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/

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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

Fishing with Phil Pica July 27th 2013

Fishing with Phil Pica

THE FISHING TRIP: In search for permit and groupers while jiggingPhil Pica Boat
Aboard the “Unknown” with Captain Phil Pica
The Spot : Fort Myers shallow water wrecks
Weather : 0 to 5 knot winds, Fair weather
Water: calm at first then 1 to 2 foot seas
Fish catches: Gag groupers, Permit, Snappers, Cobias
Biggest size Type : Cobia around 30 pounds
Techniques : Vertical Jigging produced two tiny cobias and live bait everything else
Jigs : 100 gram,  butterfly jigs

Well we wanted to venture out in the Fort Myers are of the Gulf. The plan we were told was to fish in 60 to 80 foot deep wrecks but the captain spotted large schools of Permit circling shallow wrecks so he changed the plans to head towards those wrecks first. We arrived early at the dock to watch the big Snook and catfish being fed the prior day dead shrimp. We waited for the captain to arrive at 8:00 am but he was a bit late and got there at 9:00 am.  He had already the crabs and some backup shrimp in case the snappers were hot. We all loaded our gear and the captain was like “are you guys thinking we are going on a multi day trip or what?” We had brought three rods for each and our own tackle, must captains are used to catching the fish and handing the rods down to their customers but we were not there for that and the Captain knew about it, so all he did was shake his head.

On to the bait catching we went, the excess water from Lake Okeechobee was being let out from the canals and all youCaptain Phil Pica getting the baitcould see was brackish water for about ten miles.  When we hit the color change from brackish to the usual green turquoise waters we spotted many schools of herrings being chased by Jack Crevales and Spanish Mackerels. The Threadfin Herrings were trying to swim towards the beaches but kept going back into the green waters to get pounded by their predators. We brought only one light tackle rod to catch bait so the captain decided to use the cast net instead. As we got closer the captain saw an opportunity to pickup from the boiling schools of bait and after a few tries he succeed with a nice net of a couple dozen Threadfin Herrings.

Bait load

With the bait loaded we headed to the first wreck, there were dozens of schools of Spade Fish and dozens of Permit fish as well. We were in only 30 feet of water so we did not even try to vertical jig that shallow. The captain says set up for permit! So he starts setting up with 20 pound test, he said that the fish were very spooky and anything thicker would not allow for a bite. So I picked my light tackle set up and the others did the same so out went three crabs. Adam decided he wanted the grouper instead and so he fished with a live Threadfin herring, great choice as he was rewarded later on. The first hit came on Phil’s uncle a small permit it was and then Ed’s rod started to scream with another small permit, and then my rod gets hits but as I am fighting it it took me towards the wreck where I was broken off but not by the wreck, it was the fish  mouth which was abrasive enough to cut through the 20 pound test line. We were wondering what it was when Adam got a nice hit on his rod, he was using 60 pound test leader so he was able to catch the culprit, a nice 30 pound cobia. the cobia had a follower since Phil was ready with a bottom rod he tossed a live Threadfin herring in the water. I had no time to do that so I took my jigging rod, took off the jig, and out another live Threadfin Herring went, but it was Phil’s bait that was chosen as he was on the bottom and my bait was just free lined on the top water. Phil’s cobia came up to a nice almost 25 pound size.

Permit

Of to deeper wrecks we went, this time in 45 feet, we all decided still too shallow for jigging but still tried it and since it was shallow were were basically just yo-yoing the jigs, so we switched to bait. I did not bring a bottom rod as the original plan was to jig so i had to use one of my jigging rods to do so. So I setup a rod in wich I had 70 pound test Jerry Brown and 80 pound test leader I added a swivel to the end of it and decided to go light on the leader using only 50 pound test and a 7/0 circle hook, the only one I had in my bag. Off the Threadfin Herrings went, BAM! I get a hit and immediately it goes straight to the wreck  as I was fighting it BAM! Phil gets hooked up on his bottom rod and he starts to reel in but seems that his fish was giving up faster than mines, as it came up closer we knew it was a Jewfish so I decided to tighten the drag and pull the line as much as I could to snap the line. I did not want to be on Phil’s way since his fish was closer to the top. Up came the 150 pounder to the surface where he was greeted for a few photo ops. Since we knew what lurked there we made a move to another spot.

Goliath Grouper

This time we went deeper and again the captain’s avid eye spotted more permits in the mix with dozens of Spade fish. This is where Ed again nailed another Permit.  This time we were in about 54 feet so me and Phil started to jig.  Ed decided to change it up and threw down a live Threadfin Herring and almost instantly he hooked up with a small cobia that was followed by many others of a smaller size. We tossed some biat at the but since the followers were to small we pulled the bait out. Phil and I hooked up on the jigs with tiny cobes so back in the water they went, none of the bigger ones took our offer of beautiful expensive metals. We took our lines out of the water because these were too small. One more move to about the same depth and on the first drop Adam and Ed get their lines tight and up came the first Gag grouper and then the second while my bait gets hit and WHAT DO I GET? A SHARK!!! Wow my luck hasn’t got any better as the second fish i hooked up was another shark and they got another Gag grouper at the same time. Oh well, it is what it is and got to take what the seas offered us.

Gag Grouper

Gag grouper

Small shark      small Gag grouper

After a few mishaps with the bottom machine the captain was able to rig it to start functioning well so after that there was time for one more move. Here we went back to the first wreck to see if the permit fish were hungry again. The Captains spots the Permit fish hanging under some barracudas and this time they were in bigger sizes and bigger schools so HMMMM, wait, wait, nothing happened so I switched to a shrimp and got a small keeper mangrove, Adam got a lane snapper (but i think it was on the stop before this one), and another snapper was landed by Phil’s uncle. That was it, it was time to go back to the dock where the fish was split. i didn’t catch anything worth it but was able to get some filets for a few dinners with my wife and family.

The trip was well worth it, I had a shot at many fish but was unlucky. I sure will try to go again but next time I will only bring my bottom fishing gear. There will not be excuses next time. I hope I will get redemption on my next 3 day trip. I just hope 😦

Bait Trip on Out of Control IV June 1st 2013

THE FISHING TRIP: Saturday June 1st 2013The Fishing crew
Aboard the “Out of Control IV” with Captain Ralph

The Spot : Fished from Port Everglades to Hollywood Beach area

Weather : Rainy, Very Cloudy

Water: 2 to 4 foot seas with a few bigger swells in between

Fish catches: yellow tail snappers, small throw back mutton snappers, blue runners, a lion fish

Biggest size Type : Dusky Shark over 100 pounds

Techniques : Vertical Jigging, cut bait, and live bait

Jigs : 250 gram glow jig

Other terminal tackle used: 1/8 oz Jig heads for bait strips, 1/2 ounce weights knocker rig style for bottom fishing

This trip was another one for the books. After getting my jigging trip to West Palm Beach canceled because the Charter Boat’s bottom machine burnt out we all scattered looking for a make up trip. So we got a nice deal on the Out Of Control party fishing boat. It was yet another slow trip. We began with the cutting of the bait and since this was going to be a yellow tail and small snapper catching trip I brought some king fish bellies to at least bring one fish home for dinner. I was not expecting much from this trip since all other party boats were reporting slow fishing as well during that weekend. It was a rainy day and there was no current at all. Conditions were again a plague for good fishing. On the first few stops some yellow tails were caught, a nice lionfish came overboard by Ricky and all hell broke loose as soon as the bite got better then the sharks showed up.  Small muttons, a couple we keepers and some nice mangroves were caught, the biggest mangrove caught by Adam was bit in half by a shark. I was catching some blue runners and was using them for bait. I caught a nice yellow tail that later on was dinner for two at home. SO! I got bored and decided to put on a show I later came to regret. I took my jigging rod and decided to go after the sharks, well I hooked one up and the battle was on. The shark fought nice, at the beggining for a minute I tough it maybe a grouper, nice runs no head shakes. I reeled in then it would run again and again. I was sweating up a storm when on one of the runs PAW! an explosion MY ROD BROKE! Not what I expected a $300 fishing rod would do. I had caught fish over 50 pounds on it before but I guess it just couldn’t take a mad over 100 pound shark. Well I tdecided to finish the battle get the shark closer and recover the piece of rod I lost. Got the shark boat side took some pics but the line busted making me loose the rod piece. HOT DANG IT!!! I will not do that again! Next time  I will not drop unless I have a shark rod.

For a description of the pictures just place your mouse pointer over them.

DSC_0027

Ron the photographer on this trip. Thanks for the pics bro

Preparing Bait The Galley on Out of Control IV The Bunks on Out of Control IV Bait stations and coolers on Out of Control IV Fishing space on Out of Control IV Fighting a fish on Out of Control IV Got some bait  Ricky with a nice Lion Fish- an invasive species The boys playing around Got eaten by a shark Fighting the shark Getting a little tired putting pressure on the sharkThe shark The shark The shark chewing on my rod tip The shark  Loney the mate-cook

36 Hour Fishing Trip from Fort Lauderdale to Key Largo and Back May 4th to May 5th

THE FISHING TRIP: 36 Hour Fishing Trip from Fort Lauderdale to Key Largo and Back May 4th to May 5th   2013

Herbert Cobia 8

This Cobia was caught on a vertical jig

Aboard the “Out Of Control IV” with Captain Ralph and Captain Dennis

The Spot : From Port Ever Glades to Key Largo Soldier Key

Weather : Partly Sunny then clear skies

Water: Calm with strong over 3 knot currents at first then cloudy with sand mix noticeable and 2 knot currents

Fish catches (from all in boat): cobia, amber jacks, mutton snapper, yellow tails, black groupers, gag groupers, and king fish

Biggest size Type : Amber jack

Techniques : Vertical Jigging, cut bait, and live bait

Jigs : 100-250 gram, Bullet type bucktail jigs, butterfly jigs, speed jigs, Pink, red/white, silver, and blue worked the most.

The luck still ok, but can get better

A new boat is in town out of Fort Lauderdale and it’s going to be doing long range trips to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. The out Of Control fleet just expanded with a 75 ft boat and a beam of 21 ft powered by two JohnDeer engines with over 500 hp each  and can do 18 knot service speed and capabilities of over 22 knots. I am glad I was able to witness the power of these engines as later on you will read.

Prior to the day of fishing Nilson a friend of a few fishing years and I went on a bait hunting expedition for a couple of hours. We got 21 large size pinfish and kept them alive in a 15 gallon bucket with an aerator and a bit of aquarium ammonia neutralizer, a bottle of frozen water helped to cool down the water and keep the fish calm. One of them did not make the 1.5 hour journey to the docks, but that was expected.

On the day of fishing, we made it to the boat a couple of hours prior departure to find out that the crew already had a bait well with a decent amount of bait (blue runners and spot grunts). We loaded our gear and around 4:20 or so we were well on the way. By sunrise we were in the Miami Port Everglades Channel marker area catching more bait. A chum bucket was deployed and we loaded with 40 or more pins, 30 or so spot grunts and some blue runners. The boat had tinker mackerels, squid, frozen ballyhoo, and about 20 or so bonitos caught the day before. We had all the bait we needed for the trip.

Saturday started with slow fishing around Fowey Rocks lighthouse, and can we say “slow” a few small fish here and there. We had all the live bait and other good baits but we couldn’t quiet get the bait where we needed it, on the bottom. The current was ripping in over 200 feet so we moved shallower. A few fish came up among them a nice gag caught by Robert another fishing friend of mines and I got a mutton snapper as the night fall came.

DCIM100GOPRO

The flying fish were all over the boat but were running a bit deep as they got close by. I waited patiently until I saw one that bluntly committed suicide by flying into the boat through a small gap and hitting the live well. I ran like a running back going for a Hail Mary 3 seconds left on the 4th quarter. I got the sucker and saved it for later. Well, it didn’t work out so well for me as I got a big shark instead of the mutton or grouper I was looking for. Later on the boat crew brought out a net and I was able to get 4 more flying fish with it. Got wet like I was under the rain and it didn’t pay off since we could not find a spot with slower currents. A baby African pompano came up on a flyer by Nilson. The plan was to make it to Isla Morada but given the conditions with stronger winds than expected and strong currents needing 16 ounces to bring the weights to the bottom, the captain decided it was better to turn around and find better spots closer to Miami. A few fish did come up, some yellow tails, some groupers, and some jacks.

On Sunday morning we found some wrecks that were holding fish. I lost my attempt at a large amber jack when my line was tangled by someone’s braid line and when they where told not to pull they did the opposite so I lost the fish. You just got to love when that happens. On the way back we hit many wrecks and the captain cranked that engine to make a speed wreck fishing race to the finish line. By Haulover we found a wreck that was holding nice amounts of vermillion snappers (beeliners). That saved the trip for some. Once again the captain cranked the engines even faster and mover over the county line where the fun began. I started as I did on some of the stops with vertical fishing. I was fishing a long 300 gram jig when a 35” cobia hit it. I got it to the boat and off to the cooler it went. That was one of three cobias caught that day. Right after that a nice 31 pound AJ was caught by my friend Ricky another friend of a few fishing years caught it vertical jigging a long jig as well. We all got into the jigging loosing some massive hits to the wreck. I had my reel drag maxed but it just ran like butter as if it was greased so I lost that fish.

Herbert Cobia 4

Another picture of the cobia caught on a vertical jig slow mechanical technique

In the end the crew and the friends is what made the slow fishing conditions fun and interesting, while in the other hand we had that one guys whom is always complaining of not catching fish but sleeping most of the time while others are catching bait or fishing. I ended with an over 15 pound king fish, the mutton snapper that won the biggest snapper pool, the cobia, and some vermilion snappers. It could have been much much better, but the weather did not get our memo. There is always that next time if it isn’t, I will hear “you should have been here yesterday”. So I have to keep on fishing to be there that one day when all hell breaks loose and fish are eating everything you throw at them including the bottom of the boat.

Rob and his Gag Grouper

Robert Gag

Ricky and his AJ

Ricky AJ

Nilson and his African Pompano (released back into the water)

Nilson African Pompano 1

The Catch from the 2 days, looks very small for 14 people but given the conditions it was great.

Catch

Until next time

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