Two For One, Halfway Ledge, Jan. 17-20, 2019
Just back, early this morning, from a Yankee Capts drift trip. I'll probably nod off, halfway through writing this, I need some sleep! But bear with me, I'm the guy who took 50 pictures of the inside of his own pocket this week.
A fellow camper, Rick, asked if it was OK for him to sign up and go along on this trip with me and I was quick to agree and knew instantly that I had a mutton virgin, about to be addicted. Leading up to the trip, we groomed him into tying simple, effective knots, blindfolded, standing on his head and filled his empty mind with pictures of fishing paradise. He bit the bait like a hungry grouper and wasn't even disappointed when the YC fell a bit short of the Carnival cruise liner we had been showing him pictures of.
Well Rick turned out to be a very good listener and showed up with adequate gear. I told him he could count on my massive surplus resources, of both necessary and useless stuff I've been dragging around for ten years, to bail him out, if his tackle ran out. Well, by the end of the trip, he reported the unthinkable, he had only used ONE rod the whole trip! Plus, he only lost TWO hooks and ONE lead and aside from a poorly tied knot between his top shot and main line, no major gear losses. And to top it off, he managed to grab the top shot line before it slipped seaward through the top eye on his brand new ugly stick rod, thus saving lead, leader and hook.
Now, he needs a bit of practice on his form, especially as he starts to reel in his catch, just to smooth out the wrinkles a bit. And maybe a bit of drilling on shifting into low gear, under pressure. But there is no arguing with results and results he got. With just a few coaching points, from me and others, he not only caught his first mutton, he caught his limit!!! Plus, he slept 8 hours overnight and quit fishing several hours before it was time to depart for home! I had to fish all night just to stay ahead a bit and save myself from certain disgrace and ridicule. His only complaints? He got rocked up by a massive black grouper and secondly, he came home without having caught any grouper. (which are still presently open season, where we were fishing) My cocky response? He had only asked me to help him catch muttons, never did he ask me to help him catch groupers.
Time will tell if his luck continues into his next outing, but what a great beginning!
The pictures will do the talking, but the title suggests "two for one" and this is it. Mid trip there was hollering from mid ship, as a jigger lander a catch of two almaco jacks on one jig. Toward the end of the trip, at the stern, a real commotion arose, when a hard fight yielded another double header! Only this time it was a keeper mutton snapper on the bottom hook and a thirty pound black grouper on the top hook. All we can figure, is that the mutton bit first, then the grouper got hooked trying to eat the mutton.
Overall, a very good trip! Big fish was a 50 pound black, we weighed it. Lots of muttons, lots of groupers, tuna, porgies, margates and many other species. I was lucky enough to limit on muttons and nearly on groupers, including a 22 pound black. Fill in the stuff I missed, you guys who were there.
Thanks to Gina Munger for some of the photos!
The crew and chef Chad, were excellent, a very smooth operation, especially during two, prolonged assaults by the muttons and grouper. Often three or more fishers at a time, were moved to the back corner to fight their catch to the surface. Rick was amazed that he didn't see one fish escape the gaff at the surface, good work. And thanks again to the Capt. for a safe and productive trip.
In only two weeks, five of us from the campground, including another anxious virgin, are on the YC for another Halfway Ledge trip.
Tight lines, Cameron.
Oh, I have an observation! Every trip for nine years, I've watched a procession of grunting, straining passengers and crew carrying ridiculously heavy, huge, coolers from their vehicles, across the parking lot, up the steep stair case, to the upper deck. Then, at trip's end, back down the stairs to the parking lot, where they get their catch, then carry them to their vehicles. Tell me, am I missing something??? Call me lazy, but I take two small coolers, that fit under the bench seat on the boat and leave my big coolers in my Jeep, empty, in the parking lot, till I get back from the trip.
Now I'm a bit worried that the under bench space will start to disappear on me. Please don't think too hard about the above paragraph...