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We Came, We Drifted, We Caught. Yankee Capts Valentines 2018.

Last week there was a single page torn from a magazine, staring at me from beside our computer. Oh! Janice put a picture of a new reel, or jigs, or something fishy for me to see. Nope, it was an ad for a ring. Very subtle suggestion, but it was enough to shock me out of fishing plans momentarily and fulfill an obligation to the best wife in the world. Now if I can just figure out how to rig a hook to it...
My buddy, Phil, from South Carolina joined me on the YC for this trip and with shared bait, gear and a few simple tips, he was hot on my heels and a real threat to out fish me. The motion of the boat spun his equilibrium and for only the second time ever, he remained ill till nearly the end of the trip. Still, he managed a decent catch of three red groupers, two nice porgies and a pretty mutton.

Sitting at a table before the trip, I was vaguely aware that two couples had arrived, but my eyes were set on "fish" and I didn't realize that one couple was Captain Amanda and her hubby, Captain JP, James, from Central East America (New Jersey area) where they each own and operate head boats in the summer. Amanda generously shared her pictures with me for this story and proceeded to out fish most of the patrons on the boat, always smiling, always jigging, always helpful.

Mate Mike is assisting and apparently considering stapling one of Amanda's fish ID numbers to his tongue, but no Mikey, she will not take you home in her cooler. Amanda usually catches female fish. You can tell from all the pretty bling she has attached to a rather ordinary jig, all the girl fish down below can't wait to get hooked up on such a decorated hook.

We had a very happy event this trip. An engagement! On valentines day of all things!

This is Captain JP, James, always an impeccable example of how to enjoy a fishing trip and usually catching anything that swims near the bottom. I know that these trips on the YC are great stress relievers from a busy life, running fishermen out for a day of fun.

This is Jeff, a YC regular and his new best friend, Scamp. Little does Scamp know, he was invited for dinner, not to dinner. Jeff is a jigging fool and near the end of the trip, hooked up a very large and confident black grouper (we think) that ate his jig, calmly swam behind his favorite rock and left Jeff with no alternative but to cry, then cuss, then break the line.

These are a few fish I caught on bait. The large stain on my shirt, which the photographer assured me was covered by the fish, is probably from a close encounter from a shark, not a big gob of overflow from a juicy burger I had just consumed. The other mutton ate a whole butterflied speedo, as did two of his friends and a couple groupers. Strangely enough, when we moved and re-set near the same area, my whole speedos went untouched, while almost every other kind of bait was quickly inhaled. Baits that worked well, off and on; barracuda, king mackerel, ballyhoo (de-boned) speedos, jigs of all shapes and sizes, goggle eyes and hamburgers. Bait will catch more muttons than jigs, groupers smash the jigs. Porgies, big porgies ruled the totes early and appeared from time to time, as did black fin tunas. ( more than a dozen showed at the fish toss)

Here are a few others quality fish coming to a dinner table near you. Oh, the smiling bearded guy in a few of the pictures, wearing the red shirt, is mate Garrett, who recently discovered how photogenic he is. LOL! (I'm sure there will be pay back for that comment!)

The bite was off and on, as usual, but how can you argue with the overall results? The back boxes on the YC were full and I think there were twenty totes at the dock. Many, many fun things occurred on this trip and with only two more scheduled trips before skulking north to Nova Scotia, it's almost time to start keeping a few for myself.
I ended up with 10 muttons, four of which were different shapes, but oddly, all within an ounce of each other, at 12.5 pounds. A bunch of groupers, a tuna and a porgie rounded out the catch.

Thanks a bunch Capts Greg, Brizzo and Jeff, for excellent fish finding, mates Mike and Garrett and chef Chad!

Much of my catch is going for a charity fish fry this week, for local relief. A Hundred and forty people will donate to share the bounty of the sea.
For several Saturdays now, up to fifty snow bird volunteers, from the Jolly Roger, headed by Brian, have been cleaning debris along sections of US 1 in Grassy Key and also in Big Pine. This is such a generous dedication of their time to help after Irma. I know it must help to restore a bit of hope for those hardest hit. Good work, guys! (and gals)
If the weather holds, five of us head out on the YC for parts unknown, Monday. Maybe we will catch some fish!!!!


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