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My New Secret Weapon................A Tortugas report!

Just back yesterday PM from a two-day Yankee Capt’s trip and the ground now feels like it has stopped moving around, so I know I’m on shore. It seems to be a normal condition on my first night home that I get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break and stagger around bouncing off the walls in my sleep deprived state, trying to anticipate the “waves” that aren’t there.

The weatherman cooperated, giving us steady wind, well within the comfort zone till the ride back in, but Mr. and Mrs. Mutton and their kin were not hungry. The first drop had promise, once again on the pulpit, my bait got slammed with no preamble and after calm but continuous persuasion and a seventy-foot run, a sixteen pounder joined us on deck. I was able to follow up with a mid sized fish before the move, but only a half-dozen muttons were hungry enough to commit.

I had Randy to my right and another buddy, Doug beyond him and Hilton down the starboard side near the stern. He was using hand signals and a smile to acknowledge my big fish and that he had caught two of his own. His big smile said it all, the “little monster” was here to produce.

Most of the trip was in 120 –180 feet of water, moderate current, south wind, but very few fish were hungry. Capt Derrick was a bit down on himself, really hoping to keep his excellent run of hot fishing of recent catches, but sometimes it isn’t in the cards.
After our last trip, feeling a little humbled that one of my trainees had out caught me by three muttons, I was on the prowl for a new advantage. On an earlier trip, TJ had humiliated me by out casting me by forty feet and hauling five or six muttons from a different time zone, while I was empty handed. I thought he had super powers to be able to cast so far, but he confessed that his ten-foot rod played a part in the lead lobbing.

At a flea market, with a good bit of luck and a lot of intention, I spied a super long rod for sale, never used and with the original price tag still on it, snagged a twelve foot Ugly Stick for twenty five bucks! I fully expected to take a lot of ribbing when I arrived this weekend and I got a lot of funny looks as the rod bent with only an eight ounce lead, but I had practiced casting with it and knew I could throw it half way to Key West from the Tortugas.

After trying it in battle conditions, it has some pro and cons. It will raise a fish without bending in a full circle, but it’s a bit awkward getting the line to a mate to get the fish off. As long as I warn everyone as far back as the wheel-house that I’m about to cast, I can usually successfully launch my missile. The butt sticks out pretty far, so I have to be careful not to inadvertently goose my fellow fishermen on the pulpit.

On the bright side, I can use a longer leader than normal and I really think that if I get out my soldering gun I can attach a small bait dip net to the top two eyelets on the rod and dip those pesky flying fish that only seem to appear when you are fishing and not able to reach for a net to turn them into bait. Another option I have in mind is a gaff attachment. Just think, I’ll have a one of a kind mutton killer, self-baiting, hooking and gaffing, the Swiss Army Knife of the Tortugas.

As the weekend progressed, Hilton’s smile appeared as he landed fish number three, four and five and I was happy to add another medium mutton and a twelve pounder. The last stop turned out to be a porgie hole and armed with jumbo shrimp and my guppy rig, I led my fellow Jolly Roger buddies on a porgie fest. Doug had earlier gotten a mutton and learned that reeling fast is desirable after bringing only the head of a big porgie aboard, with a seven foot hammerhead shark darting about in quest of the rest of his meal. Chad de-hooked the head and Mr. Hammer finished his snack. I would not want to be in the water with a hungry shark around! That sight was intimidating.


I think a King fish took the prize, with a twenty-five pound cobia in second. Unless I missed something, Hilton took mutton honors with ten, I had four, a half dozen porgies and two margates and not really being in touch with the stern catch, I can’t report much more than that. TJ had a few, Doug got one and Rob pulled in his first as Capt Greg hit the throttle for home. Persistence pays!

I’m going on the three-day mutton marathon this Wed., the grouper opener on Monday, then mid month, we head back to Nova Scotia with our new, one pound four ounce Yorkie puppy in tow. Fully grown, it’ll be four pounds of toothy fighting fury, but cuter than a fresh netted flying fish!

Meanwhile, I’ll break out the welding gear, apply for patent rights and return to the Yankee Capts in November with my new, not so secret weapon.

Cameron

Replies

  • BobberBobber Posts: 943 Officer
    The stern was plagued with sharks for the 1st half, lost 5-6 good mutts to cut offs. Waxing moon and nearing front shut down the bite late Sat and early Sun, tails weren't exactly on fire but baby AJ's were. Interesting group at the back, never seen a cute kitten t-shirt on the YC before....good trip for me= my son's first, his first mutton (6 lb) and valiant battles against big kings and sharks. Seriously hard to concentrate on fishing when the smell of Joe's brownies are wafting across the deck.....
  • jakedgejakedge Posts: 1,303 Officer
    Thanks for the report Cameron. I'm getting the urge and looking at the schedule to get my YC fix. Maybe meet you next winter when you return. Thanks for all your reports, they're very enjoyable.
  • HooganHoogan Posts: 547 Officer
    On the bright side, I can use a longer leader than normal and I really think that if I get out my soldering gun I can attach a small bait dip net to the top two eyelets on the rod and dip those pesky flying fish that only seem to appear when you are fishing and not able to reach for a net to turn them into bait. Another option I have in mind is a gaff attachment. Just think, I’ll have a one of a kind mutton killer, self-baiting, hooking and gaffing, the Swiss Army Knife of the Tortugas.

    Meanwhile, I’ll break out the welding gear, apply for patent rights and return to the Yankee Capts in November with my new, not so secret weapon.

    Cameron

    :rotflmao

    It'd be nice if you also added a digital camera somewhere between the dip net and the gaff, maybe we could get some pictures!

    All kidding aside... Another very enjoyable report Cam'

    :hail
  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,427 Officer
    Hoogan wrote: »
    :rotflmao

    It'd be nice if you also added a digital camera somewhere between the dip net and the gaff, maybe we could get some pictures!

    All kidding aside... Another very enjoyable report Cam'

    :hail
    That's too much. I got a good chuckle from that. Anther solid report.
  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,427 Officer
    Bobber wrote: »
    The stern was plagued with sharks for the 1st half, lost 5-6 good mutts to cut offs. Waxing moon and nearing front shut down the bite late Sat and early Sun, tails weren't exactly on fire but baby AJ's were. Interesting group at the back, never seen a cute kitten t-shirt on the YC before....good trip for me= my son's first, his first mutton (6 lb) and valiant battles against big kings and sharks. Seriously hard to concentrate on fishing when the smell of Joe's brownies are wafting across the deck.....
    So Joe is making Brownies now?! Man I have to get back down there. Good job getting your son on his first mutt. First of many more I'm sure.
  • chicochico Punta Gorda and PennsylvaniaPosts: 553 Officer
    A go pro camera will complete that "secret mutton killing machine". A cup holder on the butt of the rod is not a bad thing either!! thanks for the report!!!
  • JohnnyBahamasJohnnyBahamas Posts: 129 Officer
    I am heading out Friday 04/05. Thanks for the report. I am going with a groupd of 9 and it is our first for 8 of us.

    My rod is only 7 feet, but my wife tells me its not always the size that matters ;-)
    1996 Shamrock Mackinaw KEEL DRIVE!
    50365766-c877-48cf-9934-b08e8554ca8f_zpsca7be437.jpg
  • HooganHoogan Posts: 547 Officer
    My rod is only 7 feet, but my wife tells me its not always the size that matters ;-)

    I wonder who actually first came up with that crock of sheeet. :rotflmao
  • kneddorkneddor Posts: 56 Greenhorn
    My guess is someone who 'fishes' with a short rod. :rotflmao
  • LitiGATORLitiGATOR Posts: 819 Officer
    Great report Cameron; tear it up this weekend.
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