Yankee Capts Halfway Ledge 7-12-18 Awesome Times!

It is always a tedious process to put together a fishing trip a year in advance, yet I always love looking forward to the next. Being a Charter Master isn’t something easy but it’s fun and it’s where my fishing trip starts. Many got on the trip, many dropped off due to new jobs or family issues, others because of health issues and so on. But finally in a crunch of a few weeks we were able to get all replacements done and as always with the exception of once, we found all great people to fish with.

I started collecting bait very late as I had many family outings that preventing me from going in the search for bait on a daily basis. I usually start one week before the trip and load up on as many fresh baits as possible. This year it got tough I looked for goggle eyes and spedos but was only able to get a few goggle eyes and a few baby bonitos. That was not a problem as I was planning on jigging in the daytime and using baits at night time only. Below is my bait setup at one of the local piers and before you ask there isn’t a specific pier where you can get your bait, you must visit all of them and then when you find the bait you go there as often as possible.

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Before I loaded up the car I made sure to include 3 pitch rods, 2 bottom rods, and 3 jigging rods and one of the jigging rods to double as a heavy grouper rod. The Capt had contacted me through the office as he was out there fishing and told me to bring heavy weights as the current was very strong. I notified everyone and was glad I did since some times I needed to use 2 pounds to keep my bait on the bottom, but vertical jigs of 200 grams and up were no problem to hit the bottom.

As we were driving up I noticed the old trailer park in Sunshine Keys that was next to the Missouri Ohio bridge was completely gone, but as always in the keys rebuilding after a hurricane was already in progress and many new stores, houses, and projects were already started or completed before the last hurricane, hell, my roof is still being replaced jsut now after many months of humid battles against the rain and the Keys are looking amazing in comparison to my house. “We survived, now we thrive” is always the motto of the keys and they have proven it.

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An awesome sight along the highway was to see the rebuild of the old 7 Mile Bridge is back on the way again.

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A dream for me had been to see this bridge in Big Pine Key reopened to fishing once again (Spanish Harbor West End). As a teenager this was my favorite bridge to fish from. Even when I had a boat  I spent a few weeks fishing under it with my family. I am so exited go see it again, there will be no more taking a long piece of 4×4 to sneak in the middle of the night to fish from this bridge. Oh boy! Oops did I say that?IMG_1543

Well we got to the boat and as always it was on to the Hogfish Grill for a nice Hogfish lunch and a drink.IMG_1548IMG_1555Once lunch was over it was back on to getting the boat loaded. Sorry for the pic below it is not meant to offend anyone but its towards Captain Rare who on the last minute made us all look for a replacement. I know he was glad to see this picture. He was missed as he is always part of the fun.

IMG_1557With the boat mostly loaded it was just time to wait for a few straggler running late.IMG_1562IMG_1569With everyone there all the trucks, cars, and vans were parked it was time to go on this adventure.IMG_1564

While on the boat, we all got together upstairs and talked about the plans and giveaways of goodies donated by Osage. Everyone got a bag with 3 items or more in them, randomly given to everyone of the fishermen. Plus a white hat in case they needed one.IMG_1506

And while on the way another middle finger for Captain Rare. Why not!IMG_1570

We got there early morning and the bite started. Here is William with a nice Red Grouper.P1040713

Jordan with a Mutton Snapper.P1040715

The fish started flying in the boat, we had a nice hot bite!P1040716

I hooked up a decent Scamp Grouper on the slow pitch jigging depot jig right before sunrise.P1040717

Can you complain about a nice fish filled sunrise?P1040718

Eugene hit it hard with this nice Porgy.

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I kept on the slow pitch jigs and hooked up on this Amberjack that was released.P1040722

Dan got a nice Red Grouper while jigging.P1040726

I saw some top water action so I threw an H4L Wingman to get me this nice Black Fin Tuna.P1040729

Alex got this Grouper pool winning Fire Truck Red Grouper.P1040731

On Jose’s first trip he hooked up nice on the Red Grouper as well.P1040734P1040736

This is what the first box looked like by 10:30 am. It was full!P1040739

Well, morning have to start with nice fishing and a nice breakfast right? So here my my custome breakfast by Chef Chad. Here is his menu.

https://yankeecapts.com/yankee-capts-galley/

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The day went on slowly but surely, Robert hooked up another nice Red Grouper.P1040741

Well, why not show the rest of the sotry? Even the small fish were aggressive, look at this 2 lizard fish hitting a jig. They must have said I’ll get half abd you get half?P1040743

Double hook ups trippele hook ups were still seeing around noon.P1040746

Dan got a Nice Scamp Grouper right before we drifted into sand and the the Slippery Dicks started to show up.P1040748

Lunchtime came so I was ready to eat my bun less sirloin and bacon burger.P1040750

The Red Grouper kept on coming I think just about everyone got a few of them or even their limit.P1040751

As I kept on and off with the slow pitch jigs I hooked up another Blackfin Tuna.P1040756

The current was getting out of control so the sea anchor was deployed.P1040757

And in again came the double hookups but this time jigs were king.P1040759

Another nice Scamp Grouper this time by Robert.P1040763

And a nice fatty Red Grouper by Eugene.P1040764

While at the bow Victor was getting his Mutton it ended up in a double. This is a Father and son in law combo!P1040767

Robert had been doing slow on the first day and then woke up and killed the next day! Here he is with a nice red grouper.P1040768P1040769

Well we were at sunset city and things started to slow down a bit.P1040771

We filled the second box around midnight when the blackfins started to shoe up in bigger numbers!P1040772

The next moring came in and Art wok up and it was a rotation between him, Jordan, Little Chris, Miami Chris, and Mario. They got plenty Mutton Snappers while us at the bow were just looking at one another.P1040775

Things got so slow after that, we even found someone trying to fish with an orange!P1040776 The jigs were king again, here is Chris on his slow pitch jigging Red Grouper.P1040778

My back started hurting so I stopped jigging and decided to go big and pay the price of not catching fish for the opportunity to get a big grouper. I used spedos and big squids I kick my self for missing 4 bites that almost pulled my in the water but hey! It’s fishing not catching! (kicks my self again!)P1040782

Rory with a broken leg made the best of his trip fishing at the rail as much as possible. Here he is with a nice Mutton Snapper.P1040783

Robert did great with the slowpitch jigs and his 10 bucks plastic squid, here he is with a nice wahoo.P1040790

The Shake and Bait double D’s Dan and Dan also did great vertical jigging all styles.P1040791

Lunch time came up and a nice meal was at hand. A Chef’s Philly with out the bun.P1040792

As you know all good things must end, it was our last chance at fishing and we we got to the spot it was filled with hundreds of Barracudas and Amber Jacks, but William was able to get through them and catch this last mutton of the trip.  after that it was home bound.P1040794

On the way home we got our last dinner. With an awesome starter of Avocado and tuna.P1040797

The shrimp scampi was amazing!P1040799

And one last look and a Florida West Coast Sunset. P1040800

And what a way to enjoy it with a nice beer, meal, new and old fishing buddies! Even if there were a few name callings, a few screams for getting lines crossed, a few “HEY who drank my Gatorade? In the end we all ended up smiling and drinking the night away on the way home.P1040801

When we got back to the dock it was only a short wait to get our fish. The totes were overloaded with them and we had had a nice sleep before we got to the docks in the morning.IMG_1587

Here is Donald who won biggest Snapper with this about 14 pound Mutton Snapper.

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Not only did he win the pool but also a nice goodie bag with the Havana Club Rum donate by Captain Rare and Churchill cigars donated by Osage.

Here is Robert again with biggest fish. He also won the pool for biggest fish and a goodie bag with a Stag knife, braid tantrum, Yo-Zuri Chrystal 3d, and detachable rod butt.

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Below is Alex with biggest Grouper. He won a bottle of 12 year Old Flor de Caña Rum donated by Suarez Liquors located at 799 West 29 st Hialeah FL 33012 and Churchill cigars donated by Osage.

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Mario got a goodie bag from donations by Osgage and my self. This was for catching the first grouper.IMG_1511

Victor got a goodie bag from donations by Osgage and my self. This was for catching the first Mutton Snapper.

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Robert got a goodie bag from donations by Osgage and my self. This was for catching the first and only wahoo.IMG_1510

And now some of the fish pics and cooler pics to make some people jealous for not coming on this trip.

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I hope you have enjoyed the report. Keep your lines Tight and until next time!

And my apologies to Captain Greg for getting so loud on the last day while coming back home, but we threw a party to celebrate our success.

A great thanks to:

Captain Greg for making this trip affordable to all of us.
Osage for donating the vast amounts of items for the giveaways
Captain Rare for supplying the rum for our celebration and for biggest mutton
Suarez Liquors for supplying the 12 year old Flor de Caña rum for biggest grouper

 

 

 

 

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Keys Bridge Fishing, Girls Catch Fish Too

Well, it was about time I was able to get back on the fishing track! It felt awesome to once again being out there. The peacefulness of the bridge and the ocean sounds along the regular slurping gasps of those awesome Tarpons brought back so many memories and so much inner peace to enjoy happily along side my son, nephews, and friends. We got to the bridge much later than I wanted. I wanted to be there by 9pm so we could cath some snappers before midnight but ended getting the around 1am.

Soon after we got there I deployed a chum bag to bring in the smaller snappers and cast a bit behind the chum slick for the bigger ones. Antita was the very first fish we got, a nice 16 inch snapper. Picture below.

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She was followed by my nephews and my son with some black groupers, and snappers that had to be released due to their smaller size. Below is Liam with a Black Grouper tat was released.

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Below is Micheal with an alsmot legal size mutton snapper that was released.channel_5_June201805

Below is Erick with a nice grunt that just joined the cooler for a frying pan sandwich later on.channel_5_June201806

The little fellow below was a lucky one that was missing a nice chunk by his head. Might have been used as bait or might have escaped another fish trying to eat it. Well, it got another life as it went back to the water.

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As the early morning darkness ended fish slowly stopped biting giving us a chance to rest.channel_5_June201822

Then the sun came up and so were we. There was a lot of seaweed with the current but we kept on fishing and throwing it right back in the water. The guys were on their feet up and down the bridge as schools of Tarpon and Permit kept on swimming by. Hardly nothing was biting with this dark cloudy morning. Then my son and Liam thought they had a very big fish when half hour later it turned in to an old rusted anchor some boat has once lost.

Seth and Liam at Channel 5

As the sun came up I deployed another bag of chum and the small snappers and angle fish were now visible but nothing was biting so we waited a bit and took the time to look around the beauty of the bridge and the Florida Keys horizons.

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An hour later the fish woke up and started chewing. It was a lot of small yellow tails and mangrove snappers with a few grunts in between. Then in passed some tourist tellling us that the other fishermen were only catching small fish but not many, then they asked me and as soon as they do my line line start going and my reel started humming. Thank goodness that at the end it was a nice 20″ Mutton Snapper. I can say it was nice for bridge fishing as many know what it’s like releasing so many fish after the minimum size was raised to 18″.  I used half a ballyhoo plug hooked by the tail bone. Below is the pic.channel_5_June201801

After that we used feathered jigs and got a couple of Jacks. The mackerel were present but on the slack tide they just were not chewing. They would follow the spoons and turn away. Well it was now 9am and was time to get back home as we all had other things to do. I was happy we were able to have a good time and that dinner was caught. A day fishing always beat a day at work even if you only catch a handful of fish. On the way out you can see how many were fishing on this hot day. Only a couple of people, hope they got dinner too.

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Thanks for reading and hope you at least enjoyed the pictures.

Tight lines!

 

 

 

Fishing at Robbie’s Islamorada 8-9-2015

I received a text from an old fishing buddy asking if I wanted to join his party to go fishing at Robbie’s in Lower Matacumbe Key. For those that don’t know, this area is part of Islamorada. I was not expecting much from this trip since earlier trips had been catchings lots of grunt fish. Those that know how can get some nice yellow tails or get lucky with other fish as well. Our trip was no different this time around but it was nice to get out there and fish once again and just to be fair if you really want to catch fish on the Capt. Michael boat, go at night, this is when they are very likely to catch a lot of yellow tails and or mangrove snappers.

We got to Robbie’s and walked through the area. I think this is where those not so familiar with fishing have the most fun, an encounter with Tarpon fish and sometimes Jack Crevale fish. For a few dollars you can buy a bucket of sardines to feed the fish and so it is what our crew for the day did. You and your family will definitely have a good time doing so. They have a very decent restaurant and if you feel like having an adventure they rent kayaks, jet skis, and boats.

Below is the Capt. Michael party boat.Fishing at Robbies05

Don’t you dare bring bananas on this boat!

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Looking around you will see many Tarpon swimming under the docks.Fishing at Robbies01

Here is my son having fun feeding the Tarpons. Fishing at Robbies10

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Here are my nephews and their friends having fun with the Tarpons.Fishing at Robbies12

A look at the docks and the bait pens. There are charter boats that leave these docks and if you don’t have a big party you can call to get in a shared charter. The cost is very reasonable and you will have a chance at very decent fish.

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Once all the fun was over and the Tarpon were well fed we headed on to board the boat. Below is the mate giving instructions on how to use the overhand fishing reel that are available for rent.

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Below is how they normally set up for fishing. You pay the fare, you get a rail number and you stay at that rail number fishing with your equipment or their rentals.

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Below is Alligator Light, which is near the fishing grounds where you will be fishing

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Since the boat was booked to capacity the Captain had us fishing in very shallow water, it was about 30 feet according to my metered line. I was hoping for a little deeper so I could use my slow jigging gear. The mate said we couldn’t go deeper until the current would slow down. At all stops the boat anchored and the mates deployed frozen chum and also chum from a bucket. At 30 feet 99.9% of the catch were grunt fish. I and a few others managed to land a yellow tail each. On the last stop we went fishing in 90 feet of water, this is when the Glass Snappers were biting consistently. It is not what I was after but it was what kept on hitting our slow pitch jigs. In the end with 4 Glass Snappers caught with my slow pitch jigging set up and one yellow tail caught on bait. Our group filled a 5 gallon bucket with fish. Not so bad for only 4 hours of fishing.

On the way back we could see people fishing under the bridge. Sometime you can get good quality fish from those areas.

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Below is the size of my yellow tail, it made it one inch passed the legal limit so it will be a dinner for two or two sandwiches. Well, it’s better than no meals.

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Below you can see the catch for the boat, most tourist were using squid and small strips of sardines. We were using jigs and silver sides.  Fishing at Robbies41

Below is some information from their site in case you want to try your luck at Robbie’s of Islamorada.

The morning charter casts off the dock at 9:30 a.m., returning at 1:30 p.m. At 2 p.m. the boat heads back out for an afternoon charter, which returns at 6:00 p.m. Robbie’s also offers night trips, which leave the dock at 7:30 p.m. and return at 12:30 a.m. Half-day adult is $40; half-day child (12 and under) is $24.50; these rates include bait, tackle and fishing license. Half-day rod rental is $5. Night trip adult is $45; night trip child is $26.50; night rod rentals are $5. Stern spots for all trips are $10 extra (limited spots available). Taxes not included in all rates. Military discount of 50 percent with valid I.D. Purchase two trips on the same day and get a $10 discount on the second trip.

Thanks for reading or looking at the pictures.

Alligator Reef Light House Area Fishing 9-28-13 to 9-29-13

THE FISHING TRIP: Fishing in the  Alligator Reef Light House Area Alligator Reef Light
Aboard a friend’s boat. Yellow Tailing
The Spot : Alligator Reef Light House Area close to Tavernier and Islamorada Florida
Weather : Saturday night ESE up to 10 to 15  knots, Sunday morning ESE up to 17 knots, some rain
Water: Up to 4 foot seas in the cloud covered area is my guess. Up to 2 feet in the outside of the rain clouds. Water color clear and barely any current
Fish catches: Yellow tail snappers, mangrove snappers, mutton snappers, groupers, and the usual bait fish
Biggest size Type : 24.25″ Gag Grouper
Techniques : Live bait, dead bait and unfortunately no Vertical Jigging

Yello Tail Snapper Chum

Menhaden oil, cracked corn, oats, and glass minnows

Well, it’s been a while since I last went fishing I think that was August 6th. so I was itching for a fishing trip, The Reward Fleet in Miami called me and told me there was an Ironman trip scheduled for the 28th but unfortunately it did not happen. A couple of friends called me and told me they wanted to go yellow tail fishing and so here another fishing trip was well on the way. Jeff one of them owns a double wide trailer home on the water in Tavernier Key and as he is updates his vacation home and converts it into a weekend rental home  he goes fishing on the weekends when he has no plans to work on the trailer) so I went on my way in the afternoon, I stopped at Jacks Bait and Tackle where I saw some not so fresh threadfin herrings you know if they are fresh when the scales are visible and their eyes still have white around them, when these are too long in a brine solution (more than a couple of days) and people constantly move them they loose their scales and become very greyish. Well it was a big NOOOO on the threadfin herring I then looked to right and saw another cooler with so called fresh scaled sardines and I liked the color of the eyes and the fish still had scales on the, so I sifted through as many scaled sardines that I could find. I ended taking about 24 or so. I also got two blocks of tournament chum (the brand) and a dozen or fresh ballyhoo. The fresh ballyhoo at Jacks are always a surprise because you don’t see them until they give them to you. So I will tell you, be courteous to the attendants and put something on the tip jar and ask them to give you some fresh ones and they will pick them for you, very quickly but you will get a few fresher than the rest. I got a dozen of them. I kept driving on my way to Tavernier Key and stopped in Key Largo at this new bait shop called Captain Bad, they had a sign that read fresh speedos that caught my attention and so I went there and asked for 5 speedos ($3.50 each as if these were gogs!), guy walks in to the freezer where they had a cooler filled with ice and says “never been frozen just brined and kept in ice”  I told him “don’t worry these are just backup baits anyways.I walked around the shop and looks like they have all the basic need for real fishing situations. I did like the place and the people were very friendly. I will go back again. My friends called me and asked me what they should add to the chum they were making, they already had cracked corn and glass minnows so I told them to get menhaden oil and oats. As I got there Jeff had started the mix in a 5 gallon bucket and the proceeded to use a power drill to finish it off. I told him not to use all the glass minnows and add a block of them at the end. The mix looked good and smelled like fish and not a rotten mix to attract all sorts of sharks and thrash fish. Some people love nasty smelly chum, I rather use menhaden oily chums, a few dollars more to make or buy but it is worth it in my opinion. We had some time left to finish setting up the rods and catch some bait at the dock. There were a few dork jacks (tiny jack crevales) and a couple of pinfish that were not so plentiful this year. I remember a couple of years back there was an outbreak of pinfish to the point that they were caught just about anywhere they would normally not be and all of a sudden they went back to the same old numbers and almost vanished in some areas.

So off we went and arrived at the spot being careful to stay as far away as possible from that dotted line in the GPS that marked the imaginary sanctuary line. We sure did not want trouble with the authorities. Looking at the depth finder we chose an area with some fish markings near the hard bottom and we were lucky that the current was taking some of the chum all over the place. We could see the chum slick zigzagging all over the area.  We started using the scaled sardines and then the ballyhoo, when things slowed down I decided to break out the speedos. I took the first one out and crap! It was a freaking popsicle, LOL  I still remembered the guy saying “never been frozen just brined and kept in ice” LMAO!!! WHAT HAPPNS NEXT? NO FREAKING KNIFE IN THE BOAT!!!! Oh no, had to cut the frozen speedos with my bait scissors!!! Jeff was like but you always bring one in your bag, I was like, not this time! Not good, not good, but got over it. Fishing was steady the yellow tails were cooperating one after another kept coming in, I let my line out every time we threw a scoop of the glass minnow mix and in came a yellow tail, Jeff did the same and then worked the bottom catching some mangrove snappers, Victor was freelining and got some tails but many were small. We put out a regular chum bag that was kept in the water at all times. Unfortunately some remoras came to visit but left, then it was ladyfish and we got some of them and used them for bait and they worked quite nice. I put a head out and got the grouper and then some tails and mangrove snappers like the lady fish as well. Every time the bite died down we switched our baits, sardines, ballyho, speedo, ladyfish, dork jacks and picked more fish but it all became a sifting process. So many 12 inch yellow tails, we only kept 12.5 inches and above to ensure that when these shrunk in the ice they would still be a bit bigger than 12 inches and so the same we did with the mangroves even though those only had to be 10 inches. Yeah, I know fish weren’t flags but to Jeff and Victor it would be a nice weekend meal. In the end we went back to shore got more supplies and a knife. Daylight was here and the day looked very promising but the bite was not there so we moved to 150 feet with no luck and decided to try the ledge in 96 to 100 feet. We anchored in a sandy spot away from the hard bottom and let our line on top of the drop. We set out the chum and almost immediately a swarm of speedos came by. I ran to get sabikis but left the bigger ones at home since I wanted to downsize and not take everything with me. I always keep thinking “don’t do it, every time you do it you leave something you will really need”  and I did, I left the right size sabikis at home. Well tons of ballyhoos joined the party so I cast the net and landed a few but the speedos were like, well, speeding out of the way of course. I tried the small sabikies but the ballyhoo were nailing the sabikis hard and would not let the speedos even look at it. The dam ballyhoos ended wrapping themselves so quick in my sabikis that I lost three of them. We prepared small hooks with bait and let it drift in the water and the dam ballyhoos would eat it all, LOL sometimes I wish I had fresh ballyhoos. This time I had too many. Well I tried a few live ones and a few plugs, then a few chunks but no bites it was mostly small fish under us. Jeff was the only one that hooked a mangrove that was a keeper and we also hooked and released several baby mutton snappers and some 15 and 3/4″ muttons, not a single one was a keeper all of them were tiny muffins getting ready to grow in the oven. Midday came and we decided to call it the quits. In the end we got 15 yellow tails, 5 mangrove snappers, and a decent size gag grouper. We had not time to go jigging I wish I had tried but we were too shallow for doing so. Here are a few pics of some of the fish caught and some of the surrounding areas we navigated by.

Victor and a sifter yellow tail

Yellow tail Snapper

My gag

Gag Grouper

A marker and Alligator Reef light.

Reef Marker   Alligator Reef Light

Getting the bait close to the boat

Geting bait close to the boat

Jeff and a throw back muffing mutton snapper

Mutton Snapper

Jeff and his mangrove snapper

mangrove snapper

Well until next time, I hope to go fishing again very soon. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments