Pulley Ridge Late Report: May 15, 2017

After another tedious planning process we set the date for a third Pulley Ridge trip around May 15th, 2017 on my World Cat 33TE. This time I had to organize the the trip from Tallahassee as my graduation landed just two days prior to our push off date (this was an interesting task). After a few days of binge drinking and celebration with friends up at Florida State University I woke up early Sunday morning and made the most hungover and dreadful 6-hour drive back to my hometown of Naples, Florida to begin the set-up process for the trip.

As soon as I hit the home exit it was go time. With the majority of my crew out of town and arriving just hours before the trip, it was up to my buddy Jeff and I to make sure everything was in line and ready to go. After a day and a half of setting up we had the boat ready to push off. Just like the first trip we weighed the boat down with 450 gallons of fuel (150 in a bladder), about 1000 pounds of ice, and enough food, beer, and water to spend a week offshore.

With everyone finally at the dock and ready to go we pushed off the dock at 4pm. After making a few unsuccessful stops looking for white bait to cast net we decided to push out to 40 feet of water for big livies. Wells loaded and ready for action we began the 130nm trek at 30mph to our first spot. Maybe one day when the Freeman wait will be cut to a more reasonable time and we can make this trip at double the speed, that would be pretty *****in'.

Upon arrival at the first spot we found that the night bite would be slow picking. This trip was made on a full moon and the lack of tide movement over the night was similar to that of my first full moon trip. We did however manage to pick at them slowly over the night throwing some grouper, margate, and porgies in the box.

Once the sun came up it was a different story, the bite was on. In the morning we gave trolling a shot to no avail but we did run over a patch of bottom that was absolutely on fire. In one drift we managed to pull 8 nice sized muttons and another tank margate. This bite did not last long sadly.

After calling it quits on the shallow side we decided to troll towards my blackfin/wahoo spot which only produced one 20-pound blackfin.

Prior to the trip I purchased an AVET 50wide and Tiagra 80wide and put them both on bent butts to double as high-speeding/deep drop rods. Having the bent butt option is truly underrated, we were able to just plant the rods in the rod holders and crank manually. In an honest opinion, I believe deep dropping with this tactic not only made the process more challenging but also made it more fun.

Our first deep drop spots didn't quite produce so I pulled up the map on my Garmin and looked for depth breaks that looked promising. After picking an area about 12 miles away we made the run. This tactic paid off swimmingly, upon stopping near the area we picked we set out a trolling spread and began searching for bottom.

I tend to live by the saying "go big or go home" and that is exactly what we did. When looking for bottom in about 1000 feet of water we found a drop off that shot from 1050 feet of water to 1300 feet of water in about a 200 yard span. Yup, you read that right; we manually cranked fish up from 1300 feet of water. The spot was unreal, we were able to pull up 5 golden tiles, 3 rosies, and two snowys (one being about 25-30 pounds).

With time running out we decided to head back towards land and fish the shallow side for the sunset bite. During this period we were able to catch the majority of our red grouper, a 20ish pound black, and a few more muttons. Once the sun disappeared so did the bite. At this point we decided to make the 5hr drive back to the barn.

After the last trip I believe I have figured the deep dropping portion of the Pulley Ridge out and am excited to make another trip out the area and dedicate more time to it. In my three trips to the basically pristine Pulley Ridge Grounds, I feel I was able to gain a understanding of both the deep water portion as well as the shallow water portion. The area seems to be the most difficult to catch fish during the full/new moon phase with the best bites occurring about 5 days before these moon phases. To no surprise the best bite occurs in a 2hr period during Sunrise and Sunset.

The fish tally from the last trip consisted of: 1 almaco (plenty others thrown back to live another day), 6 Red Grouper, 3 Scamp Grouper, 1 Black Grouper, 6 Tilefish (5 Golden, 1 Blueline), 3 Rosies, 2 Snowy Grouper, 2 Margate, 3 Porgy, 12 Muttons, and 1 Blackfin Tuna.
33 World Cat TE --- 27 Edgewater CC


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