Here we go again...
We left early as the Yankee was set to depart at 1600. Took our time getting to the boat and arrived around 1400.
The battle wagon loaded and ready to roll.
The weather forecast for the trip looked decent. The 20-25 kt west wind had me a little concerned, especially for this time of year as it rarely blows from that direction. I knew it would be a long trip offshore pounding into a head sea.
We all settled in for the ride and Chef Chad prepared an outstanding penne carbonara with sausage dish for dinner that was inhaled by everyone.
Marcos and I had a very entertaining BS session with Capt Greg as I usually do on the ride out.There is no question Capt Greg is an established angler and Captain and its been an honor to have known him for a long time. We have talked extensively in the past about his past boats and world traveling fish catching missions. To say our conversations have been entertaining would be an understatement.
We arrived on the bank at 0400. There was a little left over swell and wind but with the sea anchor deployed on the stern the boat settled in very nicely.
Let the catching commence:
Now, I must say. I've heard it time and time again..."you cant catch muttons on jigs here". Well I've never had a problem, ill chalk it up to dumb luck i suppose but the first 3 hrs of the early morning was a mutton slam. I personally had 8 muttons on the new NLO fast drop jig in sardine while my buddy Marcos had 5 on a variety of NLO Jigs, jigging master and evike jigs. One or two got snipped but the sharks were not an issue.
As the sun came up the red grouper started to make and appearance. I for one absolutely love these big fire trucks, the colors on them are beautiful and they fight their heart out. A hard thump on the jig, the rod doubles over and then the screaming run across the bottom.
Here are a few we caught:
Reel:Accurate 500n Rod:Custom Rays Custom Works Sea Falcon Heavy Line:20# Yo Zuri Super braid Leader:Yo Zuri Top Knot 40# Jig:Jigskinz/NLO Fast Drop 250g in Northern Sardine.
Throughout the day the wind laid down followed by the little bump of swell we had from that night. However the loop current moved in from the constant west wind the last week. Current was not a major problem if you actually paid attention to your surroundings and adapted. It was obvious who was on their game and who likes to fish under the boat until being told otherwise. More on that later.
There were gourmet hand made top sirloin/ground beef burgers for lunch which were out of this world. Some more fishing and obviously a ton of catching. A few notable catches happened on the boat and within a minute or two. There were four of us on the bow, casting jigs up-tide and rotating around the pulpit. Marcos hooks into a good fish, followed up by my buddy mike, myself and then finally another buddy Hunter.
Marcos brought a scamp to gaff, mikes was a good size red grouper, followed by my mutton and Hunter landed a stud black in the 20-25# range. It just goes to show you what a vast majority of species this special place has. I wish we had a better pic of the four species but we were eager to get back in the water. There was this quick cell phone pick with Mike and I minus Marcos Scamp.
Before we knew it Chef Chad was ringing the dinner bell. (yelling at us to come in and eat). This worked out great as Capt Greg wanted to head up onto the bank further and get set up for the night. Doesn't it make you hungry??
Dinner consisted of a New York Strip Steak topped with grilled portobello mushrooms drizzled with a balsamic reduction over baked rosemary red potatoes and lightly salted bok choy. Yes thats what we eat and no I'm not full of Sh*t. Its a pleasure to have a hot meal over 100 miles offshore.
After dinner we were set up on the bank. I fished a few hours and called it a night. I was shot from the drive down, not much sleep the night before and then running the boat out to the grounds so Capt Greg could get a cat nap in. Marcos and I put a few more groupers and muttons in the box before crashing for a few hrs. I was fully prepared to be woken up by one of the mates if the tuna made their usual late night appearance. I was shocked when i woke up at 7 am. (must have been tired lol).
Here are a few more pics from after dinner:
The night bite was relatively slow. A few muttons and reds were caught along with a couple blackfin. The highlight of the night was a 65-70# wahoo that was landed after a slow and careful fight on 40# fluro and circle hook. She ate a butterflied gog intended for a mutton.
Being that I was a bum and woke up late I missed the morning bite. The muttons chewed good and a few reds were caught as well. Another black grouper was landed on bait close to 30#. I relaxed drank a cup of coffee and ate an awesome egg sandwich. I was in the bow watching the guys do their thing. Hunter sets up on a fish and right away i knew it was a good one. Ends up landing a nice red grouper that inhaled his jig.
I had a plan to test the durability of my new, virtually indestructible real life fish image jigs from Jigskiz/NLO. We have been working very hard on our new product line and can not be happier with the outcome. The finish on these jigs will not chip, peel, or flake. I have been testing them extensively the last few months and have taken a serious amount of fish on them. This is a picture that I took of one of the jig Marcos was using the first day compared to my jig used the first day.
I decided to play around a little bit... So, I stole his jig, went inside and got a few jigskinz out. I grabbed the 1st one i saw and lone behold it was one of our fresh water patterns in a brook trout.
Long story short. I went to the coffee machine. Poured some hot water into a cup and skinned the jig right there in a matter of seconds. I went outside, added hooks, told Marcos i stole his jig, he looked at me like i was a crazy person when i showed him. I said "lets see if they like trout" and dropped down 250'. Hit the bottom, did to half pitches and got whacked. I laughed out loud when Marcos yelled " you have to be f'ing shi**ing me! Up came a healthy red grouper. (need to work on the smiling I know).
This ultimately lead to alot of laughs and fun. I was being asked "can you skin my Jig"? Well yes I can lets go. I did Mikes jig in a flying fish and this other little dude kevins diamond jig. He was simply amazed at the process and wanted to catch a fish on a foil baltic herring. Well they were put on and used, Next thing I know Mike pulls a nice mutton up and the little Kevin pulls a stud up as well.
This is what its all about right here. You may not see what goes on behind the scenes. But, when you do it re assures why we try as hard as we do to make products that no one else does. This made my trip and is more fulfilling then any fish dinner. To have Kevins father come up to me, look me in the eye, shake my hand and say "Thank You for doing that for him, You made his summer vacation" was a very humbling and satisfying moment.
Well as the afternoon wore on there were a few more fish caught and lost. It was coming up on 1700 and we started to pack it in for the ride home. Chef Chad was in the zone and I could tell by his expression we were in for a treat. For starters we had Fresh black fin tuna poke inside and warm avocado atop rice. Mind blowing good.
For the main course we had Fresh blackened Grey Tilefish from last trip. Along with an Israeli Couscous, Pineapple pepper salsa over the top of a fresh shredded vegetable medley.
Im going to steal the words of a very good buddy of mine. Mainly bc I cant say it any better and its 110% TRUE.
GET THE MEAL PLAN with Chef Chad. Not only do you not have to bring coolers so you can eat crappy cold cut sandwiches three days in, but everything is included, including drinks. It's a no brainer if you like to have delicious food and all the drinks you want or need. YOU WILL NOT EAT BETTER ON A PULLY RIDGE BOAT or any boat for that matter.
Everyone settled in for the steam home. We had a following sea and made good time back to the dock. The mates toted the fish and as soon as we hit the dock got the fish ready to be sorted.
Fish were passed out, all who put in the time at the rail were rewarded with fish in the coolers. Marcos and I fished hard the first day. I took it easy that night and the next day with only a few fish to add to out stash. We topped off a 150 igloo and 65 yeti between the two of us and heres what we had after giving away a few grouper and snapper to a few guys that were not as fortunate.
In closing and stolen from Benny as well bc this has been long enough.
Capt. Greg worked very hard to get us on, and keep us on, the fish. The mates all busted their butts deploying the sea anchor countless times, untangling lines, gaffing our fish, and keeping a positive attitude.
One last point on the mates. These guys all have families and do depend on tips at the end of trips as a primary source of their income. Please keep that in mind when booking these types of trips, because I saw more no to low tipping than I had seen probably ever on the boat. 15-20% of the fare should be customary - not a handful of singles as I saw in one instance, or a cool Jackson for four days of work. Maybe I'm speaking out of turn, but it's just how I feel. They take care of you, please take care of them. It's important, and it's the right thing to do.
Some more pics.............