Short Trip, Great Catch, Yankee Capts Halfway Ledge, Jan 22/18






Once again, Mother Nature gave us a small window to get out past the Tortugas to try to get the fishing job done. We got off the dock exactly 12.5 minutes late, as we were missing what turned out to be a vital piece of fishing equipment. The missing piece was more a who than a what and the who was Brian Dietz and his vast successful knowledge of jigging. Oh, and he brought lots and lots of bling, in the form of jigs, rods and lots of enthusiasm.
Chef Chad nourished us on the way out, as an eager crowd of big kids listened raptly, as Brian laid the goods out on the salon tables, much like a Caribbean resort beach vendor, complete with the very latest, unavailable in the USA, Japanese jigs, buggy whips, super strong braid and pictures of the catches recently wrestled from the depths. I was still somewhat aloof as I picked my way with my dinner plate, through the jewellery adorning most of the tables and not chummy at all, with a new comber who had not only made us a minute or two late, but now was being mobbed like some kind of rock star. Humph! These kids today. Humbug!
Well, Brian shared some gear and knowledge and Sergio was the lucky recipient of a couple jigs that looked more like holographic, titanium art, in the shape of a small goggle eye, beautiful enough to be the pendant on any successful fishing stud. But would they work?
Nourished, I stood guard at the rail, with my dip net, hoping to bag a few ballyhoo while we cruised. Small schools were appearing and I bagged a dozen, but worked too hard while netting them. Brian took interest in the netting and my frosty attitude melted toward him, just as the motherlode school of dink hoos came into view. It looked like giant sparkling rain drops on the flat sea, as far as the dark conditions would allow, dozens went into my cooler and became responsible for the capture of my first three muttons in the morning. Brian manned the net as the ballyhoos were petering out and added a dozen or two to his array of heavy metal. He later tipped his jigs with the small hoos with some success.
First drift was good for most, with big red groupers, (totally legal and in season, in the federal waters of the gulf) muttons, Alex caught a big scamp and a massive commotion was moving down the rail on the starboard side, as Rene fought the pool winning trophy, that turned out to be a giant wahoo. Guess the weight, cause I don't know. But I do know it was lip hooked on a bottom rig and I heard it was head wrapped a couple time in Rene's line. Another unfortunate wahoo was landed on a bottom rig, only after several of us got looped up in his run to the other side, complete with aerial acrobatics, a lot of untangling and a long fight with a fish on the opposite side of the boat. Part of that wahoo became dinner on the ride home. Delicious! First time I've had it!
Mid day, the wind, current and bite died.
Coming up to sunset, Greg drifted with no sea anchor and Brian gave instruction to Sergio. (using his new bling jig) They were casting ahead of the boat and inspiration in the form of firetruck red groupers overcame me and I ran and grabbed my jigging rod, as time after time, Sergio nailed big groupers. Each time after the gaffing, he stood there in disbelief, shaking the cramps out of his arm, while I waited for him to complain, any complaint at all, about being sore and I had a long list of retorts and degrades to hurl at him. LOL.
The fervor spread along the rail as Sergio landed grouper after grouper, with Brian adding his catch as well and the mates gaffed and lugged the trophies to the stern boxes. More and more jigs hit the water as Brian, like a cheerleader instructor, shouted advice as the sun sank, to a school of raptly attentive adult sized kids, until an incredible number of seven rods were all bent double at the same time, under the weight of struggling fish. Ironically, I don't think either Brian or myself caught a fish during the melee. Convinced that jigging was not my forte, I fished bait into the night and landed a couple more muttons and a sweet surprise. Normally I can catnap my way through these trips and stay functional, but tonight I was barely able to tie a hook on a line and was fishing, sitting on the bench and dropping my gear as I sat. Well, in 225 feet of water a suspected tuna nailed my goggle eye and stood me up, fast. There were several black fins already landed, but this didn't feel right and I started to think amberjack. Master mate Mikey took guard at my elbow, as it raced up and down through the water column, then urgently tore the gaff from it's holder as a 22 pound black fin raced straight toward the boat, looking like it was going to torpedo us.
It didn't just slap the deck like smaller tuna do, it POUNDED it's body on the aluminium, sending shock waves that threatened to awake the sleeping beauties above and below. Mikey jumped on it's back, de-hooker in hand and dug his heels in, yipping and waving his tool in the air, like a rodeo competitor and causing us to almost lose our bladder contents as the tuna bounced him. He got the hook out and went aft with a chorus of onlookers chanting "Bleed it! Bleed it! Bleed it!" Oh what fun.
The weather deteriorated and we made a long run to get out of open water and drifted before sunrise in 150 feet, with not much success, till Capt Greg made a wise call to head home before the wind really picked up. He promised a partial credit on a future trip, which, given the success of our limited efforts, was very generous. Thanks Greg!
At the dock, there were, I think 13 totes, topped off by a monster wahoo. Great production for the amount of actual time fishing.
The day before the trip, I sold my boat, after 10 years of bobbing about in the Keys. Capt Greg has generously offered to take me on the Yankee Capts, for as long as he can put up with me. He now has a tattoo of my credit card number on his forearm. No peeking!

Replies

  • xeniaxenia Posts: 429 Deckhand

    How many anglers on this trip?

  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 508 Officer

    22

  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 883 Officer

    Thanks for taking the time to write Cameron. 18 totes for 15 hours of fishing imagine if we got a full trip in/

    I could see the bite was going to start to tick when we left. No doubt I got spooked by the forecast but it was the right thing to do.

    Thanks again and thanks to Harry for checking in.

    Greg

  • globalwavetrackerglobalwavetracker Posts: 238 Deckhand

    Cam, Wow splendid results . The arduous swinging the Blings worked magic on the groupers. A jumbo whole speedo also could make those gluttons go gaga. Go big.

  • bottom feederbottom feeder Posts: 845 Officer

    Thanks for the report Cam glad you had a successful trip.

    Leaving Florida... take a developer with you!

  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 508 Officer

    @globalwavetracker said:
    Cam, Wow splendid results . The arduous swinging the Blings worked magic on the groupers. A jumbo whole speedo also could make those gluttons go gaga. Go big.

    Great advice Gilbert! I'm putting that in the game plan, still have some big old re-frozen speedos, but I also bought a jigging rod and some more bling.

  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 508 Officer

    @Yankee Capts said:
    Thanks for taking the time to write Cameron. 18 totes for 15 hours of fishing imagine if we got a full trip in/

    I could see the bite was going to start to tick when we left. No doubt I got spooked by the forecast but it was the right thing to do.

    Thanks again and thanks to Harry for checking in.

    Greg

    You totally did the right thing getting us out of harms way. By the time I got my fish cleaned the wind was honking hard.

  • lowe-boylowe-boy Posts: 1,219 Officer

    How do the new mutton regs that start in February affect you guys?

    The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
  • dihrddihrd Posts: 96 Greenhorn

    Great report. Good quality fish and a monster hoo off the bottom. Hoping the weather pushes a little looking like late Friday into sat might blow

  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 883 Officer

    @lowe-boy said:
    How do the new mutton regs that start in February affect you guys?

    We are fishing in the Gulf. They haven't changed there.

    In the South Atlantic we are allowed 15 muttons instead of 30. It is a non issue.

    Greg

  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 508 Officer

    @dihrd said:
    Great report. Good quality fish and a monster hoo off the bottom. Hoping the weather pushes a little looking like late Friday into sat might blow

    I hope the wind backs off!

  • Wahoo69Wahoo69 Posts: 199 Deckhand

    Cameron thank you for the great report. Very entertaining to read. It was a pleasure to fish with you. Here’s a few more pics.

  • XafXaf Posts: 1,031 Officer

    That looks like a monster wahoo. I wonder how much it actually weighed. Do you know how long it was? Great report as usual Cameron. Are you going on the 02/01 Pulley trip? Hope so, maybe you can give me some jigging tips. I never seem to have much luck.

  • privateer19privateer19 Posts: 406 Deckhand

    Thanks for the report Cameron. looks like your had a great trip. I am heading out on another boat on the 12th of Feb, can't wait!

  • Yeaaa_ChrisYeaaa_Chris Posts: 553 Officer

    Awesome, thanks for posting. Can’t wait to get back out there.

  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 508 Officer

    @Wahoo69 said:
    Cameron thank you for the great report. Very entertaining to read. It was a pleasure to fish with you. Here’s a few more pics.

    The pleasure was almost all mine. I bought a jigging rod and need to know how to access jigs like you gave Sergio. They seemed to be rather deadly.

  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 508 Officer

    @Xaf said:
    That looks like a monster wahoo. I wonder how much it actually weighed. Do you know how long it was? Great report as usual Cameron. Are you going on the 02/01 Pulley trip? Hope so, maybe you can give me some jigging tips. I never seem to have much luck.

    I'll be there and I'll give advice as soon as I learn how to do it! LOL That wahoo was three and a half totes long.......

  • dihrddihrd Posts: 96 Greenhorn

    my guess is 66

  • MonelloMonello Posts: 46 Greenhorn

    Looks like the makings of another campground fish fry. WTG

  • BluewaterboundBluewaterbound Posts: 30 Greenhorn

    Exceptional reporting with such colorful and descriptive narrative. Sorry to hear you no longer have your boat. With story telling skills like that you are welcome on my boat anytime!

  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 508 Officer

    @Bluewaterbound said:
    Exceptional reporting with such colorful and descriptive narrative. Sorry to hear you no longer have your boat. With story telling skills like that you are welcome on my boat anytime!

    Thanks! Really appreciate it.

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