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Yankee Capts Halfway Ledge, Nov. 2-5

Just got back from the Yankee Capts, and the first official run of a dedicated Halfway Ledge trip. All I can say is AMAZING. Let's get down to the report.

First thing's first, the state of the Keys after Irma. As I drove down into the Keys, at first I thought, hey, this isn't too bad. Then little by little the true damage started to show. The thing that struck me wasn't just the damage, but really that things are gone. Oh, remember that beach? Gone. Remember those nice houses with the water view? Destroyed. Palm trees and other homes? In piles on the side of US1.

My point isn't that there's damage, my point is that the Keys are fighting hard to get back. I don't know about you all, but some of the best memories I have in my life are from the Keys, and I think it's incumbent on everyone to support them in getting back. Go to the Keys. Support local businesses. Spend money down there. Let's all do what we can to lend the helping hand to this truly special place!

Ok, on to the trip.

This trip is similar to a Pulley Ridge Lite trip. Conditions dependent, count on fishing between 200ft and 400ft of water, in what is an absolutely pristine fishery.

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting the meal plan, as Chef Chad knocked it out of the park with three squares a day. And by squares, I mean full breakfast sandwiches, burgers you'd pay $20 for at a restaurant, and amazing dinners. Here's dinner from day two, crispy skinned chicken thigh with a sun-dried tomato, mushroom and basil cream sauce, with side salad. No, I'm not kidding:

As you can see, it was barely edible:

Now for the fishing.

Conditions kept us between 220 and 300 for the majority of the trip. I focused exclusively on slow pitch jigging, using my Temple Reef Levitate rods http://www.templereef-usa.com, and Accurate BX500xn custom DFS Slammers. I was mostly using Sea Falcon http://www.rayscustomworks.com and Seafloor Control jigs between 200g-390g (conditions dependent), 30lb Daiwa J-braid tied to a 50lb Sunline fluoro leader.

I've never been on a trip like this before, where the bite was so unbelievably consistent on the jig. When Captain Greg says, "You should probably use a jig here, it's a lot of work, but the potential for a big reward is there," you should probably listen. There's not too many people with more experience on the water in the Tortugas and beyond, so listen when the man talks. The only way I can describe the trip is that I physically couldn't catch more fish. I'm serious. At one point I was tight seven drops of the jig in a row. All in, I finished with 3 totes by myself, and the boat filled all 3 back boxes with only 20 men on board. What a fantastic trip.
Instagram:  @mrbennyortiz
Temple Reef Pro Team
Aftco Pro Team
Accurate USA
Slow Pitch Jigger
Occasional Fish Catcher


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