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YC Halfway Ledge, Quality Plus Quantity = Satisfaction! Part one.

Ok, so lots of pictures this time. I've finally learned to pass my phone to the mates and let them capture the moment. Overall, a very good trip, great weather, food and friends. And the guests of honor were willing to come on board and cool off.
Capt Greg rounded up the troops to depart to Halfway Ledge, three hours early on Thursday. Wow! Bonus time! We were fishing by almost thinking about breakfast time, just a few minutes after my third cup of coffee.
I was ready. Several baits prepped, new leader and hook and the same rod and reel that landed me a nice cubera snapper only a few days ago on the YC. Capt said drop em, so down she went, fluttering ballyhoo to the bottom. Almost. Just as I expected a thud of lead on bottom, a hidden tangle on my spool appeared, halting my fishing fix. What a mess. In my haste to beat the cubera last week, the line bunched up on one side of my spool and now flipped over, trapping the outgoing line. Tony (mate) and I worked to free it, but a huge hit from a grouper ended that plan. The line snapped at the spool and Ironically unsnarled the mess at the same time.
Well, my backup gear worked well, as by sunrise I had several keepers in the box and not long afterwards this beauty surrendered to my ballyhoo. My first gag grouper that I could keep, 23 pounds.Most of the fishermen were repeat customers this trip, lots of familiar faces. Some I hadn't seen for 6 or 7 years. Lots of good memories and new ones being made. Father at the rail behind, son holding a tasty prize.Chad the chef on a smoke break photo bombing my Kitty Mitchell grouper. First one I've ever caught. It was a really different fight and a surprise to see.Kitty is on the menu tonight. We split it five ways at the cleaning table, so there will be a variety of opinions about taste and texture. It looks really good. Don't disappoint me Kitty.Not long after, Jarvis got word that he needed to step up his game and brought in this sweet gag, at about 25 pounds. He has always been super helpful to me and always shares his knowledge and tips. It is fascinating to watch him change his tactics when the bite cools off. I want to be just like him if I ever grow up!
Later in the trip, Jarvis was throwing a silver jig and caught a sand tile fish. He shook it off, cast again and hooked another one. He reeled in a few feet and as he was shaking his rod, trying to dislodge the tile near bottom, a huge red grouper struck and joined the party in the fish cooler.Hilton is a man of few words, but his friendly smile speaks well of him. I was fishing near him several years ago when he caught his first black grouper and won the pool. He smiled a lot that day!This large hambone snapper is in very good hands. Even doctors like to fish and she kept the guys on their game!A nice mutton for the fish fry. I only needed a few more fish for the Xmas eve fry, but after this trip, there will be some in the freezer for the big fry in Feb. Geeze, we kind of have the same expression on our face. Is he mocking me? Get in the cooler, mutton!See, even ladies can land big groupers! But is it big enough to win the pool? Her face says yes, but the scale might disagree....This is a beautiful queen trigger fish (successfully released) and a whole school of photo bombers. Dad can land the big ones too. They catch pin fish on the way to Key West and have had good success with them over the years. 

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  • JCameronRSleepJCameronRSleep marathon flaPosts: 60 Deckhand
    Part two.
    There is noting more calming than a beautiful sunrise at sea. Flat calm, great expectations and a Dudley posing at the rail. It was great to fish with you again, even if you were hogging the view. 
    There were a few yellow tail snappers biting at night, in 240 feet of water and we quickly composed a song, never to be heard anywhere soon. Called it "Here comes yellow tail" sung to the tune of "Here comes Santa Clause". Very forgettable....A sweet catch after a patient time waiting.Those red groupers will eat just about anything.Another father and son team with twin scamp groupers, caught at the same time. Within minutes, several snappers and groupers were landed. I think 6 or 7.The bite started as soon as we arrived and continued for over ten hours. I had caught my share, as had most of the bait fishermen and I made the unwise decision to take a nap, while the fish were still biting. You know, I thought this will go on till the boxes are full and we will be home a day early. Yup, I can catch them at will and my bait is irresistible to them, they will succumb to my superior status when I choose to wake up. 
    You can probably guess that after my refreshing nap, the bite was over. At least for me. I couldn't get a bite, the wind died and the boat wasn't moving. Others were catching a few and the boxes were almost full, with a very good quality of fish, but my self confidence was being bruised, by my lack of fish identification tags disappearing from my belt.
    Capt Greg dealt with the slow drift by leaving the sea anchor behind and that helped a bit. He moved several times and put us on hot spots and we managed to fill the back boxes. We left for home at a bit later than usual. Hmmm, an extra bonus on this trip, several hours more fishing! Thanks Greg.
    As I carried my bait cooler upstairs, Capt Brizo came to greet me, tail wagging, but what she really wanted was to lick my cooler. Dogs...
    I ended with a successful collection including my two day mutton limit and hambone snapper limit, along with five nice groupers. Jarvis edged out the black grouper with his gag and won the pool. I saw lots of smiles at the dock and our oldest fisherman at 89 years old, had several really nice fish and a strong intention to come back and do it again.
    I've got to commend Josh, the mate. He seems to have a great respect for the older patrons and was keeping a watchful eye as Mr Scott tended to his goals. Gee, if Greg still has the boat when I'm 89, that gives me me 24 more years of catching fish on the Yankee Capts. 
    These mates are usually moving too fast to get to talk much, but they do a great job and Chad's food always pleases.
    Thanks for the great trip!
  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 256 Deckhand
    Pinfish, eh? Live ones, perhaps?
  • chronicbreakchronicbreak Posts: 1,050 Officer
    Crushed it!
    National Marine Fisheries Service
    DESTROYING FISHERMEN AND THEIR COMMUNITIES SINCE 1976
  • JCameronRSleepJCameronRSleep marathon flaPosts: 60 Deckhand
    Pinfish, eh? Live ones, perhaps?

    the pinfish were dead. Probably not as productive as several other baits, but workable.
  • plasteredplastered Posts: 263 Deckhand
    Very nice catches.
  • TeamTekeTeamTeke Posts: 980 Officer
    Thanks for sharing Cameron. I'm looking forward to our late January trip.
    Happiness is the journey, not the destination.
  • JCameronRSleepJCameronRSleep marathon flaPosts: 60 Deckhand
    TeamTeke said:
    Thanks for sharing Cameron. I'm looking forward to our late January trip.
    TeamTeke said:
    Thanks for sharing Cameron. I'm looking forward to our late January trip.
    Me too, mutton mania!
  • Knot AwakeKnot Awake Posts: 47 Greenhorn
    Nice Report Cameron!! It was a great trip. Here is a few pics of Chef Chad’s creations and one of Tony the “Mahi Wrangler” in action!! 
  • L8RBRAL8RBRA St. LouisPosts: 405 Deckhand
    Looks like a great trip
  • benwah22benwah22 Posts: 208 Deckhand
    Nice job Cameron, good report!

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  • TugasTugas Posts: 202 Deckhand
    Catchin em up and taking names as usual Cameron . When’s your next trip ? 
  • JCameronRSleepJCameronRSleep marathon flaPosts: 60 Deckhand
    Yup, it was a great trip. Back at it early in January. 9th I think...
  • One Named Fishin'One Named Fishin' Key WestPosts: 59 Deckhand
    You have those mountains figured out, Cameron! Great fishing with you and see you soon.
  • dihrddihrd Posts: 145 Deckhand
    Good pictures.  Speckled hind has eluded me so far. Nice catch 
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