Not sure where to start so I'll just dive in. I had been looking forward to this trip since my last trip a couple months ago. A friend (Mike) was going along who did not have an electric reel and had never been deep ropping so I borrowed an Electra Mate mounted on a Penn 6/0, a real grinder, for him to use. I spend a day cleaning it up, changing the plug to battery clips, adding line and mounting it on an appropriate pole. I also made numerous calls to my bait contacts to try to find something besides squid to use when drifting the top of the ridge at night. Same story everywhere, no bait available or check when you come down. Since there was an awsome morning bite on jigs my last trip, I ordered a couple on line, expecting them to arrive before I left. Of course they came in the mail on Friday after I had departed. Friday finally arrived and the truck was loaded with coolers for food & drinks, bait, and extra ice, change of clothes, sleeping bags, poles and gear for deep dropping and fishing on top of the ridge, battery and charger, tackle boxes, and assortment of lead for all conditions for both of us. I picked Mike up and we were on our way. Everywhere we stopped, it was the same story no fresh bait of any sort. Seems the water has been way to warm in the Keys for any bait fish to show up in numbers. Finally we bought a couple bags of frozen flying fish, just to have something to use if we couldn't come up with any thing on the boat.
We arrived at the boat around 3 pm and there were already a few people there. Greg said we could go ahead and load our gear. So we lugged all the above mentioned gear from the truck to the boat. Then it was off to the Hogfish for a bowl of lobster bisque and an order of hogfish fingers. Soon the rest of the anglers for the trip started showing up and went through the ritual of loading their gear on the boat. Finally it was 8 pm and time to shove off. I had good intentions of taking lots of pictures but as usual that went out the window somewhere along the way. Here are a few pictures that I did mange to take, more of the fishing later.
The Electra Mate Grinder.
My weapon of choice.
Enough gear to cover any ocassion.
Everyone is checking their gear and getting ready for things to come.
The crew dug out their large sea anchor and prepared it for use.
Saturday moring we awoke to breezy conditions.
After daylight some decided to troll while we were making our way to the our first drop.
Dudley (Snaphappy) was rewarded with a nice wahoo.
Back to the fishing. We made our first drop around 10 am. Mike pulled up a nice yellow edge on his first ever deep drop and I pulled up a small snowy. Looked like it was going to be a good day despite the less then desirable conditions. Things went downhill from there. Pretty soon it seemed as if there was a tangle every drop. I managed to hook fish on three straight drops but lost them due to tangles each time. Mike had a complete rig cut off as he put it in the water to drop down when someone from the back of the boat pulled tight on their braid that was running all the way along the side of the boat snagged some where up on the bow. By this time I was a flustrated and decided to take the first of many breaks. Mike continued to struggle but managed to catch several nice yellow eyes and tile fish. Somewhere around midday I started having problems with my reel. It kept losing power as I would try to reel in. I finally realized I had a broken wire in the power cord.
Soon it was time to go up on the ridge for the night. The fishing was slow so I decided to get some shut eye. Mike got up around 2 am and there was a pretty good black fin bite. He managed to get three nice blackfins.
I got up early and spent about two hours McGivering my power cord connector. Finally getting it to work. Turns out the neg lead was completely broken and the pos was hanging on by a few strands of wire. After speaking to several people I believe the power cord is the weak link for the Daiwa Tanacoms. (Lesson to self bring spare power cord.) About this time Greg announces not to get the electrics out that due to conditions we would not be doing any deep drops on the second day. The bite was slow for the rest of the day with a pick of mainly red grouper here and there. I did manage to get a small mutton. I'm convinced that this is where good fresh bait is essential. Around 4:30 Greg announced that we were 150 miles from Stock Island and it was time to go. All-in-all it was a slow trip for me and quite a few others. Mike managed to do pretty well so we had fish to bring home. If I counted correctly there were 13 totes when we got to the dock. The usual suspects, like Dudley (Snaphappy), Jake (jakedge) and Ceasur who were dedicated and spent the time at the rail managed decient catches. They can chime in and provide their view of the trip. One thing to mention, just because it is strange, Ceasur brought 3 brand new rods that all broke during the trip. I almost forgot the trip home. Traffic was a nightmare with everyone returning from the holiday.
If my report sounds negative it is because I had really high expectations and was disappointed in the weather conditions and other issues I encountered and is no reflection on the crew's effort. Greg, Lynden, Matt, Johnny and Joe did their usual outstanding job and tried to make the trip as enjoyable as possible.
Off to planning my next Yankee Captains trip.
That was epic, specially your battle with the Warsaw on the Electramate 6/0, that thing was humming and winning but it did the job. Lots of full totes on the way back, 25 different species of edible fish were caught. I kept on yelling " my Blackfin tuna is hung with another line" and it wasn't at all, it just would not budge, that's how powerful it was, watta a Googan. LOL.
As mentioned i got lucky and had a 20lb hoo hit a cedar plug on the way out to the grounds. I was trolling with my jigging gear (Ocea 5000) and the real winched the fish in no problem without having to slow the boat down.
On the deep drop when I wasn't re-rigging from tangles the bite was ok. managed a few tiles, a nice yellow edge, a few snowys (mostly small) and a mess of nice yellow eyes. At night we had a little flurry at sunset then it shut down until the tunas came to ply for an hour or so. I got three up to just over 20 lbs. The Roscoe jig and a little super sardine were the jigs of choice.
Day two drifting the 200ft depths was actually pretty fun I enjoyed it. I was a little disappointed to not be deep dropping but I knew Greg had a plan. I fished a single hook rig on a three way swivel with a 20 oz bank sinker for the most part. I think my final catch for day two was four big red groupers, a mutton and a huge queen trigger (released) a first for me. I usually don't get too excited for red grouper but the ones out west are incredible. BIG and beautiful. The color on them is amazing.
Even though the catch may not of been up to mosts expectations it was still a really fun trip highlighted by Johnny returning to mate a couple trips. Good times for sure!
Oh Gilbert that is so untrue. We have had much better trips than that. The Reel Seat charter and Anglers Charter come to mind first. A trip in May with the Florida Sportfishing crew filled the all back boxes in one day. The first trip we did falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. You ought to make it out more than once with me to see the real picture.:dance.
I do realize you missed a trip because of a breakdown, you get a pass on that one.
Interestingly, when I'm in DT's I don't get excited about them either.
But the ones in PR are a different story, huge, fat and bright red-brown in color, even after 3-4 days on ice they retain that vivid red- brown pigmentation, not only the red groupers but the Queen snappers retain that bright red color for days after being kept on ice, the shallower fish do not seem to hold up those colors as well.:huh
Dudley or any other friend, would you recommend a Diawa electric 1000 or the 750?
I am working on a Nov 3-6 PR charter and is looking for a few more to join to make it a go. PM me if there is an interest, most of us have some experience jigging PR and had some good catches vs bait. Some of us are also serious mutton addicts that will stay up all night.
Dudley or any other friend, would you recommend a Diawa electric 1000 or the 750?[/QUOTE]
This is the third time I have used the Tanacom 1000 and love it. It seemed a little awkward at first but I got used to it quickly. Seems much more like a regular fishing reel compared to the Electra-Mate my buddy was using. I do need to get a different battery. I'm using the one I bought to run my live well (75 lb deep cycle marine) and it is a PITA to lug around.
Let me know if you decide to do one of the Pulley Ridge trips, I think you would enjoy it. Maybe we could hook up. If you have any questions PM me.
Even without having spoken to Ceasar I have a very strong suspicion where those rods came from, I have seen a series of rods broken over the past three years from the same builder, more important than the builder happens to be the quality and price of the blanks.
Not all China made blanks are bad, actually some of the best blanks in the world market today are made in China, like Phenix and Batson Rainshadow. The problem is that this builder is using very cheap blanks, make sure YOU tell the builder what blank you want and do not skimp on blank expense.
No real need for expensive baits like goggle eyes. The bait of choice for the deep drops on the PR trips has been small pieces of squid. When drifting the ridge at night a strip bait such as bonita seemed to work best.
Gilbert, I'll never forget that first pioneer trip. So much anticipation, Capt Greg pacing the wheel house, hoping for a home run. It was a grand slam and is in the history books! I was on the Reel Seat charter last spring. No electrics, just a bunch of enthusiastic hand crankers. I had no where near top catch, but I fed 150 at a fish fry. Big fish!
Gilbert, I'm buying a tanacom 1000. What batteries did you use and where can I buy them? I have a heavy action 5'6" shark rod, with roller guides, do I need longer? How much longer still works?
Hope to see you out there again!
Over the pulpit a short 6-7' 50# class rod was ideal. A short rod tends to give a better account of the action below. I enjoyed DD on a short rod more than on an 8'.
Hope to be down in Nov.
9/16/14 - 12/31/14 , will have to throw back a few more when fishing the PR banks.