I spoke to Captain Greg while he was out there and after he got back in, and after I told the JIG MAKER from the BAY all he could say, "STEVE-O LETS GET DOWN THERE ASAP!"
Here is one of the very special fishing stories told on FISHING UNITED.COM, thanks to Captain Greg of the:
I have to admit it was a long three days. I always knew it was a big ocean out there once you got past the islands but this was more than I ever thought. Information about this area is not readily available. Most people I talked to either said they never heard of Pulley Ridge and others that had extensive knowledge said they did not feel comfortable talking about it unless I was willing to trade numbers with me. I was not about to give up my knowledge to anyone. All that ever happens is spots and areas get cleaned off. I have been burned like that before and learned some hard lessons because of it. Trading numbers with other charter operations is one thing, trading with commercial guys is completely different.
I tried to get info at the Woods Hole Institute. In the past they were a wealth of information for me on Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine. Frankly here in the Gulf of Mexico and the south Atlantic not so much. I did however find three sources that were most helpful. Capt. Eric Schmidt past along a great game plan and outline. Two commercial operations here in Key West also gave me some great information. Before I get too far along, I want to thank my friend Lincoln for the use of his boat. The Capts had a busted exhaust and was not available.
Lincoln has the patience of a saint. All I wanted to do was drive around and look. He wanted to fish. In the end I won out but I know it killed him to drive over some places and not wet a line. I promised him next time it would be different and since I am posting for all to see I hope he believes me!
So off we go. I decided to start in a semi familiar area. We spent the better part of the first day driving around 25 miles west of the Riley’s closed area. I worked in a westerly direction rolling up and down the edge north and south. I marked clouds of bait and fish as I went. I assumed they were silkys, muttons and reds. I did not stop. In the middle of the day I pushed outside of the edge and looked around here.
We spent the better part of three hours drifting in this area, concentrating in the steep drop and edges. We lost plenty of gear. Between the fish that busted us off, getting hung in the bottom and the sharks taking there share. We lost 75% of the lead we had on board. We did manage a queen snapper, brown grouper and blueline tiles. It was also here I lost my camera. I did not realized that the sounding machine took a SD card so I took it out of my camera. The boat rolled and the camera did a Peter Pan right in the water. What made me most upset was that camera was given to me as a gift from a customer. I get PO'd just thinking about it.
Anyway we kept pushing to the west towards the elbow all day. We did troll a couple of feathers and had consistent action with skipjacks and peanut dolphins. We never did see anything of any size though. I did however see plenty of potential in the area for trolling, especially where the Gulfstream and the Franklin loop current pushed up in 100 fathoms and shallower. Here is a shot taken from the plotter. It gives a fairly good representation of the Gulfstream and the Franklin Loop current in relationship to the islands.
When we got to the corner I pushed to the north and west as I went. In this area I spent a fair amount of time looking around here-
It was a haven for snowy grouper and queen snapper.
I also spent a fair amount of time locating the barge wreck in 60 fathoms. It was loaded with AJ's but on the bottom I marked plenty of quality fish. We did not fish it.
I also went to the sink hole and mapped that out. We caught brown grouper, yellowedge grouper, warsaw grouper, red snapper, hambone snappers and log tail bass. Plenty of stuff to bend the rods there. Lincoln spent the better part of a hour fighting a Cuban night shark here. It was nasty fish. Mad as hell and wanted no part of the boat. It was fighting like a AJ on steroids. One was enough.
The rest of the trip was spent just driving and looking. Found plenty of stuff but at times it was spaced out. It was at this point we were the furthest from Key West. Just shy of 140 miles. As we worked out way back we hit some wrecks and and open bottom. Scamps ruled and plenty of red snappers, and "plenty is a understatement." Aj's at times made the water boil. No muttons to speak of but that did not surprise me. When we hit just shy of 200 feet we called it a trip and headed for Fort Jeff for a well needed good night's sleep.
As I am going through my notes I am just hitting the high points but I covered the important points.
So where do we go from here? I think we could pull off a special trip out there. For the rec fisherman this area is basically untouched. With the right group and ATTITUDE I think we could have a great time.
What I would like to do is take a strict limit of 12 people of try it. It would be a combo trip of deep dropping, mutton fishing in 200-250 feet and some deep wrecks. We would need great weather so it would have to be done in the summer. My schedule allows this after July 4th. If we get the interest I will come up with a itinerary, gear requirements and a cost. Expect the trip to run between 3-4 days and I will do my best to get it over a weekend.
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