Skip to main content
Home Keys General Fishing & The Outdoors

6/19/14 Yankee Captain Pulley Ridge

Once again, as the passenger who lives closest to the boat, I was &@!!$ to the wall rushing to get there on time. I worked extra hard and late all week finishing a big project for the boss so I could leave the office at 4:30. At 3, I got the word that there will be an important meeting that couldn't be missed. "When?" I asked. The reply was, "It could be any time, but definitely later than 4:30. You can do what you want, but you must be back to the office with 15 minutes notice." I decided to make the best of whatever time I had and hit the grocery for some snacks and drinks. I made it home by 6:30 and scrambled to get my halfway organized mess of stuff into the truck so I could get something for dinner and be at the dock before 8. A quick stop at Dion's and Twice the Ice and I was as good as I was gonna get. The only thing I forgot was my butterfly jigs. Shame too. I had two packs of those pre-rigged butterfly jig hooks ready for action. More about that later.

As usual, the anticipation was incredible. I got to meet another bunch of great guys from all over the world who love to fish. There was a guy from France, a bunch of guides from New York, some home boys from Tallahassee and Orlando, some of Captain Greg's buddies from Mass., Pennsylvania Steve, and Cesar and the "Baja Boys" from south Florida. I'm certain I left somebody out, but let's just say that I really enjoy that part of the trip and the chop busting that gets more intense as the time goes on.

This trip was my first to Pulley Ridge. I help Captain Greg and the boys clean fish on Sundays when I can and the sheer numbers of fish that were being caught were incredibly impressive. I had to go; even without an electric reel. I brought a heavy spinner with 30lb braid and a short, castable leader for a pitch rod, a Torium 20 with 4o0lb mono on a snapper rod for jigging/chicken rigging, a Torium 30 with 50lb mono on an 8' mutton rod for mutton fishing, and a 2 speed Tiagra with braid on a 30-50lb roller guide rod for deep dropping. I can say that I had the right stuff and would only have done better with an electric reel. Should you choose to go with one of those electic Diawas, you need to get the 1000 size or at least the two speed 50. There were a couple of single speed reels sized under the 1000 that went up in smoke. Follow the tackle recommendations on the website and you willl not go wrong.

The weather was AMAZING. Most of the time, there was not a ripple. With the lack of wind, came the heat....More to come...........


  • bite my baitbite my bait Posts: 461 Deckhand
    **** left us with a ****......:shrug
  • One Named Fishin'One Named Fishin' Key WestPosts: 59 Deckhand
    **** left us with a ****......:shrug

    Sorry gang, something came up, and apparently not just for me :banana

    So, did I mention the heat? I fared significantly better than the Yankee folk, but it was definitely a scorcher without the wind. Another side affect of calm seas was the lack of a drift. In fact, there was no current either at the first two spots. Captain Greg knew it would be very tough fishing without current so he didn't waste a lot of time at spots that were not immediately productive and stayed on the prowl until we finally started a slow but steady pick. Mostly Blue-Line Tiles with some Snowy and Yellow Edge Grouper thrown in for good measure. How the heck we had so many tangles with 2lb weights going straight down, I will never know. All I do know is that you would rather be known by your name than the color of your line.

    As we ate dinner and steamed towards the shallows, it appeared that this was going to be a relatively slow trip. I say relatively because it was more productive for most people than they would ever have on their own, but not the "had to go home early cause there was no more room for fish" type of trip that Pulley Ridge has produced every other time.

    All night was a medium pick on Mutton Snapper and Red Grouper. This was also the first trip in which the Blackfin Tuna did not show up in any sort of numbers. There was only a couple caught all night. By no means did that stop anyone from trying and catching a mixed bag of other stuff. A big Horse-Eye and Amberjack, a decent Kingfish and a couple of beautiful Scamp hit the deck.

    Come sunrise, we headed out deep again. Captain Greg pulled out all the stops in order to make sure that everyone caught a nice cooler full of fish. A couple schools of small dolphin swam by. The tiles and snowys bit much better. The fishermen got better also. Even though there were still tangles, they seemed less than the first day. I have to give Matt, Lyndon and Jake a hand (Jake really needs a hand by the way. His was badly injured and unusable). They did a great job saving the expensive braid and leads used for deep dropping. We fished until dark again before steaming in.

    Before I conclude, I need to stress that following the tackle recommendations is critical. Hand cranking is not that bad. Bring a gimbal belt though, maybe even a harness. The reason is that the reel rocks back and forth when you crank it resting on the rail and most folks will not last more than a few minutes of cranking without using the rail. Fresh bait is a plus for the night fishing. Squid worked best for the deep drop.

    Cesar was high hook, a title which he probably earns bi-monthly. Brownie won the pool with a 42lb Wahoo he caught on the bottom in 500' with dead bait on mono. Someone got two nice snowys in the 20 lb range. I do not have any pictures, but basically, I filled a 110 quart cooler with tile and grouper. Everyone got a nice mess of fish and had a fun time.
  • XafXaf Posts: 1,132 Officer
    Thanks for the report. I'm scheduled on the Pulley Ridge trip over the 4th of July and am not looking forward to the heat. I agree with you on the tackle selection. Last trip I was on it was the guys who didn't follow the recommendations that were causing most of the tangles.

    How was the drift at night and how much weight did you have to use?
  • One Named Fishin'One Named Fishin' Key WestPosts: 59 Deckhand
    Looking forward to seeing you at the dock again, Bob. The wind/current at night was slow to medium. I used an 8oz bucktail with a hoo and it worked well at one spot but wouldn't hold at another. Bring a variety. 6-8 holds in many spots but 14-16 works better in others, depending on depth, line and bait size.

    There were a lot of guys using pre-made deep drop rigs with lots of extra stuff on them including lights and rubber squids. I do not believe that those items made any difference, but they do make for extra drag and are a pain to get untangled.

    2lbs was all that was needed for the deep drop. I tried 3 and it didnt make much of a difference.
  • XafXaf Posts: 1,132 Officer
    Thanks for the info. I always bring a variety of weights, was just curious how the drift was at night. I did pick up a couple small deep drop lights to try. People I have talked to say they do make a difference so I want to see for myself whether they are worth it or not.

    I'll look for you at the dock when we return.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.


Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now