Yankee Capts April 13th to 14th 2 day trip, my first trip of the year in 2013

THE FISHING TRIP:
Aboard the “Yankee Capts” with Captain Greg

The Spot : Dry TortugasYankee Capts 2013 Bow configuration

Weather : Weak cool north breeze

Water: Sometimes clear and sometimes with that nice sandy mix

Fish catches: Mutton Snapper, Yellow Tail Snappers, Cobia, King Fish, Amber Jack, Porgie, Bonitos

Biggest size Type : 30.8 pound Kingfish, 25.4 pound cobia, and 25 pound Amber Jack

Techniques : Vertical Jigging, cut bait, and live bait

Jigs : 100-250 gram,  butterfly jigs, speed jigs, silver, green, and blue colors worked the most.

We left to start fishing on the 13th and someone brought bananas on the boat! It was very, very slow, but had great fun as always

I missed two trips this year because of work  keeping me at a standstill on life. so It’s been several months since my last report and was hoping for it to be a good one but as sometimes happens not always do we get a limit or half a limit on a Dry Tortugas trip. We had a bit of a heat wave, a weak cool north breeze with no hot bites in between. The water looked nice, sometimes clear and sometimes with that nice sandy mixed color I like. As usual the Yankee Capts crew did everything they could to get the fishing going. We fished in 110’ to 120’s and when the wind calmed down we fished 190 ‘ then 220 to 245. After the wind came back we went to 90’ and then back up to 180’. At times there was no time wasted, if only sharks bit and nothing worth it came up, they moved the boat in hopes for the fish to bite. It was nice to get the opportunity to fish in those depths and with barely any current I deployed large baits for groupers (whole Spanish macks, speedos, and other freshly caught baits, butterflied or chucked), no groupers, only sharks were the takers. On a couple of stops I was even able to get a 1.5 ounce knocker rig down to 240’ using 17 pound test line and a strip of kingfish and again with a baby flyer caught in the early am before the sun came up. Only a nice yellow tail came from that. The vertical jigging only produced 2 small kingfish, a bonito, and a baby red grouper. I threw so many different jigs and every color and size I had in my bag of tricks but still wasn’t enough to get the bite going. I had macks and goggle eyes caught in the a.m. but those were no help. The combos and crabs did not work the kingfish, bonito, and blue runners I got while jigging got me a porgie and some yellow tails.

Saturday morning came in with a tail bite that did not last long and a small school of Mahis that I missed as they were all over the stern but not near the bow. I was stubborn and fished only the bow. I should have moved around since the boat was not even half full. I paid the price. In the afternoon all I got was an AJ with a butterflied goggle eye. On Saturday night I was running low on fresh bait so I put a chunk of a flyer and asked Rodney the rod holder for some help while I tried to get some more flying fish with the net. Irish man screamed “YOUR ROD!” I handed him my net to retrieve and started fighting the shark that turned into a cobia. The new mate got it on the head with one shot and as Chad was taking it to the box we decided to weigh it so I took my scale and put it on Chads fish hook, it showed 24 pounds and slipped out sending Chad’s fish hook flying towards his family jewls. Somehow he managed to hurt and laugh at the same time, sorry mate! Later that night while listening to Cameron’s, Chad’s, and the Captain’s jokes I asked Rodney to do me a favor again and told the guys I was going to sit down and watch Rodney getting me a mutton. I was joking around and bam! I did get a mutton, the only one I was to get for the rest of the trip.

As Sunday morning came it got a bit boring as the bite was not really there again. No hits on the big baits barely any on the small baits so I decided to give it a try and get a kingfish and others were trying it as well. I saw a pod of bonitos jump through the air like sardines and so I retrieved my rig and tossed it back out almost in front of it hoping for a nice fish other than bonitos to hit it and very quickly the drag started singing zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz together with the bad bearing in my very well used spinning reel rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, zzrzzrzzrzrrzrrzrrzrrzrzzrzzrzz, you get the point on the sound LOL. Well from the bow to the stern, two sweat drops down my head and zig sagging over, under, around all the way to the other side and everyone politely moving and helping by getting out the way then it was Chad on one end and Lyndon on the other making sure the fish hit the deck and so it did. Fish in the box pool money in the works. I tossed another horse size fresh ballyhoo out and just waited sweating for that last call from the captain and all lines out. This wouldn’t have been the first time someone won the pool money 5 minutes from the end of the trip.

A father and son (I think they were) had a combined 6 muttons next to the stern. It was the son’s first time fishing and gets about 3 of those muttons and one of them was about 15 pounds. At the end my take home final tally was a 30.8 pound king fish (the pool winner), a 25.4 pound cobia, a 25 pound AJ, one 10 pound mutton (the biologist did the weigh in), a nice porgie, and some yellow tails.

It was great to see some familiar faces as always. Cameron, hope you have a nice voyage back to Canada man, it was nice to fish with you again, see you next year man. Cameron is a friend I met a few years ago on the Yankee Capts fishing Headboat out of Watson Island in the Florida Keys.

I forgot my camera and had my gopro pointing to the skies so here are the only pictures I got. Thanks crew members for taking them.

cobia 4-14-13

kingfish2_ 4-15-13

Yankee Capts 6/30 to 7/1 2012 Quality Pickings and Great Fun

Yankee Capts 6/30 to 7/1 quality pickings and great fun

THE FISHING TRIP:
Aboard the “Yankee Capts” with Captain Greg
The Spot : Dry Tortugas
Weather : Clear skies, hot day and night
Water: Clear
Fish catches: Mutton Snapper, Yellow Tail Snappers, King Fish, Amber Jack, Almaco Jacks, Bonitos
Biggest size Type : 18 lb Mutton Snapper
Techniques : Vertical Jigging, cut bait, and live bait
Jigs : 100-250 gram, butterfly jigs, speed jigs, silver, green, and blue colors worked the most.

At the last minute I decided to jump on the 2 day Yankee Capts trip. I did not have much time to go out and catch bait on my own but I did look for Gogs but couldn’t find them so I loaded with white bait, small runners, and dork jacks. Nilson (rare) one of my fishing buddies gave me some more bait including some pinfish and so I went on my way to the Keys.

The boat left at 10pm on a hot night and to hot days to follow. We started fishing about an hour or more before sunrise. First day was slow pickings but some quality fish in 120 feet or so of water showed up which was a great start for some. The current in shallow water was great but as the captain moved to 200 and up it was insane. We were close to the edge of the Gulf Stream I tried up to 18 ounces and would not hold. The Captain did a few attempts on water close to this depth but the current was too much. We had to fish shallow and even in the shallow water the current picked up.

You all know what happens when you are that shallow in the summer, YELLOW TAIL ATTACK! Many switched to catching Flag Yellow Tails, but to those that kept pursuing the muttons and groupers it paid off. Some nice Red Goupers, Black Goupers, and one Scamp were caught. I did ok, I got 11 Muttons 4 of which were 5 to 8 pounds the rest were in the double digits one was 18 pounds and another was 16 pounds which made me glad. I know Jarvis, Dom, and Daniel (regulars on that boat) got some 20 pounders as well as 2 or 3 other people. Vertical jigging I got 2 kings a keeper AJ and an Almaco that was used for bait. I finished my snapper limit with yellow Tails from 18 to 22 inches.

I tried to get some more pics but you all know what happens when you catch a fish, you just want to continue catching. Went to the back with Daniel to take a pic with his nice mutton but it was already iced up. On future trips it would be nice if some people stop for a few second and snap a few shots too. Pictures look great when a fish has just been caught. Here are some of the pics for your enjoyment:

My 18 pounder

My 16 pounder

I lost two big fish because of hook failure; word to the wise if a deal on the flea market looks too good to be true it might as well be too good to be true. I paid 2 dollars for 200 hooks. These two cause me 2 quality fish lost.

This boat came so close trolling one rod and it was only a couple of feet above the anchor line; I guess he wanted the GPS location.

When the sunset came the Black Fins started to show and were all caught on bait, none came in with artificial. Also a Wahoo had shown up we threw everything at it but it was not interested.

Here is the NOAA field biologist doing his research.

Preparing to recieve the catch

YANKEE CAPTS 6-14- TO 6-16-2012 Great fun and nice fishing

YANKEE CAPTS 6-14- TO 6-16-2012 Great fun and nice fishing

Since the Yankee Capts had to make the decision to stay year round in the Keys there was an opportunity to get on a limited load private charter, unfortunately some people couldn’t get the days off to go fishing and it was canceled but they have another private charter scheduled to leave on the 25th of June. Good luck Capt. Bill and others going on that Yankee Capts private charter that week. The fish are chewing and the current on these moon phases are usually favorable.

Well the private charter was canceled so I decided to jump on this weekend’s 2 day Tortugas marathon. The trip was great for many as some nice fish showed up and we had a nice spectacle with Wahoo, nice Blackfins, and Sailfish showing up.

For me it all started as it always does, getting bait at the nameless bridge in the keys passing by Pizza Works afterwards for my 2 slices of delicious cheese pizza and some Key lime pie slices for the trip.


We went into the sunset to get to the fishing ground by around 1:00am. In the meantime we got to watch the Basketball Game. Sorry guys but I have to say it “GO HEAT!”

The morning started slowly for me, one pink muffing and since I saw Bobby hooked on an AJ I took out my toys to do some jigging and had some fun with a 50 pounder AJ that was released. What a pain they are to fight but I love it.

The second stop was very slow and the third stop was on fire so I was able to pick up 6 more muffins on that one. A few stops came through with slowly pickings so many took advantage and did the right move “got fresh bait” kingfish were plentiful and bonitas had a good showing. I was stubborn and lost a few vertical jigs and when I used a butter knife jig and then the right and normal kingfish jig the bite died off. Later in the morning we had some more AJ and Almaco fun on jigs as well as playing with some peanut dolphins and a popper. It was nice to see them going for a popper that was half their size. If these dolphins were in the 10 to 15 pound range I have no doubt they would have hit the popper veraciously. Some ended catching a few on cut baits and so did I.    We saw a small craft out there fishing the same grounds we were. That was odd for me to see. The boat was smaller than 25 feet I would say.

A few stops after produced some mutton in the 20 pound range. I lost my opportunity as my drag was locked and had to figure out how to work around it and it was a major pain the rest of the trip. Here is a pic of quiet Brandon (I think that his name?)with his nice mutton from that stop.  As the day went on it was slowly pickings for me until I figured that my lever was faulting on my reel, it went to full while on strike. I took some time and fixed the issue. The cap on my tension settings had fallen off so water must have had gotten in it so I applied a bit of oil and I was able to set it correctly right on time to get this Black Grouper out of his hole.

The day went on and we hit 300 feet of water with no current problems 6 and 8 ounces was all that we needed to get the bait down. A few nice ARS came up, mines was only a keeper but I got to get one of the ones caught. Here is Eduardo with his nice fish and me with my keeper ARS.    The deep water was holding some of the 20 pounders caught.  Some were caught but not by me this time.

Here is a look at one of the first two boxes to fill before they put the ice on the top layer.

As the day finished Mike on fire (we nicked named him that during the trip) got a nice 30 pounder blackfin, a party that came celebrating a graduation got one as well just to be knocked down from the pool by a nice surprise on tiny bait. Don’t know how much it weighed but it was a very nice size wahoo. This stop was pretty much exiting since Little Monster (another regular on the boat) hooked up a nice night time sail fish that took him around the boat 4 times until he decided to just let go and popped off.    On the way back we saw a nice water spout forming and touching down.

Overall I have to say it was another great trip, and a great job by the Captains Greg and Linden and mates. By the way the food was great! High hooks were the norms, Jarvis and Bobby with Mike on fire tailing close. I can humbly say I only ended with 10 muttons, an ARS, some yellow tails, a yellow eye, 4 peanut dolphins for the tacos, a delicious scamp, a black grouper, and more experience on these trips. As always it was great fun fishing with great people. There were a total of 18 totes filled if I am not mistaken.

Yankee Capts 4-8 to 4-10-2011- A Wreck Trip

THE FISHING TRIP: April 8TH through April 10th, 2011
Aboard the “Yankee Capts” with Captain Greg
The Spot : Offshore West Coasto, Florida into the Gulf Of Mexico
Weather: sunny, 5 to 10 knot winds
Seas: Calm
Water: Clear in the morning and less visibility in the afternoon
Fish catches:  Amberjack, Almaco Jacks, Yellow Tail Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Mutton snapper, Cubera Snapper, American Red Snapper, Red Grouper, African Pompano, kingfish, and bonitos in the mix
Biggest size : Type : Cubera Snapper 37 pounds
Technique: Jigging and fishing with live and chunk white bait and speedos
Jigs :100-300 gram; pink worked the most on this trip.

Prolog:
Hi all, it’s been a while since I’ve written a fishing report but here I am giving it a try. I apologize in advance if the story line is not in the order in which the events took place. I went to fish and not to document the catches. So here it goes:
I was supposed to go fishing to the Bahamas in May but changes in my schedule forced me to cancel, but I had the itch for some jigging fun and catching something that could bring some pain to my shoulders, arms or my back. Well, I guess I am trying to say I needed some stress release so I booked a newly opened trip on the Yankee Capts “A WRECKS TRIP” OH boy, this sounded great for the stress release situation. A chance to really work some flutter and vertical jigs on some AJ’s and hopefully some grouper or snappers to gain some “PAIN” and get the stress out of my mind!

Chapter 1

CRAP! We ain’t fishing in the Tugas? Somebody brought bananas?
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OOOPS! I guess I did not read on the trip well enough. We were to fish wrecks in the gulf, wayyyyyyy up from the Tugas! When I found out I re read In my mind I thought “hmmmmmmm, king fish, cudas, lots of groupers, AJ’s, maybe some cobes, and a chance for permit in the wrecks”. Again I have a busy schedule so I had a very short window to really prepare since my rule to fish from a boat is “as much fresh bait as possible” and by that I mean the bait cannot be caught more than 3 days before the trip and the countdown first day starts at night. I started checking my goggle eye spot sources and those did not look promising, but then I thought I am looking for pain so I need to gather bait for the bait to target bait to catch pain species (In case you did not understand what I meant is that I was looking for bait to get legal size bait to catch big fish with shoulder and back wrecking strength). OK, so that meant bait like pilchards, threadfin herrings, small pin fish, blue runners, etc…. Well things started bad as planning had to go down the drain since we weren’t going to the Tugas, and to top it off someone (cough, cough) brought bananas in the boat?

Chapter 2
Preparation.
I am used to fishing by myself or a few friends form bridges, jetties, or beaches “I’m a BOATLESS individual” so I pack HEAVY! We have lots of space to run for the rod that gets the hit, this did not make it difficult to choose the basic needs to get the basic pain I wanted.
1- A spinning rod to jig with guts to get something away from the wrecks, a reel with enough drag and line to pull anything that could inflict pain
2- A spinning rod for bait that could be possibly used to get a 30 pound king fish in the boat
3- A conventional rod and reel to get nice legal size baits ( in the pound range)
4- A conventional rod and reel to get the big pain givers at sunrise and sunset
5- A conventional rod that could be used as a back up for 3 and 4 above
The above is my own list for a limited fishing trip (limited amount of fisher men or women on a single long range trip)

Chapter 3

The bait gathering

On the 7th of April It all started bad, I was supposed to go to a bridge that holds cigar minnows, small goggle eyes, (especially since I had to be at the dock in Stockton Island before 10 pm on Thursday). I started the day with the OHHHH boy I ain’t got bait in my coolers! I am lucky enough that I live close to the keys so I went straight to the Yellow bait house in Key Largo and haggled on some goggle eyes ( I know I said I may not need them but you never know what bait is the preferred bait of the day so I got them), and got some live shrimp (did not keep live, just placed in bag in the cooler). I went to the first bridge to get herrings and whatever else I could, I saw Jarvis and his friends said high to them as they left and I continued getting bait. I jumped to a second bridge to cast net some ballyhoos after a few one by one tries I went to the third bridge where most of the people fishing in the trip where there. Got the pins and separated them by size in zipper bags, small medium, large, and mixed bag (different baits).

Chapter 4

Fishing:

On the 8th of April after a loooooooong ride to the first wreck right before sunrise we all tried for some groupers and then did the switch to other baits and styles of fishing. You could see knocker rigs, fish finder rigs, free lining, heavy bottom weights, and light weights. My observation was that all in all everybody was trying something different and everybody was watching each other to see what worked at the moment as if we were on a pier where someone gets a fish to bite and all of a sudden you see 10 other fishermen in the same spot. Them not knowing that the fish are all over but it’s up to them to get them to bite where they are.
I and a few people got what we wanted, nice fish. And I definitely got what I wanted, PAIN! I started jigging and got on to some AJ’s while everyone else tried hard to get other fish. After my Aj’s a few African Pompanos came up, we got a few very rare Red Americans( cough, cough) and that was promising. As always the captains and crew worked hard and moved from spot to spot trying to make sure that all got into some “QUALITY FISH”. Yes, this trip was not meant to be about numbers or just Muttons, but about quality in size of fish that inhabit the wrecks.
I kept saying I am going to battle with the AJ’s, and so I did. I got 12 out of about 20. My shoulders were hurting, my back was in pain, my arms had a great work out, ended up got bruises all over, and ended up keeping the smaller ones to eat. The night came and so we started targeting snappers and groupers, to our surprise a ballyhoo going down produced a nice black fin (sorry I am bad with remembering names)…. So I tried jigging at night with no success, I went back to bottom fishing.
On the 9th (or my birthday) fishing was going very slow so I decided to break my rules and target the yellow tails using a guppy rig ( chicken rig) I know it sounds bad but I did it and I said it “aint no shame in this game, fish don’t know the difference! I went with the smorgasbord buffet special baits, LOL…A big mixed bait on the top, a smaller mixed bait on the middle, and a tiny single bait on the bottom… I dropped it and then POW!!! Rod tip bent, tangle with 3 people is on, I kept on reeling in, captain Greg ran to the bow to help, and Jarvis started s creaming don’t pull he’s got a big tail on… A nice tail comes up I say it’s a flag but Mr. Caesar says “NO!, is not a flag, IT’S A BANNER!”….Thanks goes to Jarvis and Capt Greg for the help on landing the nice y-tail. It was 26.5” total length as the picture shows it and may be even more if I had pinched the tail some more…. Instead of shrinking this thing grew from 24.5” inches to a nice 26.5”. After that a nice 15 or so pound red was landed and a real NICE 24 pounder mutton was landed as well. The day kept going with the moving from spot to spot. Others were having fun with jigging and on the same day Roberto was able to sneak the jig in between all the Aj’s and got a nice 25 pound or so black fin. After that a nice surprise came in the form of a cubera snapper, the Yankee fan was able to pull the pool winner 37 pounder, which rumors had it was around 50 pounds but that later was confirmed to be 37 pounds on the scale. A one of a kind for many, but just smaller one for the person that caught it ( he got a bigger one in Panama), but HEY!, this one was in Florida during our trip!
On the 1oth, things kept going slow with blue fish and lanes in the mix and finally Capt Matt decided to make a last minute move to arrive at sunrise city where we prepared for groupers and got hit hard, rods bent all over and a few Goliaths came over the rail but no reds or blacks, then all of a sudden the nice size mangrove snapper started to show until Mr. Sharky showed up and capt Greg gave us the last call for the trip.

Conclusion:

The bananas in the boat had to be eaten before we all started catching some fish. All in all fishing was slow for those that did not want to fish, we got nice quality fish, and we had a great time. The Captains did their job so did the mates and it was up to us to get the fish. We all did what we could and some of us landed something very nice. Numbers didn’t matter, quality did. The trip was fun and smelly because (cough, cough)” middle bunks situation” with someone bringing bait in their clothes and leaving it somewhere in there. I ended up taking lots of bait but ended using mostly artificials, (it’s what I asked for, “PAIN”). I did not fish for cudas as it was just to easy to do so, they were all over and a tube lure would have been just too easy.

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