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.
As we went on our way we got a nice surprise snack from the Chef.
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.
Our 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.
Below is Jongsoo with a Red Grouper caught on 220 gram Jigging Depot jig.
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.
Below is Victor, the slayer, with a nice Red Grouper caught on a goggle eye bait.
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.
Victor again with another Red Grouper caught on a goggle eye bait.
Jongsoo got this Red Grouper with a 220 gram silver Sharkjig
Imram got his Grouper on bait.
Daniel landed his Mutton Snapper on the jig. This one got him the first Mutton of the trip prize.
I managed to land this nice Blackfin on a silver 120 gram Jigging Depot jig. This one took the biggest Blackfin pool.
I believe Alex landed his Mutton Snapper on a jig as well. This one took the biggest Snapper pool.
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.
He picked it up a few times for those taking pictures.
Below is Brian trying to show a Lionfish inside the Grouper’s mouth. Yes, they have reached Pulley Ridge.
Here is some bendo action by Dustin.
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!
Around 3 pm we got into a few more bites. Here I am with another Mutton Snapper caught on a silver 220 gram Sharkjig.
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.
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.
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.
The Captain moved and the a.m. gave us another short lived hot bite. Here is Chris with his Red Grouper on the jig.
Below is Bill with his Mutton Snapper on bait.
Nilson below with his Mutton Snapper on bait.
Below is Jordan with his nice King Mackerel from a flat line.
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.
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.
Jongsoo got lucky and won a prize for most unique fish. He landed a nice size Long Tail Bass.
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.
Alex found a nice Almaco jack here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I won the Blackfin Tuna category with only a couple of pounds difference.
Alex won the Mutton Snapper category with a nice difference in weight.
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.
Below is Victor, the Slayer’s catch.
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.
Below is the menu we had to chose from, sorry for the blurriness, it was hard to get a good pic.
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.