Monday, April 30, 2007



As you can see....I started out "counting" them, holding my fingers up. But that didn't work. Actually I got the first three fish on my first three drifts of my Float-rig.

I had 2 - 19" to 20" Trout in the box, then the third fish was a 5 pounder. Then I caught a Spanish Mackerel and a Ladyfish, and then in the next hour and a half I had 5 more, 5 pounder G-A-T-O-R-S!

The wind (sea-breeze to be very technical) started honkin' so bad I could almost not fish anymore, but I waited it out. And the wind would subside a little and I'd catch another one. So, what's a TROUT FREAK gonna do? Keep at it, of course. I actually needed not 5 pounders, but rather smaller fish for the box.

So after 8 mega-nice Trout I started pitching a jig-n-shrimp. Hooked up two super sweet sized Flounder, and both got off at the side of the boat. So I went to a curly tailed plastic on the jig real fast and pitched along side the boat right where i lost one of the Flounder and hooked it up again....."Ahh, you bastard are gonna meet Mr. Trout, in the fish box", I thought. But damned if that one didn't get off too! Dammit! I know why, because all the flounder I hooked wewre in NO CURRENT, and they just snapped at it, and didn't engulf the bait. I heavy current it would be a different story.

Earlier in the day, as I waited for the tide to drop. I found a new spot. Boulders all over the bottom from 10-18 feet, dropping off to deep water. Another possible Trout hang-out. So as i looked around I pitched a Jig-n-curly-tail, I hooked up a Flattie immediately. So as I reeled it to the boat, I looked up and saw two Sheepshead tailing, around a rock in a foot or so of water...Cool...but it wasn't meant to be because when I looked down again at my Flounder. It also got off the hook.

I just wasn't my day to catch 4 nice Flounder, I guess. But that's okay. I know where the Trout are.

A Trout Tracker, that's what ya have to be. These are all big fat "roe" Trout too. It's spawning time. And if all goes well and I actually get someone who picks a day for a charter when the tides right, they may get the chance to catch fish like these pictures. But, the likely-hood is slim to none..."and slim left town".

People from other parts just do not get it. Thats why they hire me I thought. I had three calls today. And 3 yesterday. Everyone wants the best day, but do not get that it's all about the tide. I just do my best with the day they give me. If they want a GREAT DAY........PLAN instead of just showing up hilly-nilly. I have a phone, a blog, e-mail, a web site with alot of info, that many do not even want to look at and read. I hand out pearls full of info, and just do the best I can, with the cards I'm dealt.

So that's why I go and mess'em up all by myself. Because I can.

Last day of April 2007

MAYPORT: Latitude 30.393N. Longitude -81.43W)










Saturday, April 28, 2007

4/28 - Saturday, Float Freakin'? And it felt so good.

#1- too all the people who called me about a Saturday charter and "tire kicked" their way right out of a trip or "cheaped" themselves out of a fishing day.....This is what YOU missed!

#2 - If I could find these fish, on a Saturday that was like a "conehead-a-rama" on the river. God help them on a weekday!
Went out to fish by myself on the low tide (the only tide worth fishing anymore) and had 10-Speckled Trout from 18-24 inches. My 5 Trout limit with the one over 20 inches that was a 23 incher, then released 5 more ranging from 19-24 inches. And one baby Gag Grouper, all on one spot, a very good spot. NO PINFISH, NO LADYFISH, NO JACKS, NO BLUES.....NO JUNKFISH AT ALL.
This was ONLY a falling tide fishery, we have around here I guess. With zero rain, time of year, these fish want LOWER salinity. And that doesn't mean an incoming salty tide!

Man, what a great 4 hours!

Although some seriously handicapped weekenders thought by getting closer to me meant that they too could catch QUALITY Trout like this with tourist-rigs and stink-bait, they were sadly mistaken. But they got to watch.

Filleted de-boned and skinned my 5 Trout filled a Gallon Bag. Momma's gonna like these.
This is what makes being a FLOAT FREAK, worth it!
coming up this week:
Another Group-multiboat, half day.....and Dave C. (a regular) from Maryland.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

4/26 - The man has good balance!

Now this is one thing I do not get very often on my boat....a fella who can cast a Bait Casting reel, and into the wind too!
Whit Sherrill, my Solo angler I had today could do that and more. This soon to be "ex" USAF Officer, (GO was my choice of armed services also) was a good fish catcher, and he and I, had a ball.
He was right on time at the dock this morning, not coming from very far....he was staying at the Mayport Navy Base vacationing with his wife and baby boy.
His first fish of the morning was a big nasty Jack, that snatched his float and gave this N. Carolina "sweet water-ish" fisherman's rod a serious jerkin'. We weren't fishing 5 minutes and he hooked the Jack. Then came some Trout, then a Sheepshead.
Then we ran down river and found the wind too strong, on one spot and the current too strong on another. So back to the Big Rocks (jetties) we went. Caught some Yellowmouth Trout, a few more small Jacks, then a Ladyfish or two, and a nice light tackle battle with a good size Shark too.
The South Jetty was Sandy-silty water, nasty and very choppy, and NO BIG DEAL to fish in my battle wagon. I swear to you, you can not imagine how superior this big & brawny Plate Alloy boat of mine handles the nastiest of conditions. Believe me, I'll never go back to Fiberglass. And will never have too. It's my life time boat!
The fishing wasn't full of action. So we moved, and put up the float rig (DON'T TELL ANYONE) And pitched jigs while power drifting the jetty tip. More like power Backing. Because the 15-20 knot SE winds were pushing us into the rocks, so I had to stay in reverse the whole time we sort of drifted. (AND NOT A DROP OF WATER CAME IN THE BOAT) As the 4 footers crashed on the transom, as I backed away from the jetty. (the boats design is super dry and stable)
Whit played tug of war with a 28" deep water Redbass, and another big Jack. I even made a few casts and pulled as hard as I could on a Red, just for the fun of it and the fish straighted my jig hook.
By looking at the photo's, I think you could tell Whit had a good time and he also had some fillets for a nice family dinner, also.
Thanks Whit.
Here's today's "Recent Catch" page photo's:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

4/25 - Late 1/2 day with FMA group charter

Did a group charter today that I reserved, and had Capt's Mike & Bryan help me out. Twelve folks total on three boats starting at 1:00 pm till 5:00 pm.
Note the tides today:
LOW@ 10:34
HIGH@ 4:51
Not the greatest time to do a fishing trip. But what the heck, we were all just out there to have a good time. I knew it going into it, that it wasn't gonna be a rip roaring situation.
Everyone split up at the dock and got into the boats. I tried my best to get all the gal's on my boat. But ended up getting only Chris. The only gal who came dressed for the occasion.
She had her pink hat on with "Spinner-Blades" attached to it, and her pink accented, fly fishing vest with lots of faux "Flies" on the front, and embroidered butterflies on the back!
I don't know what else to say other than this was a real HOOT!
I can just imagine what Tred Barta would have done if he saw her walking down the dock, with all that Pink. (If you don't know who Tred Barta, is then Google him, if you do then you'll understand...I like and at the same time, dislike Tred, but he is still my kinda guy.)
One boat started off the day with a big Nurse Shark, then we had a double header of a small sand shark about 3 feet, and a Polish Flounder...aka: "Stingray". Then, I heard about small trout, ladyfish and Blues Mike had on up in a creek. But we hung near the jetties using live and cut Greenies I caught before the trip. That proved to not be doing much on the crappy tide so we Float fished and caught one potato chip size Flounder. Then Bryan had a bunch of eel's the size of your arm up by the coastie station.
Ya' know I guess he knows where the real "undesirables" live, now. And couldn't have guessed where to find giant eels if you asked him before today. Now that's FUNNY!
That's why tides are so important, overall.
The wind was of course blowing good and hard as we started the trip today, par for the course.
But, everyone seemed to really enjoy being there, no matter what they caught, or did not catch.
Here's the link to the "recent catch page" photo's of their day:
Tomorrow: I have one guy....and I have lots of live shrimp. And I hope to burn as many as we can. I really hope to find some decent Trout.
The Greenies, (Threadfin Herring) are out there at the jetties and have been for a while now. But now thick enough to catch, at least.
The Spanish Macks are getting larger. Saw some really nice ones a friend trolled up this morning.
The Reds were thick on the inside of the North jetty tip...if you're a trolling motor & jig tosser or just power drift.
LadyFish have invaded the Jetties. Bryan had a morning trip and had plenty of them today.

Monday, April 23, 2007

4/23 - Only on a falling tide?????

Thank goodness for a few hours of falling tide!
Had Dave Campbell and Mike and Austin out again. Dave and Mike have been with me several times before, but this was Austin's first dip into the saltwater fishery, since he's from IOWA??
Where's dat? I've heard of it before, though. Prior we always bottom fished so this was their first time doing the float-rig fishing.
Wow, was the rollers high this morning heading out to the tip of the jetties. Rollers, is all I can think of calling them, because we rolled up them and over them as we headed out to where I was putting all my nuts in one sack. Yes, I had no where else I could think of going that would produce some good bites on the last few hours of falling tide. Everywhere else has been so damn dead. Or just so damned hard to fish in the winds, day after day.
I was a tad pissed off that I had to go thru such nastiness just to get to where I wanted to fish in the first place, I'll admit that. And it was showing.
Can I please get a single day that life is easy.....or just easier?? I guess not.
The last dead calm day I had was back on April 4th with Jake and Jeff, and we fished the beach that day.......literally the beach behind the surf (if there was one) and left them biting
Alright, we made it to the spot, and I anchored up and it all felt WRONG! The boat lay, the way the floats went.......EVERYTHING!
So after a few minutes I re-grouped and made a slight adjustment. And we were on them.
Trout, and some Jacks, and one big Ladyfish. The fishing was consistent for a few hours and like a light switch all of a sudden went completely dead!
I again made some adjustments for the guys on their tackle...and that's when we had back to back Sheepshead, 5 & 6 pounds. I don't mind two of them, maybe even 3 of them. But I'm not like some of these Sheepherders. I certainly don't want to have to clean a whole bunch of them.
Then, as the tide completely died we ran up into a creek and had some more blues, a Ladyfish and some small Trout to finish up 10 dozen live shrimp.
By noon the wind was again howling inshore from the east...You'd think I was used to it by now, but I'm not and it made precision anchoring a problem.
Next up:
Wednesday's afternoon Group Charter with 3 boats (on an incoming tide) & Thursday's "solo" angler and me. Which is always a fun day, where I can throw in something different.
Where's that south wind?
Here's the rest of today's pics on my Catch Page 7 -

Sunday, April 22, 2007

4/22 - More winds,East or Noreast (BARK...BARK)

Went out today to just try out my new Shimano "Tekota" reels for my personal use. Couldn't afford 3 Shimano Calcutta's and really didn't need Calcutta's either....I'm just float rigging with them. No bottom fishing or anything else. They sure are silky smooth though.

Of course I had no plans. Didn't even leave out till about an hour before high tide, Mayport time. Went to the jetties and tried my best to take some photos for ya of the giant "comers" that were rolling in from offshore. Of course, a digital camera has it's benefits. But completely SUCK, when taking action photo's and trying to get the action timed perfectly. The inherent "lag" they have between pushing the button and when it actually captures the frame, isn't like my ole 35mm Canon reflex camera. (BARK!)

The North East winds were blowing again...and I swear this is the reason finding a good consistant Trout bite, is such a task. And especially finding a good bite today at the time I left was about futile! N.E. winds and an incoming tide means K.O.D. and I knew it. (K.O.D - means Kiss of Death)

I lost two shrimp to something small on the south jetty as I slopped around like a washing machine. So I left. (BARK!)

I went up into a creek area I have fished for over 20 years on and off. It was so full of knuckle-heads racing back and forth it was unbelievable! So I went to the same place I was on Friday with Dave from Pa. A hidey hole out of the wind and away from the geniuses that think racing into a creek is how ya catch 'em better. I caught at the wrong tide, 4 Flounder and 4 Trout. The flatties were all small "chippers", and one out of the 4 Trout was 17". The rest were a shade under 15". (BARK!)

Afterwards the tide started to fall but I had about all I could stand, so I headed home. (BARK!)

Yesterday, the report for tomorrow (Monday) was South winds. Now I watched the news and they said East winds....I'll have to double check that. But Monday I have the Campbell clan on board.

And at about this point, it seems like beating a dead horse when it comes to this weather pattern. Ahhhh, I can still remember the days when we used to actually be able to fish and catch lots of fish (Trout).
It was just during the beginning of April. Which seems like a year ago.....
Yep, incessant barking.

Friday, April 20, 2007

4/20 - Another windy weekend

I think today's weather stats say it all:
04/20 - 12:06 pm,
22.9 knot sustained/
32.1 knot gusts
04/20 - 12:00 pm,
25.1 knot sustained/
31.1 knot gusts
04/20 - 11:54 am,
24.1 knot sustained/
28.9 knot gusts
But there's more to this story than just un-bare able winds. That's Dave Seidel in the photo. He met me at the Mayport boat ramp around 8am. It was sunny, chilly and with some wind, about 10 knots from the N.E. Not all that bad.....just a tad askew that's all. Dave just wanted to "get out", since he was hotel bound and was here for a Navy reunion, and was leaving Monday back to Pa. I told him, the forecast looks to be heinous, and I certainly cannot promise much if anything at all. It was okay, he said. He understood, an was a fisherman himself at home.
So we leave the ramp, and head for the jetties. Not really to fish them, but I wanted to give him the .50 cent tour at least. He was easy going on the phone last night and at 6:00am this morning when I called, for the heads-up on the weather report. I wanted to at least show him around.
The jetties were nasty, even on the incoming tide. I can only image how bad they will be when the tide really starts falling against the N.E. wind. So off down river we went. 2-Bluefish on, 2- Bluefish off.....they chewed through the 20 pound leader. Next spot, 2- Speckled Trout (keepers) and a Flounder. And then another one we call "LUCKY".
Dave's float goes down, he reels, sets the hook tight, and has the fish coming to the boat, so he thought. The drag burns.....he reels, the drag burns again.....I look into the water (care of Ocean Waves sunglasses Illuminator Lens') and see a big fat Speck! The drag goes off again......I go for the net...Dave's line goes slack.....Fish Gone!
AHHHHH, man. A big Trout lost. And Dave did nothing I saw wrong. The fishes name was "LUCKY", that's all.
The sky was dark, the wind was picking up, and the saving grace is we were into some fish up in a small creek, behind another creek, that branched off another small creek, way on back there! The rain started, the clouds began to darken, and here it comes. ANOTHER "FRONT" FROM HELL!
All bites stopped, the anchor broke free because the wind was so full bore against the side of the boat, so we moved on. As I got out in the main creek, it was not looking good. But we tried it again. Then another spot, and it was now in full Gale conditions.
In the back of my mind I was thinking about..."how do I pull up to the dock in this wind?" "how do I get the boat on the trailer in this wind?"
So we looked around a little more and headed into the river. Holy Crap, this was some sporty stuff, and the tide hasn't changed yet and may never against all this. So I made the decision to bag it and head in.
I idled outside the boat ramp docks studying how to get to the dock that was down wind, without making this into an all out collision with concrete and those damned NYLON sides on the dock. Hey, I may have a big Plate Alloy boat, but still would like to avoid any dents in the hull.
So I made my approach with "all hands on deck", ready for who knows what. And I came in good and safely. Now, how do I drive on the trailer without driving over the trailer??
Dave and I figured it out and it was so simple, and I slid into the bunks like an ole man sliding into bed.....oh so easy.
I was so happy. No casualties or broken anything! Just had to do the geometry. The angle of the gale force gust versus the docks, the trailer and take it easy and think it through.
Sounds stupid maybe but this was no laughing matter, because the wind was blowing straight into the docks, and in this kind of Gale I had no bow control at slow speeds, or boat control at all.
Tomorrow, I have two guys scheduled. And we decided to do a rain check and I put them in my long will call list. They want to go, but will call back with another date to do so.
Back to back weekends with winds this strong is freakin me OUT!

This like NO April I have ever seen before.
So far I have 3 days next week and as far as what they say now, 15 knots from the south seems to be the norm. I'll take that over a cold NE 15 anyday!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

4/19 - Very interesting web site

A very interesting web site. Maybe Florida should take note!

Georgia's, close enough to fish....close enough for us to pay attention to what they are doing!

* Tournament
*Redfish facts
*Stocking program
*Why & when they spawn
*Pollution....effects them
*Degrading of habitat (something Jacksonville needs to care more about!)

Personally, I have made an effort that I will only keep a Redfish every once in a blue moon, myself. I don't really care to eat them...and especially do not care to clean them (like a Sheepshead).
Ya'll know what fish cleans easier and the fish I'm always looking for!

It has "speckles" rather than "spots".....but then again the one pictured here could have been refered to as a "Speckled Redfish", caught by a member of the Campbell Clan on a charter many moons ago. When we used to actually have a CONGREGATION of fish in the river during the fall.

I'd love to find an article about the Redfish of the St. Johns River, since this area was mentioned as one of the TOP 5, in Saltwater Sportsman Magazine (Feb of 2007). And why sometimes the fish are here spawning and sometimes not.
Angler lore is; Salinity Levels - no rain, Pollution...IE: "Green Algae", the US Navy, gone to Georgia for a one night stand. I'd like to read what the scientists say.


Keep some fingers crossed "about this weekend".

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

4/18 - Is this really April?????

Not much to report, lately.

VERY SMOKEY....because of all the fires, again.
That ain't FOG in this photo. And there's nothing wrong with my camera either.
I'm absolutely dieing to try something different. Bored with the same ole thing, and since the tide was coming in and almost high by the time I got bait and dropped the boat in the water. I went to Mill Cove. Yep, I went to where I used to catch a lot of fish on MirrOlures. Up under the high tension wires. And I went all the way in and fished the last towers, and pitched a Cajun Thunder clicker float and micro shrimp over those massive oyster bars under the power lines.
NOT A SINGLE BITE! Although I witnessed leaping Flounder. And more than just one.
So obviously there was something with gills & scales up in there besides just big Mullet jumping. I was starting to get a real short fuse after not even giving a micro-shrimp away to a pinfish.

Now that the 45 knot winds have gone away. I assume it really screwed up the fishing. After Mill Cove, I ran down river to a spot that I can't hardly figure out when it has good current most of the time, but found it had water movement today.
If it does, it usually holds some serious Trout. Instead I had my ass handed to me by a Big Red, up under a dock....that eventually straightened my small hook. Then about 10 drifts later I got it's lil' Brother, a 18 inch Redfish. And not a single Trout.
The smoke from the Georgia Fires was intense, and made a probably decent day seem like a cloudy one. But before I go any further let me also say it was, COLD and windy at times!

The weather Guessers said it was going to be:

5-10 knots - Light & Variable winds.

The real question is, is this actually mid April??
Today, it felt like March 1st, as I wore a rain jacket all day. Because of the chill in the air.
Then, I lost all my current and I moved on. I was stuck. Stuck down river with no current, and no where to really go till the tide changes and started to fall.

Before I left this morning, I had to wait around for live shrimp to arrive at the bait shop, and after almost 2 hours of waiting, it arrived at 9am. And they turned out to be 1 inch shrimp. Yes, I waited almost 2 hours for shrimp so small they weren't worth using.

So I headed back to regular stomping grounds, and caught 3 small 14-3/4 inch Trout.

And two hours later a 3 pound Jack.
What a waste of time. Obviously, those huge winds we just had, did some damage. Because I wasn't the only one, not catching. I never went to the jetties, I figured it was probably a soup sandwich out there too. The water in the river was dirty enough.

Now, I have charters on Friday and Saturday and the weather report is all about the wind. Who cares about temp. or the sun. 15-20 knots of wind will keep ya on your toes, enough.

Honestly, I've had it better in the middle of February than I do now. But no one wants to go in February......because they actually believe the fishing is no good and it's too cold. When in all reality they have it all backwards. About this point, I'll take winter all over again. I caught more and had to put up with less knuckle-heads, out on the river.

If you were out there on the water today too, you'd probably wonder if it was really April too.

Let's face it, look back in these January and February's reports...there I am out all by myself doing R&D taking pictures, of better fish than in this March & April. Because customers are afraid to go. Ya' don't have to be a biologist to know that the winter is Jacksonville's Best inshore fishery!
Maybe soon we'll get back to some decent spring weather....Before it's May??
But this weekend doesn't look like it will happen.

Friday, April 13, 2007

4/13 - a 1/4 mile stretch -revised-

Let me start off by announcing that I have (4) and maybe more...
Abu Garcia Ambassador 6500 Trophy Series reels for sale.

New: $95 to $105 a piece.

Mine: cleaned, Oiled & in fine working order - $35 each
or buy all (4) for $130.00 ....Lasted one day, SOLD ALREADY, sorry.

If your interested, just call me or email me.

I'd just love to let all (4) go at the same time, of course. From time to time I do a liquidation, I guess you could say of tackle I'm not using.

BTW...I also have (2) Penn Performance Tackle (PPT) 13'6" Neil MacKellow (famed British long caster designed) "Stinger" model Surf casting rods. Yes, key word is "CASTING".....what real surf casters use. Meaning; the the opposite of a "Spinner"......YUK! Can Handle large casting reel with supplied "Coaster Clips" to attach reel. Handles casting up to 5 oz. easily. (I think I did my best ever with these rods at 400 feet.) 2-piece, in cloth storage bag - $75 each and like brand new. Can handle Sharks, big Reds or Whiting and Pompano. Versatile rods.
Can be seen at B&M Bait & Tackle A1A north Atlanitic beach where they are on consignment or just call me.

Okay...back to the fishing.

Went out today with a game plan in mind. As you may or may not know, when I go by my lonesome, I call it R&D. Short for "research and development". First off, going and putting the boat in the water was a great excuse to burn the giganticus live shrimp I still had in my live well, and I had to go put fuel in the boat, anyhow. (FYI: Honda...So far so good. I have not a single negative thing to say about my new outboard. The fuel economy is very good. On average I burn thru all RPM ranges a measly 2 gallons an hour, or as I like to think of it; about 10-12 fishing trips on 60 gallons. Granted my fishing trips are not 4 hour runs to the ledge and then troll all damn day. But I do haul-ass from spot to spot, starting and stopping, idling and with varying loads of people, day to day. I'm very happy so far...)
So if I needed to burn some expensive live shrimp because I don't think I'm doing my charter on Sunday because of the weather report, and while putting $150 worth of fuel in the boat, I might as well go do some R&D.
I went to the south-side of the south jetty, that was the game plan. Do not burn much of that $150 worth of fuel, and spent all day there. (MISTAKE #1)
I do stuff like that all the time. I pick an area and never really leave. Working a 1/4 mile stretch, while attempting to learn all I can about it. Although over the 25 years worth of fishing the jetties I have probably learned about all I can about that side of the rocks. But I stayed there, thru thick and thin. But today was mighty THIN!
I caught 4 Speckled Trout, WHOOPEE! And 10 Jack Cravalles of various sizes. The Trout were not what I was hunting for, with them ranging from 14-3/4 inches to 17 inches.
I fished in 3 feet up in the jam, and out at the tip, and in between. And there was no rhyme or reason to where the Trout were, out of the whopping 4, one came from 3 feet of water while the rest were in 10' or 18' or 1 foot. It was serious pot luck. There was zero current, and I knew that going in. What I didn't know is that no one really works anymore on Friday's either.
Back in February, I could be out doing a lil' R&D on a Friday and never see a soul. But that's all changed now.

I call staying there at the south side of the south Jetty all day Mistake #1, because I really should have done some R&D elsewhere. But since I just dumped $150 dollars into the fuel tank. It was a nice economical place to venture too.

I'll repeat a saying an associate of mine used to say about fishing in Jacksonville versus when he grew up in South Miami back in the 60's and 70's.
"Fishing in Jacksonville, you better be rigidly flexible."
Claiming that in Miami back when, you could basically do the same ole thing week after week and always catch fish. I think he meant.
But, he does have a point. The weather here is the number one reason I do R&D. Because one day is never the same as the next. (I wore a light weight rain jacket all day today!) I don't really care if I'm catching a lot of fish when I'm out there by myself. I just like "being", and not having to attend to anyone or anything. And can try crazy crap like working a 1/4 mile of rocks with various float rigs, for 6 hours.
But it sure would be nice to find that giant "ocean run" 9 pound Speck. Ya' know the one that I have day dreams of? And the one that makes me go spend money, I do not have.

I often wonder, does that Trout even exist? I say 9 pounder, not to be greedy. Sure a ten pounder would be nice, but C'mon this is J-ville Florida, not south west Texas, on the Laguna Madre where 10 pounders are common place. So I'm always conservative.

Either way. That's the story.

-And thanks to Dave Lashbrook, a reader of this blog/report and a fella I had on a charter a few years ago with his family. He e-mailed me today, with his own fishing report. I'm not gonna give away his confidential findings. But thanks to Dave, I probably should have done some R&D to the west rather than going east, and being a "cheap skate" on myself. (REMEMBER YA' HAVE TO BE....RIGIDLY FLEXIBLE!!!)

Oh well, I'm sure after this big blow that's coming this weekend. I'll have another R&D day afterwards, because bad weather scares everyone off for at least 2-3 days.

Is there a pool going on how many "spots" will win this year' Redfish spots tourney?
I'm gonna gamble like a sissy and say because of the weather and possible winds Saturday, I'll go with 30 spots or under will take it. (You can tell I don't know how to make a real bet)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

4/11 - The Weekend Update

Week end up-date -




Just so you know.....Gale Force winds are defined as: Winds with a speed from 32 to 63 mph.
(Al's still mad about the hanging "chads", this must be his way of making Florida pay!)

S0, what the hell's the big diff??? 2-knots of wind this weekend??

Have a Sunday charter with one of my favorite regulars. Hmmmm....and today and tomorrow are just fine out there.

Didn't go today, had way too much to do, and no one else to do it but me. So I'll go Tomorrow instead and burn them giganticus shrimp still in my live well.
FYI: Keep-Alive oxygen infusor, live well pump...on a timer that only runs the pump about 1.5 minutes every 5, is one great way of keeping bait alive and fishing ready. I love my Keep-Alive systems so much I won't have a live well with out one! Learn more at:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

4/11 - My obvious week off?

Well, if you picked last week to go fishing with me, you did a good job for once in your charter fishing day selection.
Because yesterday was really bad, and today was okay, seeing it was "THE DAY AFTER", but unless you were really "salty" you wouldn't have liked it much.
To start off, FOG. I mean Pea Soup thick fog. As I drove out the jetties the seas were at least 6 foot and put a plus on that at times. Confused, folding over and as a friend put it, "ass puckering". Add in the Fog and the seas, it wasn't for the faint hearted. But I didn't mind. I like getting "sporty" in the new boat. It's a feeling I cannot describe to ya. It's what the pilot boat drivers must feel like as they blast thru the seas in any weather. They just do it drier and faster than I. But the seaworthiness of this boat is incredible. I'm sure it'll be tested at some point, but nothing has even come close to making me feel like, "I shouldn't be here".
So as I anchored up and pitched a live river cricket (local Georgia Giganticus shrimp, again) I set the hook on a nice fat 19-3/4 inch Speckled Trout. Then, a few minutes later after making a move around a set of clue-less wonders, I caught a Yellowmouth the same size.
"I'M IN THE MEAT", I thought.
Man, like a drag on a foot long cigarette, for the smoker ship wrecked on a deserted island.
I really wanted to catch me some Big Specks....Jetty Size Specks.
Dang, that foot long cigarette was just a 1/4" butt! Because it was all a tease.
The water was dirty, rough, with a huge swell. Foamy, and nasty too.
So I moved around a lot.
Picked up one more keeper, but not big.
So I moved again. There was no way I was hanging it up, I was sticking to my game plan. Hell, I had 3 dozen shrimp that were 4-8 inches, and another 5 dozen small ones building a condo complex in my live well. I was fishing them. And as many as I could, as fast as I could.
With the next move, I sat spinning around in the froth as the waves poured over the jetties and my first two casts up to the rocks with my new WHOOP-ASS rod and reel (my new G. Loomis, 9 footer!!!) I finally leveraged a big time hook set on a good fish, and the drag sang. A Big Float & 2 oz. Trout lead, 30 pound leader, 50 pound Power Pro main-line, and a heavy hook on a 9 foot Loomis Pelagic trigger stick, and a Shimano Tekota. The exactly 27" Redbass came flying to the boat. (FISH IN PHOTO) AHHH, this combo is gonna put a BIG fish in it's place, this summer. Tarpon, Cobia, Shark...I do not care. I wanna kick it's azz and kick it hard!
Then on my second cast I got another 27 incher. Then, came the Jacks....about 5 pounds. They were everywhere. I held a hooked one over the side and the whole school came up and swam circles around the struggling one.
(Personal Note: I love me some light tackle. And own many of it. But I'm not all that into extreme light tackle BS any more. I have light tackle, but then again......I have the whoop-ass Float-rigging rod and reels too. When I hook a really big fish, I want that fish caught. I've done 6 & 8 pound IGFA rated mono doubled and tied straight to a fine wire jig head with a live shrimp for years, at the jetties. 6 pound can almost not be done. 8 pound is do-able jigging the jetties, but be prepared to loose a lot of fish. 10 pound mono doubled and tied straight to the jig is do-able, but watch the hell out. In my video's that's what we're using and busting big Reds no problem. Largest Red on 8 pound IGFA doubled, no leader at all was 12 pounds. Sheepshead 6 pounds, Flounder 5 pounds, Black Drum 10 pounds. So I've been there, got that T-shirt.
Now, I wanna bust some tail. So I always bring my big gun just in case.)
Back to the fishing.
Well I re-achored again I got another small speck and another keeper. So I had 3 in the box and one Redbass.
It took a long time to catch these fish, and I sat thru the tide change. Things really slowed, so I pulled up and went inshore. I don't do anything, because the tide was so strong and still flooding. So I went and cleaned my catch and got home early for once.
I'll probably have to go again tomorrow, too. Seeing that I guess I have the whole week off. And no pre-reserved charters this week. But I do have my good customer Andre coming on Monday. And Monday looks fish-able. But the tournament players Saturday (Redfish spots tournament) may have a bit of bad weather to contend with.
Yeah, I may just have to go tomorrow and burn the rest of these jumbo shrimp.
So stay hooked up!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

4/10 - Let's make note of this!!

Let's make note, that my last report was on Thursday. WHY??? Because on Friday, I had to pick up and send in my taxes, then came the CRAP. Meaning the weather. Winds, coldness and just plain CRAP. Then of course Saturday came and went and the last thing I wanted to do is fish in the cold after fishing in 80 degrees last week. Then comes Easter Sunday, and of course Momma had a huge spread so I went over there and ate till I dropped. Then on Monday, I still couldn't muster the strength to fish in the cold, even though the wind was weak.
So, I went out today. And it too was the ULTIMATE in CRAP! Windy as all hell, cold and just plain Nasty!
So I'll certainly will be making note of a few things. First, I'll be making note that I went to probably one of the best BIG TROUT SPOTS in the whole lower St. Johns River, and never lost a bait. Last March & April this place was fired off so good that I kept telling a fellow fisherman of the same spot back in January, "Man I can't wait till March & April" . He was at that spot today himself with a friend and all they had was one big Red on and lost. He even said there hasn't been much Trout action either. "Good", I thought. Then, I haven't missed anything. Since I've waited to have a free day, and a particular tide, just to fish this spot for a month now. And it sucked.
I'll also make note that the Bluefish are of cataclysmic proportions in the river. I HATE THEM THINGS! Please lets net them all and send them back to Boston! Pictured above is a Spanish Mack I caught up (look close......Snagged in the tail) in Clapboard creek on a sand bar, in 2 feet of water. Along with 5 Blues, and two tiny 12" Trout.
I'll be making note that we're in the depths of spring and the weather today was heinous as hell.
Jacks, Spanish Macks, Pompano, all mark the calendar Spring Time in my book. But today the water temp on the surface was a chilly 64 degrees......last Wednesday on the beach I had 72 degrees in 3 feet of water. Today, I even saw Manatee #1 of is this just a joke? or is this BAZZARO WORLD?
I caught about 10 small Trout, and three Reds (1- 26" 2- 16") all day long. (plus too many Bluefish and Pinfish)
But can't seem to catch a single Pinfish or Pigfish in my fish trap I set out on oysterbeds for hours and hours today. I really want to Trout fish with something besides Shrimp. I really want small Croakers and Pigfish, but will settle for small Pinners too.
I'll make note that I also have a brand new G. Loomis 9' Pelagic series rod that's my new H.D. Float rigging rod and I've caught 2-Bluefish on it and have owned it over 2 weeks, so far. Yeah I'm really pissed off about that!
I really want a good weather day to call my own before Saturday's festival of boats called the SPOTS tournament!! That's one day that's another "joke" on the river. The tournament got too big for my blood. Too many boats, too many people all over the place. Just like ever single tournament in Jacksonville......all too BIG.
I have a tournament idea;
24 hour - Tough-Man Tournament. No more than 50-100 boats. Fishing 24 hours steady!
Every 6 hours "weigh-in", for total inches not pounds. After 24 hours of fishing, winners are the top 5 with total inches. Release or take fish.
I've made note that NO one is wanting to fish my Tough-Man Tournament idea. I've discussed it with many and they all laughed...because they ain't tough enough.
Ya;ll ought to see my Log Book. It has so many notations in it about weather. And after the last few days it really has some "notes" in it.
All was right on track, and now we have this weather.
The weather guessers said tomorrow was supposed to be 80 degrees and light winds. I'll make note, if they are actually correct or not. And I'll bet on, "NOT". Because if it is, I'll be at the jetties where I should have been today.
My number one note I'll be making in my Log Book? Look at me in those photos...It's APRIL not FEBRUARY! I've had better days in February though.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

4/5 - New weather, New challenges.......

Well, today certainly wasn't yesterday, by no means. Weather wise. Over cast, a tad breezy at times, cool, and I could just feel the change, in my bones. And so did the fish obviously. Because it was a rather tough day. Take a tough weather day with a huge weather change dropped upon us add in some kids who you want to really slay'em, and what do ya have?
A Captain wracking his brain and doing alot of anchoring and re-anchoring.
But it all worked out after all.
I had Jim Cunningham, a previous customer from years ago come on back for another go 'round. And this time he brought the "boys", Jimmy & Chris. Two well mannered, Jr. Anglers who I had a lot of fun with, and I think they had fun as well. As they learned a bunch too.
We started out at high tide working a shell bar up in a creek, catching some small Specks and a few Bluefish (Them chompers, are just everywhere aren't they?) So the boys could get acclimated to the tackle and technique of Float-rig fishing. But the supposed NORTH wind wasn't NORTH at all.......not according to my compass. It was EAST. The tide took what seemed like way too long to get low. Which was screwing me up, since I needed lower water when I went to my Redfish "go-to" spot for the boys to get one. But time was ticking by and as the tide slowly fell we weren't catching anything, or even getting any decent bites. Chris did pick up a Bluefish or two and a small Flounder, but it was deadly slow. So I picked up and tried a spot where it wasn't all that easy to just send the float out and reel it back. I said, "we're kicking this up a notch, fellas."
But we only got one bit shrimp on this next spot, where it's a level 9.5 out of 0-10 in difficulty, fishing the float-rig. Last March this same area was on fire for monster specks. And this year it's zilch. But I continue to try it, because one day it's gonna produce, again.
So off to the BIG water we went. With the tide falling, it was time to hit the jetties. First spot, ZERO.
Second spot........F-I-S-H!!!!
Finally, we picked up some keeper sized Trout. Then came a 4 pound Yellowmouth, and then a 4 pound Speck. It wasn't like the boys were in a fish riot, but at least the boys were getting bit.
No one was trying any less harder where ever we went, it was just the day. One with a radical weather change versus yesterday. This is what these fronts can do. And they really seem to affect the Trout fishing especially.
I'm absolutely spent. And will take the next few days to do some boat maintenance, a visit to my book keeper, and tackle cleaning.
It was a good run of trips this last 6 days. My clients caught everything from Big Trout, too Pompano, too Big Reds, Flounder, Black Drum, and Sheepshead. In the course of just 6 days I fished in perfect conditions, not so perfect conditions, to just good enough conditions.
Spring time is such a transitional time of year, it's unbelieveable how radically things can be from one day to another. Give it 2 hours or 12 hours, and nothing will be the same!
But after 11 years of fishing for a living and constantly reviewing what I like better, I still have to say my favorite time of year is October, November thru January. There's just something about that cool down portion of a N.E. Florida year that makes me really look forward to it.
Either way, this isn't our last "front" passing thru with a radical weather change......we're into the spring now, and even though I'm sometimes challenged because of it. We'll always CATCH us some fish, just ask the Cunningham Clan. Those smiling kids, makes me smile too.
The rest of thier recent catch photos are on catch page #1:

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

4/4 - Now today was, a "PERFECT" 80 degrees

Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Sheepshead, and Black Drum......AND WE LEFT THEM BITING!!!!!!!

Wow what a beautiful day. This is how it's supposed to be. No B.S., just three Amigos, shooting the bull telling stories, out catching some fish, and nice ones I might add. On a beautiful day, soaking up the sun, getting some great bites, a variety of species, not having to fight Momma Nature, 20 knot winds or crowds of people out to ruin your day with clients, with inconsideration.
Jake & Jeff had their trip planned for late March. But as you may know if you're a frequent reader of these pages, the end of March was heinous! Jake said, "I do not want to fish in the pick another day Dave and call me." So I picked today April 4th, for the soul reason Jeff was coming from Gainesville, and a 10:30am High Tide gave him some wiggle room, to get to Mayport. And avid Gulf Coast fisherman himself, Jeff hadn't ever went float rigging before. But then again it wasn't your average Float-rigging day. We never really did any long drifts, because the fish were all around us. Plus, we were in such shallow waters, that I could have just as well had on the ole Cajun Thunder clickin' corks. (have a I told ya'll how much I LOVE my new boat, lately??? If not let just say, It's the best boat I have ever fished on, EVER!)
And really lets face it. Some of the simplistic most relaxing fishing in saltwater is when all ya do is set the float a drifting, and watch that baby disappear......FISH ON! And anyone can do it. I think that it's obvious that this "blog" and my "recent catch pages" prove that!
There's not much else to tell other than Jake is wanting to learn more about the ways of the float, and I think he learned just enough to make him dangerous today, but he'll need some more reel time still.
We had 4 Sheepshead to 6 pounds, a 5 pound Flounder, a 4 pound Trout, and a 4 pound Black Drum, and a small 17" Redfish, too many Bluefish. And for Jake it was all he needed to fill up on some fresh fish fillets.
And again, I'll say it. WE LEFT THEM BITING!
Jeff and I both knew that. But there's hopefully more days like the one we had today still to come.
It was an awesome day, with great guys.
So....I think a Front is coming. The weather guessers are saying. I have a family affair tomorrow, 4 people, 2 are kids. And of course the weather report is for SCC - "small craft caution", winds 15 knots from the north, which actually means to us on the water 20 knots out of the North!
And of course I have a 4 passenger, instead of just maybe 2 people which makes life a lot easier when the weathers tough.
The rest of todays photos are on my recent catch page(s) #2

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

4/3 - Super weather.....doesn't anyone go to work?

Had Allen & Cliff Giddens on board today while in Jax with their parents. The boat ramp looked like a July 4th weekend, on an ordinary Tuesday.

Thank goodness, it's all the slick sea starved offshore warriors, that haven't been able to do anything, because of the 21 days worth of incessant east winds.

I'm more than happy to do just what I do and that's, no long boat rides.

So the boys met me at the dock at 8:30am. I decided to fish the incoming tide at the big rocks for a change. Drifting our floats straight down the jetty with not a single sniff.

It just wasn't happening, so I waited for the tide to turn by anchoring up and using some finger mullet about 4" that I had in my second live well pinned to a leader and a 4oz bank sinker pitched out on the bottom along the south tip.

That's where Cliff caught a 12 pound, 31" Redfish. We tired for a second one, but the dullness of bottom fishing was more than I could take, and the boys seemed restless too.

I did all I could to roust a smile or a conversation out of them, but they were the quite types. The exact opposite of me, which for 6 hours is tough.
So we went back to the trusty float-rig. We went back to where we first started, because I do not give up, and I do not run around all over chasing a bite. Patience and the tides timing will bring what it brings. We ended up nailing 5-giant Yellowmouths in a row, 2-3 pounds a piece. Then, the Specks showed and we boxed 3 of them, and that was about it. Everything shut down.

So I moved no more than 200 yards, but to a very difficult area to fish. And Cliff, nailed a 4 pound Speck. We got waked, knocked off anchor twice. And the difficulty of float-fishing this spot forced me to make a run down river.

We stopped by the river/ICW intersection and worked an area that I can't wait to actually have fish on it again. Last year I could go in there, bang 5-10 healthy Specks on almost any falling tide. But not this Spring.....not so far. Yesterday Mike pulled one nice Speck off it and that was it. So we slid into a Redfish "go to spot", before packing it in for the day.

Looking for that perfect 18-27 incher that does swim this area, Cliff hooked up a nice 18" Speck instead, and Allen hooked that pupper 14" Redfish.

If we had enough time to possibly sit there and work the area hard for another hour or two we could have probably picked up a keeper Redbass or Flounder, but it was getting late.
So I ended up cleaning 5 Specks to 4 pounds and 5 yellowmouths to 3 pounds at the end of the day. I think the boys will have a good fish fry.
The photo outside the boat was taken by Ron Brooks from Ron's and outdoor writer and does some great local fishing articles. Plus I knew of him because I used to buy mass amounts of my "Capt Dave's Jetty-Jigs", that I used to sell in my online tackle shop from his cousin in Tennessee. Ron was out fishing solo on his flats boat, loading up for a fish fry. So you may see the boat in an article someday soon on Ron's site. (thanks for the pics, Ron)
2 more days to go.......till I get a days rest. And the oil changed in the Honda outboard, and my Taxes sent to the IRS.

Monday, April 2, 2007

4/2 - Species include Green Sea Turtle

Whewwww....I be wore out!
But had a fun day with Mike and Gary today. Always good to see them again.
They did a sampling of species today. Speckled Trout, Yellowmouth Trout, Redfish, Flounder, Jack Crevalle, Bluefish, and a lil Green Sea Turtle we'll called, "Goat Roped". But now is afraid of Float fisherman....hahahah...
Although the wind was light to moderate, I thought as we pulled up on at the jetties we were gonna be into them. Mike right off the bat hooks a big Yellermouth, and then right afterwards a Sheepshead. And that was it. The incoming tide quit. We had no current. So we kept trying.
Moved around, re-anchored, and still nothing. I even caught some Mullet and put them in my second live well. Only to feed a big nasty Bluefish.
On the full moon the tide falls and falls fast, but not on the banks. It falls, but produces no real current. But look out in the middle of the river and the tide is screaming. The best example of a full moon tide is when you have a full pool. So full it's outside the rim of the pool on the grass. When you go down and pull the plug...the water goes out but you do not see that whirlpool till the waters half gone. And that's the way it is at the jetties and in the river many times on a full moon. The current really comes and you feel it everywhere, when the tides at least half out.
That being said, we bagged it and headed inshore. Caught a nice Speck at a spot that should have given up 4-5 of them, then moved to my staple "go to" spot. And instantly had Reds and a Flounder and some small trout. Good action for awhile and then all of a sudden the tide was super low and we were sitting anchored in a pool of water left.
The rest of the pics are on Catch page 8 of my recent catch pages.
I hate comparing things to last year, but there's a place "I GOTTA GET TOO", and fish it hard.
Because this time last year it was BIG Trout and Reds...doing the "Snap-crack-pop" with your line.
But it can't be done on a full moon tide, I need a slower tide at regular fishing hours, to try it.
Plus I have a new G. Loomis 9 foot float rigging rod I really want to try there, if those reds show up under a certain dock. Because this rod will put them in their place!
Next up tomorrow is two Jr. Anglers a dad is dropping off with me. 13 & 16 years old??
This will certainly be different.
Gary, I found your shirt!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

4/1 - ...."its blowin again"....April fools!

I lazily rolled out of bed at 7:30am, (really sleeping in for me) back aching, burry-eyed and made some strong Java this morning. Sat down at my desk and went to work updating my NEWS page on my web site with the new pre-reserved days on the calendar. And then the phone rang around 9am.

It was Brian & Matt, wanting to go fishing.
They said they were hung-over, had a wild night but really wanted to go fishing. They called around and ended up with my phone number, from a friend already out fishing.

Well, ya know how I love "last minute" phone calls for charters. So I told them I too am sitting here waking up slowly while still in my BVD's.

But they didn't hem or haw, they wanted to go and laid a Visa on me with no gripes. (usually these types of calls never work out....not because of me, but because fishing was just a whim)
But not these two guys.

So I said, "Okay, meet me at 11am at the dock". I scurried and got my act together, loaded the boat and just knew it was gonna be a cone-a-rama out on the river, and it was! The ramp was full, the river was full, and there was people wall to wall everywhere you looked.

And ya know how I just love fishing in and around other people. I DON'T, I HATE IT!
(It's heredity. My Grand father was incredibly unsocialable when he fished so my dad tells me and he says; "you're just like your grandfather, if he saw a single body standing on the beach when he went surf fishing, he'd pack up and leave that entire stretch of ocean.")

But that was back in the 1950's, he'd just flip if he was alive and trying to fish these days, without seeing a soul.

I got a good word that the jetties were heinous, big seas and big wind. And yes, it was windy when we left, too. So my 2 crew members didn't want any parts of rockin & rollin' so we turned left out of the boat ramp towards inshore waters.

My options were pretty limited starting late and with so many people everywhere, so we went to the closest place I know we can hide-out.
We were early on the spot, but I didn't care. I had to stake claim or loose it to the unknowing weekend crowds.
The tide started to drop, and the bites came.

First fish was a small 14" pup Redfish. Then a Flounder, then a good pull on the rod lost to a user error. Then another Redfish, a 22 incher. Then more traffic coming thru screwing us over, then some small Trout, then a keeper, then another lost good puller, then a few more small trout.
Then our current died....Time to move on.

But as we were fishing the wind was worse and worse. South at a good 20 knots easy!

April fools!!!!! Ya'll who listened to the weather guessers, really got bent over the rail today. (personally I never even looked at it and didn't care. I had a feeling nothing would change from the rest of the last 30 days.)

Is that why the river was a July like festival of boats, because the weather guessers, said it was gonna be nice? Sure was nice. NICE AND WINDY.

So we looked around, and it got to the point where a boat was on every spot, the wind was bad everywhere, and the river was so rough it was like being offshore during a gale.

So we pretty much went back to the creek, caught a few more dinks at dead low tide, and then headed in.

We had a pretty good day considering a late start, too many people, and to much south wind. Keeping one Trout, one Flounder and one Redfish for take home.

Now I have Monday thru Thursday reserved...and will not be fishing next weekend probably.
5 days in a row, and if I have to fight the wind I'll really be tired of it. But according to the forecast:
I guess I may get a breather from the wind burn.Because as of now the whole week looks good.

My News page is where you can find what dates are "pre-reserved", in case your interested in booking a day of float-riggin, aboard the boat. Along with other pertinent dates.