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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Pulley Ridge Lite 2017 – Quality and Good Times Tourney

This is our third annual trip to Pulley Ridge on board the Yankee Capts. As always, it was a blast to be fishing with great fishermen from our fishing forum communities. It is always great to put a face to screen names and it’s always great to hear how they fish in their areas. The exchange of ideas and knowledge is invaluable on these trips. Our trip this year was a grind like we haven’t seen before, but the captain was able to pull a rabbit out of the hat. He put us on top of quality fish and then found some fish that were chewing so we were able to catch and put fish in everyone’s cooler.

What a start! I got to the docks on 3 cylinders making me show up later than I ever would have. When I got there the Captain asked me if we were all at the dock so we could leave earlier and as I was told we were, with the exception of 3 people. I started contacting all the missing fishermen. One was by the Navy base, Victor (alias Martin and 5 other names including mutton slayer of this trip) was late, told me I am 20 minutes away but showed up an hour later, and Andre showed up as we were waiting on Victor. I counted the 19 we were supposed to have and we left the dock. As we were out on the water and on the channel bound to the fishing grounds, the boat stops. The Captain had to turn the boat around because Andre called saying we left him at the dock. CRAP!!! I must have counted the extra person on the boat (a Captain in training). We made our way back to the dock, picked up Andre and then off to the fishing grounds we went. Below a pic of Andre being picked up.

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As we went on our way we got a nice surprise snack from the Chef.

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Thanks to OSAGE, H4L jigs, Jigging Depot, and this tiny blog of mine we were able to give away hats, T-shirts, and some nice jigs, knives, and other tackle.  All took place on the second floor while at the same time I gave a small orientation.

DCIM107GOPROOur plan was to start with ARS (American Red Snappers) at about 1 am and then make a run to Pulley Ridge but a storm was on top of the fishing spot and as we got to another spot we were greeted by the taxman (sharks). Bill and a few others were able to get away from the sharks and landed a few ARS and other fish. We then took off to Pulley Ridge and arrived in the am. The bite was slow but we managed to catch a few here and there.

Below is John with a keeper Red Grouper caught on a goggle eye bait.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below is Jongsoo with a Red Grouper caught on 220 gram Jigging Depot jig.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below is Nilson with a keeper Red Grouper caught on a goggle eye bait and Rori telling him to let him grow a tad bit.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below is Victor, the slayer, with a nice Red Grouper caught on a goggle eye bait.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Victor again with a Mutton Snapper caught on a goggle eye bait as Brian is trying to lick a bit of luck off his smoking head.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Victor again with another Red Grouper caught on a goggle eye bait.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jongsoo got this Red Grouper with a 220 gram silver SharkjigPulley Ridge 201703

Imram got his Grouper on bait.Pulley Ridge 201704

Daniel landed his Mutton Snapper on the jig. This one got him the first Mutton of the trip prize.Pulley Ridge 201705

I managed to land this nice Blackfin on a silver 120 gram Jigging Depot jig. This one took the biggest Blackfin pool.Pulley Ridge 201706

I believe Alex landed his Mutton Snapper on a jig as well. This one took the biggest Snapper pool.Pulley Ridge 201707

Chris below with a big Black Grouper. This one won the Biggest Grouper pool. He caught this Grouper using an 8 ounce buck tail jig tipped with ballyhoo.Pulley Ridge 201723

He picked it up a few times for those taking pictures.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below is Brian trying to show a Lionfish inside the Grouper’s mouth. Yes, they have reached Pulley Ridge.Pulley Ridge 201708

Here is some bendo action by Dustin.Pulley Ridge 201709

The bite stopped and the grind started after lunch. Luckily for those who paid the $100 for the all inclusive food package we were in for a culinary treat. Below is the Brizo, a grilled panini with smoked turkey, salami, Brie, Swiss Cheese, Berry Chipotle, and Aoli Balsamic glaze. WOW that was good!

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Around 3 pm we got into a few more bites. Here I am with another Mutton Snapper caught on a silver 220 gram Sharkjig.Pulley Ridge 201711

I apologize to the guys as I was not carrying my pocket camera but instead I had to run to the table to reach for my big DSLR camera. Below are Mutton Snappers caught by William and not sure if it was Andre or Dustin on the jigs. This was a short bite around 7pm or so.

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Night time came and we got a nice dinner, a Chicken Cordon Bleu, White Wine Beurre Blanc Sauce, Sauteed Spinach, and a Parmesan Risotto with a side salad. This is when I learned the beer was included in the $100 all inclusive meal plan.

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Night time was another grind, I expected the Blackfins to show in large numbers but it never happened. Below is Bill with a Red Grouper around 5 am.Pulley Ridge 201714

The Captain moved and the a.m. gave us another short lived hot bite. Here is Chris with his Red Grouper on the jig.Pulley Ridge 201715

Below is Bill with his Mutton Snapper on bait.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nilson below with his Mutton Snapper on bait.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below is Jordan with his nice King Mackerel from a flat line.Pulley Ridge 201716

We were also expecting a good number of Wahoos, but the guys trolling lost a few hits and waited for one to materialize. It just did not happen so they fell asleep.Pulley Ridge 201717

Since the bite was so slow Captain Greg took us to deeper waters in the 350′ to 450′ range where a mixture of AJ, decent size Almaco Jacks, and some Groupers were slowly caught. Below is Chris with his catch caught on a jig.Pulley Ridge 201718

Jongsoo got lucky and won a prize for most unique fish. He landed a nice size Long Tail Bass.Pulley Ridge 201719

Nothing was happening so we made a 25 mile ride to another area where Robert was able to land a very nice Black Grouper. He patiently waited on this fish to get out of the hole, but in the end he had to just put that pressure and pull him out.Pulley Ridge 201720

Alex found a nice Almaco jack here.Pulley Ridge 201721

After that we moved again and this time we were in a hot ARS and Yellow Eye Snapper bite. I think everyone was able to get fish in their coolers on this stop. Below is Rory with a nice Scamp Grouper caught on Squid bait.

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Dinner was a very nice Surf and Turf combination; Filet Mignon, Crab Cake, Hosin Greens, Roasted Red Potato, and Side Salad plus a great raspberry shake. After dinner we went on our way to one more stop. Some fishermen went to sleep, while others stayed awake preparing their rigs, checking their bait and chit chatting a bit.

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At 2 am Sunday we arrived at our last stop, so I went to the bunks screaming LAST CALL TO FISH GUYS, IF YOU WANT FISH WAKE UP! Someone screamed F- DAT gonna keep sleeping!  Well this stop was mayhem fish after fish after fish, many got their ARS limit here and many put fish in the cooler. The Blue Runners were a pain, but I was able to get my limit of ARS and got me a few Muttons as well. Below is Nilson with his 2 am ARS.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We got back to the dock and put away our tackle. Then the ending ritual began, numbers called, people responded and fish went flying into their coolers. Below is Brian walking towards Mario’s cooler with his African Pompano.

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Once the fish were in the fishermen’s coolers, it was off to the scales to see who had the biggest Grouper, Snapper, and Blackfin Tuna. Below is Chris who  won the Grouper category by a landslide.

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I won the Blackfin Tuna category with only a couple of pounds difference.Pulley Ridge 201706

Alex won the Mutton Snapper category with a nice difference in weight.Pulley Ridge 201707

All in all, there were some mishaps at the start, but great food started early, and the giveaways were given. As we started fishing we had some quiet time with slow quality pickings, and then ended up with some mayhem fishing time.

After the long grind many of us were able to fill our coolers. Here is my 120 quart cooler, I was very happy about it. Pulley Ridge 201708

Below is Victor, the Slayer’s catch.

Victor's fish

Below is Miami Chris’ catch

The best part was that I did not have to go hunting for ice since the boat now has ice for sale on the property.Pulley Ridge 201703

Below is the menu we had  to chose from, sorry for the blurriness, it was hard to get a good pic.

Pulley Ridge 201726 menu

A big thanks and kudos to Captain Greg Mercurio for allowing us to fish more on the way back home, finding a way to put us on the fish that were biting, Those last stops put a lot of fish in our coolers. Another big thanks to the crew for working as hard as you always do. I hope the black box was filled with a good share of thanks from the fishermen of this trip. And who could forget the great food and the “wake me up at any time to cook food for you” from Chef Chad. Once again an awesome trip. And one more big thanks to Ricks Reels Service for servicing my reels and returning them on time for my trip.

2017 PULLEY RIDGE MINI TOURNAMENT

Just like the past 2 years we are about to embark on another Pulley Ridge adventure and again we were able to get sponsored by http://www.yankeecapts.com , OSAGE from 360Tuna.com, by http://www.jiggingdepot.com , and by http://www.H4Ljigs.com

A big thanks to them for being with us.

Another great thanks to http://www.boatlessfishing.com and http://www.360tuna.com for letting us host the trip information at their sites.

2017 Pulley Ridge Tourney Prizes UPD

 

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.

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. 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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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Victor and Danny show us their groupers once again.

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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.

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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