Drifting and Dreaming in the Dry Tortugas on the Yankee Capts, 3/9 - 3/11

I was excited to find out that there was a new trip offering from the Yankee Capts which allowed for drift fishing in the Tortugas.  I'm personally not a huge fan of anchor fishing, so I thought this would be an awesome opportunity to see what I could jig up as I had had some previous success with the new Halfway Ledge drift offerings.  It was a quick trip, leave Friday at 10pm, back to the dock mid-day Sunday.  It really only accounted for a full day and night of fishing.  Just enough for a quick getaway and to be sore Monday morning.

My primary goals for this trip were to test out a new series of slow pitch jigging rods by Temple Reef called the Gravitate. They are part of a new series of more economically priced slow pitch rods, and I knew that if they held up here, they would be good anywhere.  With this new series, the folks at Temple Reef wanted to be able to provide quality rods, with superior action, at a price point that is much more affordable.  I was primarily using the Temple Reef Gravitate G2 rod, paired with a custom Accurate DFS Slammer 500n reel.  I was using jigs in the 200g range, although this rod is rated from 150g - 400g.  If you're interested in this series of rod, you can find them here

This trip was particularly good because we focused on shallow water, which is generally not ideal when jigging.  You usually like to be in a couple hundred feet, however, here, we were hovering at about 100ft for the whole trip.  If you can dig out big fish in shallow water, you know you've got a winner of a rod on your hands.

We steamed offshore and got to the fishing grounds, with the engines shutting off at around day break.  a little weather was moving in, but the views getting ready for our first drops were pretty great, as only the Dry Tortugas can provide.



After the sea anchor was deployed, we got right to it.  First drop, BAM!  A big ol' Tortugas mutton slammed my jig, and after a pretty good fight, I got him in the boat. We actually wound up having a tie in the fish pool between this mutton and a nice red grouper a gentleman caught at our last spot right before we left to head back.  He got in the buzzer beater for sure!



The fishing wasn't on fire, but it was consistent on the jig.  All kinds of crazy stuff came up on the jig this trip including a couple of juvenile flounder, a look-down and and octopus.  You read that correctly - an octopus hit my jig.  Pretty cool.

As the day went on, we made a couple of moves, trying to find some hotter spots.  We picked away at them, and managed to get tight on all kinds of fun stuff. 

 
We made some adjustments overall in terms of types of jigs, some very fluttery, some with more of a sliding action, and some that spiraled.  Grouper were hitting the jigs that had good hang time in the water pretty well, and I managed to get this nice red which was just shy of the grouper that tied my mutton in the fish pool. 



About 3/4 through the first day there were some issues with the sea anchor, so we had to deploy the actual anchor and turn it into a more traditional Tortugas trip.  The nighttime scene was like something out of a national geographic movie where flying fish were running from bonitas, that were running from porpoises and sharks.  It was pretty wild - these grey flashes just under the surface were pretty awesome to watch, and a great experience no matter what.

Overall, it was a fun trip, and a great getaway.  I personally prefer the deeper water in the Pulley Lite and the Halfway Ledge trips, but this trip sure filled the bill for what I was looking to do - test a new series of rods in shallow water, drifting.  As always, there were a great group of guys, and the mates were all excellent.  Both Mike and Garret's gaff game is off the charts, sticking fish through the eyes so there's no damage to your fillets.  Really cool, and always great to see them.  Chef Chad KILLED IT in the galley, again, and I've said it before - GET THE MEAL PLAN.  Bacon egg and cheese on bagels in the morning, deluxe burgers for lunch, lobster and fresh shimp pasta in a cream sauce for dinner?!!?!?!?!?  Wow.  I feel like I eat better on the boat than I do at home!

Capt. Greg did it again, and got us on fish using his years of Tortugas experience based on what were pretty tough conditions.  Like he always says, put in the time and you'll fill the cooler. This trip was no exception, and those that worked hard got rewarded.  I can't wait for my next trip out on the Yankee Capts

Instagram:  @mrbennyortiz
Temple Reef Pro Team
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Accurate USA
Slow Pitch Jigger
Occasional Fish Catcher

Replies

  • Plastered2850Plastered2850 Posts: 1,698 Captain
    Looked like a great trip.
  • privateer19privateer19 Posts: 406 Deckhand
    edited March 2018 #3
    Great trip and report, thanks for all the info. i looked at the G2's a while ago but was skeptical about their ability to hold up. no excuse not to try one now......
  • SloughSlough S.w. Ga./ St. JamesPosts: 4,778 Captain
    Good dill!!
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you
  • Just 1 MoreJust 1 More Posts: 106 Deckhand
    Very nice.. I definitely want to get out on one of these trips
  • benwah22benwah22 Posts: 161 Deckhand
    Great trip and report, thanks for all the info. i looked at the G2's a while ago but was skeptical about their ability to hold up. no excuse not to try one now......
    They did very well.  The Levitate is the flagship of the series, but the G2 rod did very well and are much easier on the wallet.  If your budget allows, I would go with the Levitate.  If not, then the Gravitate is an outstanding option.  In my opinion, and I've fished just about all of the slow pitch rods out, there is not another rod in the market that can touch it for the price.
    Instagram:  @mrbennyortiz
    Temple Reef Pro Team
    Aftco Pro Team
    Accurate USA
    Slow Pitch Jigger
    Occasional Fish Catcher
  • RareRare Posts: 248 Deckhand
    Excellent report! 
  • skidrowskidrow EnglewoodPosts: 7 Greenhorn
    I enjoyed the latest fishing report as I am going to be joining the Yankee Capt on the lite trip in may for the first time.I have been getting my tackle ready for awhile now.I have purchased two new jigging reels and was interested in what lb. test braid most guys are using as well as the mono top shot.What do you guys suggest.
  • benwah22benwah22 Posts: 161 Deckhand
    I'm using 30lb Daiwa J-braid, 8 strand. 50lb fluoro leader. It's not really a "top shot" because it's only about 15ft as a shock leader. 
    Instagram:  @mrbennyortiz
    Temple Reef Pro Team
    Aftco Pro Team
    Accurate USA
    Slow Pitch Jigger
    Occasional Fish Catcher
  • stc1993stc1993 Albany, GA Carrabelle, FLPosts: 5,359 Admiral
    edited March 2018 #10
    I've been getting emails from the Yankee Capt. for about a year now.  I've been wanting to go on a trip out there.

    Awesome report.
  • skidrowskidrow EnglewoodPosts: 7 Greenhorn
    I really appreciate the answer on the braid and shock leader. you obviously think the Daiwa J-braid is superior to others I was curious why.Also what type of jig is hanging out of that beautiful reds mouth.Thanks for the help,
  • benwah22benwah22 Posts: 161 Deckhand
    edited March 2018 #12
    I use it for a few reasons. I also like Fireline Crystal 14 or 20lb. 

    We've tested this braid a kit and in a professional machine that tests breaking strength. 30lb consistently broke over 40lbs of actual force. It also is reasonable priced and has a consistent diameter. Fireline is very durable and holds knots very very well.

    I do not trust power pro, or 832 as I've had many mysterious break offs with them not attributable to any other reason than the line failed. Other lines are inconsistent in breaking strength and diameter

    The jig is a Reals Plate Jerker 200g.
    Instagram:  @mrbennyortiz
    Temple Reef Pro Team
    Aftco Pro Team
    Accurate USA
    Slow Pitch Jigger
    Occasional Fish Catcher
  • skidrowskidrow EnglewoodPosts: 7 Greenhorn
    Thank you for the response regarding the braid as well as the shock leader. I was curious why you prefer the Daiwa braid over all the others. Also what brand of jig is that hanging out of that beautiful grouper’s mouth.
  • benwah22benwah22 Posts: 161 Deckhand
    See above
    Instagram:  @mrbennyortiz
    Temple Reef Pro Team
    Aftco Pro Team
    Accurate USA
    Slow Pitch Jigger
    Occasional Fish Catcher
  • benwah22benwah22 Posts: 161 Deckhand
    stc1993 said:
    I've been getting emails from the Yankee Capt. for about a year now.  I've been wanting to go on a trip out there.

    Awesome report.
    You should go! I'll be on the May 21 Halfway Ledge trip coming up, hopefully see you there
    Instagram:  @mrbennyortiz
    Temple Reef Pro Team
    Aftco Pro Team
    Accurate USA
    Slow Pitch Jigger
    Occasional Fish Catcher
  • skidrowskidrow EnglewoodPosts: 7 Greenhorn
    Thanks benwah22 very kind of you to share,look forward to meeting you sometime on the Yankee Capt.I plan on several lite trips a year starting in May and again in July.
  • skidrowskidrow EnglewoodPosts: 7 Greenhorn
    I have searched websites around the world can’t find Reals Plate Jerker jigs over 100 grams. Do you possibly know where I might find some in the 200 gram weight.
  • XafXaf Posts: 1,032 Officer
    edited April 2018 #18
    What search engine were you using?  I used goggle and typed in "Reals Plate Jerker Jigs" and the first one I opened of the results had them up to 200 grams.

    http://reals2.com/catalog/plate-jerker.html

    Translated to English
    https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://reals2.com/catalog/plate-jerker.html&prev=search
  • CountryBumpkinCountryBumpkin Fla. Piney WoodsPosts: 1,390 Officer
    The jigging world "falling angel" looks almost identical......I don't know if the action is any different or not.

    Many sizes up to 300gram.

    http://www.jiggingworld.com/jigging-world-falling-angel-slow-pitch-jigs/

    I say......I say son.......new & improved my tail feathers.

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