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.

IMG_1489IMG_1500

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.

IMG_1529

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

IMG_1521IMG_1522

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.

P1040719

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/

IMG_1575

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.

IMG_1590

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.

IMG_1591

IMG_1512

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.

IMG_1599

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.

IMG_1509

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.

IMG_1600IMG_1601IMG_1602IMG_1603IMG_1604IMG_1605IMG_1606IMG_1607IMG_1608IMG_1609IMG_1610IMG_1611

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

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Rebecca Shoal and Marquesas Keys 2018

It was nice to finally be able to go out and fish. After a car accident last year I was sent to the side lines and had to stay away from hard activities. I did my therapy exercises and and worked very hard on strengthening my back, but still was only able to fish 2 times and it was not pleasant once I got home. This time it was different, I went to catch the bait and felt good, I went fishing and did not spend weeks in bed suffering pain. I am very glad to now know my back is at least 95% good.  For this trip our plan was to catch fresh gogs for the trip, make fresh chum, and hope for good weather to make a long trip as far as the Marquesas and perhaps as far as Rebecca Shoal  near the Dry Tortugas Florida just in time for the grouper bite. We accomplished all.

As we got to the docks in Key West we loaded the coolers and got rid of a few, we had to play Tetris to get them in the 22′ Sea Cat. 4 fishing rods each, 3 tackle bags, 2 food and drinks coolers, 2 bait and chum coolers, and 2 coolers filled with ice for the fish is what we packed.

MarquesasRebbeca201829

Once the boat was loaded we left the docks around 8am and got to our destination around 11 am. It was nice to ride on 1 foot seas so we went passed the Marquesas to near Rebecca Shoal area.

On the way there we were pleasantly surprised to see a school of young Tarpon migration through the distant shores, it was roughly 40 miles out near the Marquesas when we spotted them. We stopped, took a few pics and and threw a few casts but they just wanted to swim, below is a photo so you can get the idea.

Tarpon migrating

Once we got far enough, well, as far as Bill the Captain had calculated we would have enough gas to get back, we looked for rock bottom and barely had any markings of fished but we tried anyways.   It was about 11:25 am and to our surprise the fish showed up and started chewing like the was no tomorrow.

First up was Bill with this Porgy.

MarquesasRebbeca201838

In second came this nice Black grouper,MarquesasRebbeca201839Black grouper

We caught a couple of Mutton Sappers and then to my surprise after a big hurtful battle in came my Goliath grouper. I thought I was done after catching this fish but kept on fishing.

MarquesasRebbeca201841 Goliath Grouper

Below is one of Bill’s Mutton Snappers and a nice Scamp Grouper.

MarquesasRebbeca2018mutton snapper

MarquesasRebbeca2018scamp grouper

The fish were chewing well so I took out my slow jigging rod and my jigging depot slow pitch jigs. In came a Porgy, a few  legal size mutton snappers of which I released a couple to let them grow bigger and a nice black grouper which I also released. Below are the pics:

MarquesasRebbeca2018porgy

MarquesasRebbeca201854mutton snapper

MarquesasRebbeca2018Black grouper

After hooking up to a small Mahi Mahi using an H4L Wingman lure, things died down so we decided to go to a Public listed wreck around Rebeca Shoal that was in about 60 feet of water and it was Donkey King fighting all the way along with a few groupers and snappers. Below is my Amberjack which I released. I could not get a bait past the Amber Jacks so after this fish I decided it was time to take a break as I was hurting a bit.

MarquesasRebbeca2018AmberJack

Mario had caught a couple of Mutton Snappers already when he got the American Red Snapper below.

MarquesasRebbeca2018ARS

Bill saw the screen loaded with AJ marking and so decided to start speed jigging for them. He hooked up some nice fish along with a big Jack Crevale.

MarquesasRebbeca201869AmberJack

MarquesasRebbeca2018JackCrevale

Mario was able to get a bait pass the Amber Jacks and hooked up this very nice Mutton Snapper.

MarquesasRebbeca201867mutton snapper

In the end we were able to fill two 120 quart coolers with fish and no Amberjacks were kept. I got my limit on Mutton Snappers and groupers plus my porgy. It was a nice load. I have fish for quiet a bit now.

The main baits used were Google Eyes, Cigar Minnows and Flying fish. The gogs and cigar minnows were caught ahead of the trip, the flying fish just literally started jumping in the boat at night. Thank goodness for LED lights that attrack them and for the sharks and  other fish that were scaring them enough to fly in our boat.

We butterflied the gogs as shown below:

MarquesasRebbeca201804

MarquesasRebbeca201806

MarquesasRebbeca201807

MarquesasRebbeca201809

MarquesasRebbeca201810

I used an 8500H Calstar Rod. My reel was an Alutecnos Gorilla 12. My main line was 50 lb braid with 25 feet top shot of 80 lb test line. The top shot was already on my line and it wasn’t going to get in the way of catching mutton snappers but ideally it should have been 50 pound test mono line.  The terminal tackle used was 5/0 4x Strong circle hooks with 10 to 15 feet of 50lb fluorocarbon leader. And yes, this is what I used to bring up that Goliath Grouper as well as the Amber Jacks.

As for the slow jigging I used my SJ& Shark and Cudaman jigging rod. My reel on this rod was an Accurate Valiant 400 2 speed loaded with 50lb test Daiawa J-Braid and 20 feet top shot of 50 lb flourocarbon leader. For the jigs I used http://www.jiggingdepot.com 230 grams slow pitch jigs. We were mainly fishing 180 to 300 feet of water and bare a knot of current. For my pitch rod I used a Calstar 8 foot rod and a Shimano Sustain 8000 with 30 lb test and H4L wingman lure. I did take a speed jigging rod with a narrow Alutecnos Gorilla 12 loaded with 70 lb test Daiwa J-Braid that I had to use to fish with after loosing the knob on my main reel. I gotta remember to use lock tight so this won’t happen again.

Thanks to Captain Bill for a great fishing trip!

Thanks for visiting my humbled blog. I hope you at least enjoyed the pictures. Until next time.

Tight lines!