Pulley Ridge Lite 2017 – Quality and Good Times Tourney

This is our third annual trip to Pulley Ridge on board the Yankee Capts. As always, it was a blast to be fishing with great fishermen from our fishing forum communities. It is always great to put a face to screen names and it’s always great to hear how they fish in their areas. The exchange of ideas and knowledge is invaluable on these trips. Our trip this year was a grind like we haven’t seen before, but the captain was able to pull a rabbit out of the hat. He put us on top of quality fish and then found some fish that were chewing so we were able to catch and put fish in everyone’s cooler.

What a start! I got to the docks on 3 cylinders making me show up later than I ever would have. When I got there the Captain asked me if we were all at the dock so we could leave earlier and as I was told we were, with the exception of 3 people. I started contacting all the missing fishermen. One was by the Navy base, Victor (alias Martin and 5 other names including mutton slayer of this trip) was late, told me I am 20 minutes away but showed up an hour later, and Andre showed up as we were waiting on Victor. I counted the 19 we were supposed to have and we left the dock. As we were out on the water and on the channel bound to the fishing grounds, the boat stops. The Captain had to turn the boat around because Andre called saying we left him at the dock. CRAP!!! I must have counted the extra person on the boat (a Captain in training). We made our way back to the dock, picked up Andre and then off to the fishing grounds we went. Below a pic of Andre being picked up.

Pulley Ridge 201701

As we went on our way we got a nice surprise snack from the Chef.

Pulley Ridge 201702

Thanks to OSAGE, H4L jigs, Jigging Depot, and this tiny blog of mine we were able to give away hats, T-shirts, and some nice jigs, knives, and other tackle.  All took place on the second floor while at the same time I gave a small orientation.

DCIM107GOPROOur plan was to start with ARS (American Red Snappers) at about 1 am and then make a run to Pulley Ridge but a storm was on top of the fishing spot and as we got to another spot we were greeted by the taxman (sharks). Bill and a few others were able to get away from the sharks and landed a few ARS and other fish. We then took off to Pulley Ridge and arrived in the am. The bite was slow but we managed to catch a few here and there.

Below is John with a keeper Red Grouper caught on a goggle eye bait.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below is Jongsoo with a Red Grouper caught on 220 gram Jigging Depot jig.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below is Nilson with a keeper Red Grouper caught on a goggle eye bait and Rori telling him to let him grow a tad bit.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below is Victor, the slayer, with a nice Red Grouper caught on a goggle eye bait.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Victor again with a Mutton Snapper caught on a goggle eye bait as Brian is trying to lick a bit of luck off his smoking head.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Victor again with another Red Grouper caught on a goggle eye bait.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jongsoo got this Red Grouper with a 220 gram silver SharkjigPulley Ridge 201703

Imram got his Grouper on bait.Pulley Ridge 201704

Daniel landed his Mutton Snapper on the jig. This one got him the first Mutton of the trip prize.Pulley Ridge 201705

I managed to land this nice Blackfin on a silver 120 gram Jigging Depot jig. This one took the biggest Blackfin pool.Pulley Ridge 201706

I believe Alex landed his Mutton Snapper on a jig as well. This one took the biggest Snapper pool.Pulley Ridge 201707

Chris below with a big Black Grouper. This one won the Biggest Grouper pool. He caught this Grouper using an 8 ounce buck tail jig tipped with ballyhoo.Pulley Ridge 201723

He picked it up a few times for those taking pictures.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below is Brian trying to show a Lionfish inside the Grouper’s mouth. Yes, they have reached Pulley Ridge.Pulley Ridge 201708

Here is some bendo action by Dustin.Pulley Ridge 201709

The bite stopped and the grind started after lunch. Luckily for those who paid the $100 for the all inclusive food package we were in for a culinary treat. Below is the Brizo, a grilled panini with smoked turkey, salami, Brie, Swiss Cheese, Berry Chipotle, and Aoli Balsamic glaze. WOW that was good!

Pulley Ridge 201710

Around 3 pm we got into a few more bites. Here I am with another Mutton Snapper caught on a silver 220 gram Sharkjig.Pulley Ridge 201711

I apologize to the guys as I was not carrying my pocket camera but instead I had to run to the table to reach for my big DSLR camera. Below are Mutton Snappers caught by William and not sure if it was Andre or Dustin on the jigs. This was a short bite around 7pm or so.

Pulley Ridge 201712

Night time came and we got a nice dinner, a Chicken Cordon Bleu, White Wine Beurre Blanc Sauce, Sauteed Spinach, and a Parmesan Risotto with a side salad. This is when I learned the beer was included in the $100 all inclusive meal plan.

Pulley Ridge 201713

Night time was another grind, I expected the Blackfins to show in large numbers but it never happened. Below is Bill with a Red Grouper around 5 am.Pulley Ridge 201714

The Captain moved and the a.m. gave us another short lived hot bite. Here is Chris with his Red Grouper on the jig.Pulley Ridge 201715

Below is Bill with his Mutton Snapper on bait.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nilson below with his Mutton Snapper on bait.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below is Jordan with his nice King Mackerel from a flat line.Pulley Ridge 201716

We were also expecting a good number of Wahoos, but the guys trolling lost a few hits and waited for one to materialize. It just did not happen so they fell asleep.Pulley Ridge 201717

Since the bite was so slow Captain Greg took us to deeper waters in the 350′ to 450′ range where a mixture of AJ, decent size Almaco Jacks, and some Groupers were slowly caught. Below is Chris with his catch caught on a jig.Pulley Ridge 201718

Jongsoo got lucky and won a prize for most unique fish. He landed a nice size Long Tail Bass.Pulley Ridge 201719

Nothing was happening so we made a 25 mile ride to another area where Robert was able to land a very nice Black Grouper. He patiently waited on this fish to get out of the hole, but in the end he had to just put that pressure and pull him out.Pulley Ridge 201720

Alex found a nice Almaco jack here.Pulley Ridge 201721

After that we moved again and this time we were in a hot ARS and Yellow Eye Snapper bite. I think everyone was able to get fish in their coolers on this stop. Below is Rory with a nice Scamp Grouper caught on Squid bait.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dinner was a very nice Surf and Turf combination; Filet Mignon, Crab Cake, Hosin Greens, Roasted Red Potato, and Side Salad plus a great raspberry shake. After dinner we went on our way to one more stop. Some fishermen went to sleep, while others stayed awake preparing their rigs, checking their bait and chit chatting a bit.

Pulley Ridge 201722

At 2 am Sunday we arrived at our last stop, so I went to the bunks screaming LAST CALL TO FISH GUYS, IF YOU WANT FISH WAKE UP! Someone screamed F- DAT gonna keep sleeping!  Well this stop was mayhem fish after fish after fish, many got their ARS limit here and many put fish in the cooler. The Blue Runners were a pain, but I was able to get my limit of ARS and got me a few Muttons as well. Below is Nilson with his 2 am ARS.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We got back to the dock and put away our tackle. Then the ending ritual began, numbers called, people responded and fish went flying into their coolers. Below is Brian walking towards Mario’s cooler with his African Pompano.

Pulley Ridge 201704

Once the fish were in the fishermen’s coolers, it was off to the scales to see who had the biggest Grouper, Snapper, and Blackfin Tuna. Below is Chris who  won the Grouper category by a landslide.

Pulley Ridge 201705

I won the Blackfin Tuna category with only a couple of pounds difference.Pulley Ridge 201706

Alex won the Mutton Snapper category with a nice difference in weight.Pulley Ridge 201707

All in all, there were some mishaps at the start, but great food started early, and the giveaways were given. As we started fishing we had some quiet time with slow quality pickings, and then ended up with some mayhem fishing time.

After the long grind many of us were able to fill our coolers. Here is my 120 quart cooler, I was very happy about it. Pulley Ridge 201708

Below is Victor, the Slayer’s catch.

Victor's fish

Below is Miami Chris’ catch

The best part was that I did not have to go hunting for ice since the boat now has ice for sale on the property.Pulley Ridge 201703

Below is the menu we had  to chose from, sorry for the blurriness, it was hard to get a good pic.

Pulley Ridge 201726 menu

A big thanks and kudos to Captain Greg Mercurio for allowing us to fish more on the way back home, finding a way to put us on the fish that were biting, Those last stops put a lot of fish in our coolers. Another big thanks to the crew for working as hard as you always do. I hope the black box was filled with a good share of thanks from the fishermen of this trip. And who could forget the great food and the “wake me up at any time to cook food for you” from Chef Chad. Once again an awesome trip. And one more big thanks to Ricks Reels Service for servicing my reels and returning them on time for my trip.

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.

 

 

 

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.

     Pulley Ridge fishing Pulley Ridge fishing

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

      Pulley Ridge fishing   Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

        Pulley Ridge fishing   Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing  Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

     Pulley Ridge fishing Pulley Ridge fishing

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

    Pulley Ridge fishing   Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

   Pulley Ridge fishing   Pulley Ridge fishing
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.

     Pulley Ridge fishing Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

     Pulley Ridge fishing Pulley Ridge fishing

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

     Pulley Ridge fishing Pulley Ridge fishing

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

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

    Pulley Ridge fishing   Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

      Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing   Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

     Pulley Ridge fishing   Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

P1020673

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing Pulley Ridge fishing

 Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

 Pulley Ridge fishing

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Sailfish Pulley Ridge

Chris and Art kept on the quality hunts.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

    Pulley Ridge fishing Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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.

Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing

Victor and Danny show us their groupers once again.

Pulley Ridge fishing

here is Victor showing off his Almaco Jack

Pulley Ridge fishing

The crew cleaning the fish.

   Pulley Ridge fishing   Pulley Ridge fishing

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

Pulley Ridge fishing     Pulley Ridge fishing

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/

Pulley Ridge fishing Pulley Ridge fishing

Pulley Ridge fishing

Yankee Capts Pulley Ridge Adventure- Deep Drop May 2014- JIG AND CRANK!

It had to happen, I was able to get on a Yankee Capts Pulley Ridge trip. I went in with the hopes on getting some fish on 300 gram to 400 gram vertical jigs and some by hand cranking my Accurate 600 4:1 reel on a Calstar 850H rod using 2 pounds of weight. I was not expecting to compete against people using electric reels and I sure wasn’t expecting to fill a 150 quart cooler with fish and have enough fish to give away. More to that later. I have a jigging trip in July with http://www.360tuna.com forum members and in the board there are a lot of questions on what weight of jigs were needed to get down to the bottom on these 300 to 600+ depths. What could work if jigging and how many tangles one would get if fishing next to people with electric reels. With this report I hope to answer many of those questions. So please just read along and be prepared for many pictures, so let’s get started.

Below are pictures of the boat and the top deck as Captain Greg maneuvers to get out. Yankee Capts boat   Upper Deck Yankee Capts

The top deck showing the rod holder and cooler space along a view to the transom and An setting up his trolling rod while he speaks with Leroy whom is one of the regular people that travel long distances to fish on the Yankee Capts.

Yankee Capts boat 2   Han setting up his trolling rig

 As the boat headed over to the fishing grounds I took notice of some electric reels and some home made and purchased gadgets.

Electric reel 1   Electric reel 2

Below is a PVC pipe filled with concrete. It never saw the water.

PVC pipe with concrete for weight

As the trip moved along An got a hit on his trolling rod, but unfortunately the fish was lost, but hope was still on the horizon as later on he landed a fish.

Han fish on his trolling rig

On to the deep dropping

I will continue the report a little different this time. I will do it as I try to answer some questions by people wanting to jig on these trips.

Is the vertical jigging all the way doable? Yes, if I did it anyone that has a normal slow active life can do so as well. If you are a person that hits the gym every other day this jigging trip will be a breeze. This is what I did and did it testing my limits:

What line and jig size? I started by using a custom Phoenix Titan rod, a Stella 8000PG with a custom 1600 spool that held roughly about 490 yards of  50lb test Tuffline XP line. It was plenty to get down to about 600 +  feet. I used a 350 gram H4L Jiao-Long  jig and as soon as I felt the bottom and first two pumps I was on a small yellow edge grouper.

Yellow edge on jig 2

What is the max rod size,  jig size, line size I need? I continued by switching to a 400 gram rod because I noticed I was getting lots of bites on the Phoenix rod but the bend on the pumps was too much and would not allow me to set the hook properly so I would loose the fish. I had not had that problem using a 300 gram OTI or a 300 gram Spinal rod setup in less than 300 feet, but I guess that this time the depth made a difference on the Phoenix rod. I have used the Phoenix with 300 gram lures and have not had problems in less than 300 feet of water. I guess the sweet spot on that rod is no more than 300 grams. On the 400 gram rod I used a Jigging Master Ocean Devil PE6 reel that held roughly 500 yards of  65 lb Tuffline XP. I got the reel because it was within my means in cash price and it held a good amount of line. The reel has a little play on the handle but other than that I have been able to put the wood on the fish. As we got deeper I also used a 400 gram jig.

Below is a small yet greedy scamp I got on a 400 gram jig on the way up after several attempts on hooking the biting fish. As you can see the jig is almost as big as the fish it self.

Scamp on jig

 The Amberjack below hit on the bottom in 500 feet deep water. I was not expecting that at all. There were less than five caught.

Amberjack on jigAs the day continued and as we went deeper I switched to a 750 gram lucanos style jig with no results on a bare jig or tipped. By the way a 400 to 500 gram jig of similar kind would have done the job. I switched back and forth but my jigging rhythm was already off and I kept getting cramps as I do not normally drink enough water on a daily basis and did not ensure I had done so the day before. I decided to switch to hand cranking dead baits at around 1 pm. I thought perhaps I could actually rest my arms that way and would drink plenty fluids while I did so. Here is a look at some non jigging dead bait catches.

Below a happy fisherman with a Blue Line Tile.Blue Line Tile

An with a nice Yellow Edge Grouper. Han

Me with a Snowy Grouper caught with squid while hand cranking. Snowy Grouper

As the day went on Joe used a Gold  Hammered jig and the assist hook with a squid skirt. He got a Blue Line Tile on it. So yes, the diamond jigs do work.Joe Blue Line Tile on Diamond Jig

As the sun was falling down another happy fisherman by the name of Lonnie Blue Thang Man, a little pun intended on the blue line tiles he got 🙂   landed a nice size snowy grouper.Lonnie

After Joe got his Blue Line Tile, it occurred to me that maybe the glow lures would work better at sunset so I rapidly started jigging again and used a Salt Water Assassin sea shad which helped me land a nice size Blue Line Tile.Blue Line Tile 2

 How many tangles could there be if I fished next to people with electric reels? while vertical jigging I had 6 tangles during the entire trip. I was able to maneuver in between all the lines. Now, the electric guys them selves is another story as they bring 2 to 3 fish at once and these are spinning all the way up, so they did have more tangles. Even while hand crancking I only had a few tangles.

Will I loose many rigs to the bottom? I did not loose a single rig to the bottom but did loose one to the tangles.

Night time came by, I was exhausted. I went upstairs drank as many sports drinks as I could and ate a couple of protein bars right before the dinner served at the galley which hit the right spot in my stomach. While dinner was served Captain Greg moved to boat to a shallow mound that held mutton and groupers. I took the opportunity to take a nice nap and recuperate a bit. As we started fishing we set our 8 to 10 ounce weights Cesar got a nice red grouper and so I started fishing for them as well. An used a nicely  cut piece of speedo and landed a nice mutton snapper.I knew I had a light weight snapper rod but the bottom as explained to me had very few rocks and holes for the grouper to hide so my 30 lb test line and 40 lb leader would do just fine. I used a speedo head just like Cesar did and also landed another red grouper.

Cesar and his red fire truck.Cesar Red Grouper

 An and one of his mutton snappers. An Mutton

Me with my red fire truck.Herb Red Grouper

The bite slowed down and so did I, I took another power nap and hydrated my self again and again until I was feeling better. Then the sound I wanted to hear was heard. Blackfin Tuna! I know many of you don’t care about them but here in Florida is hard for us to get them past 5 to ten pounds so I hurried and started jigging and set my goal at ten but it was a bit slow so I lowered my goal to 5 and then at around 2 am and after not getting any more red groupers and with An landing about 3 or 4 muttons and Cesar doing the same I started to get my rhythm back and so I got to my goal and said I would get one more and as I got one more people started asking for some tuna for bait or for their coolers and the tunas started growing from 5 pounds to decent 20 pounders. In the end I ended tired at 10 or eleven blackfin tunas of which I gave away 6 of them. A few more people got some nicer ones on bait and some decent ones on jigs. All in all I would have landed more but had the smaller 250 gram spinal rod set up with 30 lb braid and 50 lb mono (momoi line) I had forgotten I tested this line with the PR knot and forgot to take it off, the line slipped away. I will never do that again. I then switched to a 50 lb leader that I had never used and perhaps was a few years old. The knot was on there but it would brake on the part that held the solid ring, at first I thought I was getting cut off but the after a few tries I decided to test the knot and POP! every time I pulled on it by hand it broke. I switched the leader to 80 lb mono and had no problems after that.

 Herb Black Fin tuna Herb Black Fin tuna 2

The night was ending and was almost 4 am so I asked An for a favor, I asked him to wake me up when the sun came up and so he did and I thank him for that. First up was a gentleman and his first red grouper ever, then An and his red grouper. I started jigging again and got another Blue Line Tile.

Another red grouper

An red grouper

Blue Line Tile on Vertical Jig

Jake snicking a selfie while taking my pic.Jake sneaking a selfie

Things started looking better and more and more groupers were hitting the decks. People woke up and filled the rails once again.

Here is a nice 24 lb Yellow Edge Grouper and the happy fisherman that caught it.Yellow Edge Grouper

The tote before the 24 lb grouper.Crate with fish

The tote after the 24 lb grouper.  Crate with fish and 24 lb on top

Here is a look at all people fishing towards the stern.Looking towards the stern

Here is a look at all the people fishing towards the bow.Looking towards the bow

As the day went by more and more fish came in, I had been jigging and hand cranking bait along with 4 others and with weed lines all over the place I kept my eyes opened for more dolphin fish (Mahi Mahi) and all of a sudden something that had not happened during the trio did happen a shark showed up and ate Cesar’s fish that he was battleling for quite a while and then Jake screamed dolphin! (Mahi Mahi the fish). I quickly got my rod and tossed a bonita strip the fish took it and and was landed, but that was the only to see for the rest of the day.

Herb Mahi Mahi

 More and more fish came on board via the electric reels and the coolers were almost to the rim so Captain Greg gave the announcement that we would leave around 5 pm to be back home at 6 am. By this time we were 150 miles from Key West and it would take 12 to 13 hours to get back to the dock. And so the boat was on the way and Joe kindly prepared awesome sashimi with home made sause. This was delicious, he needs to let me know where he wrote the recipe so I can try it again.

 Joe preparing the Sashimi.Joe preparing his sashimiAdding the awesome sauce.Joe preparing his sashimi 2

  Many others joined and got a session on using chop sticks. Sashimi session

Then, as I was taking a shower I hear a lot of screaming. CRANK! CRANK! UPSTAIRS! DOWNSTAIRS! WAHOOOOOO! An’s rod got hit and they landed a wahoo. I ran to get the camera and took a snap shop.

An and the helpers.An's wahoooo

After that event it was the next morning and the totes started to line up the deck with the catch. Below is a pic with only part of the catch.Part of the catch ready for the dock

 As we got back to the docks it was business as usual. Everyone gathered around the totes and the fish was passed along to the people holding their numbers.

 People receiving their fish   People receiving their fish 2

Below is Joe and his pool winning fish.Joe's Mahi Mahi pool winning fish

Here are the 360Tuna members that came on this trip.

360Tuna members on board

 Here is the end summary of my fishing report: THE FISHING TRIP: Pulley Ridge day Fishing Trip Aboard the “Yankee Capts” with Captain Greg The Spot : Around 150 miles off Key West, FL Weather Forecast: Sunny 0% chance of rain, Saturday winds 5 to 10 knots then up to 15 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. The real weather was: Earlier seas 1 to 3 feet and maybe 2 to 3 by Sunday?, clear skies every day. Water: For the most part it was calm in the morning then a bit choppy and mild current later in the afternoon. Current: .5 knots to 1 knot. Fish catches: Yellow Edge Grouper, Snowy Grouper, Red Grouper, Blue Line Tiles, Blackfin Tunas, Mutton Snappers, Amberjacks, Yellow Eye Snappers, Blackfin Snappers, Mahi Mahi, etc. etc.etc… Biggest size Type : Mahi Mahi 28 Pounds, Snowy Grouper, about 30 pounds, Yellow edge grouper about 24 pounds Techniques : Me :Vertical Jigging. 3 others: Hand cranking using dead bait. The rest: Dead bait and electric reels. Jigs I used: 300 grams all glow colors and 400 grams to 500 grams holographic jigs with assist and squid skirt were working. A question was asked on what gear I took so I am adding it here as well. 400 gram JM Terminator II jigging rod with JM OD PE6 and 65lb braid 300 gram Pheonix Titan jigging rod with Stella 8000PG and 50 lb braid 250 gram Spinal jigging rod with Saragossa 10K and 30 lb braid Calstar 850H 8.5 bottom rod with Accurate 600 4:1 low gear single speed. Fished 2 pound lead on it and 850 gram lucanus style jig. Calstar 800L 8.0 bottom rod… fished at night for red grouper / snapper One 7 foot Jaws jigging rod that I used for dolphin with a Diawa Saltist 4500 and 50lb braid. Ii believe the total on my jigs went: One jig bag 6 300 gram jigs 3 350 gram jigs 6 400 gram jigs 2 500 gram jigs many 100 to 250 gram jigs for night time. 2 400 gram lucanos style jigs 2 750 gram lucanos style jigs 2 two pound leads  —  If you are only fishing bait then you might need 4 two pound weights and 4 three pound weights and 2 four pound leads (per http://www.yankeecapts.com site). several 6 ounce weights but did need 8 to 10 ounce weights. <– for snapper/grouper fishing at night 6/0 wide gap circle hooks—25of them 8/0 wide gap circle hooks–25 of them l00 lb leader 2 spools— used 1 spool 80 lb leader 2 spools— did not touch it my assit hook Shout Hako 4/0 Shout 5/0, 4/0, 3/0 Fisherman 6/0 All on kevlar or Owner with wire inside. sleeping bag 4 shirts 2 pants 1 short 1 pair of crock 1 pair of comfy shoes 6 buffs 6 pairs of sock to keep dry feet 6 undies lol, gotto be comfy 2 pairs of gloves 150 quart cooler to keep ice 50 quart cooler for bait small snacks and food cooler For those asking me these questions: Where can I get information on the boat future trips: http://www.yankeecapts.com What is the cost? in the 2014 schedule $650 for a 3 day Pulley Ridge trip and $725 for a 4 day trip. Look at their site for updated pricing information. Does the boat have a galley? Yes and coffee for the whole trip is $8 and worth every penny. What does the food cost? Same prices as a fast food place or a diner $3 to about $10 Are there showers? off course there are Is bait included? Yes the boat has bait included but it will be good if you bring a bit extra for your own. They had squid and ballyhoo when I went. More than enough to make the trip count. Can the boat provide rods? Yes they can. Can I fish without an electric reel? Yes you can I did  it in this trip and so did other 3 people and we filled our coolers. What kind of reel should I use if hand cranking? As big a reel you can get and a low gear will help you get less tired while fighting the fish and while bringing that heavy weight. What kind of weights? Look at the Yankee Capts website tackle recommendations. I used a 2 pound weight for deep dropping and others used up to 3 pounds.

Vertical Jigging with Right Hook Charters 6-21-2013

THE FISHING TRIP:Right Hook Charter Boat
Aboard the “Right Hook ” with Captain Mike

The Spot : Riviera beach Wrecks

Weather : Partly Cloudy with Chances of Rain but the rain was not close to us.The Docks at Riviera Beach

Water: 3 foot seas

Fish catches: Amber jacks, African Pompano, Almaco Jacks, Horse eye Jacks, and a  black fin tuna

Biggest size Type : 25 pound Black Fin tuna

Techniques : Vertical Jigging

Jigs : 130-350 grams, butterfly jigs, speed jigs, Pink, red/Glow, silver, and blue worked the most.

Getting ready to vertical JigThis trip had been a month in the making, Jeff (Angryangler from 360Tuna.com) had been trying to get a group of jiggers to charter a boat he fished in previously, but wanted to get people that only jigged. This jigging trip was aimed at catching and releasing Sea Donkeys (over 40 pound Amberjacks). No bait was to be used on this trip. It was first to set sail on June 9th but the boat’s GPS unit fried and since the captain did not want to just take our money he advised us to wait until he got familiar with his new unit. After a couple of weeks Jeff had the idea to do a mini swap-shop on vertical jigging items. Here in South Florida we lack stores that have dedicated Vertical Jigging Products and usually only sell knock offs or products that might work but are not proven. I thought the swap-shop flea market was a great idea  so I took some of the jigs I did not use so much, you never know what does not work for me might be a gold mine for someone else. Jeff put out a showcase of the the items he brought and was kind enough to offer free t-shirts and jigs. Hope the idea keeps going in the future. Two friends of our regular fishing crew were going to go on the first scheduled trip that was canceled, then it was only Ricky but the guys forgot all about him and since I didn’t check the thread on that forum Ricky was left out. Sorry my friend this was my fault. Well Ricky went on another Jigging trip with the Sealegs III out of Hollywood.

African Pompano on Right Hook Charter

African Pompano and Yellow Tail Snappers on Right Hook Charter. Trip before us

The Captain arrived and we loaded our gear in the boat. The boat was a very nice looking boat, tons of space for 6 people fishing. Enough space to cast out lures and jig comfortably. There weren’t many tangles and all were savvy as to what to do when hooking up a fish. A few fish were lost to knot problems and a couple of jigs were lost. I lost one jig because I did not replace my old split ring which was a bit partially open and as I jigged it may have just opened and allowed the jig fall off. I have seen this a few times already. Next time I will just get rid of the old ring and will replace it with a new one. Some other fish were lost because of knot failure. I helped one of the boys by tying a PR knot which was and adventure on it’s own trying to do it with the boat moving, no glasses on, and hurrying up to get ready to drop my jigs, LOL. The know was done but no big fish to test if would hold up since I only had time to do 3 over under half hitches and one six turn reverse hitch. I usually do about 6 over under half hitches then a three turn hitch, and finish with a six turn hitch and burn the end with a cigarette lighter wich was not done this time.

The Vertical Jigging got going and a couple that drove from Georgia were hooking up pretty well with inchiku type jigs in combination with small plastic squid skirts about a foot about the jigs. They got a small african pompano, a horse eye jack, and a small AJ on those jigs.

BNZ with a small Amber Jack on Vertical Jig  AFRICAN POMPANO

The day went on and we were a bit worried that it would be a skunked out trip but after the first few fish we went into deeper water and had double and quad hookups at a time, all were small amber jacks and then an almaco jack came on board. One of the last fish of the night was a nice surprise as the captain said we might get some blackfins in this area and so Garriga’s fish ended up being a nice 25 pound Blackfin Tuna. Congratulations to all since we did not skunk out.

Garriga with a nice Black Fin Tuna on Vertical Jig

To finish this Vertical Jigging report here are some more pictures. Just hoover over the pics with your mouse pointer to get a description.

Getting ready on Right Hook Charter   Getting ready on Right Hook Charter

Staven with a small Amber Jack on Vertical Jig  Herbert Hans Muller Small AJ

Jeff with a small Amber Jack on Vertical Jig  Garriga with a small Amber Jack on Vertical Jig

Staven AJ   Bill BNZ with a Horse Eye Jack on Vertical Jig

 

Jigging Trip June 15th on the Reward Won

THE FISHING TRIP:  Saturday June 15th 2013
Aboard the  “ Reward Won ” with Captain Wayne

Leaving Bayside Marina

Leaving Bayside Marina

The Spot : Fished from Miami to Fowey Rocks light

Weather : Sunny, calm winds

Water: Calm

Fish catches: Black fin tunas, Bonitos, Almaco Jacks, red Groupers

Biggest size Type : All small fish, bonitos up to 15 pounds

Techniques : 99% Vertical Jigging, 1% cut bait

Jigs : 100-230 gram,  butterfly jigs, speed jigs,  silver, and blue worked the most for me.

What can I say, I was glad to get back in the water. During my last fishing trip  one of my jigging rods broke because I was bored and wanted to catch a big fish. I was left with a bitter taste in my luck. Luck has not changed much lately. On this trip all looked perfect. The weather looked great, the rains had stopped, the seas were calm, and the current was good. The fish bite was not there. The bottom machine was marking nice fish on just about every stop. The fish were not cooperating on the first few drops. During the morning only a small blackfin tuna was caught, we encountered some weed lines and a big balloon floating but no fish under. Later in the afternoon it started to get better with a few bonitos and some almaco jacks coming overboard. All but two bonitos were released. Only 3 people gave up on the jigging and started using bait. A few small red groupers were landed and released. All in all it felt good to be out there again. Hopefully next time it will get better.

The other boat on the Reward Fleet did pretty good at night catching a few dozen yellow tails.