cooler.

Blackfin Tuna

A Sailfish Tournament was going on so there were many boats flying kites. Below is one near Fowey Rocks.

Fowey Rocks Light House

The drive to get to the fishing grounds went on and a small Mahi Mahi was caught on the troll. The Captain said to give the fight to one of the lady anglers that came on this trip.

Mahi Mahi 1

As soon as we got to the wreck we started jigging and there were double hook up and quad hook ups. I landed my first fish of the trip a decent size Amberjack and as was landing it some were fighting their fish side by side.

Amberjack-Herbert

Double header

Others were landing their fish, here is a couple that came on the fishing trip.

Amberjack-3

Another happy fisherman got his priced caught fish which he released.

Amberjack- 4

Amberjack released

Here is my fishing friend Ron playing around with his exaggerated fishing pose and afterwards happily posing with his catch which he released.

Ron fighting fish

Amberjack- 5

And another angler continued the battle and then landed his biggest fish to date which was also released.

Verical Jigging fight

Amberjack- 6

Amberjack- 7

We passed over the wreck and as we started to fish a new wave of anglers were catching more Amberjacks. This time William did it again by catching a 65 pound amberjack that unfortunately was not going to make it and was kept along with three others. This was one of the longest drifts and as many continued catching fish Captain Wayne Conn let out the kite and placed two goggle eyes out in the water so I was fortunate to fight a sailfish and got it to the boat and the leader was touched making it a catch, unfortunately I do not have pictures because I pressed the wrong buttons on the Gopro and the fish had gone under the boat cutting the line off.

Willie Amberjack- 8

Below is my son with one of the last amberjacks caught, after this one the fish turned off and the captain moved the boat to another location.

Seth Amberjack -8

As we arrived at the other location a deeper one this time I used one of the boat rods set up with a chicken Rig and caught two Vermillion snappers with it. Not many were bottom fishing so I decided to get a rest and do so. Captain Wayne had the kite out with two live baits and William took the rod as a nice Mahi Mahi hit one of the baits.

Willie Dolphin

The day went by and weak cold front started approaching so the seas got a little rougher. A fishing friend of mines Nilson came out of hibernation and caught a peanut Mahi Mahi,  it was not of legal size so it was released. A few more Mahi Mahi came in the boat and a few made the size limit while a few more were released. On the troll another peanut tuna was caught and a couple of skip jack tunas came on board as well. As the day came to a close I took a chance at tossing a live thread fin Herring bait to a good size Mahi Mahi of about 20 lb or so and it took it I thought it had the circle hook well set but as it made it’s first jump it tossed it out. I ran to the back of the boat and took a goggle eye and tossed again and again it did the same. I ran back again got another bait and the same happened again, then another person also had it and he also lost it. This fish was a smart one and it might  is still out there eating.

Nilson's Mahi Mahi

 On the way back I was able to take some pictures of the Key Biscayne Light House. It is always nice to see.

Key Biscayne Light House

We also Passed close by the Bill Bags State Park Fishing Piers. Below is the first one in the corner of the park.

Key Biscayne fishing piers

Below are the rest of the piers lined up one after another.

Key Biscayne Fishing Piers 2

And again another picture of the Rickenbacker Causeway Fishing pier.

Key Biscayne Fishing Pier 3

A closer look at it.

Key Biscayne Fishing Pier 4

Here is the end summary of my fishing report:

 THE FISHING TRIP: Iron Man 10 Hour Fishing Trip which in the end ended being a 12 hour total trip again so thanks to the captain for that.
Aboard the “Reward Won” with Captain Wayne Conn of the Reward Fishing Fleet
The Spot : Around Fowey Rocks Light House, FL
Weather Forecast: Sunny 20% chance of rain, Saturday Easterlyt winds 9 to 14 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet with occasional seas to 5 feet. The real weather was: Earlier seas 2 to 3 feet in the morning and 3 to 5 later in the day with occasional 6 foot rolling waves, clear skies and no rain all day.
Water: Choppy and slow current in the morning strong currents in the afternoon around Fowey Rocks Light House.
Fish catches: Small Dolphins and one gaffer, Big Amberjacks, 1 mutton snappers, 2vermillion snappers, 1 Snowie Grouper, small kingfish, football size blackfin tunas, skip jack tunas, and several bonitos.
Biggest size Type : Amberjack estimated at around 65 pounds
Techniques : Vertical Jigging, dead bait, live bait
Jigs : 80 to 300 grams all colors were working.

Iron Man 10 hour fishing on the Reward Won 3-29-14

Via a social site The Reward Fishing Fleet announced their “Iron Man 10 Hour Trip”. It was to take place around Elliot Key which is right before Key Largo Florida.  I accepted the invite and hoped that the big AJ started to arrive for the usual April spawning season, and guess what? The big Amber Jacks’s started to arrive and Captain Wayne was able to get us on them. My intentions on this trip was to catch and release and so it was on many others mind.

The trip began as it usually does we all met at the Bayside Marina around 5 am, when the Captain arrived he needed to get some item from his newer boat “The Legacy” so I got a chance to take a look at the boat and I have to say, they are doing some great work on it. I can’t wait to get fishing on that boat. As we went back we loaded our gear into the boat, and Captain Wayne Conn gave us the fishing plan. We were to go get live bait, we would troll on the way out from there taking turns as people caught fish, we then would go bottom fishing on hard bottom, and then we would hit a wreck or two. I love fishing with a Captain that takes his time before the trip and plans what can be done and “can” is the key word. Many Captains plan a trip thinking what “will” be done. If a Captain plans what “can” be done he/she takes into consideration that not all things can go as planned. On this trip the Captain came prepared to anchor but the forecast was once again wrong and so he didn’t anchor, he drifted his boat over the spots. At the spots that were hard bottom, bait fishermen had their chance at bottom fish. The ones vertical jigging with small jigs also had their chance at bottom fish like snappers and groupers.

Here is the fishing report in pictures:

We got to the lighthouse and fished for some bait. Like all the other boats around were doing.

boats getting bait   boats getting bait 2

Captain Wayne Conn bought live bait which was covered in the $100 total fee for the 12 hour trip. Live bait was white bat and the very expensive goggle eyes.

Getting bait   Goggle eyes

After we left from getting bait we started trolling. I trolled with a home made daisy chain of lures. I had gone to a local tackle shop and purchased 12 small plastic squids that I found on sale for $1.00. I rigged them as follows: 150 lb test swivel, 24 inches of 50 lb mono, red bead, plastic squid, 150 lb swivel, another 24 inches of 50 lb mono, red bead, plastic squid, 150 lb swivel, on the third one I used 36 inches of 100 lb test flouro carbon a bigger plastic squid, a 1/2 ounce weight, a red bead, and a 3 times strong live bait “J” hook. It always pays off with a black fin tuna or a dolphin of any size. This time it was with a 30″ inch mahi mahi. One mahi mahi was kept in the water so it would attract the others, then other fishermen tossed cut baits and got some more mahi mahi.

Here is the color with the catches.

dolphin catch

After the dolphins we got back on the way but this time only small bonitos were the takers. As we got to the bottom fishing grounds a few undersize mutton snappers were caught as well as trigger fish and porgies. The jigs worked and started making their presence. Here is William with a Toro Snapper that was released.

Willie toro snapper on a jig

Along came the Captain’s plan and so we went fishing at one of the wrecks. It was my first drop and my line became tight and at the same time 3 others. I was close to the boat and my line went slack and so did Bernardo’s line. But the person fishing live bait landed his. It was a nice 30 ponder cobia. The Captain did two more passes over the wreck but the wind pushed the boat leaving the transom close to the wreck and all of us at the bow farther from it so I did not get another chance but other jig fishermen like Willian and Bernardo did.

The Captain got in the jigging on the transom hooked a fish and gave the battle to one of the fishermen, he then gave the fish to battle to his friend below.

AmbarJack 2

Below is William on the fight using the right equipment gets the fish in with no problems or lengthy battles. He was using a Jigging Master Terminator II 300 gram rod and a Talica 12

 

William with Jigging Master Terminator II

Below is William and his Amber Jack

willie and AJ

Here is William releasing his fish.

release

 

Below is Bernardo and his priced catch. It was also released.

Bernardo AJ

After the fishing battles people that were bait fishermen wanted to get some other types of fish to be fair the captain moved to a hord bottom spot to give then a chance but that spot did not produce much. The captain also raised the fishing kite at many of the stops but at this stop we staued the longest as a chance at sailfish was probable, but there were no bottom fish and no sail fish takers. Captain Wayne Conn moved the boat once more towards a small barge wrecked, I got a nice size barracuda at this stop, and then to another wreck where I would have another chance at a fight with a sea donkey (Amber Jack).

Below is my Sea Donkey (Amber Jack) I released this fish as well.

Herbert AJ

As we drifted towards Fowey Rocks Light House, the small kingfish mackerel started to show up, here is one of them caught by a fisherman that had tons of patience waiting on a chance at fish.

kingfish mackerel

I give kudos to Captain Wayne Conn and his mate for working hard on getting everyone on the fish. He takes us to the spots and is upto us to get on the fish but he goes out of his way and catches fish to allow others to fight the fish and even allows them to keep the fish if they wish to do so. I love to hear his first question before landing a fish; “if you want to release it’s great, we can release it and if you want to keep it it is entirely up to you”. He always strives toward conservation and does not like it when someone says lets keep it just to leave it at the dock. You can hear him talking about releasing fish through out the entire trip which encourages people to do so and they leave the boat with a clear conscious mind when doing the right thing. Off course there are times when a fish just won’t make it because the angler took too long some time because the fish was foul hooked (hook was not in the mouth) or because the angler’s tackle was just too light for the task. When this happens there nothing else that can be done other than to keep the fish if is is legal size and legal species.

All trips come to an end and so we had to say good by to one of the great light houses of Florida “Fowey Rocks Light House”

Fowey Rocks Light house

On the way back I took a shot at the Rickenbacker bridge and below it you can see the fishing bridge. It was the original driving bridge to Key Biscayne Florida but a new and much higher bridge was built. The great thing was they left the old bridge standing to be used as a fishing bridge. The South side of the fishing bridge was knocked down due to structural damage (so they say).

Rickenbacker

 

Summary of the report:

THE FISHING TRIP: Iron Man 10 Hour Fishing Trip which in the end ended being a 12 hour total trip so thanks to the captain for that.
Aboard the “Reward Won” with Captain Wayne Conn of the Reward Fishing Fleet
The Spot : Elliot Key to Fowey Rocks Light House, FL
Weather Forecast: Sunny 20% chance of rain, Saturday South South West winds 9 to 14 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet with occasional seas to 5 feet. The real weather was: Seas 4 to 6 feet with occasional 8 foot rolling waves, cloudy and no rain all day.
Water: Choppy up to 8 foot seas and slow current in the morning strong currents in the afternoon.
Fish catches: Small Dolphins, Big Amberjacks, Mutton snappers, trigger fish, Groupers that were released, porgies, kingfish
Biggest size Type : Amberjack estimated at around 60 to 70 pounds
Techniques : Vertical Jigging, dead bait, live bait
Jigs : 80 to 300 gram, butterfly jigs,silver, blue, pink, and orange worked the best.

For more information on their fishing trips you can visit their website at   http://www.fishingmiami.com/

Man Day Fishing Trip on the Katchmore – A jigging trip?

Since the last trip we decided to fish more often and what day to start doing so better than on Man’s Day? So it was decided, we are men and we go fishing on this Man’s day. And what more manly thing to do than for all of us to ask our wives for permission? Permission was granted to us men and the trip was on, LOL. I had to prepare my rods, check and make sure all were sprayed with a non odor, environmentally friendly petroleum based line, lure, reel, and rod protector solvent. Why do I do this? Well, it protects my stuff from the sun and salt water deposits and it does make the braid lines and mono filament lines exit the the reel smoother and faster. Yes, that stuff really works. This is not a commercial, I haven’t mentioned brands. All my rods, reels, lines, and metal jigs were sprayed. All reels were checked for loose screws and drags were set at 15 and 9 pounds respectively. I minimized my selection of jigs to a couple dozen. six 250 grams, six 150 grams, and the rest were 100 grams and under. I took one kingfish mackerel rod, a seven foot spinning rod with 30 pound test braid line and a little reel that is supposed to have 32 pounds of drag. Also with me were a 250 gram jigging rod with a Stella 8000PG and color coded PE8 line, a 200 gram jigging rod with a Saragossa 10000 and 50 lb test white braid , and a 150 gram jigging rod with 40lb test green braid that could double as a bottom rod. Enough of the talk about gear here is the report:

Well, we were supposed to be on the way at 8 am but the captain called us asking if we still wanted to go out with the bad weather, then he called us back saying he had trouble with starting the engines, then he called us back saying that his father (the mechanic) was on the way and would be another hour. Well we were thinking on going on a party boat but decided to wait and see what luck would bring.

KWC

We waited and waited so I started to take some pics of the seagulls that were taking a sip of the available fresh water.

Haulover marina seagulls

We got a call from the captain and finally the engines were working and so they came around 9:45 a.m. and we boarded the boat.

Katchmore

Katchmore 2

As we loaded we started setting up the gear.

Katchmore 3

As we got on the way we decided to pass by Lester’s Live Bait boat that basically anchors on the inlet waiting for people to pass by buying some live bait he sells it at $20 for a 5 gallon bucket full of white baits.Not bad considering that you don’t waist time looking for live bait. Live bait and so pirate Nilson was now happy and we got on the way to fishing.

Lester's Live Bait   Nilson

We passes by the Balharbour jetty so I snapped a few pictures. Word was they were catching pompanos.

Balharbour Jetty

Balharbour Jetty 2

On the way out we saw the Hurricane (from the Kelley Fishing Fleet) fishing in about 50 feet of water which was not a good sign for us.

Hurricane

The plan was to go jigging in 350 feet of water but the captain did not want to because of the waves, there were one too many small storms making it difficult to maneuver and so he asked us if we wanted to go catch Lane Snappers and then try the vertical jigging. So we said what the hey let’s do it. On the way we saw some dolphins (Mahi Mahi) jump and asked the Captain to give us a shot and so he did but not for long. One of the engines was having trouble and kept shutting off. When we got to the Lane Snapper spot out went the chicken rigs and a few Lane Snappers came in the boat. I did not catch a single fish, oh well. We then decided to go trolling and that did not work out. Then the captain offered for us to drift with our live baits and as we did i threw out a few as chum but that did not work either. We gave it one more shot at Vertical jigging but the winds around the storms made the boat advance way too fast over the only wreck the Captain seemed to have on his numbers.

Katchmore 5

In the end the total catch was placed in a small cooler. Sad day of fishing for us so we decided to end the trip early and only do half a day.

Lane Snappers

On the way back we saw a few people fishing in Haulover under the bridge, unfortunately if this fisherman would catch a fish he would loose it since he is using the reel backwards. We got back to the dock and were disappointed on the bad day of fishing, but that is how it goes. We call it “Fishing” not “Catching”. If you are interested the Katchmore Luhrs is for sale at $20,000 U.S. Dollars. The boat is really nice for fishing but needs some work, I think it is a bargain at that price.

Googan   Katchmore 4

THE FISHING TRIP: Key West Crew get together for Man’s day
Aboard the “Katchmore” with Captain
The Spot : Haulover, FL
Weather Forecast: Sunny 20% chance of rain, Saturday East southeast winds 9 to 14 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet with occasional seas to 5 feet. The real weather was: Seas 4 to 6 feet with occasional 8 foot rolling waves, cloudy and scattered rain all day.
Water: Choppy up to 8 foot seas and strong currents all day.
Fish catches: Lane snappers and one blue runner
Biggest size Type : A blue runners was bigger than the snappers caught, LOL
Techniques : Vertical Jigging, dead bait, live bait
Jigs : 80 to 300 gram,  butterfly jigs, no jigs worked. The current did not allow for the jigging.

Bait Fishing at Anglins Pier 10-6-13

THE FISHING TRIP: Bait scouting
The Spot : Anglins Pier at the end of Commercial Blv in Lauderdale By The Seas, FL
Weather : South southeast winds 6 to 11 knots. Seas less than 2 feet
Water: Clear then started to brown from canal water being released, but not so bad
Fish catches: Blue runners and butter fish
Techniques : Crappie igs and small silver spoons

This weekend was an idle weekend for me, it was about resting up a bit and scouting for bait. I decided to go to Anglins pier since it offers comfort for my wife and daughter whom kept me some company on this trip. Got there 3 hour before sunrise and waited for the sun to come up. When I arrived there were small pods of finger mullets getting smashed by some snook and people had been catching bluefish. The kind of bait I was after doesn’t come to the pier when there are too many blue fish since these are voracious predators and will continuously harass the bait day or night. Even though bluefish is a bait I can use by the time I got there all the action died down so my only choice was to wait for sunrise and hope for some blue runners  and Spanish mackerel to arrive or hope for the bluefish to return. The sunrise came up and only the blue runners and white baits were present. Since I’m going on a 3.5 day fishing trip on Captain Yuri’s boat headed to the Dry Tortugas in 3 weeks, I am in need of oily baits so I was only after blue runners, small jacks crevalles, spanish mackerel, blue fish, and the such. At night it was just a few pickings of blue runners and lots of the ever annoying lookdown fish. the water started to get a nice color and the blue runner started coming in but died down almost as soon as they got there. The water started to get a brownish hue to it and lots of cow fish started to show up so I decided to try again another day. I did not want to take more blue runners than I was actually going to use. I like to keep a balanced amount of bait. A couple dozen blue runners, dork jacks, only about 2 or 3 blue fish, a good half dozen Spanish mackerels, at least a dozen of google eyes, and a dozen of speedos all caught within three weeks before a trip. The the fresh bait that will include bait caught three days before the trip; pinfish, about 6″  to as big as I can get blue runners, spanish mackerels, goggle eyes, blue fish, barracudas, ballyhoos, and on the day of scaled sardines and thread-fin herrings since these loose their quality too soon. These are only some of the baits I use, for other baits that have come in handy you should read my fishing reports as I always leave an Easter egg tip laying around in between all the writing I do. My way of helping people fish but not giving all away in a simple list. Here are some pics from today:

Reading at Anglins Pier Anglins Pier Sunrise

Anglins Pier Sunrise

Jigs I normally use to catch most of my baits

Crappie Jigs and Ice Jig

Below are some baits vacuumed packed and ready for my old bait freezer at -10 degrees

Vacummed Packed Blue runners Freezer Temperature

Went Back on 10-12-13

Well my nephew’s best friend wanted to go fishing so I told him Anglins pier was good to catch some blue runners for fun and I wanted to get a few other baits as well. So we met up at my nephew’s house and arrived at Anglings at 4 am. Went to the lights and started catching some runners other baits were not present but was told that the macks were running the day before so I was hoping for a better day this time around. As we were close to shore trying for baits we were catching too many baby pompanos so we decided to move over tot the “T” (the end of the pier). When we got to the T there were plenty blue runners but all were on the small side. I was hoping for bigger size one so I could chunk and or use their innards for mutton bait in the Dry Tortugas while fishing on Captain Yuri’s boat. I have always had great luck while using blue runners that were no more than a few weeks old. My nephew his son and friends had a ball catching the runners. I also met up with Nilson a friend that will be fishing with us on Captain Yuri’s Boat. This day we ended with more than enough runners for all six fishing in that trip. Here are some pics from that day.

Small Pompano

P1020219

A nice sunrise as always

P1020220

My nephew’s son with his priced blue runners on crappy jigs

P1020222

Florida Wildlife Commision officers (FWC) telling a diver to stay 300 feet from the pier. It is extremely dangerous for them to be there not only will they get tangle with the fishing lines but also may get hit by a fishing rig since the fishermen don’t really know where the divers might be, sometimes their flag rope is too long and the bubbles get carried by the currents.

P1020226

Here are the runners before the saltwater was added for a slush to brine them.

P1020227

Yankee Capts Mutton Marathon 8-16-13 to 8-18-2013

THE FISHING TRIP: Yankee Capts Mutton MarathonYankee Capts Boat
Aboard the “Yankee capts” with Captain Greg
The Spot : Dry tortugas
Weather : Friday ESE up to 10 to 15  knots, Saturday ESE up to 17 knots, Sunday E  up to 20 knot winds, some rain, cool temperature
Water: Up to 5 foot seas is my guess. Water color clear and mild currents
Fish catches: Quality muttons but very low quantities, plenty yellow tail snappers enough for everyone on the boat to get their limits, and the usual bait fish such as bonito and blue runners
Biggest size Type : Mutton up to 15 pounds (is my guess didn’t see it on a scale)
Techniques : Live bait, dead bait and Vertical Jigging
Jigs : 80 to 150 gram,  butterfly jigs, blue, pink, and green jigs worked best. Only caught bonitos on them.

My buddy Ed had been itching for the experience to fish on the Yankee Capts and he knew I was planning on a trip, so we decided to hop on the Mutton Marathon trip. Well,  for starters I knew I was going in to a trip with a big possibility in bad omen of weather. There was a Low Pressure system in the Yukatan Peninsula and a High pressure system in the Carolinas it would have gone both ways. I normally like to fish before or after a storm, this time it was in between. Sometimes we have to do what we can to get an opportunity to fish and so it is my luck that this year I have been against a wall of bad luck. It is called fishing not catching so no excuses of bananas on board. I will blame the cause to this trip to my lack on getting fresh bait for my self on this trip. I only went out once to get fresh bait and it was only micro blue runners and jacks that I found, plenty for yellow tails but no mutton snapper bait. I could have gone and tried harder to get some good goggle eyes but I just did not have the time and did not want to kill my self over the bait and so I made the wrong decision of calling the Captains in the keys and depended 100% on them. Well, there was no bait in the Keys, no one had it and even ballyhoos were not accessible for purchasing since it is commercially closed in August. Out of 4 Captains called and 5 bait shops visited and was only able to acquire frozen old bait and I mean freezer burnt old bait. Our only chance was to get fresh bait on the boat.

As we got to the dock it was the usual unload and get all ready for the trip, after doing so we enjoyed a nice Hogfish Sandwich and a few drinks. The boat left the docks and we arrived at the grounds at around 4am in the morning. First stop 110 feet deep. At this dept you are usually able to acquire fresh bait. I got my net ready as a few flying fish were visible, dang it they left as soon as the engine stopped running, crap! I tried the sabiki for some gogs but had no luck and the sun came up a bit later than usual giving us more time but the bait just wasn’t at this stop. OH well, we tried getting yellow tails and we got plenty of that, a story that would repeat over and over during the day. It was now night time Friday, the boat was anchored at 110 to 120 on all the stops and the flying fish came close to the boat and I was able to secure at least a dozen or so of them but about 8 were only 3 inches long which was not so useful when you are in yellow tail City. The yellow tail would just chump at the small baits and when using the old frozen baits those would just fall right off and when hooking them in the spine you would just bring the cleaned out bones, if you are a fish bone collector this was the time for you to appreciate, not for me. It was time for a super hot shower get a little cleaned up and drink a beer re look at my strategies and see if I could do something on Saturday to turn my luck around.

The clock kept going as it always does, it was now past midnight and the Captain tried moving to deeper water the current was good for 8 ounce fishing but the wind and the current were on opposite ends, it was tangle city USA. New Yorkers against Canadians, against Floridians blaming each other for the tangles when it was nothing but wind to be blamed, LOL. It all got quiet everyone looked at each other and kept on trying to fish with some relocation to other places on the boat. As the day came by us the captain again moved to shallower waters this time to some ledges in 85 to 90 feet of water.  Well it was another bust, hardly any bites and sad to say maybe the reason we weren’t catching much is in the video below. My buddy Ed dropped a Gopro in 90 feet of water with a small contraption we devised, take a look and just pause it when you see fish.

Later in the day we made another move and when I saw that ledge on the screen I was so happy, I hurried down and grabbed my jigging rod, jigged and jigged but nothing happened. We actually had arrived in shark city USA, shark are always all over the Dry Tortugas and up to date I have been able to avoid them by using crabs, octopus, and squid, well nothing else was interested on those offerings other that yellow tails that were chomped by the sharks anyways!  But then the sharks moved out and up came some action with a few muttons and some nicer size yellow tails and juvenile red groupers. As the sun started to go down Ed gets a blue runner, I immediately cut it and tell him how too hook up the chunk. He sent it down and only a few seconds when BABAM!!!! ZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZ he thinks is a shark and Jarvis and I at the same time say “iIT’S A NICE SIZE MUTTON RUN MAN!!!” Ed did his thing and got the fish up inch by inch. “UFFF!” he said, “got him!” and so he retired for a little while in the afternoon right after that, the man sure was happy of the catch, LOL.

Ed and his prized catch

Ed's happy with his biggest mutton so far

As the night fell on us I went back to bait fishing, the bait was hitting small sabikis and guess what? I only had huge sabikis that worked in the past, I left my smaller sabkis at home because I tried to downsize on the tackle I brought. ARRRG! I only got one goggle eye and 2 blue runners. The blue runners were taken by sharks and the goggle eye was lost because Rodney the Rod Holder failed me. the rod holder was in a spot that when I pulled it out the lever went on free spool as I got a bite. CRAPOLAS AGAIN!!! OH well again, the afternoon came by and the weather turn for a bit and we lost some of the wind and the clouds, Nice! WEED! WEED! WEED! Not the one you smoke the good stuff lots of Sargasso floating around. I got prepared and setup a rod in case dolphins got close by. Nothing came close by so I went to the stern to try and sling a knocker rig with a whole ballyhoo on 30 pound test braid line for a shot at a mutton and what happens to pass by as sling my bait out into the depth? 3 dolphins, 2 cows and a bull. Art a quick thinking fisherman also had the same Idea as I did and had a rod ready so he sent the chunked bait out and hooked on to a small cow and kept it in the water long enough for other to throw some bait out. I already had the whole ballyhoo on my knocker rig so I brought it  in to the top and got nailed by a bigger cow. At least I got a 10 pound mahi mahi on this try and did it by chance since my prepared mahi mahi rod was at the front. After that it was nothing but yellow tails and yellow tails for me. Art and Jarvis who are regulars on the boat had fresh goggle eyes and speedos, they were hauling one quality mutton here and there at a few stops. Art won the pool with one of those fish and I think Jarvis ended with 8 muttons or so after Jarvis no one had more that 3 or 4 muttons and I only got a short  one I had to let go.

It was past 12am on this night and Sunday had arrived, Ed spent a lot of time sleeping because he developed a big back pain but he kept on fishing in between naps, I woke him up to help me with the bait.  I went on to try and try and we did nothing but try. In the end I only a small strawberry, a 10 pound mahi mahi and had kept only 20 yellow tails since I used the rest for bait. That was all I had to show for this trip. I didn’t even take a pic of me with the fish. It was not a worthy catch. Here are some more pics for your enjoyment.

On left a nice vintage modified for fishing, you get to see so many creative stuff in Key West. On right a look at the boat from the Hog Fish Grill restaurant

My dream car  Yankee Capts Boat sign

The boat now has some nice front racks!

A view of the Yankee Capts front rack

Ed working the bow and Lindon with his watchful eyes always ready to help someone

Lindon and his watchfull eye

Richard the new mate with one of Jarvis muttons

the new mate holding a mutton

The New Yorkers working the transom. They sure looked like they had fun.

The New Yorkers doing their thing

On left Captain Yuri, flying right by us. We were fishing the same waters he was. On right an Andy Griffiths boat also went right by us

Captain Yuri passing by   Andy Grifiths passing by

A nice weed patch we worked on Saturday

One hell of a weed patch

On the way in a look at the yellow tail filled totes

The trip's catch

The tourist boats from the Keys on the left and on the right the Catamaran from Fort Myers to Key West, talk about speed

Key West tourist boats   Talk about speed

I wonder how the winds were in Key West, this sailboat got stuck on a sand bar, expensive mistake.

In trouble

Fishermen gathered around waiting for their catch to be distributed

fish distribution