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Yankee Capts Halfway Ledge April 5-8 (7!)

SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,427 Officer

With new departure time of 3 pm we left the dock on time Thursday afternoon. The early start had some pluses and minuses. The extra dinner served by Chef Chad, some fancy pasta, cheese and meatball dish I probably couldn’t spell correctly even if I knew what it was called.  Delicious! The only minus (other than all the morning rush-hour South Florida traffic encountered on the drive down) was that it shaved four hours off my usual nap time on the ride out. I couldn’t fall asleep until after 7.  No worries though, the incredible  weather and scenery was nice to take in while cruising past Key West. 

I believe we started fishing around 2 AM. Some started with jigs some started with an assortment of baits.  We had a decent mutton bite  that lasted about 45 minutes filling a few totes to start the trip.  Vince and Matt had a few on gogs and I had a couple on boat squid.  I saw a few blackfin come up as well. After that the bite  slowed down considerably for a while.  A mutton or red grouper came up just frequently enough to keep things interesting.  We had another good flurry of action just before sunrise. 

Once the sun came up the pick continued although sometimes it was a bit more of a grind. I switched to jigging, going back and forth between a bucktail and a flat fall.  The bucktail was producing best for me so I stuck with it landing several red groupers.  Vince was doing really well catching muttons on gogs and Matt was picking away at the red grouper‘s and muttons  with his trusty diamond jig.   

  Sometime after lunch (literally the best burger I’ve had in years, is Chad really this good or does fishing cause me to get the munchies?) Matt hooked up with a decent pulling fish but commented it was fighting all the way up like a jack.  We were thinking horse eye or AJ so we were all pleasantly surprised when he pulled up an African pompano.   Just as he landed the AP I got crushed on the bucktail.  This was a hard fighting fish, charging desperately for the bottom, easily the biggest fish I had tangled with so for the trip.  After it pulled some drag, then somewhat of a stalemate, I finally had it coming up. It gave up fighting like most big groupers do however I could tell it had some weight to it.  Mr. Black perhaps? Over halfway up and ...slack...cut off 15 feet up from my jig!  Who knows what happened , but it was disappointing.  

  Just before dinner as we wrapped up our last drift before sunset city, we had a cool NatGeo moment.  Jumbo Blackfin tuna were chasing flying fish both next to the boat and off on the horizon. There would be a large boil, sometimes with a tuna skyrocketing completely out of the water.  Other times the flying fish would get away, frantically trying to stay in the air as long as he could only to eventually have to come back down, being immediately engulfed by the tuna that had been tracking him from under the water the whole time.  Hmmm tonight might get interesting when all those flyers and tuna get attracted to the lights on the boat.  

  After a dinner of breaded fried pork chops, apple sauce and cheesy broccoli it was time to start a new drift. At this time I would say one of the three back boxes was 3/4 full with mostly red grouper and muttons.  This is when the bite really started to pick up.  Myself, Matt and Vince were doing well with the muttons on gogs.  The mates were bringing fish after fish from the front of the boat to the stern boxes as well.  A couple scamps came up on slow pitch jigs. Then the blackfin crashed the party.  It was pure mayhem.  They were hitting baits intended for bottom dwellers, they were hitting both vertical and slow pitch jigs.  Big fish too.  Many legit 25 pound fish going into the box.  If your bait or jig did make it to the bottom the muttons and grouper were still biting well too.  By time the blitz settled down the third back box was 2/3 of the way full and it was only midnight! 

  Most guys went to bed. Others chose to stay up knowing the boxes were destined to be filled early.  After the sun came up Greg assessed  the situation and confirmed we had enough room for one more drift and we would be headed home by 10am.  He set the boat up for the last drift and again the bite was good.  More muttons and grouper coming up.  One of the younger anglers on the trip hooked up with a good fish on a slow pitch jig...a while later and he landed a nice 30lb black grouper.  Possible pool winner? Nope, not to be outdone Vince gets bit on bait.  This fish peels out line and won’t budge of the bottom for a minute.  After a good battle up comes the biggest prize of the trip, a 40lb cubera snapper.  Perfect fish to wrap things up with.  

Another outstanding trip put together by Greg and his crew.  Memorable from start to finish.  Pretty cool to be back 12 hours early too! 




  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,427 Officer
    edited April 2018 #3
    The pics don’t due that cubera snapper justice.  I swear it was twice as big as looks in the pic.  
  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 528 Officer
    Those boxes really fill up fast when the fish are big! I'm thinking Greg should consider monthly rental on the bunks.... Nice photo editing on the butt crack. LOL
  • MGTeacherMGTeacher South GaPosts: 1,798 Captain
    Very nice. That's a hog of a Cubera.
  • benwah22benwah22 Posts: 268 Deckhand
    Good job Dudley!  I'll be headed out with them on the May 21 trip. . . won't be getting my hands dirty with that nasty bait though lol
    Instagram:  @mrbennyortiz
    Slow Pitch Jigger
    Occasional Fish Catcher
  • SloughSlough S.w. Ga./ St. JamesPosts: 5,699 Admiral
    Good dill
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you
  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,427 Officer
    edited April 2018 #8
    Those boxes really fill up fast when the fish are big! I'm thinking Greg should consider monthly rental on the bunks.... Nice photo editing on the butt crack. LOL
    Ha yeah I wasn’t sure of the forum rules on partial butt nudity so I left out the 1/4 moon joke lol
  • Rich MRich M Posts: 1,326 Officer
    edited April 2018 #9
    You guys had a great trip.  That snapper is stellar!

    I'd have cried all the way back in - to lose 12 hours of fishing cause the capt doesn't have enough fish boxes.... :'(  :s
  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,427 Officer
    Rich M said:
    You guys had a great trip.  That snapper is stellar!

    I'd have cried all the way back in - to lose 12 hours of fishing cause the capt doesn't have enough fish boxes.... :'(  :s
    Everyone caught dinner and most had limits.  I love getting back early as long as it’s due to full boxes and not weather.  
  • HooganHoogan Posts: 547 Officer
    Thank you Dudley, great reads.
    I’ll be on the bus soon getting my hands dirty with bait and jack roe.  ;)
  • XafXaf Posts: 1,132 Officer
    What a fishing team - Yankee Capts, Greg, Crew, Chad, Brizo & Dudley. 
    May 14 Pulley Lite trip can't come soon enough.  Anyone else going on that trip?
  • Just 1 MoreJust 1 More Posts: 107 Deckhand
  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 1,003 Officer
    edited April 2018 #14
    Rich M said:
    I'd have cried all the way back in - to lose 12 hours of fishing cause the capt doesn't have enough fish boxes.... :'(  :s

     Obvisouly you know nothing about me, my boat or catch history. LOL
  • HooganHoogan Posts: 547 Officer
    I’ve gone out to these grounds long enough to appreciate that (our) goal is NOT to kill all the fish in the area, regardless of how much I paid for one of these trips. I like to continue coming out here on the YC as long as health and age allows me and bring home some quality bottom fish. You’ll be surprised how many meals half doz. or so of quality bottom fish will yield. We’ve already seen in other areas what it was like then and what is like now.
  • privateer19privateer19 Posts: 439 Deckhand
    great post, great pics and really great fish! well done.
  • Rich MRich M Posts: 1,326 Officer
    Rich M said:
    I'd have cried all the way back in - to lose 12 hours of fishing cause the capt doesn't have enough fish boxes.... :'(  :s

     Obvisouly you know nothing about me, my boat or catch history. LOL
    Can't take everything so serious, Capt.
  • KillAllCudasKillAllCudas MiamiPosts: 15 Greenhorn
    For some, this is a trip of a lifetime. For others, it's a once a year trip. Those that are fortunate enough, monthly or etc. While running out of ice because of a decent catch is great, for those that don't make it out so often it's not. Might be time to add some more ice boxes......
  • HooganHoogan Posts: 547 Officer
    :) Running out of ice/fish box space means everyone caught dinner!
    Most of the time frequent goers are more successful at catching limits for obvious reasons, whenever I have the opportunity to fish outside of my familiar places I try to get local knowledge and I anticipate not doing as well as the locals. Learning curve is expected. Just keep coming back.  :) 
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 1,632 Captain
    If that boat ran out of space in their fish boxes you can be certain that everyone got their money's worth. I'd rather be catching than fishing. That's a lot of time at the rail any way you cut it.
  • razerrazer Posts: 64 Greenhorn
     Might be time to add some more ice boxes......
    For all those cudas that you kill ?  :smile:
  • globalwavetrackerglobalwavetracker Posts: 241 Deckhand
    Nice trip. I recall they used the bait freezer too before it got taken out. Limits are hard to come by for us that fish once a year, but going prepared and fishing hard helps.
  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 1,031 Officer
    Just my .02 cents... I was there when you guys were unloading.. I'm not going to lie, it was impressive. I've seen it time and time again, the guys that are good and spend time at the rail and stay attentive, catch fish.  I don't care how good the bite is, there's always someone at the top and someone at the bottom.  If you didn't catch fish on this trip, you need to buddy up with a regular or someone that will really show you the tricks because you are obviously doing something wrong.  IE too much weight, too little weight, not feeling bottom, not feeling hits, missing fish, bad knots, spinning baits, bad jigging technique, too much sleeping.. the list goes on and on.  No captain can predict exactly how much fish is going to be caught and if 3500 lbs of ice isn't enough because you caught that much fish...sign me up for the next trip!  Which would you prefer, coming in a little early because you didn't have enough ice for the fish or fishing a couple hours later because fishing wasn't very good?  I've taken charters out and filled the boat with so many tuna's that we had to come in early.. did I charge them for a full day?  Of course. 

  • skidrowskidrow EnglewoodPosts: 7 Greenhorn
    I have not purchased any bucktail jigs for the upcoming lite trip in may.what weights do you suggest are most optimal.Great report,I am looking forward to joining in on the experience 
  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,427 Officer
    skidrow said:
    I have not purchased any bucktail jigs for the upcoming lite trip in may.what weights do you suggest are most optimal.Great report,I am looking forward to joining in on the experience 
    8 to 12 oz 
  • Reef BanditReef Bandit Posts: 1,031 Officer
    I would probably NOT go with bucktails, I'd opt for the hammered metal jigs. 6 to 10 oz will work. 

  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,427 Officer
    I like to take an assortment of flat fall jigs, bucktail jig, diamond jigs, and bait then try them all until I find one that seems to be producing the best and stick with it for a while. When it slows up on that lure or bait I switch to something else. 
  • globalwavetrackerglobalwavetracker Posts: 241 Deckhand
    At times ballyhoo gets bit instantly and fresh gogs are untouched. Or stinky gogs works better that others. Even whole jumbo frozen butterflied speedo work wonders on blacks and reds as smaller gog chunks were not appealing. Same spot but switching out gets an instant big bite. Jig works better on the RG and scamps than bait in my experience, even live pinnys on occasions that I can compare side by side. Drifting over the cabbage patch at PR, 5 on gogs and 1 on jig. Gogs all muttons on super hot bite and jigs exclusively RG every drop on one occasion. Go prepared and pray for decent weather.
  • HooganHoogan Posts: 547 Officer
    edited April 2018 #29
    What Dudley and Gabriel said.
    I’ve even seen pinks NOT eat fresh flyers, imagine that? Then one trip I caught 5 Muttons over 15 lbs with one flyer  cut in five 1-inch chunks ( only had the one flyer) then I’ve seen a guy smoke everyone on the boat with dead pinfish, I’ve seen the hot bait for a given trip be barracuda, strips of moray eel, Squirrel fish, go figure... the key to High Hook is getting dialed in for that given trip. One trip my buddy ended up with 18 Muttons and I totaled 3, neither him or I could figure out what I was doing wrong or what he was doing different? We had rail spot 7 and 8, same everything, 3 days later he called me after he figured out the only difference: he was using 40 lb flouro, go figure 80% of the time you don’t need flouro. Greg M. caught 53-54 pinks on blue runners. Fish guts work real good, rotten speedo works better than fresh sometimes. Like Jarbas says: pay attention. 
  • skidrowskidrow EnglewoodPosts: 7 Greenhorn
    Thanks guys for all the great responses.I have a very healthy selection of flat falls and hammered diamonds I wanted to have some buck tails and I appreciate the help with the optimal weights.
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 1,632 Captain
    Agree with all of the above. I did very well on Kingfish one evening. 
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