Anglers Bait and Tackle Yankee Capts Tortugas Charter
Well, the test worked. After a long awaited stretch of good weather and cooperative fish biting, I reached my limit and cried UNCLE! Three Yankee Captains trips, with stints on my own boat in between, finally wore me down, the most recent one being the Feb Angler Bait and Tackle charter and it was a doozey!
Arriving at the dock is a bit different for an Anglers charter, the guys mostly know the routine and are quality fishermen. Departing at noon, seconds after the last patron skidded into the parking lot, music blaring, amidst much heckling and jeering, Casper joined the team. Capt Rick had very large, very fresh goggle eyes as promised and Rob and Dominic were first ones foraging in the bait bags, I swear they were listening for a heartbeat, trying to find the very freshest baits. Good luck guys, they aren't THAT fresh, but almost.
My buddy Randy was well rested and ready to make up for lost time and vowed to out catch me, making up for all the fish he missed catching at Pulley Ridge last week. With all that energy, I knew fish would soon be flying over the rail, and they were. Well before dark, the engines slowed and our first stop in around 160 feet of water was announced. Randy immediately hauled two muttons over the rail, while the rest of us stood by cheering him on. Several muttons joined them in the big white box, then Greg motored to "significantly deeper water", 300 feet.
This seemed like child's play after last week's 500- 850 foot depths, but I would soon eat my words. I hooked up and my first fish was soon on deck, a blue line tile fish. What the heck, did that follow me from Pulley Ridge or what?? Rob, at the bow, was hooked to a sea monster and as usual, he had eaten his Wheaties or whatever magical munchie that gives him superhuman fishing abilities and with help from a mate or two was soon standing, beaming next to a Warsaw grouper almost as big as him! I was expressing my envy as line peeled from my spool. Dear, sweet, fish Mcnuggets, I hooked a sea monster too! Almost helpless, I tried to stop the beast, rod bent double, fingers burning on the unspooling line, watching my braid disappear under the boat. The mates led me to the back corner, where I could confront the huge grouper straight on, but he was rocked up and not planning to move anytime soon.
Meanwhile, other marauding monsters were toying with the boys on the boat and while I tried to out wait mine, others were losing. The resulting words filling the air are pretty much the same from the landers and the losers, its just that the emphasis and volume are placed a little different on certain words. You have to be a fishermen to fully understand. There is a whole study underway and at some point a new language may emerge. For example look at the difference between these... "holy f**k.., HOLY F**K !!!, HOO-LLLEE -EEEEE FFF** ** KKKKKKK!!!!!!!! I think you get it.
Anyway, I managed to pull hard enough to finally break my line, vocalized the results properly to let the rest of the guys have a moment of respect for the latest loser and sulked away to grab my back-up rod.
The boat limit for Warsaws was quickly reached, the biggest around a hundred twenty pounds and we moved to shallow water, 280 feet. I quickly hooked a head thumping beast that I gingerly herded toward the surface, bucking and thrashing and was victorious in landing a twenty pound Red snapper, out of season.
It and several others were returned to sender, then large yellow eye snappers started to appear. Somewhere in this time frame, it got dark, but who cares, the fish were biting.
I may not have the gear or strength to control the big beasts, but I KNOW how to catch yellow eyes, so I sneaked to the bow, past the big boys with the funny smelling cigars, grabbed my chicken rig, ( its a two hook rig, a no no on an Anglers trip, they are going for big muttons, not smaller fish, two at a time) a bag of shrimp and my five gallon bucket and proceeded to fill it. There were a lots BIG yellow eyes and I caught my share. Many were as big as some of the muttons coming on board. The boys on the bow were sheepishly trying to catch them as well and Capt Greg announced that Rick would help tie chicken rigs if asked. There was an outurst of fishermens language from the bow...
To make a long story short, most of us caught a bunch, we were happy, tired and not disappointed when a snotty weather front hit, shortening our trip a bit. At the dock, coolers were brimming from I think 19 totes we filled. Randy and I easily have enough fish for the fish fry tomorrow night at the campground, for 150 people. They have no idea the quality of fish they will be consuming, golden tile fish, snowy grouper, queen snapper, yellow eye snapper and on and on.
Maybe a few of them know fisherman language and we will hear the praise of our generosity HHOOOLLEEEEE F****** KKKKKK this is GOOD FISH!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks to the captain and crew and Anglers for letting us play.