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Author Topic: Yellowhammer Fishing  (Read 1699 times)

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Offline YellowHammer

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Yellowhammer Fishing
« on: June 19, 2021, 11:05:14 PM »
Some folks know that I like to go saltwater fishing, its one of my favorite pastimes.  Our boat is a very distinctive "Fighting Lady Yellow" Pursuit 2570 and it's appropriately named the "YellowHammer", named for our style of fishing, which is best summed up as wide open "put the hammer to them."  This is our third saltwater boat, and at one time I was thinking of being a professional charter captain, as I've got way more than enough hours, but I never could overcome my impatience with unteachable people.  So now I just do it to relax and burn off adrenaline.  

This last week, we went to Destin, Florida for a "Snapper Hammer" :D fishing trip, and it was a lot of fun, but like any trip had some surprises.

We can keep only 2 red snapper per person per day, so we have spent a lot of time learning how to catch big ones, as they are one of the few fish that taste better the bigger they get.


Sure enough, the fish didn't disappoint, and these were about 10-15 lbs, real nice fish.  Big fillets and good eating.   Everybody on the boat limited out, I made sure everybody caught a mess.  We got these 24 miles out, a decent run, but the boat will get out there and back pretty quick, if the water's nice.  One day we went to the edge of the continental shelf and looked for tuna.  I graphed some up, but couldn't get any to bite.  It happens.  





Within a day or two, we had the fish dialed in, and there is nothing better than coming back to the dock with a fish box lid that won't close.  A nice load of red snapper, vermilion snapper, mackerel, and some other stuff.  


We did get some bad weather a couple afternoons, and on this one, Cap'n Bob (Me) maybe timed it a little too close.  We just made it in and tied to the dock, just as the bottom dropped out.  Great big Florida raindrops.  As I was driving, I turned around to snap this photo.  



Here's a table full, the three largest totaled 42 lbs.  They look small, but they are all decent sized.






This was a heartbreaker.  I had this big old snapper on for awhile, got it hung on a wreck in 140 foot of water,  worked it free, then just as it was almost at the surface, not one-not two-but three sharks chomped it up right in front of me.  Luckily, it was the only snapper we lost to Jaws, so it happens.  Unfortunately, I hung the head on a scale, and by itself, it weighed 11 pounds.  Dang, that was a nice snapper.  Got to pay the tax man when they come calling.  


    

Herre's a picture of a 32 foot center console on fire, burning to the waterline, many miles away.  We heard the initial Mayday on the radio, and listened with chills to the whole thing unfold.  When the call came in, there was no doubt it was serious, you could hear it in the sound of the captain's voice.  Luckily, a charter fisherman was close by to them and got the passengers off.  The boat was in the repair shop the day before, and it sounded like an electrical fire claimed the boat, freshly fueled with 300 gallons of gas.  The Coast Guard was on the scene pretty quick, but was worried the boat would blow up.  Thankfully that never happened, but it was a hard thing to listen to when the final call came back over channel 16 "that "all 4 souls on board are recovered safe and in good health, no injuries, but are very sad..." I can't imagine what that ordeal would be like.  This is a picture of the smoke plume, before it really started burning.  It lasted about an hour.  I think we saw the boat earlier in the morning, while we were all catching bait on the shoals.  

Unfortunately, as soon as that emergency was over, there was another call about a capsized boat, out of Mobile, Al.  I don't know if their crew was ever found, I didn't see anything about out on the news.  Safety gear is paramount on a saltwater vessel, its no joke.





Here's where we check out Destin pass from the balcony of the condo, before we get in the boat.  Things look pretty sweet.  Incoming tide, cobalt blue water, time to go fishing.





We made it back home to Alabama, just in front of the tropical depression, no problems.  I hope the pictures tell the story better than I can.  I'm ready to go back.


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Offline barbender

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2021, 02:10:10 AM »
That big water intimidates me, no two ways about it! Looks like an awesome trip👍👍
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2021, 02:44:00 AM »
Looks like a good day out, apart from the shark feeding bit  :D

When we get back to Rarotonga I'm going out game fishing again. Lil's not so into it, but i'd give it another go. 

The charter guys there will have done it hard over the last year with zero tourists. They are still in business, taking locals out and selling the fish they catch locally. 

Off the Islands you are in DEEP water, I think we were in 3,000 ft, and I could still get the wifi from the rental house  :D. More like 7,000 ft out further. 
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2021, 05:11:01 AM »
Thanks for the fishing trip.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2021, 06:16:07 AM »
Im scheduled to go out on the 29th to stranded rock lighthouse 40 miles out on superior to fish native lake trout. A lake trout mecca trip I'm told. It was a gift from my daughter.  Intimidating with mixed emotions is a good description. I'm a landlubber for sure
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2021, 08:02:55 AM »
You're going to have to RRQS some of them fish to get the fillets off just right.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2021, 09:28:14 AM »
They were some nice ones, everybody went home with full coolers.

When I'm at home, fishing the local lakes, I'm never too far from help, and if I have an engine issue, or other problem, no big deal, I'm probably not going into the water, and I probably won't get eaten.   

Saltwater fishing, or big water, freshwater fishing, is a whole nother ball game.  Just leaving through the pass can capsize a boat, and at any time, bad things can happen. I've seen some pretty big boats get into serous distress in the pass, and some sink to the bottom.  I watched a 39 footer roll over one day, with the captain thinking he was better than he was.  Hearing a mayday or vessel in distress call on the radio is an all too common thing.  I remember one week were were fishing out of Mexico Beach, the weather was up, the wind was blowing, the tide was wrong, and the cut to the harbor was bad, and we made it in, but it was sketchy.  I remember telling my wife that it was going to get someone, and sure enough, the next day, we heard that a guy flipped his boat at the very same cut, and had died.  Very tragic.  Captaining and fishing big water requires everyone to be on their "A" game, and its one of the reasons I enjoy it.  

To me, catching the bait, running the boat safely, navigating the waves offshore to a single fishing spot, then manipulating the two motors to power anchor to stay over the spot, all the while fishing and hopefully catching fish, is an adrenaline rush I can't get bass fishing.  Not to mention when a big fish pulls me down to the gunnel trying to get away.  Saltwater fishing is combat fishing.  One of the guys on the boat was a little too full of energy one day, so I put him on a school of amberjack or "reef donkeys" and he caught them, (we released them, this was just for punishment) one after the other, until he called out "No, no, I'm done" and didn't lift a rod for the rest of the day.  It was hilarious.  Here's a picture of some Bonito we caught for bait.  They will burn a drag off a reels and are always fun.  It's a circle of life thing.  Catch little bait, then bigger bait, then bigger gamefish.

 

 

As we were coming back one day, the weather started picking up, the waves were getting decent sized, and one of the folks on board was getting nervous.  You can always tell when that happens.  They look at the waves, they look at me, they hold on to the boat tighter, then repeat the process.  I've got to at least look like I know what I'm doing.  I knew the tide chart and told her is was no problem, this was nothing, and we got in without ever even getting wet.  When it was all over, she asked how I was able to do it so smoothly when the waves were "as tall as she was" and I remarked that "I'd done it enough times and almost been killed enough times, to finally figure most of it out."  She looked at me, and realized, I wasn't kidding.  I was 100% serious.  My education has been hard won over decades of close calls, as well as rescuing others when things didn't go their way.  I've had some close calls, mostly due to operator error (me) but I try to learn from each one.     

I always carry my own personal tow rope, I've gotten tired of rigging them up to tow others in, now I just toss it to the other boat and tell them to tie it on.  Over the years, literally dragged people from the water into the boat, and towed in all manner of craft from capsized sailboats, stalled out power boats, jet ski's, etc.  Hopefully, it will never be me, but I have Sea Tow and a good radio.  Lots of life vests and fresh fire extinguishers.  Lots of extra water.  

The look on my daughter's face says it all.  We were coming back in from a 30 mile run out of Ft. Morgan, Al, a few years ago, and found this adrift boat with a couple guys in it just about dusk.  We towed them, and it took forever, but if we hadn't been there, they would have spent the night out there, drifting slowly toward Cuba.  





That doesn't mean I won't try to put people under pressure myself, a guy's got to have little fun :D.  A couple years ago, I had Jake, aka @customsawyer , out in the boat, and were were struggling to make bait.  The durn cigar minnows were tight against an oil rig leg, and the other people in the boat were having issues getting their rigs in close enough.  So I knew Jake had some experience in the ocean captaining a boat, so a asked if he'd ever driven a twin engine and maneuvered in sketchy conditions all while in reverse (nope) and asked if he'd nose me in tight to the rig leg so I could cast an and catch bait.  Of course there were some decent waves ;D, and maybe a dicey cross current ;D, and a little 20 mph gusty cross wind  ;D, but I gave him vague instructions that were intended to relax him ;D, something like "Get me in real close, but don't bump into anything or it will be very bad."  He did it no problem.  I think he got a little adrenaline rush himself.  He did a fine job.  We caught bait, he didn't crunch up my boat, and all was well.  We also caught a few nice fish that week. 

 


Saltwater fishing has its perks, and there is nothing better than coming back to dock with a beautiful sunset in the background.  This last week, we saw big sea turtles, decent sized sharks, and even a momma and her baby dolphin "Flipper" that came up to to the boat just to say "Hello."  

It doesn't get much better than this.





         
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2021, 11:28:13 AM »
I had a blast that weekend. It got exciting on several different occasions but not due to close calls, just the fishing. I had to come home to work so I could rest. I still remember trying to chase down a dang floating barrel that we thought was tied down.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2021, 04:20:15 PM »
Robert,

   I'm not much for saltwater fishing. Most of mine were at night scuba diving like gigging frogs but those are some pretty fish. I'd swap you 2 channel cats and throw in a couple of bluegills for one of those big red snapper.

   Good pictures and good memories. Thanks for posting.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2021, 07:30:10 PM »
Youre on, its a deal.  Hopefully, one of these days Im going to be in your neighborhood and drop by, with a sack full of snapper for you.  Maybe you could take me cat fishing, you do it very well.

Im glad some folks get to see the other side of us, maybe it surprises them with some of our diversity of backgrounds, and interests. 

Its not all sawmilling, all the time, although sometimes, it feels like it.   
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2021, 07:41:05 PM »
   You're on! 

   I thought about you Friday while we were taking up lines. My wife's AU cap blew off in the lake and as I circled back with the dip net and scooped it up I was honestly thinking "Robert would likely just try to chop it up with the outboard motor." :D
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Offline WDH

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2021, 07:43:51 AM »
Howard, there ain't no limbs to hang lines from in the gulf :) ;D
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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2021, 07:48:41 AM »
   That is why I did all my saltwater fishing up close and personal with a spear gun. The last time I went on a charter boat with my wife and her band seniors many years ago at the end of the trip I gave my squid (bait) back to the boat hand. I could not even get the crabs to eat it off.
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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2021, 09:23:52 AM »
not one-not two-but three sharks chomped it up right in front of me


Well at least you had enough left to make fish head soup!!! :D
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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2021, 10:42:33 AM »
At the interview for my current position, one of the canned questions was "What is your ideal vacation?"  My answer...."Sitting 50 miles offshore tied to something that has an equal chance of putting me in the water as I have of putting it in the boat!"  I love to hear those big Penns screaming.

Wud
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2021, 12:13:42 PM »


Yes indeed.  That is a sound never forgotten or imitated. 

It means Fish on! Grab the rod and hold on, its a good one!

I remember several years ago a saltwater newbie buddy of mine came king mackerel fishing for a week, and brought his favorite smallmouth outfit.  I just laughed and said big kings were called Smokers for a reason, and I figured his reel wouldnt last the week.  He disagreed, and said something like Ive caught more fish on this than youve ever seen, itll hold up.  

A few days later, catching big kings until our arms were tired, he started bragging how his reel was holding up, and I just laughed, as I could start to hear its death rattle.  Sure enough, a little while later that day, he hooked a smoker that was headed for somewhere else at Mach 2, and the graphite reel spool actually split in half, basically exploded, tangled, and ran up into the first guide of his favorite rod and snapped the eye off, before the line broke.  It was about as funny (to me) as I ever seen, him standing there holding his favorite smallmouth outfit, with it looking like Godzilla had stepped on it, him cussing up a storm.   

I told him, theres a reason we use $800 outfits, and I hoped he had brought another of his favorites to use and burn up, because we still had a few days of fishing left and the fish were biting! :D :D 

He still talks about it to this day.  Lifetime memories.  
 


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Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2021, 12:29:46 PM »

There is a time and a place for everything..... but I'm usually wrong on both!!
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Offline Stephen1

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2021, 05:49:57 PM »
Thanks for pics. Always great to see what we do that doesn't involve wood.
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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2021, 07:43:13 PM »


Yes indeed.  That is a sound never forgotten or imitated.

It means Fish on! Grab the rod and hold on, its a good one!

I remember several years ago a saltwater newbie buddy of mine came king mackerel fishing for a week, and brought his favorite smallmouth outfit.  I just laughed and said big kings were called Smokers for a reason, and I figured his reel wouldnt last the week.  He disagreed, and said something like Ive caught more fish on this than youve ever seen, itll hold up.  

A few days later, catching big kings until our arms were tired, he started bragging how his reel was holding up, and I just laughed, as I could start to hear its death rattle.  Sure enough, a little while later that day, he hooked a smoker that was headed for somewhere else at Mach 2, and the graphite reel spool actually split in half, basically exploded, tangled, and ran up into the first guide of his favorite rod and snapped the eye off, before the line broke.  It was about as funny (to me) as I ever seen, him standing there holding his favorite smallmouth outfit, with it looking like Godzilla had stepped on it, him cussing up a storm.  

I told him, theres a reason we use $800 outfits, and I hoped he had brought another of his favorites to use and burn up, because we still had a few days of fishing left and the fish were biting! :D :D

He still talks about it to this day.  Lifetime memories.  
 
I was fishing the Wrightsville Beach King Mackerel tournament one year.  I tied into a 
"SMOKER".  I was thinking I had a contender on the line.  He had Dang near spooled me when he stopped the run and turned back to the boat.  I dropped the rod tip and cranked for all I was worth.  He closed to within about 50 feet from the back of the boat and breached the water.........about 65 pounds of barracuda.....to this day one of the best fights of my life.  
We boated one fish that day........a snake just a hair over 10 pounds.  He was good for 3rd place in the tournament.......Grossed us right at $5,000.  The second place fish was just over 12 pounds live weight.  When dissected, he had just eaten a bluefish.  We would have been in contention for 2nd if not for that bluefish.  The winning  fish was north of 50.

On day two of that tournament, a tropical storm was rolling up the coast and things had gotten a little rough.  As we were attempting to get out of Lockwood Folly Inlet, a wave broke across the stern of the boat.  I was standing in knee deep water.  The Captain asked me what I wanted to do......"If it's all the same to you, let's go back to the hill."  Three boats sunk in the inlet that day.  We were not one of them.

I was running the boat the day before when we had to run to Wilmington to weigh our fish.  It was rough that day as well.  There is a restricted zone around Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point.  I was going to cut a corner to cut a few miles off our trip.  Desert Storm was ongoing at the time and it wasn't but a few minutes before I had an escort.  I wouldn't advise that same maneuver today.  :-\


Wud  
You may tear down statues and burn buildings but you cant kill the spirit of patriots and when theyve had enough this madness will end.
Charlie Daniels
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Yellowhammer Fishing
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2021, 09:48:27 PM »
That's some good stuff.  Folks don't realize how easy it is to make one little mistake and the boat fills up with water.    

Most of the kings we catch in the gulf are 10 to 15 lbs at most, but occasionally get a lot bigger.  

Many years ago, Martha hooked into one so big we had to literally get the boat up on plane to run it down because we could see the reel spool.  It's was a monster, and had taken the spool down to the metal before we could blink.  After a battle that only Hemingway could do justice to, we landed it.  

It just so turns out that the Destin Fishing Rodeo was going on at a that time, so we figured we go by the weigh in station and get an official weight, because the scale we had bottomed out.  Everybody was eating lunch, so the place was deserted, but when the photographer saw the fish he choked, and ran out of the restaurant to take her picture with the fish.  Everybody was saying, "You've won, you've won, what's your entrant number?"  

Oops, we never entered.  As it turns out we would have won $3,000 for biggest mackerel for private captain, and also $3,000 for largest mackerel for female angler.  The photographer took the picture anyway, and the tournament committee had a good laugh and hung it up on the big awards board as an example as to why its important to enter!



YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.


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