Pulley Ridge Mini Tournament 2016-Don’t sleep

Let me just start by saying it’s fishing, not catching. We had a weird current and wind on this trip. We kept on drifting towards the wind on some areas and where there was no wind there was a whirlpool that made the lines in the bow go to the stern and the lines in the stern go to the bow. The mates worked hard at the tangles but I think we did a good job at not having as many. Key here was fishing with the right weight. 12 to 16 ounces was best, those using less were getting their lines all over. Jigging was almost king on this one. Slow jigging got many fish and some were nice quality. Well, yes it was a grind, but at least we had a nice breeze to cool us off. And with the pics below you can now see what a bad day of fishing at Pulley Ridge looks like, and I can testify to the old saying, it is a hell of a lot better than the best day at work. And the other saying: If you snooze you miss out on quality fish.

Below, getting ready to load the boat.Pulley Ridge 06-201619

We took a group pic at the beginning since so many just wanna dock and go home.Pulley Ridge 06-201625

Upon arrival to Pulley Ridge the mutton snappers and red groupers were waiting for us with open arms. Here is Nilson with the first red grouper of the trip at around 6:30 am. Photo courtesy of Bill Benz.Nilson Red Grouper

Gilbert started shining with the red groupers as well. Photo courtesy of Bill Benz.

Gilberts red grouper

The red groupers and mutton snappers responded very well to our jigs. Below is Jongsoo with a mutton caught on a Shark jig and a Shark and Cudaman Slow Jigging 7′ rod.Pulley Ridge 06-201628

Below it’s me on the same jig and rod with what we call a “muffin”. It’s a mutton snapper that was on the smaller size but made it to the box.Pulley Ridge 06-201629-2

Miami Chris got this mutton around 9:30 am.Pulley Ridge 06-201630

Then Jongsoo landed this nice mutton snapper on the same setup again.Pulley Ridge 06-201633

Below is Chris, he just ventured on slow jigging and landed 2 muttons back to back on the jigs.Pulley Ridge 06-201634

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Bill got in the action landing this nice red grouper below.Pulley Ridge 06-201638

Jared converted with the same Shark and Cudaman slow jigging rod. Pulley Ridge 06-201639

Gilbert joined the action with this nice mutton snapper.Pulley Ridge 06-201640

Around 10:30 am double header by Art and Bill. Art was second high hook of the trip and landed 8 nice mutton snappers as part of his load.Pulley Ridge 06-201643

Below is Gilbert with a nice red grouper.Pulley Ridge 06-201645

Here I am again, but this time with a jiggingdepot.com jig and my Shark and Cudaman SJ7 rod.Pulley Ridge 06-201647

Jared took home some nice mutton snappers caught on his very expensive jigs. Unfortunately for him he lost many jigs to cut offs, OUCH! My wallet hurts just thinking about it.Pulley Ridge 06-201649

Gilbert again and another red grouper.Pulley Ridge 06-201650

Art got one of the first blackfin tunas, and a very nice one non the less.Pulley Ridge 06-201653

Bill jigged all methods, and here he is again with a nice almaco jack.Pulley Ridge 06-201655

Bill was on fire at one point. Landed another nice red grouper. Pulley Ridge 06-201656

Jared followed him with another nice red grouper on the jigs.Pulley Ridge 06-201657

jongsoo tested just about all his jiggingdepot.com jigs and they produced very well. Here is another nice red grouper.Pulley Ridge 06-201660

This gentleman tried and finally landed his fish. The red groupers were all over on this trip.Pulley Ridge 06-201666

Will got  another nice red grouper on a 220 gram jiggingdepot.com jig and a Shark and Cudaman SJ7 rod.Pulley Ridge 06-201668The afternoon landed and with it came quietness and tangles and the grinding started real hard.Pulley Ridge 06-201670As the night flew by Captain rare and I made our move towards the stern and back and as we floated to the stern Nilson got a very nice blackfin tuna that was enjoyed by 3 black tips that came cookie cutting it to the top. The sharks came and went but were not much of a hassle for us. in the background is chef Camela, she made some awesome burgers and fish tacos.Pulley Ridge 06-201671

Jongsoo also got into the blackfins with his jiggingdepot.com jigs. The blackfin tunas came sporadically through the night, I know a few guys got some on the H4L jigs that were given as samples. I hope they took some pics.Pulley Ridge 06-201673Night turned to daylight and I was on the grind side of things when I heard “DOLPHINS!, DOLPHINS!” I quickly ran to my rod I had ready with an H4L Texas Toothpick and got me a small dolphin “no pic sorry” it was lost due to a missed gaff. Three time it was missed three times I had it belly side up next to the boat, but that’s how life goes. I then went back to fishing and as the day went by lunchtime was here and again I heard “DOLPHINS!, DOLPHINS!” this time i got my other rod that was ready with an H4L Wingman, I sight casted to the bull but the he stood back and let the cow hit it. I quickly set the hook and she ran to the sides, she took one jump and as I got her head out the water she quickly gave up. this time the gaff didn’t miss.

Cudamans mahi mahi on H4L wingman

 

Afterwards it was back to the grind, a fish here and there  and then Bill with a mega donkey of about 70 to 80 pounds! Bam! That most have been a lot of work. I was catching some z’s while this happened. Photo courtesy of Bill Benz.Bill and his 70 to 80 pounder amberjack

And again Bill, but this time with a blue line tile. We ran into some of them at 350 feet of water.

Bills blueline tilefish.jpg

. Here is Jared connecting a 2 dinner size scamp. I think he will post on his blog. If you go there you can read the recipe he made “Scamp grouper in a lemon garlic chardonnay reduction with brown rice and molasses kale”, it looks good.Pulley Ridge 06-201676

Captain rare took the snapper part of the pool with this mutton snapper over 8 pounds. Chris came second so rare took the money and Chris took the Rum and cigars. Enjoy!Pulley Ridge 06-201681

Gilbert, on the last few hours pulled a Hail Mary beating my cow dolphin and took the pool money with this nice black grouper, he also took biggest grouper prize and most snappers, groupers, and blackfins combined. He put a big bait on and went home with big black grouper steaks.Pulley Ridge 06-201683

Below photo courtesy of Bill Benz

Gilberts Black Grouper-2

Will made out nicely on some big blackfins winning biggest blackfin tuna.Pulley Ridge 06-201695

We fished until the time allowed,Nilson got one of the last mutton snappers caught.Pulley Ridge 06-201696

Miami Chris got a few kingfish at night and on his last efforts he hooked up a fish that made him go from the stern to the bow.Pulley Ridge 06-201698

This was his reaction when he saw the fish.Pulley Ridge 06-2016101

A bobo, a bonner, or better known as a bonita in our waters. Oh well, it could have been something better.Pulley Ridge 06-2016103

The night ended and we went back home. her at the dock was the marine biologist collecting samples and measurements.Pulley Ridge 06-2016105

Here are the guys waiting on their catch.Pulley Ridge 06-2016106Pulley Ridge 06-2016108

If you didn’t sleep so much below is what an average cooler would look like. Nilson catch, minus a few red grouper and a big margate. Photo courtesy of Nilson.Nilsons catch

Rori’s catch and his future fisherwoman next to it. Photo courtesy of Rori.Roris catch

William was very happy with his H4L jigs.Pulley Ridge 06-2016109

Pulley Ridge Trip 2016 Mini Tourney rules

Heaviest overall and heaviest grouper: Gilbert

Heaviest snapper: Captain rare Nilson

  • 1st Place – Gilbert
  • 2nd place – Art
  • 3rd Place – Miami Chris

Heaviest fish caught on jig – William

Heaviest blackfin tuna – William

Heaviest mutton snapper – Nilson, rum went to Miami Chris

First wahoo – Prize given to Rory, he is the only one that came close to it

First mutton snapper – Jongsoo

First grouper – Captain rare Nilson

Worst luck – Imran

Once again thanks to the sponsors on our trip and for our trip. You make this trip a lot better than it normally is.

Captain Greg Mercurio of http://www.yankeecapts.com

Osage from 360tuna.com

http://www.H4Ljigs.com

http://www.jiggingdepot.com

Captain Phil Caputo from boatlessfishing.com

Captain rare from boatlessfishing.com

And this humble nonprofit blog that is here to help as many as possible.

And again thanks to the forums that let me post these trips:

http://www.boatlessfishing.com

http://www.360tuna.com

Thanks again from the Shark jigging Depot team.

shark team

 

Pulley Ridge Lite on the Yankee Capts-Wahoo and Queens

Ed and Captain Jimmy of the Lois Ann (part of the Lady Pamela II fleet), called me and said they wanted to go fishing at Pulley Ridge so I said yes and joined them. My plan was to jig as much as I could and then use bait and jig in between. They were just going to use bait and try some jigging for the blackfins.

We arrived at the dock on Thursday and loaded up our gear in the boat, we then ate our customary Hogfish sandwich at the bar and grill with the same name. It was close to 5pm and we were on our way. At the boat it all started with a short orientation from the Florida Sport Fishing TV crew. Very simple, fish as you always do and if you can don’t get on the way of the camera man. They gave away t-shirts, nice prizes during a raffle, and by recommendation of Captain Greg Mercurio each one of us were given a nice gold hammered jig which proved to be  a lethal jig for the fish.

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We got to Pulley Ridge around 4:30 am and it started off well. Ed is below with a nice mutton caught on a chunk of king mackerel.

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Below is Captain Jimmy with a blackfin tuna caught on a chunk of king mackerel.Pulley Ridge 06-201611

Below it’s me and a nice mutton caught on a Jigging Depot SB 220 gram slow pitch jig. I got 2 mutton snappers and a small blackfin tuna on this jig and then it got cut off. The current was almost non existing so we were able to fish with light jigs and weights of about 6 to 8 ounces to get the bait down fast.Pulley Ridge 06-201612

A keeper red grouper and this time with a 210 gram Shark jig from  JiggingDepot.com . I caught several fish on this jig until it got cut off later in the day.

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Wahoos where all over this trip, this 60 pounder was caught on a jig and won the pool.Pulley Ridge 06-201616

Captain Jimmy decided he was going old school with a 6 ounce bucktail and nailed this nice mutton and a red grouper.Pulley Ridge 06-201619Pulley Ridge 06-201620

Trolling got the most of the wahoos, this one was caught on a Yo-Zuri bonita.Pulley Ridge 06-201628

Below is Captain Jimmy with his bucktail and an almaco jack.Pulley Ridge 06-201631

Ed got into the action and got a nice amberjack that was released.Pulley Ridge 06-201636

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Luck be the lady on the one below. He caught a mutton on bait and a nice size blackfin got tangled on the weight. Pulley Ridge 06-201630

That bucktail was working and this time it caught a nice size queen trigger fish that was released.Pulley Ridge 06-201634

After 2:30pm of the 17th things turn to a slow pickings until the next day in the early morning when the trolling had another victim and wahoo wahoos on the Yo-Zuri bonita it was.Pulley Ridge 06-201642Pulley Ridge 06-201644Pulley Ridge 06-201643

That was followed by a couple of mutton snappers and some nice red groupers (no pics of the reds, sorry). Below is Ed with his part.

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As the bite had slowed down to slim pickings, Captain Greg decided to make a run to some deeper waters where I was able to catch a decent size Mystic Grouper. This one was on a whole squid and was using a 16 ounce weight.Pulley Ridge 06-201650

And in came the queen snappers, some beauty of fish and so very tasty. Here is Captain Jimmy with his.Pulley Ridge 06-201652

The bite had slowed down and we made a move to even deeper water. While on the move and around 1pm in came another wahoo.

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And as deeper we went more monsters showed up such as the grouper below.Pulley Ridge 06-201660

Ed got in the game with more queen snappers. This time the queen snappers were much bigger. I think some were probably over 25 pounds.Pulley Ridge 06-201662

And a nice size blackfin tuna caught on kingfish strips.Pulley Ridge 06-201663

Here is Captain Jimmy with another nice queen snapper.Pulley Ridge 06-201666

We had the co captain reminding us to be on point.Pulley Ridge 06-201668

The bite had slowed down again and the smaller fish were hitting our jigs. This yellow eyed snapper hit a 500 gram jig.Pulley Ridge 06-201670

It was on the last stop where this nice gag grouper hit a benthos jig. This was the last fish of the trip as Saturday afternoon had come to a close and we headed back to the dock.Pulley Ridge 06-201673

Here you can see the size of this nice wahoo.Pulley Ridge 06-201675

What a way to spend fathers day. This family showed everyone what it is like when you don’t stop fishing and put your time on the rails.Pulley Ridge 06-201680

Here is a group picture of all the participants of this trip holding some nice catches.

Group picture Pulley Ridge 06-2016

All in all it was a great trip, started great, slowed down, there were slim pickings, and then it turned into mayhem catching fish after fish. There were a lot of people fishing with jigs and they were catching fish. Those on the slow pitch jigs did very good and ended with some decent catches such as mutton snappers, red groupers, blackfin snappers, etc… The best baits as always were squid and oily baits like the king mackerels. Bonita strips in combination with squid worked great too. At the beginning we were fishing with light jigs but in the end had to switch to heavier jigs as the current picked up and so did  the wind with just enough speed to make the drifts a bit faster. If you jig or bait always bring a small assortment, just in case, you never know what mother nature will throw at you.

Well, my next trip is July 7th so I hope to catch more fish on the jigs and off course we will also be using bait.

For more information on these trips please visit http://www.yankeecapts.com

For information on what rigs to use please see http://yankeecapts.com/tackle-section/ and look for the “Pulley Ridge Lite Trips” section.

Thanks for stopping by and for reading!

Tight lines and until the next one!

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.

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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.

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

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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

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The crew cleaning the fish.

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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.

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

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