Two For One, Halfway Ledge, Jan. 17-20, 2019

Just back, early this morning, from a Yankee Capts drift trip. I'll probably nod off, halfway through writing this, I need some sleep! But bear with me, I'm the guy who took 50 pictures of the inside of his own pocket this week.
A fellow camper, Rick, asked if it was OK for him to sign up and go along on this trip with me and I was quick to agree and knew instantly that I had a mutton virgin, about to be addicted. Leading up to the trip, we groomed him into tying simple, effective knots, blindfolded, standing on his head and filled his empty mind with pictures of fishing paradise. He bit the bait like a hungry grouper and wasn't even disappointed when the YC fell a bit short of the Carnival cruise liner we had been showing him pictures of.
Well Rick turned out to be a very good listener and showed up with adequate gear. I told him he could count on my massive surplus resources, of both necessary and useless stuff I've been dragging around for ten years, to bail him out, if his tackle ran out. Well, by the end of the trip, he reported the unthinkable, he had only used ONE rod the whole trip! Plus, he only lost TWO hooks and ONE lead and aside from a poorly tied knot between his top shot and main line, no major gear losses. And to top it off, he managed to grab the top shot line before it slipped seaward through the top eye on his brand new ugly stick rod, thus saving lead, leader and hook. 
Now, he needs a bit of practice on his form, especially as he starts to reel in his catch, just to smooth out the wrinkles a bit. And maybe a bit of drilling on shifting into low gear, under pressure. But there is no arguing with results and results he got. With just a few coaching points, from me and others,  he not only caught his first mutton, he caught his limit!!! Plus, he slept 8 hours overnight and quit fishing several hours before it was time to depart for home! I had to fish all night just to stay ahead a bit and save myself from certain disgrace and ridicule. His only complaints? He got rocked up by a massive black grouper and secondly, he came home without having caught any grouper. (which are still presently open season, where we were fishing) My cocky response? He had only asked me to help him catch muttons, never did he ask me to help him catch groupers.
Time will tell if his luck continues into his next outing, but what a great beginning!
The pictures will do the talking, but the title suggests "two for one" and this is it. Mid trip there was hollering from mid ship, as a jigger lander a catch of two almaco jacks on one jig. Toward the end of the trip, at the stern, a real commotion arose, when a hard fight yielded another double header! Only this time it was a keeper mutton snapper on the bottom hook and a thirty pound black grouper on the top hook. All we can figure, is that the mutton bit first, then the grouper got hooked trying to eat the mutton.
Overall, a very good trip! Big fish was a 50 pound black, we weighed it. Lots of muttons, lots of groupers, tuna, porgies, margates and many other species. I was lucky enough to limit on muttons and nearly on groupers, including a 22 pound black. Fill in the stuff I missed, you  guys who were there.
Thanks to Gina Munger for some of the photos!
The crew and chef Chad, were excellent, a very smooth operation, especially during two, prolonged assaults by the muttons and grouper. Often three or more fishers at a time, were moved to the back corner to fight their catch to the surface. Rick was amazed that he didn't see one fish escape the gaff at the surface, good work. And thanks again to the Capt. for a safe and productive trip.
In only two weeks, five of us from the campground, including another anxious virgin, are on the YC for another Halfway Ledge trip.

Tight lines, Cameron.

Oh, I have an observation! Every trip for nine years, I've watched a procession of grunting, straining passengers and crew carrying ridiculously heavy, huge, coolers from their vehicles, across the parking lot, up the steep stair case, to the upper deck. Then, at trip's end, back down the stairs to the parking lot, where they get their catch, then carry them to their vehicles. Tell me, am I missing something??? Call me lazy, but I take two small coolers, that fit under the bench seat on the boat and leave my big coolers in my Jeep, empty, in the parking lot, till I get back from the trip.
 Now I'm a bit worried that the under bench space will start to disappear on me. Please don't think too hard about the above paragraph...

Replies

  • privateer19privateer19 Posts: 429 Deckhand
    another winner, great post !
  • AOKRVsAOKRVs Posts: 1,956 Captain
    quality catches - thanks for the report
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  • benwah22benwah22 Posts: 173 Deckhand
    edited January 21 #4
    Well, I wasn't lucky enough to get the black/mutton combo, but I was the jigger with the 2-for with almacos in the middle of the boat. Had a great time at always and filled the cooler with a good assortment. Sure wasn't expecting to get boarded by FWC 150 miles offshore either! Here's some pics:


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  • boneflybonefly Posts: 33 Greenhorn
    Sadly because of family sickness I had to cancel going on this trip at the last minute. (Yes lost my money but that’s the way it goes. Understandable)

    However, as expected, seems like you guys had a great trip. The moon must have been awesome at night and hopefully you got in before the weather turned. 

    Cant wait for my next trip!!

  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 518 Officer
    benwah22 said:
    Well, I wasn't lucky enough to get the black/mutton combo, but I was the jigger with the 2-for with almacos in the middle of the boat. Had a great time at always and filled the cooler with a good assortment. Sure wasn't expecting to get boarded by FWC 150 miles offshore either! Here's some pics:


    Thanks for posting! I kind of get tunnel vision and forget the camera. Lots of great fish out there.
  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 518 Officer
    bonefly said:
    Sadly because of family sickness I had to cancel going on this trip at the last minute. (Yes lost my money but that’s the way it goes. Understandable)

    However, as expected, seems like you guys had a great trip. The moon must have been awesome at night and hopefully you got in before the weather turned. 

    Cant wait for my next trip!!

    Sorry to hear that. The moon was awesome and inspired a steady night bite.
  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 924 Officer
    Many thanks for the report. Nice job.

    I'm surprised no one else mention our other visitor. Makes me feel special.

    Regards,

    Greg 
  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 518 Officer
    Many thanks for the report. Nice job.

    I'm surprised no one else mention our other visitor. Makes me feel special.

    Regards,

    Greg 
    They came, they looked, they left. Back to fishing.
  • Yankee CaptsYankee Capts Posts: 924 Officer
    edited January 22 #10
    Many thanks for the report. Nice job.

    I'm surprised no one else mention our other visitor. Makes me feel special.

    Regards,

    Greg 
    They came, they looked, they left. Back to fishing.
  • benwah22benwah22 Posts: 173 Deckhand
    You wouldn't happen to be referring to another charter boat running up on us 150 miles offshore, would you?  Because that was nice
    Instagram:  @mrbennyortiz
    Temple Reef Pro Team
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    Slow Pitch Jigger
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  • TeamTekeTeamTeke Posts: 972 Officer
    Enjoyed the adventure. Party on my man.

    Happiness is the journey, not the destination.
  • Grady27Grady27 Posts: 59 Greenhorn
    Awesome report Cameron.  I was scheduled for the Pulley LITE trip right after yours (cancelled due to Gale-force winds). What did you get those Muttons on?.  In general, what seemed to work better this trip, bait or slow-pitching?  Thanks in advance for the info.
  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 518 Officer
    Grady27 said:
    Awesome report Cameron.  I was scheduled for the Pulley LITE trip right after yours (cancelled due to Gale-force winds). What did you get those Muttons on?.  In general, what seemed to work better this trip, bait or slow-pitching?  Thanks in advance for the info.
    Too bad about the wind, it sucks,,,blows?? The muttons were biting on small gogs in the daytime and I switched to ballyhoo at night, then the hot bite mid morning, bonito. Mostly they were a few hundred feet out from the boat, or more. If I get out more than 2-3 hundred feet, with no bite, I reel in 30 cranks and try the new spot.
    There were only a few dedicated jiggers, so I would say that bait caught more. I stand to be corrected but it seemed that jigs had more long gaps in the action, while when jigs were hot, so was bait. Some people did well, others struggled a bit.
    I try to take a few various baits and they all seem to work at some point on the trip. A couple dozen gogs, hoo, speedos and a bonito, all quite fresh when frozen. Blue runners and cuda work well. As Greg says, put in your time at the rail and present the bait well and you will catch dinner. 
    Tie good knots, check for wear above the hook and nicks in your leader after every fish. Retie as needed, guaranteed you will hook and lose a big fish as soon as you ignore a nick. Very basic stuff but important. You can't wait too long once a mutton starts nibbling. If he runs, I reel fast in high gear, as long as I gain line, then raise the rod tip, to keep him coming and shift to low as I'm bringing the tip up. It seems to work OK. LOL


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  • Grady27Grady27 Posts: 59 Greenhorn
    Many thanks for the info Cameron.  By "small goggles", did you mean fresh-frozen (bought by the dozen the day before), or boxed (as can sometimes be found with frozen squid, etc.).  I know these tend to be smaller, when you can even find them.


  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 518 Officer
    Grady27 said:
    Many thanks for the info Cameron.  By "small goggles", did you mean fresh-frozen (bought by the dozen the day before), or boxed (as can sometimes be found with frozen squid, etc.).  I know these tend to be smaller, when you can even find them.


    I don't buy the boxed ones. Maybe they are OK, but how long after they were dead, before they were frozen? Nothing worse than bait that tears or is mushy, when you try to butterfly it. I just happened to be using smaller ones this trip, frozen when fresh, about two weeks ago.
  • globalwavetrackerglobalwavetracker Posts: 239 Deckhand
    Cameron, envious, wow & Paradise. 
  • Grady27Grady27 Posts: 59 Greenhorn
    thanks Cameron. 
  • TugasTugas Posts: 186 Deckhand
    edited January 29 #21
    Great post .. to the bait guy you’re over thinking it . It’s very rarely the arrow almost always the Indian like I keep trying to tell people. 
  • lyndonclyndonc Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    I'm going to chime in on the bait, if you're bringing frozen bait, it doesn't seem to matter what it is. Once it is frozen, it is all the same. Not saying that frozen bait is bad, I would say 75% of the fish caught with us is on frozen bait. But, I see no difference in the bite on frozen ballyhoo v/s gog's vs whatever. The fishing at halfway and pulley is simple. Strip bait, butterflied bait, or whole squid. It is all in the presentation. The fish out there are hungry. Present your bait properly, and you will catch fish.
  • cameron sleepcameron sleep Posts: 518 Officer
    lyndonc said:
    I'm going to chime in on the bait, if you're bringing frozen bait, it doesn't seem to matter what it is. Once it is frozen, it is all the same. Not saying that frozen bait is bad, I would say 75% of the fish caught with us is on frozen bait. But, I see no difference in the bite on frozen ballyhoo v/s gog's vs whatever. The fishing at halfway and pulley is simple. Strip bait, butterflied bait, or whole squid. It is all in the presentation. The fish out there are hungry. Present your bait properly, and you will catch fish.
    Dear lyndonc, I think I know you from somewhere. LOL You summed it up pretty well. I've never tasted bait myself, except on my fingers a couple times, by mistake. Yuck...But in my mind, fish mainly eat other fish, so properly presented bait would seem to have an advantage. Size of the bait, sometimes seems to have something to do with it, but only occasionally. But that is part of presentation. Yes, the fish are certainly more friendly out there. 
    A very important factor, at least it is in my universe, is to be confident in what you know and what you are doing. Don't throw away all of the things you are doing properly, just because someone is catching more than you, or has a "better spot", or, or, or. Some of the best catchers I've seen over the years, can hook fish from any position on the boat. Confidence, they know they can. Avoid tangles. Don't let your line go under the boat, move to the other side. Simple stuff. Don't get overtired, when the bite slows down, take a short nap. Don't be a jerk, fish alert!
    Ahhh, Halfway Ledge this afternoon. See ya there lyndonc.
  • TugasTugas Posts: 186 Deckhand
    edited January 29 #24
    The only thing I ask people is how much lead and when I do that it’s only those who I know know what’s going on . Frozen gogs have caught 75% fish for me in the last 12 months literally . 
  • stewystewy Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    Nice post with great insights. I'll be on a PL in April and I can't wait.
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