Yankee Capts. Angler's Request; Deep Water, Big Fish! Granted!‏
Shallow water? 160 feet. Normal fishing depth? 240- 260 feet. Yellow tail snappers? None, not one in the tote tubs, at the end of the trip. In the tubs? Lots of big fish! Randy, Tom and I were on a mission to have fresh fish, never before frozen, for a fish fry at the Jolly Roger RV Park, Friday night. 140 hungry campers are waiting to feast on fresh Tortugas muttons, yellow eye snappers, porgies and grouper. The black fin tuna will not be on the menu, it barely made it off the dock! Mission accomplished! There will be mutton munching tonight, pictures tomorrow.
Captain Rick and wonder boy Dominic really know how to throw a party. Come one, come all, sign up early, cause you'll laugh so hard at the antics and camaraderie you might miss the bite. First order of business at the dock? Load up with fresh goggle eyes, imported from Dania Beach in a guarded, armor plated four wheel drive, with Capt Rick at or near the wheel. Heck, as if that wasn't fresh enough, right on cue, a huge school of goggs and tinker mackerel hung out under the boat, for hours and gave us REALLY fresh baits. Watching the Anglers guys load buckets with these wonder baits was amazing. Nine or ten at a time, with a dedicated guy de-hooking. With brief instruction I was soon catching three or four at a time and tangling almost anyone in the area. There's more to this than meets the eye, but I now had fresh bait and no one got upset.
One of the first spots was producing numerous, small muttons and Rick and Dom and the bow boys were RIPPING them! With big ones mixed in, they filled their standby cooler in no time, while I only managed five muffins. (baby muttons) As the trip progressed, some of us were catching, some of us were fishing; I was having more luck fishing than catching, but watching the bow boys get the most out of our new favorite phrase, "ripping it", was more than enough to keep us laughing.
Previous trips this year had few flying fish present. Well, the little beggars were here in numbers and after a couple embarrassing swipes with my net, I was soon observing a rapid wiggling in the mesh. More fresh bait! I netted as many as eight in a scoop and never had to touch the frozen bait I brought from home. Watch out muttons!
Capt Rick helped a fellow angler rip a big shark to the surface, amberjacks infested the area and soon these big "reef donkeys" were flopping all over the place amidst us fishing fools braying like ****, to signal yet another amberjack on deck. We found out that our excellent first mate, Lyndon, had once owned a real donkey, but despite prodding and prompting, he couldn't remember it's name. "C'mon Lyndon, what was the donkey's name?" "Kiss my *** Cameron!" "Hmmm, that's a funny name for a donkey...."
Ok, so amberjacks were ripping us and we were ripping them. But I don't like that game, so with my buddy, Tom, ripping forty pound amberjacks on one side of me, Randy involved in a losing battle with a giant shark and a cluster of bow boys watching two fishermen fight a greedy, 60 plus pound AJ, at the same time, after it inhaled two hooks at once, I quietly and calmly put a tiny, inconspicuous piece of flying fish on my hook and dropped it. It drifted under the boat, down to where the muttons were hiding, avoiding the mayhem and drama and no one even noticed my calmly frantic battle (except Lyndon, the super mate) until a very active, very large mutton interrupted the AJ game, with a loud flopping on deck.
I dropped another tiny chunk under the boat and this time got the attention of Capt Rick, now back on mutton alert, who saw the twitching of my rod tip that started the rise of another big mutton from the depths. I was drawing attention, but not wanting to pause for the accolades, I stayed in the zone and was met with a half dozen icy stares when mutton number three in a row started slapping the newly painted deck. Capt Rick came over to touch my fishing rod for luck and quietly asked me what my secret was. I lied and told him I was putting peanut butter on my bait, as my rod tip was again pounded towards the water. Number four mutton was ripping me, HARD, as Rick went running to the galley for a PB sandwich, "no jam, or bread, Joe". He got hungry I guess, munchy time. Well, number four was too much for me to handle and got twisted in something on the bottom. My reward was an empty hook.
I baited up again, and with all eyes distrustfully focused on my little corner of the world, mutiny and murder being discussed covertly at the bow, Rick threw his hands in the air "Peanut butter my ***. That bast###d is hooked up AGAIN!!!!" No one else was hooking muttons! Mine was the only disappointment when I hauled up a big horse eyed jack and my moment of fame came to an end. I still managed a grouper and a porgie at that spot, but my infamous run was over.
Capt Rick, you can fill in your version of the story here...
So, I wasted several visits to the chiropractor on a sea monster, ripping it a half turn at a time toward the surface, but it broke the line, still forty feet from camera view. I slept awhile and as I crawled up the stairs, noticed a lightening of the darkness that signaled the last fishing stop. Several large muttons were in the tote near the fish cooler, so I baited with a small piece of flying fish and added one more to the total, my tenth and last for the trip.
At the dock, I couldn't have been any happier if I had caught twenty. (lie) But my cooler was full, including several large yellow eye snappers that were bigger than my first muttons, a scamp grouper and a couple black fin tunas. My only regret was the big tuna I lost at the surface. It really wanted to live and avoided the gaff, rocketing toward bottom and burning my mono line on braid from several other lines it tangled during the fight. Next time Mr Tuna, next time!
Capt Rick was not overly quick to point out that my fish all fit in one cooler and that he had to rent a U-Haul trailer to carry away his catch, but at least my mini mutton spree didn't stop me from future Anglers trips on the Yankee Capts.
Oh and Capt Rick, I overheard you talking to your guys back at the tackle shop. Tell them NOT to fill three shelves with, "Capt Ricks New Wonder Bait Enhancer", they can glue the labels back on the peanut butter jars. I was lying!!!
Thanks for the great trip. For more pictures friend Yankee Captains or Anglers Bait and Tackle on Facebook.
Usually thinking fishing,