Pulley Ridge on the Yankee Capt May 13-15
Around 8 Capt Greg gave some instructions on what we were doing then it was time to drop our first baits to the bottom. I'm pretty sure everyone was using electrics instead of hand cranking this trip. Probably a good thing I was thinking because conditions seemed perfect so I had a feeling we would be fishing pretty deep. First drift had some grey tiles, yellow eyes and a few snowys and yellow edge grouper coming over the rails. It was about 20 minutes into it when I heard a bunch of hooting and hollering coming from the bow. I ask one of the new mates Jimmy what all the fuss was about and he said someone got a pretty good grouper. Yeah pretty good..my jaw dropped when they dragged a 90 lb Warsaw over to the fish box!
Next drift was a straight up blitz of Queen snappers. I'm not talking little ones either. All up and down the rail there were queens coming up longer than your leg. Fish after fish over 20 lbs. Some way over. Meanwhile four drops in a row during the queen blitz, I bring in an 18" grey tile :banghead. This drift stayed productive for so long I even broke off on my fifth drop and still managed to re-tie on a new top shot and rig and get back into the action to bag 3 nice queens.
Conditions stayed perfect most the day. The breeze and current completely died out toward late afternoon slowing the bite some. Greg took us up on the bank for the night bite. Honestly this is my favorite part of these pulley ridge trips. We drift with bait or jig for muttons, blackfin snappers, black, red and scamp grouper and blackfin tuna. When conditions are right it can be pretty spectacular sp I was stoked.
My first bait down I get a 15lb red grouper. Second bait a fat blackfin snapper. Im thinking it's going to be one of those nights. Only one problem, no drift. I mean like fishing the bottom straight up and down with a 4oz sinker in 200' of water no drift. We weren't covering any ground at all. Greg said we may have covered 100 yds ALL NIGHT! Cool thing was the boat lights brought hundreds of flying fish and other baits that did bring some life to the boat. We even had a sailfish come crashing through them once, right through the lights all lit up himself.
I stayed at it pretty hard all night only sleeping for one hour. I ended up with 2 big red grouper, a mutton, 3 blackfin snappers, and four tuna to show for it.
Next morning we were back at the deep drop. First few drifts we killed the snowys. I had several chunkers and a decent yellow edge too. We got back into some queen snapper again too. By noon or so the drift had really slowed down but the back boxes were stuffed. We were just sitting in one place so Greg moved looking for a bit better conditions. We moved out to 900'. A few guys including myself caught golden tile but not too many. I had one around 10 pounds. It wasn't long after time was up and we were headed east. We even made it back to the dock before sunrise!
Back at the dock the fish sort took a while. Man what a pile of fish! I had 6 queens the biggest weighing 26lbs on the scale. Biggest snowy was 20. Pool fish winner was the 90 lb Warsaw caught on the first drift. Everyone even the googans who seemed to spend half the trip tangled up had coolers overflowing with fish. (Btw listen to the Capt when he gives suggestions, it makes everyone's trip better. And yes the way you hook your bait does indeed make a difference when it comes to tangles in 700'):banghead
Big thanks to Greg, Scott, new mates Shane and Jimmy for another great trip. Also thanks to Camela for her outstanding work in the galley. Seriously it makes the trips so stress free to not have to worry about bringing food for meals. She is taking the galley to the next level, consider me impressed.
Sorry for the crappy photos...better than nothing?