Petronius/Beer Can/Ram Questions - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 11-19-2012, 12:45 PM   #1
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Default Petronius/Beer Can/Ram Questions

We've been slowly working our way further out over the last year and are planning our first trip out of Perdido Pass to Petronius/Beer Can/Ram for an overnghter (when a nice weather window opens). Goal is a meat haul of blackfin, yellowfin, and maybe a sword. Boat is a 27ft Worldcat.

First question is:

Drifting is certainly an option for the night (especially if looking for swords), but are there other options? Do any of the rigs have mooring buoys? Does anyone tie to the rig?

Second question:

For a few guys with little sword experience, is there any reason to run "someplace special" to set up a night drift? Or are the chances just as good (bad) if we start the drift near the rig after wrapping up the evening fishing? Head back toward the shelf break? Certainly need to keep fuel consumption in mind.

Been hanging out (trolling) on the forum for a while, and really appreciate everything I've learned. Thanks in advance for the help.

Edit: Just realized I rookied this up by posting it in the reports board rather than the Q&A. Sorry. Moderators, feel free to move. Members, feel free to accost.

Last edited by mellandry; 11-19-2012 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:20 PM   #2
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Your boat is well suited for the task and overnight rig trips can be memorable!

Drifting: your only real options are to fish all night or drift to rest as the rigs no longer have mooring buoys and tying to the floaters is not possible or allowed. I always use a sea anchor as it greatly slows the drift (to less than 1 knt) and it keeps the bow into the seas and wind. Just think thru your battery setup so that you can run your lights all night and still have juice to crank your engines. Ideally batteries should be isolated.

My favorite place to sword is the steps, which works perfect for a rig trip as you are basically there. The closer you are to a rig the more sharks will drive you nuts.

Think thru your safety items as winter months add the hypothermia into the equation, in addition it's a lot more likely you will be there by yourself. An epirb and handheld VHF at a minimum.

Good luck!
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:24 PM   #3
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i would never ever tie up to a rig, the current could change and wash you under the rig and and that would not be a place I would want to be.... we move a couple miles away from the rig to catch a few z's drifting.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:49 PM   #4
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Thanks Robert. That was helpful. I had seen some other (older) posts make mention about moorings. It's good to know that they're gone so we're not looking for them. The suggestion to fish the steps is also very helpful. I had seen them mentioned a few times, but didn't know exactly where they were (I actually thought they were further east, nearer the spur). I found the coordinates just now in another post and on the BW Supermap. Seems like an ideal place to target for swords considering our destination.

All three batteries are isolated (stbd engine, port engine, & house). We have an epirb, and I was actually looking for a (backup) handheld VHF online today.

Jim: Thanks for your thoughts on tying. Never considered it an ideal option, but wanted to know what all the options were and what others did.

If y'all have any other fishing/safety tips, I'm open to anything.

I hope Petronius is holding fish (wishful thinking maybe?), so that we don't have to run past it on the way out, then back that way for the night to drift the steps, then back SW again for the morning bite at other rigs. Guess that's why they call it fishing.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:56 PM   #5
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Petronius produces plenty of quality fish and is where I fought the largest marlin I've ever seen.

Ditto pretty much everything Robert said although for swords the ideal location can change depending on currents and altimetry. If you are wanting to the hit the rigs and do some swording, then the steps is definitely closer. Regardless of where you're drifting, it definitely pays to put something out while drift.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:31 PM   #6
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You might consider a sat phone or a personal locator like a spot (there are other brands I just happen to have a spot). VHF is line of site and with a relatively low antenna your range is going to be limited. The coast guard has much taller antennas so they can communicate with your farther out. Most likely you'll have no need for VHF, EPRIB, SPOT, Sat Phone, but if you do need well you need really bad! Each is different and each has limits and application.

Take care of your batteries and your motors. Mine Yamaha HPDI's will foul a plug if I let them idle too long or run at trolling speeds too long.

Make sure someone is always awake. I never go out there without at least 4 on board and 2 are always awake.

Good luck, let us know how you do. If you want to "buddy boat" out there some time just let me know. I go several times a year.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:50 PM   #7
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Thanks Chris and Contender. We will definitely be putting lines out during the night drift.

My pal (who actually owns the boat, I'm just crew) had a sat phone, but we tried it out and were unimpressed. I think he returned it. I have a SPOT and bring it on every trip. In addition to the safety features of the SPOT, I have the option to post my track on the web. My wife can follow me online and it gives her piece of mind, which leads to more frequent granting of permission for trips to the water/woods/swamp. With the SPOT, EPIRB, and VHF I feel adequately comfortable with our communications ability for this trip, considering we'll be in a region with manned platforms.

The Suzukis on the boat have behaved well over the last year. Thanks for the spark plug comment though, I'll be sure to put some extras in the boat and bring a socket.

We'll have 4 souls on the boat and make sure to keep someone awake at all times.

Would love to have a buddy boat if anyone was interested in making the run. We've put a hold on our calendars for 12/13 - 12/21 and plan to make the run on the two best days (if two are calm enough).
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:27 PM   #8
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Just my opinion here but if your new to going out that far than commit to one species or another. Learning curves ya know and less tiring to Capt.and crew. As far as safety goes,either buy or borrow a liferaft!!!!!! Nevermind water temp,just think about what you have on board if the boat goes down,bait,fish,food,ect that will attract toothy critters. Your not going to be able to climb onto a rig even while right next to it without getting tore up. Aside from safety stuff already mentioned,I suggest a mini nerf football and a set of boltcutters to add to the ditchbag yall already have right? Good luck and happy hunting. I'll add more when it comes to mind to keep yall well informed. Oh yea,fully charged cell phone in case ya gotta use a rigs cell antenna to call for help(expensive and they don't like you using their stuff).
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:48 PM   #9
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OK. I'll bite... why the nerf football? And the bolt cutters (have idea of what that might be good for, but I'll reserve that guess to avoid the certainty of looking like an idiot)?

I always bring along the ditch bag. Thanks for the reminder.

I've been pondering the life raft for a while now. Is that something many weekend sport-fishers have in their boats? Every ounce of safety is valuable, but that may be more than we can make happen for this trip. How much risk are we taking? I'm not worried as much about the critters. Statistically speaking, that's not what's going to get you (while you're still alive). It'd be one thing if we were talking about a pool toy, but it'd have to have self-inflation capability and be big enough for 4 people. That sounds like a investment (and install) that would have to be planned for.

Now, if someone has one they'd like to lend, I'm game.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:01 PM   #10
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Nerf will not stop,but willl slow down the leak from a broken thru hull,drain plug,etc.(center consoles don't have to worry about generator exhaust pipes cracking,a/c pick-ups,etc.just throwing that out there). Bolt cutter for hooks in bodies and don't feel bad about looking like an idiot cause even the most seasoned of fishing vets would forget to ask if there on board. Life raft,well how much do ya value your life or your crews? Even a Walmart raft will do in a bad situation. 100+ miles from shore is a long time to wait for help,just sayin.
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