Got the call from my lil bro who lives in Key West that the 2011 Dry Tortugas trip was on! This is a trip that has taken place every year for the past 9 years, departing from Key West. The goal is to fish and consume as much alcohol as possible in a 2-3 day window. For those that don't know, the Dry Tortugas are 75 miles West of Key West. Fort Jefferson was built there back in the 1800's and was later turned into a prison.
So...left Baltimore airport at 6:15 am on Thursday, landed in Ft Lauderdale at 8:45, jumped in a rental car, and was in Key West by 1pm. Stocked up at the store on food and 3 cases of beer, stocked up on ice at bro's work, stocked up on bait/chum on Stock Island at the fish house, then filled the 23' Pathfinder CC to the brim with $5 non-ethanol fuel. Filled 4 xtra canisters up just in case.
6am rolled in on Friday, and we loaded up the boat with gear and set off to rendevouz with 3 other CC's making the trip. 1st beer consumed by 6:30am.
Meet up with the other fellas and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise then headed off.
The others were beelining to the fort, while we wanted some pelagics so we decided to troll our way down. Lines in in about 250ft of water, and 30 seconds later....ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...first blackfin Tuna hits the deck.
More beer consumed. Little while later, 1st dolphin is in the box.
Pick away at a few dolphins, find an island of grass, but no eaters. WEIRD?? In NC or VA, if i saw this much grass, it would be a mahi hotel. Keep heading West, and the deep rod that is trolling a stretch 30 takes off....fight for a little while with a few head shakes, and come up empty. Pretty sure it was the wahoo we both wanted. Ended the troll with 1 tuna, 3 gaffer mahis, 3 cudas.
Pick up and head to first deep drop spot in 240ft. Send down a 4oz jig with a cut ballyhoo on and proceed to hammer the red grouper.
Did this for a while and moved spot to spot. Got whammed by what I thought was a submarine, but turned out to be a huge Mutton Snapper.
Farted around with some more grouper and limited out on our Red Grouper.
Pulling into the Fort, we passed Loggerhead Key, where the lighthouse sits.
The Fort is something special. Out in the middle of nowhere sits a 16 million brick structure....with a moat around it.
We meet up with the 3 other boats, beach up and share stories of fishing, women, beer and liquor.
Ceviche is made, dinner is grilled out, and we all sleep/pass out and look forward to tomorrow.
Sunrise appears and we all set out on our different ways. Everyone has their own "secret" spot, so we play radio tag and enjoy limits of red grouper, yellow tail snapper, mackeral, and a few mutton snappers. We anchor up in 45ft of water and don't move for hours. I feeding frenzy is happening off our chum bag and there is no need to leave. We saw the lartgest cuda we have ever seen - easily 80+lbs....no bs.
Everyone limits out early and we beach back up and enjoy adult beverages, music and the annual Goliath Grouper Hand Rodeo (yo-yo jig w/250lb line and 400+lb Grouper)
Night time arrives and back to bed.
Wake up to a stiff wind on Sunday, so we stay in the harbor and monkey with the rolling tarpon. Hook up to 3 on a Hogy lure and all 3 jump off.
Fire up the engines and begin the 2 hour ride back to Key West. Get in the marina, clean the fish, unload the boat, head back to the house, shower up, jump in the car, drive 4 hours, wait for a 2 hour delay, jump on a plane at 10:15pm, arrive in BWI at 12:30am, drive 1 hour and pull into house at 1:45am. Get up at 6:30 to goto work.
Now....when i get off the plane, a text message pops up and says that we (bro and I) only had 1 beer left out of the 3 cases. Mission accomplished.
Our other boats didn't have as far to travel, so they spent more time on the fishing grounds and had excellent catches of fish as well.
Sorry for the long post, but the pics turned out great, and the story (in my mind) is a good one. I'm still recovering, but the trip was awesome. Good weather, good music, good fishing, good food, good friends, good family, good stories = what life is supposed to be about.
Fishing is the art of drowning worms
Absolutely sick! Love the sleeping pictures in the bow.
Sounds like a great time fishing and adventuring with some good friends.
Well done Bro…. Absolutely one of the best reports yet. I have to do that one of these years. Nothing but balls out fishing and chilling with the boys. Love it.
Legasea, Little Tooth, czoubek,... Its all just Nauti Natured
Nice job well done.Very nice read enjoying coffee look at meat hit the deck
Great write up and pictures..did this same trip numerous times 20 years back while living in Miami.
Man I love a mutton fish
Last edited by In2Fowl; 05-19-11 at 11:09 AM.
that's just awesome....thanks for sharing....Bob
Fantastic report and great pictures, thanks for sharing.
WOW! i thought only Louisiana boys did crazy stuff like that. Looks like paradise for sure.
I was talking to a buddy of mine yesterday that is a serious tent camper, he went there this past fall. high speed ferry to there. he said that fort is the largest brick building in the world. Also says that the doctor that patched up John Wilkes Booth was imprisoned there. and that he later saved a bunch of people when a yellow fever epidemic broke out.....................very interesting place for sure.
If you aren't fishing, you're just fooling around.