Loaded up in the Tortugas with Capt Yuri

This trip was booked when we got off the boat last year so there were 360 days of anticipation for this trip. The six of us met at the boat on Stock Island and made a quick trip to Duval Street for a couple cold ones and then back to the Hog Fish Grill for a good stuffing before we loaded the boat with everything we would needed for the next four days, beer, food, tackle and more beer.

After a restless night we pushed off the dock at noon and Capt Yuri pointed the 52 foot cat west for a three hour run to a location somewhere in 1,000 feet of water. After a few minutes of prepping the electric reels with three hook chicken rigs and eight pounds of weight we were fishing the bottom. Within less than thirty seconds you could see the rod tip giving the sign that something was on the other end over a thousand feet below the surface. Hit the button and put it in low gear and wait for the fish to come to the top. First drop was a 35 pound golden tile. The current was flowing at 3.5 knots so after the fish was aboard Yuri would reposition the boat to the spot where he knew the fish would be. This went on until we pulled our limit of tiles in only a few hours. The largest being 35 pounds and the smallest about 10 lbs. Also, a notable catch while deep dropping was a blackfin tuna that hit at 920 feet. Off to the next stop way west of the fort. We tried fishing in about 100 feet of water with a few short grouper coming aboard but again the current was rushing under us so fast that we had to upsize our egg sinkers to a pound and when the current picked up our bottom rigs looked like we were trolling off the back of the boat. So if any one has ever fished with Yuri you know he does not like to waist time out there. He said lets make another run and the twin diesels fired up and headed northeast of the fort. Yuri put us in a spot for the night and it was loaded with hungry snapper. A few good muttons came up from the bottom but the yellowtails were on the surface about fifty to seventy yards behind the boat. These were not the average yellowtails, they were mostly 3 pounds with a few pushing four. We were having too much fun. There was a fish on every drift back for a couple hours. When I looked at my watch it was 2am. Time for a hot shower and hit the rack. The next morning Yuri told us we were only a few snapper away from limiting out on them and the first cooler was filled to the max.
deepdrop.jpg
gregtile.jpg
brianblackfin.jpg

The next morning we headed to a location behind an anchored shrimp boat. Yuri tossed in a couple pieces of cut bait and the water came alive with blackfin and bonito. I don’t know how many hours we spent there but it was pandemonium on the back deck till everyone caught several blackfin and plenty of bonito for fresh bait. The conditions were perfect so one of the crew had to break out his eleven weight fly rod and go to the front of the boat. He would cast out a short distance and have to pull the fly away from the bonito and recast to the blackfin. While watching you could definitely tell the difference when one would rush the fly. The blackfin were clearly the darker of the two species when darting around the fly. In a rush to get another bait in the water, one of the guys grabbed a lightweight yellowtail rod and after a twenty minute fight he boated a 22 pound blackfin. There were two blackfin caught on fly and between the rest of us we boated 10 more for twelve total. The largest around 30 pounds and another cooler close to being full. After washing down the bloody deck it was time for a break. We hit several other spots that afternoon and closed out our snapper limits with a few more muttons coming over the side. And by the way, there is no shortage of ARS by any means, more bad science. It kills me to see the numbers and size of these fish and have to toss them back. And the same goes for the goliath grouper. They are like the chickens in Key West, they are everywhere.
blackfin.jpg
gregfly.jpg
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The third day out there we fished about six more locations and all spots we fished put several keeper grouper in the cooler. It seemed as if we could catch grouper on every drop but a lot of them were shorts around eighteen inches. I think I told a few of them I would see them next year when they grew a couple more inches. Around 7pm Yuri said we better count the grouper to see how we were doing on our catch and it’s a good thing because we were maxed out on cooler space. We only needed two more in the cooler to limit out on grouper and in no time that was accomplished. Its not a bad problem to have when the fish boxes are full to the brim. The largest red grouper was around 20 pounds.
robertmutton.jpg

Late that afternoon Yuri moved the boat to a wreck that was pretty amazing. You could see the whole boat in crystal clear water under the surface. We played with the over grown goliath grouper till Yuri was finished preparing a gourmet meal for everyone. Wow what a feast, we ate like kings. The seas were kind to us this time and the weather was perfect on our trip. Can’t wait till next year. Thanks again to the captain.
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Replies

  • FlagtailsFlagtails Posts: 577 Officer
    WOW! What a trip. Way to go.

    Juan
  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,751 Captain
    Thanks for sharing. Glad the fly rod got out.
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • HawkboatHawkboat Posts: 1,030 Officer
    Like I said once before "YURI IS ON MY BUCKET LIST!"

    Nice job fellas.
    Capt Bill
  • reeladventuresreeladventures Posts: 304 Deckhand
    Outstanding trip! Looks like a blast and sounded amazing! Good looking blackfins. Thanks for sharing that with us
    2015 Hewes Redfisher18
  • globalwavetrackerglobalwavetracker Posts: 239 Deckhand
    Hope somebody has some knuckles left.... nice experience.
  • Alex GAlex G Posts: 71 Deckhand
    Nice trip, god i love that boat!
  • TrophyRoomAppTrophyRoomApp Posts: 172 Deckhand
    Way to go yuri!
    Do You Hunt Or Fish & Own An iPhone? http://www.TrophyRoomApp.com
  • Got TA GoGot TA Go Posts: 2,608 Captain
    Another stellar trip! :beer

    Rob
    www.gottagofishinginkeywest.com


    Hero's Don't Wear Capes....They Wear Dog Tags.
  • PhishingPhanaticPhishingPhanatic Posts: 454 Deckhand
    Awesome report, got the blood pumping. 6 long months to go until my next trip with him, way too long.
  • HooganHoogan Posts: 544 Officer
    Fishing is almost always outstanding with Juri, but if you have not tasted his cooking OMG!
  • capciofficapcioffi Posts: 825 Officer
    Could we ask for more pictures?? PLEASE!!!!!!!
  • big_tbig_t Posts: 588 Officer
    our trip is in 131 days and a few hours. (but whos counting?)
  • cudamancudaman Kendal LakesPosts: 407 Deckhand
    Great report, looks like you all had an awesome time.
    Awesome report, got the blood pumping. 6 long months to go until my next trip with him, way too long.

    WOW, it's crazy that we only got 6 more months to go! :)

    Top Notch Captain on a Top Notch fast boat. His cooking is awesome! Yes it is.
  • copout@castaways[email protected] Posts: 5,779 Admiral
    big_t wrote: »
    our trip is in 131 days and a few hours. (but whos counting?)

    me!

    Nice report!
  • duke6543duke6543 Posts: 336 Deckhand
    capcioffi wrote: »
    Could we ask for more pictures?? PLEASE!!!!!!!

    I did not take a whole bunch of pictures this time. The trip was very fast paced but here are a few more.

    redgrouper.jpg
    goliathgrouper.jpg
    grouprehead.jpg
    danred.jpg
    greg-1.jpg
    Yuri.jpg
    fish-1.jpg
    LJ.jpg

    Enjoy!
  • HawkboatHawkboat Posts: 1,030 Officer
    Just moved up a few knotches on the BUCKET LIST!
    Capt Bill
  • yurifishmanyurifishman Posts: 54 Greenhorn
    Thanks for posting the fishing report Duke. It was a fun trip again with you and the whole group again. PM or email me your address, so I can mail the underwater video I took during your trip.
    Chasin tuna off the shrimp boats is new to me this year, but I already did a few more highly sucessful runs to the North to top off the usual snapper and grouper catches. Just like with deep dropping, a few hours is all it normally takes to break up the routine and produce some really great eating fish for the table.
    The spring transition period is in full swing in the Tortugas now. Plenty of opportunities to score on all the palegics along with the usual snapper and the grouper. Big dolphin should be showing up in better numbers each passing day.
    I am keeping my fingers crossed that the green algae that blooms up this time of the year stays away. We have seen a little bit of it on the South side of the Tortugas bank already though.
    The snapper and grouper bite continues to be fantastic. This whole winter and spring I have seen more large mutton, yellowtail and red snapper and grouper than I have seen in 15 years of fishing that area! Also pleasantly surprised with so many large mutton snapper (last 2 weeks), up to 15 lbs. shallower around Rebecca light and Rebecca channel. They seem not quite as finicky as they are in the clearer and deeper water we normally target them in. The red grouper seem to be as thick as fleas everywhere too. Hope everyone gets a chance to get out on the water now and experience some truly incredible fishing the Dry Tortugas area has to offer.
  • duke6543duke6543 Posts: 336 Deckhand
    Hawkboat wrote: »
    Just moved up a few knotches on the BUCKET LIST!

    Gather up four or five fishing buddies and book a date. It is trip you will not stop talking about for the rest of your life.
  • HawkboatHawkboat Posts: 1,030 Officer
    I have someone I fish with that has done Yuri trips before and he is in the process trying book a date.

    I'll get on that one day. Had one booked about 3 years ago and we got blown out, was blowing like 20-30 for days before we left and into our trip, in fact Yuri called the previous trip early, talk about dissapointed.:mad

    That you can't contoll.
    Capt Bill
  • duke6543duke6543 Posts: 336 Deckhand
    Hawkboat wrote: »
    I have someone I fish with that has done Yuri trips before and he is in the process trying book a date.

    I'll get on that one day. Had one booked about 3 years ago and we got blown out, was blowing like 20-30 for days before we left and into our trip, in fact Yuri called the previous trip early, talk about dissapointed.:mad

    That you can't contoll.

    That would be disappointing but the captain knows best. We have been very lucky over the years. Only twice out of ten trips has the seas showed its ugly side and it's not too fun being out there. The time will come for you and when it does, take advantage of it. It is well worth it.
  • crcattypccrcattypc Posts: 632 Officer
    Awesome!!! Yuri is the man. I had to make a tough decision this year and skipped the tugas to do a Venice YFT trip... thats this weekend and I am stoked! It will be impossible to have a captain as good as Yuri though, he spoils you!
    :fishing:grin
  • bamahemibamahemi Posts: 55 Greenhorn
    How much for a trip?
  • duke6543duke6543 Posts: 336 Deckhand
    bamahemi wrote: »
    How much for a trip?

    Here is a link to his web site. It is all covered in the rates section. We always go on the four day trip and it is well worth every penny.

    http://www.tortugasfishing.com/home.html
  • SJCSJC Posts: 2,565 Captain
    WOW, Beer & more Beer! Hooray Beer, Hooray Fish
    The Beatings will continue until moral improves!
  • SJCSJC Posts: 2,565 Captain
    I checked out his website, he must be the man! he's booked solid the next 3 months.
    The Beatings will continue until moral improves!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,181 AG
    Hawkboat wrote: »
    Like I said once before "YURI IS ON MY BUCKET LIST!"

    Hawk, you've given me some good advice so I'll return the favor
    > Book Yuri and GO!

    I fished with him in 2008 and we're set for this July for round two. I had to book it 18 months in advance though so "think ahead" if you want to fish May-Sept......
  • HawkboatHawkboat Posts: 1,030 Officer
    My buddy called the other day and he is booked..I am in the middle of a divorce right now :spin


    So me booking anything that far down the road is a crap shoot
    Capt Bill
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