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Overnight Trip On The Sea Trek June 23-25

tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 267 Deckhand
I took my first trip on the Sea Trek last Tuesday and it was a pretty good one. I'll share a few fishing stories in this post but I'd like to describe the boat and the way it operates first. Capt. Eric and the mates - Collum and Robbie - were awesome for starters. This is a trip where your bring most of your own stuff. Food and drinks are not available for purchase on the boat. Bring your own and that includes beer if you like to have a cold one now and then while you're out there. You don't pay for bait (squid and threadfins), hooks or leader material but if you need sinkers they are available for purchase at $1 for 4 oz. egg sinkers and $2 for 8 oz. ones. I think you can rent a rod if you don't have a suitable one but I brought my own and forgot to ask about rod rentals. The boat has a live well and you can buy live pinfish for about $1 apiece. I would recommend 20 or 30 pinfish but I doubt you'll use that many. The boat takes a maximum of 16 - 18 passengers and is 65 feet long by 19 feet wide. There are berths down below but they're crammed in there really tightly. You can also sleep in the salon. There are two long padded seats in the sitting area and 4 people can sleep on these seats. I napped on them and they were fine for that. This is about a 44 hour trip and there's about a 9 hour run to the fishing grounds and back and that's a good time to sleep. Now it's time for the fishing report/stories. The weather on the way out was flat calm but it was also brutally hot. On my first or second drop I was cut off by a cuda or king above my top shot. I re rigged and then it was fish on!! The fish took my bait, dropped it and came back and took it again  and the fight was on. I couldn't really feel any vibration from the fish's tail that might give me an idea if ti was snapper, jack, bonita or tuna. It felt like a grouper but this "grouper" made a long run away from the boat instead of toward the bottom. Uh Oh!! I was pretty sure I had a shark on and it turned out to be about a 7 foot long hammerhead. It wound up taking about 200 yards of line in a couple of runs and after 15 - 20 minutes of battle it finally broke off. The fight combined with that got me pretty dehydrated and my back was hurting too. I took a break and went back at it. A short time later we got into a red snapper bite. This was the real thing. It was on fire!! The capt. said it was one of the best ones he'd ever seen and I can remember only one like that and it was while commercial fishing back in the early 80s. Actually, it my not have been as good as this one. I caught a couple of snapper on bait and then pulled out my slow pitch jigging outfit. I'm thinking I made 7 or 8 drops of the jig before I didn't hook a fish! I even let the jig free fall the last 30 or 40 feet of my drop a couple of times and my jig still got hit! I put a third red snapper in the box and decided to wait and see if I could get one 10 lbs. or larger but all of my snapper were about 5 or 6 lbs. so I only took home 3 red snapper that were in the 5 - 8 lb. class.  I also caught a beeliner on my jig (a 300g JW 141 jig) that was the same size or smaller than the jig!!  I also caught a small cuda and a scamp grouper on the jig that was about 12 or 14 inches long. We moved to another spot and got into a good bite of yellowtail. A lot of the fish in this spot were at least two pounders, at least 20 inches to the fork of the tail. I was worn out from the shark and the red snappers so I didn't fish much at this spot and only caught a few fish. The rest of the trip was just a fish here and there with the exception of some smaller legal sized yellowtail. A few nice muttons in the 10 - 15 lb. class, several nice porgies, a few mangrove snapper in the 2 - 5 lb. class, a couple of nice blackfin tuna, a few decent grouper and a couple of kings rounded out the catch. This is a good trip for the price - $450 plus your food and drink and a 20% tip for the mates. The mates are worth every penny of the money they make, believe me on that. I'll probably go out with them again but I don't know when . My next trip is in a couple of weeks on the Yankee Capts. and when this trip is over I'll write up a comparison of the Gulfstar, Sea Trek and the Yankee Capts. Thanks very much for reading this post. I hope you liked it. BTW, if you like catching yellowtail this is a good trip for that. Bring a rod you can cast for mutton and grouper fishing and whole small squid and/or ballyhoo for bait for those. The boat also has a long handled shrimp net or two that you can use to catch live flying fish or squid. I could've caught several flying fish like that but I never got the net and instead kept fishing. That was my mistake. I fished live bait or jigs about 70 or 80% of the time trying to catch larger fish. If I would've down sized my hooks and gone with a strip of squid for bait earlier I would've caught more yellowtail for sure. I'll remember that the next time I go on this boat.


  • Gypsies CallGypsies Call Posts: 257 Deckhand
    Great report! Thanks for sharing...
    Gypsies Call
    SWO LCDR, USN-Retired
    Sea Chaser 200 Flats Series
    Old Town Predator Kayak
  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 267 Deckhand
    edited June 29 #3
    I forgot to tell you about fishing from the stern, aka "stern spots" on the Sea Trek. It's done differently than most places. The fishermen are divided into 3 groups and each group gets 2 hour time slots at the stern. We did at least 3 rotations of each group this way and I think it worked out very well. A few people stayed at the bow and guess what - they caught some very nice fish there - a few nice mutton snapper and  I think they caught a grouper or two also.
  • sixstring09sixstring09 Posts: 66 Deckhand
    Great report. Sounds like a fun trip.

    Your shark reminded me of this time I was amberjack fishing and we were catching huge ones.

    After 3-4 fish I was toast.

  • demersalangelerdemersalangeler SE FLORIDA Posts: 349 Deckhand
     What slow pitch rod & reel where you ussing? 
     Around what depth we're the spots & what was the current like?
  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 267 Deckhand
    I only have one slow pitch outfit. It's a Temple Reef Gravitate G3 and I have a Shimano Torium 16 HGA reel on it. The reel has 30 lb. Invisibraid and I have a top shot of 50 lb. fluorocarbon leader material. We were anchored in about 170 feet of water with moderate current and I used a 300 gram JW 141 jig so I could stay vertical for as long as possible. Another guy's heaviest jigs were 200 grams and when he lost those he said it wasn't working with 180 grams. I found that a bit unusual but I wasn't fishing 180 gram jigs. the lightest jig I used was a 220 gram Sea Falcon Z slow jig. We fished as shallow as 120 feet later in the trip and I caught all of my fish except the baby scamp in 170 feet of water.
  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 267 Deckhand
    A guy fishing next to me looked at my slow pitch outfit  and I asked him to hold the outfit for me for a second. He picked it up and this big  smile came across his face, like ****??  :DB)
  • demersalangelerdemersalangeler SE FLORIDA Posts: 349 Deckhand
     Thats cool. People usally look at the SPJ gear reel funy until they see it work. 
     Thanks for the response.
     I like the JW141. 
    170'-120' is a good depth. 

     Thanks for the report. 
  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 267 Deckhand
    He was fishing next to me while I was catching fish on SPJ. I think he was a little curious about  it. He was a good guy and a good fisherman. He caught a bunch of yellowtail and gave a bunch of smaller ones away. I got a few from him too. 
  • demersalangelerdemersalangeler SE FLORIDA Posts: 349 Deckhand
     That will get people thinking about the SPJ gear. It's always nice to meet some good people on the crew. Especially those who are generous.  

     I like using the SPJ gear my self. It's a great light tackle way to fish deep water.  Deepest I have had the opportunity to fish was 830'. It's amazing what it will catch. Every thing from trigger fish, grunts to mutton's, grouper's, kings, and hoo's. 

     I was looking on the sea trek site last night. What was your trip called?  Was it a tortuga trip, or a special trip like ARS?

     Thanks for the write up & I am looking forward to the next.  
  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 267 Deckhand
    Most of the Sea Trek's weekend trips are called Tortuga Trips and during Red Snapper season they run basically the same trips on Tuesdays and Fridays to what I would think would be nearly the same locations as the rest of the year with the exception being that they stop on known red snapper spots to try and get everyone an ARS limit of fish. I like to go on one red snapper trip each year because of the size of the fish and the fact they're generally not too hard to catch. The trip I went on was a weekday trip and I guess it would be a red snapper trip.
  • PoplinFabricationPoplinFabrication Posts: 310 Deckhand
    We have a group looking to do a trip like this the weekend of 7/31 does anyone know of another outfit that runs an overnight trip out in the gulf similar to this in the SW region? I am trying to stay away from the keys due to Lobster season. Thank you!
  • demersalangelerdemersalangeler SE FLORIDA Posts: 349 Deckhand
     The GULFSTAR. 
     TARPONBRO1 probably knows more. I have never been on any of the overnight boat's. I had a customer maybe 10years ago now that swore by them. 
  • tarponbro1tarponbro1 jacksonvillePosts: 267 Deckhand
    Overnight trips are pretty much the only trips I do now 
    I've only done one trip on the Gulfstar and one on the Sea Trek but I'm going on the Yankee Capts in a couple of weeks. You get extra time to fish on overnight trips and that can make a big difference in what you catch. I looked on the Gulfstar website and they only have two openings for July 27
    July 31 is full. Maybe try the Yankee Capts if you can go as far as Key West. 
  • tilemantileman Posts: 1,129 Officer
    Great read! great report! Thanks for sharing 
    Here's ta swimn' with bowllegged women!
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