Thursday, May 31, 2007

5/30 - A great day upon the lazy St. Johns River.....

SMILES.........yeah we had us some FUN!
Scott Wiliams and family had a good morning on TROUT, and then a good afternoon on puppy Black Drum.
Although behind the scenes there was a very very weak tide, that will continue through out the weekend, they managed too pull some big GATORS from underneath a dock (Scott's 5 pounder) and a bunch of Black Drum, keeping 4 nice eater sizers out of the schools just carpeting the bottom of the river. We only fished 2 -spots all day! I even caught this years 1st river Mangrove Snapper while showing them how to float-rig fish.
We avoided the heavy duty winds that came up in the afternoon, by fishing sheltered areas. And man was it nice to be out there on a weekeday with no one around to bother us. No wakes, cone-heads or anything.
This is getting to be the time of year that makes weekends a real struggle. Boat traffic WILL affect your trophy sized Trout catches. Trout are not like a Black Drum. They DO NOT bite when boats are running all over making noise on most of my really good trout spots.
If you are serious about catching Trophy sized Trout.......then lets go on a weekday. Period.
Planning is everything. Now that it's gonna be JUNE in another day. We'll be dealing with summer tides. Weaker than in the winter. Even the full-moon on Thursday isn't going to have an affect on the water movement. Add in having to do just 6+ hr charters because of the run I have to make south to catch these fish, and weaker the current the further south I may have to travel. A bit of planning goes a long way.....if you have extreme expectations as many do then calling me and planning ahead will be what you'd have to do.
Many people are calling for 1/2 day charters. To me that means (4 hours total) with fish cleaning; Dock to Dock. Do not cheat yourself. Most of the 1/2 days I do people don't want to leave anyhow....and I end up fishing longer, for the 1/2 day rate. If I do a 1/2 day trip from now on. Anything over 4 hrs "dock to dock" will be charged $50 an hour after the first 4 hours. So it makes sence to just reserve my standard 6 hour day. Travel time to and from the fishing grounds is longer in the summer especially under drought conditions, in the St. Johns River. And 6 hour trips doesn't have me under the gun. Which makes for a better charter over all.
Just ask Scott!
We were on the first spot, catching Trout. Then, it went dead. No bites. We continued to fish. I said "we could leave, but I'd like to see this spot through till the end." And his son caught a nice 3 pounder right after I said that. 5 minutes later Scott caught the 5 pounder! Plus we picked up 2 more trout, right as the tide/current died. I do not get in a hurry.
I go by gut feelings on a spot that I know, very well. I like to "hang out". That's why I don't like fishing from a trolling motor and moving all the time. The tide is what brings fish to me, and I don't fish by way of counting casts or miles of bank traveled. And I learn a lot by just hanging out for a while. And in this case we wacked some super nice Trout by sticking with it and hanging out long enough to let the fish that I knew were there, come to US.
Here's my "recent catch pics page" link from their trip:
C'C' mon.....the fishing is great, and so are the good times
aboard the CAPTDAVES.COM-sportfishing boat.
AKA: the USS Speckled Trout

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

5/29 - Kid(s) Trip

Had Shawn R. and his 6 year old daughter out today for one of my two hour kid trips.
Not too long, not too short......which most end up over two hours anyhow.
But the point is that they are "For The Kids Only".

If the wind wasn't blowing 20 knots out of the EAST, I would have gone to the jetties fished a little, then went looking for Dolphins, which most of the time ya don't have to look far. Ran out to a shrimp boat and got behind it. Where the real action is!

But again, this isn't summer. It's SOMETHING....I just don't know what!

So instead, we went up into Chico-pit bay east and anchored up. The tide was all wrong. High and held in by the wind. But this was the only time that they could go, in the morning.
But it eventually turned and with the high water we only managed one Trout and a Bluefish for 6 year old Savannah. Cute lil girl, that's for sure. But I was on the phone alot with my mind busy, and didn't get a picture of her and the trout. I wish I did.
I was out there taking a reservation for a trip for tomarrow at 9am.

Man, some day we'll get back to normal. Let me discribe it to ya.....

Example of a charter call....
-ring...ring... Hello Capt Dave's Sport Fishing.
-Hello Dave? This is John Doe. I was hoping that you have an opening for June 28th - July 1st? I checked you web site and read your fishing reports and viewed your recent catch photos. Looks like you're still hard at it, huh?
-Hi, John...yeah I remember you. Yes, I'm hard at it that's for sure. Glad you saw what I've been doing lately. How many passengers will you have?
-Just me and my son again.
-Let me check my book and look at those days...........Ah yes, I have those days open and by the looks of the tides those days, I'd reccomend we try the 29th or 30th, departing around 7am.
-Okay, sounds good to me, we'll do the 29th.
-That's good because if I don't book the 30th we can use that as a fall back day incase of a weather problem. Keep checking the reports and photos on my web site. And as your day gets closer, you'll see what I'm doing. I'll give ya a call the day before between 4 and 8pm.
-Thanks Dave we'll be looking forward to it!

I remember those days....but either way. I'm glad to be fishin'.
And am almost getting really used to fishing in 20 knots+ EAST winds. Can ya imagine how good it can be when the east winds are not blowing??



Looking forward to tomarrows challenges...Float Freak out!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

5/26 - Where is everyone?

Where is everyone??
According to my logs, the last two years during this Memorial
day week I fished with customers every single day.
You can't say it's gas prices, or the war killing the economy.
Because back on Memorial Day weekend in 2005 gas was $3.00....
and of course George Dubbya had us "in War", then too. So what's the deal?
CHECK THIS OUT....Might this be a reason why one of the TOP fishing weekends of the whole year is such a dead one?
I just hope something turns around. Because if you'rE reading this and were thinking about taking the kids fishing, or even yourself fishing on a charter. You surely missed some reel fun.
I left the dock at 5:30am, was "bright eyed and bushy headed" at 4:00am! I had a plan. Head to certain area of the St. Johns River that's been producing for me lately. And as the sun pokes up, start pitching some top water lures. It's been forever and a day since I spent a quality morning doing something different.
The river was SLICK at 5:30am, and dark too. But I eased into my spot and started casting in the dark as the eastern horizon started to glow. There was no wind, the bugs were chewin' me up. But I didn't care. I made a few casts and immediately got short striked, as I twitched my favorite top water plug over a shell bottom. The trout would hit at my plug, but not really take it.
I was using a Luhr Jensen "Jerkin Sam". Almost a Peacock Bass plug, but still small enough for a BIG trout to inhale....and believe me they have. Easier than "walkin the dog" with a Zara Spook or MirrOlure Top Dog. But you can walk it if ya want. A real nice mullet imitator, with a unique swaying and rolling action with a prop on the tail end that makes a clatter along with a splash of water when ripped. Damn, I love that's always been my Gator Catcher!
But for some reason all these trout were far sighted. I threw and threw, and it got crashed time and time again with no hook ups. (and the hooks are sharp and brand new!) The sun was up now, and boats started to appear. A boat here, and boat there started to show up near me. And then I got crashed. I was twitchin' and dog walkin', and splashing that plug back to the boat when all you'd hear was a GU'LOOP! A Trout finally inhaled it.. And with a nice tussle, it was a fat 20 incher. Only 5 inches shy of being the GATOR I was looking for. OH WELL.
I kept at it and got some more half hearted hits on the plug. And then the tide went perfectly slack. I arrived and planned on arriving mind you, just before high tide. I like top waters at high tide in the morning, versus a falling tide that usually has to fast a current for my liking when tossing lures. And when there's ZERO water movement, the bites went to ZERO.
So I pitched a float-rig out and caught a small bluefish in deeper water.
Time to kick back and wait for the tide to turn now. And I sure could have went for 2- breakfast in a sacks!! And some hot Mocha-Java-whatever. The ride up river in the dark sure was kinda chilly. Again, this isn't the end of MAY!!!! It's the end of something, but that cold air sure didn't feel like May to me. What's up? Global Cooling? The water was a warm 76 degrees, and the air felt like 55 while running the 10 miles in the dark.
I poked around and worked a few other spots with no current, and caught nothing. While waiting for the falling water. And when I felt the turn of the tide, I headed straight back to the same spot. I'm that way, don't know if others are, but when ya know a spot like the back of your hand. I'll fish it on two tides. One tide for one procedure, the other tide for another.
It was "go time" for the float-rig as I arrived back at spot #1 for the second time. And instantly started on small Black Drum. Small like the one in my hand in the photo. One after another. But I soon figured out the bigger Drum were out deeper. And so were the Trout.
I caught 8 Speckled Trout....easily had my 4 more keepers, all 16-19". And one Yellowmouth Trout.
I caught 14 "pup" Drum, and my 5 keepers from 15" to 19".
Plus a 18" Flounder.
What surprised me was I had no junker fish at all. Not one ladyfish, jack or blue.
I mixed it up also. I'd throw 3/8th oz. jig with a shrimp on it, stick it in the rod holder, pitch out and run the float-rig and sometimes have two fish on at once. As in the photo.
Keeper Drum or not they sure are some lil' scrappers. And give it their all when hooked.
When it comes too eatin'...and I like to do that. I'll take a 18" Black Drum over a 18" Redfish or a 10 pound Black Drum any day. They clean easy, and have a perfect size fillet for the pan of all nice white meat. They're not all bloody or wormy. The Redfishes Ugly cousin, isn't all that ugly when they are young and small. Actually they are kind of a cute fish...if ya can call a black Drum cute(?)
I was pretty much done by noon. And was working on burning up the last shrimp or two left in the live well. That's how I caught the yellowmouth Trout and the Flounder.
Back at the boat ramp while taking the sides off my catch. It was the Flounders turn. I picked the fish up and felt some kind of big hard thing inside it. I filleted the Flounder on the brown side first, and then grabbed it's stomach and cut it out. What ever it was in there, it sure was large. Turns out that this not so jumbo Flounder was a cannibal. Inside it's stomach, folded up like a dollar bill, was a 4" long Flounder! That's a first for me. Cleaning a Flounder that had another flounder in it's gullet. And I mean a perfect specimen. Not old and digested. But rather a perfect little 4" Flounder. These fish never fail to surprise me. They will sky-rocket a top water lure, jumping clean out of the water, eat fish bigger than you'd ever think they could, lay up on oyster beds and hack their white sides up and have lacerations to show for it, and eat each other too.
Truly a predator fish...Wow, that really makes me want to catch a 100 pound+ Halibut someday. They must really be BAD FISH!
As I headed back, the wind was really up. 20++ knots from the east against a screaming falling tide. But my boat doesn't care. I sat up on my leaning post nice and comfy, dropped the bow and did 4800 RPM's all the way back to the Mayport Boat ramp, 10 miles. Like a walk in the park on a windless May afternoon in some other part of Florida.....LOL. I got a few looks from other boats crashing, splashing, and launching their way through the nasty 3 foot 'wind versus tide chop' on the water. And maybe they were saying to themselves, "I shoulda had a Plate Alloy Black Lab boat?"
C'C' mon.....lets get busy. There's F-I-S-H to catch, and I'll take ya too them. BIG WIND, who cares?
I don't.
So why should YOU?
Next up, a "pre-reserved Kids Trip" on Tuesday.

Monday, May 21, 2007

5/21 - Finally, a damn near perfect day!!!!!

FINALLY, a windless day. Or at least damn near windless, where we were. This morning the river was S-L-I-C-K. I felt as if I was on another planet. I keep super records. My logs are as complete as this blog page. And the last day I experienced like this one fish and weather wise was WAY back on April 4th.
Since then I have fought the weather every single day I've been on the river or at the jetties.
I picked up Jerry & Nino Trotti at the Sisters Creek boat ramp at 7am, and when we arrived on the first spot it was pure heaven. Not a soul around, no wind and the Trout were chewin'.
Nino and Jerry caught Trout after Trout. And I caught a pup Black Drum. And of course amongst all their fish they did have some of the summer scourges. Blues and Ladyfish.
I'm sure these guys had a ball. Nino caught the WHOPPER. A 5+ pounder, while we fished for Flounder, on the incoming tide. They didn't get any Flounder though. But with a big fattie like that ripped from the back-side of a piling and busting the surface. They didn't have to catch a Flounder!
I said to Nino, "man ya better buy a lottery ticket tonight, because you're lucky". The fish smacked the hell out of his live shrimp as his "float-rig" slid through some dock pilings and around the back side. It was an epic battle, as the fish really smoked him and he had to give it all he had to get the fish into clear water.
The Trout are chewin pretty good. But it can always be a lot better also. If we just had about 10 inches of rain at one time, the salinity would go down and the Specks would really go nuts. I'd almost suffer through a flood of some kind to actually bring the fishing to where I wish it was.
The river is still just an extension of the Ocean. The salinity level was better today. But still high.
Go here to see the rest of the pics, and to see the fish they we kept today:
and some of the other charters I've had lately in May.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

May 20 - And the "FLOW" continues......

My God!
I suppose the river will continue to salt up.

The "direct" opposite of what it should be this time of year.......the WIND, I mean.
Here's the "EAST", for this week.


Shouldn't it be WEST.... or SOUTH???????
I'm really beginning to hate that word.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

5/19 I'm 'KING" of the short notices....but it sure worked out!

While I was out yesterday fishing by myself....."getting a little Float Freak on" when I got a call from Sean R. (or is it...Shaun R. on the right end in pic.) never found out.
And he had a late notice trip, and needed to take guest's from his company from Thailand, fishing.

So being open on Saturday, because most sane people would think the winds blowing too hard...(I'm one of them.) I said, "sure I can take ya'll, but the winds gonna be HONKIN'."

So we met at 8am at the boat ramp and headed again as far away as I can from Mayport.

Right to where I fished yesterday. We pulled up and there was another boat there. And they didn't seem to be catching anything, either. And right off the bat..."I.G." - Instantaneous Gratification! A nice fat Trout.

The wind was HEINOUS!!!!!!

Just as I thought it would be. 25 knots from again the ENE.......I wish my dream would come true. (see yesterdays report for explanation).
Of course I can't have 4 people all float-rigging at one time. But for first timers they all did really good. Drifting back to many oyster covered pilings where the specks love to hang out.
They all picked up the drifting of a float really fast and Sean was the super hero. Hooking his first trout within seconds of passing a piling.

They caught 7 real nice fat Trout some Ladyfish & Blues, with a few hours of sitting in the nasty wind.

One spot is all we had to go to. It was great. We did basically a half day, when there's no way in my mind that we'd do as good as we did on just one spot, and in a matter of just 2+ hours of fishing there. The ride too and from was long and windy. But ya have to go where the Trout are, if ya wanna catch any.

Not one single throw back on this spot. I didn't even have to measure them. Largest was 20 inches. Sean's guests had a ball. And everyone was pleased with the I.G. they had.

Man, sometimes ya just either get lucky, or just make good choices. I don't know what today was. But either way, I have done my homework. And that's the factor that really helps the most. Float-rigging "catches fish", and these folks have never ever fished a float rig before. And they were SOLD.

Thanks Sean. I'm glad it all worked time give me 2 days heads up. And we may really kill'em. Wind or not.

Here's their recent catch page pics:

5/18 - Late day trip for the "Jet Set"

Had Dave S. on board today, only after I hit the water at 8am by myself. I went up in a creek hardly no one ever goes in anymore (GOOD!) The tide was flooding big time with the 25 knot ENE winds pushing the water. It's a creek area I grew up on. First fishing it in my ole 14' Aluma-Craft with my dad, and then later in my 17' Carolina Skiff, ands 22' Bay Boats. I may not be able to get up in this creek at low tide with my killer 26' boat with an 18 degree deadrise. But I certainly can on a flooding tide. And did with ease. Damn, what a great boat!

My very 1st drift of my float I had a beautiful 20 inch Speck (see photo). And before the incoming tide quit, I had 5 more, a small Flounder and a Bluefish. Not Bad I thought.

Then, I had to pick up Dave S. at I thought. But this JET SET Dentist from New England called and said, "My plane is running late. I'll call ya when I get to Jax. (coming from NY) and I'll hop a taxi and come straight to the boat ramp."

Unfortunately for me that meant waiting a while. So I went back to the boat ramp. Tied off in the almost Gale Force wind conditions, popped open my big comfy deck chair, and took a nap!When you have the room for big comfy fold out deck chairs. They come in very handy for occasions like this.
(have I mentioned how much room I have in my BlackLab Marine boat lately?)
At 2:30pm Dave's Taxi pulls up and we take off for some late day fishing. THIS GUY WANTED TO FISH AND BAD! I head as far as I can from the Mayport area. The wind is kickin' like no tomorrow. This wind is really getting old, by the way.

And we had a good time. Dave catches a nice Trout on the first "fish-able" spot in the first few minutes. Which was a good thing. Proves that even in a "gale", I know what I'm doing.

So we end up with probably 10 Trout to 19 inches, 2 Black Drum, and too prove my point about salinity in the St. Johns River...Dave then catches a small POMPANO!

This Pompano came from so far down river, that we can almost see the Jacksonville sky-line!

This easterly over 20 knot daily wind, and lack of rain has made the St. Johns River nothing but an extension of the Atlantic Ocean. It's NOT a least not where I fish. The wind did finally die around 7:00 pm as we headed in to clean fish, and meet Dave's son for a pick-up.

It was on very L-O-N-G day, since I went out by myself at 8am and was up at 6am. Didn't plan on it being that long. I finally ate my first morsel of food all day at 10:00 pm. I was starving! Then I hit the sack.

And believe it or not I had a dream that I fished all summer and there was not one puff of wind. can certainly tell that was a DREAM!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

5/16 - work hard, do a good job, suceed.

Had Don B. on board today with his folks. I've taken them fishing for several years. And believe it or not this was the first time we "Float-rigged". I look forward to having them aboard because they are nice people and fun to take fishing.
So this was all new to them. But after a day with Dave...they received "religion"...Float-rigging religion, that is.
I had them fishing level 10 spots! Ya' know I rate all my spots from 0-10 in difficulty level for the newbie. I can take some non-newbies there and I can still mess them up. Because some of my favorite spots are tighter than a gnats ass. Tight-Close quarters-and structure filled. Yeah, that's where the challenge comes in. GET ON IT! (that means REEEEEEEEEL) cause ya need to get that fish out'a there, yesterday. Before it breaks you off on oyster encrusted concrete pilings.
The reason the title of this report is; "work hard, do a good job, and succeed" is because that's what I kept hearing in the back of my mind, as if I had my dad standing behind me all day punishing me with his antedotes of my youth.
Because, if ya wanna talk about a challenging day of fishing? I can tell ya about it, even though it was a really nice day (finally). The salinity in that river if ya still wanna call it that.....(I don't) is super saline compared to what we really need to truly succeed on a daily basis.
I don't care if Redbass or Trout are your quarry.
That "so called" river that runs through this town is more like an long skinny extension of the Atlantic Ocean. All the way too down town at a minimum. I'd love to do a trip way south, like below the Buchman Bridge and see if "MY" fish are all the way down there, now. After numerous days of gale force ENE winds, pushing the water, along with ZERO rain fall to make a difference.
We had a really good time today at least.
3 & 4 pound Trout....some smaller ones, some throw-back shorts, Jacks, Ladyfish, & Bluefish.
A few Trout lost, and a few slam dunkers that caught us off guard. If anything Don and his Mom & Dad got a real education. That......
Work hard, do a good job, and succeed.
Means you'll catch some good fish during these drought conditions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

5/15 - "SCA" - Today & my Plate Alloy Boat.

Had Don B. and his parents scheduled for today. But man was it windy.
The NWS called for Small Craft Advisory. And they were right, but I don't think it ever blew as hard as it was supposed too.
But I'm glad we re-grouped this morning and decided to venture out on Wednesday instead. Because the forecast is getting better all the time!
For once in my life, can ya believe that??
I had my dad and mom out the other day (report is down page). Mom knows zero about boats. But dad was with me when I ordered mine from Jay at Black Lab Marine, up in Maine. July of last year. He's a motor cycle head, and I'm a fish head. But at least he "gets it".
"Getting it", is part of why people buy Plate Alloy boats. And for Dad "Getting it", is why people like him ride BMW - GS Adventure models.

Finally we have common ground!

Just as a boat owner goes through many a boat till one finds a boat that really fits their needs for life. He's done the same thing with motorcycles. First it was a Kawasaki, then on too numerous Harley's, then on too many BMW's, and then now he found his niche. The German UNI-MOG, or here in the US it would be the original Military HUMMER, of Motorcycles. Go anywhere, street or off road. A Serious traveling bike, that can take the abuse.

And for me, it's my Plate Alloy Boat. I say Plate Alloy, because it's really not your average aluminum boat. At Blacklab Marine, they don't refer to the boats as aluminum. Because everyone thinks "Jon-Boat", rather than lets say....the St. Johns River Bar Pilot Boats! Which are built out of the same material. And they certainly are not your average "Aluminum Boat".

When I had dad on the boat on Sunday, I must have said, "Isn't this boat great?" about 10 times. Because I'm just so happy with it. And he doesn't fish with me all that much anymore.

(he's too busy riding that "UNI-MOG" motorcycle all over the country)
That's my dad in the photo....he just did an IRON BUTT ride from Jacksonville to Key West in less than 24 hours. The goal is 1000 miles in less than 24 hrs, actually. There he is standing at the monument in Key West which is the southern most part of the USA. He did it....1000 miles in less than 24 hrs! Next week, he heads to Alaska's Prudoe Bay. The northern most part of the USA.

The attributes of this hull are clear. If you're not trying to impress your neighbors with sleek "cad-cam" hull designs and the color of the drapes in your cabin. Because if you're worried about all that then a boat like this isn't for you.

It's taken me all these years to realize how much I loved my ole 14' 1971 Aluma-Craft. I beat it, banged it, beached it, and drove on top of oyster beds with it. And that's why I loved that ole boat. And back then is when they made them TUFF. I look at an Aluma-Craft now, and can't believe how cheaply made they are. With thin, low grade "aluminum".

My BLM is Marine Grade Alloy and without going into all the jargon, it's 1/4 inch think one piece plate on the bottom. The sides & floor are 3/16" and the transom is 1/2".

I run into tug boat wakes and don't hear any "creeking", and the simplicity and functionality is unbelievable. I know people talk about me as they see it at the boat ramp.
-I bet it's hot in that boat.......not really.

-I bet that boats noisy.......No, it's completely foam filled.

-I 'm sure that boat costs a fortune....go price any decent fiberglass boat. They cost the same.

-Who buys a Stainless steel boat?........ It's not stainless you dummy!

So far I've heard all the wacko comments, been chased down, had my time wasted by US Navy retiree's who are obvious metal boat experts in their own minds...and it doesn't change a damn thing.

Plate Alloy is a superior boat building material. Period. I have zero wasted space. And the 2-1/2" scuppers drain water off the deck (when I use my wash down pump) so fast it's a beautiful thing.
Remember the photo of Tiger Woods' big monster yacht I had in a post a few days ago?
I'd bet that yacht is Plate Alloy! But you can't tell.
My plate alloy boat floats differently than a fiberglass boat. It's not tippy, or stern heavy. I used to think my ole 23' MayCraft was a stable boat. Until I rode in a BLM boat. Here's just an example of the difference:
My 26 footer is capable of carrying twin 300 four-strokes (for commercial purposes), but I have a single 225 Honda.

Over-all weight capacity is 4600 POUNDS! Have 4600 lbs in most fiberglass 26 footers and your about to sink!
Even the best, go fast, $100,000.00 boats will take water all over the engine(s) while backing down or by big following waves. I have not seen a drop of water go over my Honda yet. And I back into huge rollers while holding someone in position while they cast a jig at the jetties. And manuverability in reverse is something that made me say S-O-L-D, while on a seatrail in a 23 footer with 5 people in it.

I have this LINK on my NEWS PAGE.....but I will bet no one ever looks at my NEWS PAGE, so here ya go, this is a "real good read".
If you want to read the facts by people who know them. The facts I know is that no matter what this business throws at me, I'm absolutely the happiest boat owner I know of. And couldn't ask for anything better.
Except, now I want a customized 19 footer with tiller steering, as a back country creek & shallows boat for me to go play in. I want a fleet of these boats! Just wish we had enough people to take in this town.

Monday, May 14, 2007

5/13 - Mothers Day 2007 and past momma days...revised.

It's really funny, most years (and this isn't one of them) I don't take my own Mother fishing on real Mothers day because I am usually taking someone else's Mom fishing.

(this report was revised for massive typos. I couldn't see! I just got back from the eye doctor this morning and had some eye problems. Now I can see better, so I fixed this report....go figure. Someday I'll afford Lasik surgery?)

I did have the entire Friday, Saturday, Sunday reserved....2-boats on Friday, and 3 boats each on Saturday and Sunday with corporate trips in for the TPC, but they cancelled the whole thing on us. So I lost about $1,400.00 just this weekend alone!

The weather was iffy.... we were supposed to get a bunch of rain. Maybe someone did................NOT in Mayport! But it sure was cloudy and the chance of some rain looked really good.

But it never happened.

So we went to breakfast in the morning, did a little creek fishing in the late morning.

Mistakenly, went to the jetties first. Catching 12"-15" Bluefish and Jacks......which Mom did'nt mind, but I did. So we left for happier hunting grounds.

*** Last Year I was so busy in May, I had to take Mom later in the month, and her & Dad caught 18 Flounder, a Redfish, Mangrove Snappers, and a Trout in 4 hours. (2006 - lots of Flounder! photo)

***I remember, when I took mom out two years ago to the jetties in 2005 on Mothers day and she had a ball catching a LOT, not only just bluefish. But Flounder, Reds, Trout, Yellowmouths, & Sheepshead & small Pompano!!!! (2005 - Mom & Dad - Red & Flounder etc. photo)

***I also remember a Mothers Day when we went out and drifted thru the Pogie Pods and caught MONSTER Redfish. The one in the photo had 150+ spots! (2002 - Big Reds in the Pogies around Mothers day, just off in the chum-hole. Mom with the spotty one in photo)

Pogie Pod Reds??? In May. Man that would be nice to see again.

We don't go every single year. But I know for a fact May is usually a landmark kind of Month. Things are are pretty damn exciting.

I know last weeks weather, in my mind just set us (me) back to April again! Stirring things up, messing up the salinity level in the river, and who knows what else, so far. But give it some time it'll all spring right back. I know I'll be tracking those Trout and hard!

***This year (Today) mom caught a bunch of small Trout & Reds in a creek, after being run out of the jetties, by Blues. (2007 - Mom holding Trout..and dad's - SIZE DOES MATTER, t- shirt as the "other fish" in the photo. Hahahahah..... I have to laugh or I'd cry.)
Wasn't sure if we were gonna get pumbled by big rains or not, the sky looked like we were. So I stayed close to the dock. Could have ran way up river and did some size-able Trout fishing. But of course Mom wanted to do just a brief day. She wasn't up to doing a full blown attack on the fish populations, because as she put it, "there's no sun out".

Mother's day. A landmark day during the year to me. Because, I always try to take Mom out for a nice day. But 90% of the time. I miss "actual" Mothers day. Because, I'm usually busy with customers.

Where is everyone??
Now as I revise this report, I have a charter with good customers on Tuesday.....the report is as follows:
"Small Craft Advisory in effect till Tuesday Night"
"NE winds 15-20 knots"

I still have the entire week of the Memorial Holiday, wide open!

Friday, May 11, 2007


Because I get calls, for you guessed it......for Wednesday, and then Thursday....and last but not least, Friday. TODAY!!!!
I'll refer to today as the "Officially the First Day after the big Blow". But not everyone gets it. It's HOWLING upwards on the coast a gale or better. A Gale; is defined as 32 knots or more. And people in the area actually think we can fish in that?? But when the wind drops, as in today. They never call, then. Only on hainous days.
I know we have had damn near the worst weather anyone can think of in the last 2 months. And believe me, no one feels it more than a fishing guide. I cannot remember such a windy/gale filled April & May, than this year.

So, I went to do some after storm R&D.
I've done a lot of that lately. Every time it's gale force plus winds, I go the exact day it calms enough to "actually fish".
And when I tell ya', I had a tough time catching fish. Believe me, I know EXACTLY what I'm doing. I would bet, you'd have a real hard time.
(remember....I don't sit on a trolling motor and fish all day during YOUR charter, like many fishing guides. So when I hook'em up, I can hand them off to you. And pretend you're having a great day catching them yourself.)
When you fish with me, unless we're on a single passenger trip. I do not have time to fish. I'm busy helping YOU.
So, my day started after waiting and waiting, then waiting some more for live shrimp to appear at the bait shop. Yes, shrimp do not grow on tree's.
I think I left the ramp around 11am. And I headed straight up river.
But first, I took a pic of Tiger Woods' yacht "PRIVACY", sitting at Mayport Marine. Quite convenient, travel in your "ship" to and from Golf championships.
Can ya imagine being that young and that wealthy.
I had plans of fishing dead low at several spots. But we never really had a good low tide, anywhere. That pic of the Flounder is from under the Mathews Bridge!! I fished momentarily a Flounder spot there, where I've caught them before. But they were bigger before.
Previous to that Flounder, I fished 3 spots. And only caught Lady Fish and Jacks. I worked in the 15-20 knot gusting winds from the ENE some seriously great Trout areas at low tide till I worked my way to the Mathews Bridge. To check the Salinity Levels!
THE MONSTER OF ALL FLIP FLOPS: Last Thursday south of the Dames Point Bridge area, salinity level in river 22 Part Per Thousand. NOW? Let's just say, with a stiff breeze holding all the water up in the river for the last 4 days at least, now all the way to my measuring point, the salinity level today was 35-36 PPT.
I could just look at the water and tell it's not right, as it was last Thursday. The color, and the other dead give away was the salt covering the boat & engine. I want no salt or much less salt water.....I'd love a 10 parts per thousand. That's serious Trout water!
But I caught some fish.
I boxed 3 Trout to 4 pounds, (threw back one 14-1/2 incher), and the "chipper" Flounder, and one big Spanish Mackerel. Plus hads 6 ladyfish and 4 Jacks.
On one spot, where I caught the 4 pounder. On my first drift of my float, I GOT MY ASS HANDED TO ME! It's a dock, and man do these fish wait till you're floats up between two pilings, and then they hit and hit hard. But that's not all...I received 2 more "ass handings" before I left the spot. Man, it was exciting. Pitch back to the dock, drift in beween two wood pilings and next to a concrete one and BAM! Float goes down and I set the hook, I got it....and then against the drag pulling the fish ducks for cover around that nasty wood piling. I LOVE IT! Maybe big Trout, maybe a Red. I caught not a single Jack or Ladyfish at this spot and can't remember the last time I did. But have only caught and lost Reds and Trout here.
It's fun, getting slam dunked. If you think Trout do not PULL hard, then you've never hooked a really, really big one.
We really need less wind and less wind with EAST in it's name. ALL was right on track. And then came this storm Andre (?) and now everything is totally FLIP-FLOPPED. I know for a fact, I'm back-stepping. I was right where I wanted to be. Now all has changed........
Man, I love float-rigging a live shrimp through dock pilings. Backing up and anchoring next to massive structure, right where you know they are. It's truly NE Florida's version of addictive fishing for me.
I hope mother nature will cut me a break and let me get back to taking people to do some really good Trout fishing, again.
Memorial Holiday is wide open. The tides are good that whole week. Call now to reserve your day, because.........
Not another single fishing guide in this whole area gives you this kind of info as you get here, to make the right choice in a charter.
I want educated anglers aboard.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

5/9 - ONE SORRY WEEK (revised 3 times)

"It's been 5 days since I drifted a float behind the boat, and I'm going BONKERS!"

No, that is not an ad for Arlington Bait & Tackle, although it would make a good one. Huh? They are some really nice folks over there. It's a pic of me drifting my float down the rocks, catchin' fishez on a calm day in MAY!!!!!!!!!!

Looks like Thursday is my day:


But this was also issued:
National Hurricane Center – 11:00 am – Tropical Storm Watch has been issued along the Southeast Coast from Altamaha Sound, GA to Flagler Beach, FL. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within the next 36 hours.
The center of Subtropical Storm Andrea is about 150 miles northeast of Daytona Beach, FL Andrea is moving generally toward the west at 3MPH. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 MPH. with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecasted during the next 24 hours.

So, I'll bring a rain Jacket. BIG DEAL. If there's no wind I just have to go find those Speckley Troutz again, since I haven't been since last Thursday.







It's TPC time...They moved it from March, and the weather still sucks! Welcome to NE FLORIDA! WELCOME GOLF FANS! WHY DON'T WE GET FISHING FANS? Golf & Fishing are about the same deal....both of us who play the "game" hate high winds! And being EATEN by the native wildlife.

I did have a call from a past customer last night here for the TPC, I guess. And he wanted to rush out there today (Wednesday) which is very "iffy". Especially if he wants to catch anything, decent. The wind is still way up. But will call back later for a "MAYBE" Friday trip. YOU ALWAYS NEED TO PLAN. SHRIMP DON"T GROW ON TREE'S FOLKS!!! Bad weatgher for us can also be bad weather for the live bait shrimpers.

I actually witnessed boats COMING & GOING, from the Mayport Boat Ramp during the height of these Gale Force Wind attacks, the last few days.

-Who are these people??

-Are they the same ones that keep Sea-Tow in business?

-I think, so.

-1-800-ask Dave......I watch the local weather, feel it and predict it better, I think.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

5/5-6 Un-timely Tides

Man, I love my boat. (just had to throw this in) because I received this pic in an e-mail from one of our group charter participants from last month.

Alright, it's May. The weather is so far so good. The Trout are chewin' in the river, the Cobia have showed up. Pogies have been spotted behind the surf. The Greenies (aka: Threadfin Herring) are readily available at the jetties. Sharks are on the beach, and I'm sure there's some Redbass on the bait pods for a change of pace. And the Jacks are getting larger. And at the same time FUEL is getting outrageous again. Because It's SUMMER. Which is a great excuse.


I want a few of those GIANT 6" Shrimp (pictured above) that B&M bait and tackle had back in March and April. I wanna catch a Cobia on a live shrimp on a Float-rig.....sounds funny huh? That's what people think when ya tell them about Jetty Tarpon on a Float rig too. But that easily happens. IF, you're on the ball like me to be fishing with a Tarpon capable hook, rod and reel when they are around.

* G. Loomis - 9' Pelagic series, 15-30# fast/medium heavy rod

* Shimano Tekota 500 levelwind w/ 350 yards of Power Pro


Nothing going on this weekend with me.

As with most events in this town, I guess I'll get some late notice callers from when the TPC starts. It's this town, I always say. It's not like we're a real tourist destination by any means. Maybe some day...maybe.

I did do some boat maintenance, and made some "summer-time" modifications, in case I have to put some bigger baits in the live wells. And took the small cast net out of the boat and put in the bigger Pogie net.

Tides this week: are slow and there's not a low-tide that's good and fish-able, during normal human fishing hours, till later in the week. But I'll probably go Monday or Tuesday anyhow.

Friday, May 4, 2007

5/3 - One fine day!

Had Dave C.
aboard today.
And we didn't
leave till noon.
Because when all else fails, FISH THE FALLING TIDE!
That's why. And Dave being an angler himself at home, up north he knew that too.
I had plans to T-rout fish. And go find those Whoppers, I've been getting into last Saturday and Monday. Dave as a "knowing" individual, comes alone and also books his trips well in advance. So I had him on my mind Monday, as I slayed some dragons in the big St. Johns, all by myself.
About the photo's... I cannot risk doing shots of where I was. And Dave isn't into picture taking....and I was glad to get this one shot of our "end of day" fish.
First what a story here. We barely had current. It was the last minutes of the incoming tide. We were talking about how hard it could be pulling a good fish from under a dock and around some pilings, that we were Float Rigging. Dave says, in so many words. This could get exciting if you were to get your ass handed to ya. I responded, that I have never gotten ripped so bad here, that I didn't get the Trout from the dock pilings.
And 2 seconds after I said that........
Hmmm, what was I just saying?????
Then Dave sets the hook, and from between the pilings pulls out the first trout of the day, and decent 17 incher. Mine was big, so now I'm really excited. But we pull anchor and go get my expensive float, and come back. And we get a few more trout.
If they are chewin here, with hardly any current left. That means we are in for "one fine day!"
Because when you're into them with almost no current, you've found the right water to be in this time of year. (that's a Pearl of information, right there)
We only fished 3 spots, but all 3 are in the right area. (and there's a possibility I could find even better areas of the river right now)
Dave is a BLOG reader. He read about my R&D expoits, lately. And he wanted to find some big Trout. So I concentrated my efforts in the area where I've been getting them at different stages of the falling tide.
Early on, we had some 3 pounders, & 2 pounders. But were not keeping other than the first 2 or 3 (because they are good luck fish), any Trout less than 18+ inches. And wanted at least our 2- over 20 inches. My theory is; "A Trout in the hand, is better than 2 still in the water."
So if Dave caught an absolute monster, he'd let me take a photo of him and we'd release it.
But...and there's always one but, isn't there. We didn't get into the 5 plus pounders. Just 4 pounders. The spot where I caught the 5-5 pounders in a row the other day ( and released) was now reading higher salinity levels. It was the full moon, and the tide that may have been a tad higher, and drove saltier water up into the spot. Just a theory besides, them just not visiting it today(?)
But either way, it was a great day. Dave also caught a nice pup Black Drum, I caught a Spanish Mack, he also had some Jacks, Ladies, and small Blues as the tide really went low.
We easily had our 10 keeper Trout and even threw back a lot of fish. Could have had more limits of Trout if we stayed on a particular spot, but we went looking to get the Gators. And I was glad we did, but only came up with 4 pounders.
The wind became a factor as it always does during the middle of the day with the south-east sea breeze, blowing hard and coming straight down the river into our faces as the tide ebbed. But we worked through it as I did on Monday, too.
I can't speak for Dave, but i know he had a lot of fun. But as far as I'm concerned. This is some of the finest inshore fishing. A Weekday, solo passenger, just two guys out working a specific area, leaning the techniques, enjoying the river, no long boat rides, no constant snags on the bottom, watching A LOT of the float disappearing under water with all good quality Specks on the hook.
If this really gets ya going, and becomes addictive. YOU'RE A FLOAT FREAK, 100%. If not. That's okay too. But for me, I'd rather be a Master of one, than a jack of all trades, master of NONE. My goal is to do what I love to do, very well. And share what I love to do with others.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Today's Mayport archive photo - Barge full of JETTY ROCKS, and how they got them out there. (photo was marked: Barge with jetty fill)

It's lets see if it'll be truely like May. Although the winds with EAST in the discription was very apparent, again

Did my Group Charter with some Insurance Brokerage guys today...about the same Group as last year, I think. 10 people, 4 boats...and of course I was one of the boats with 3 guys rather than 2.

Take Note: High Tide at Jetties 9am, that was right when we departed, of course.

And when am I catching the GATORS (Trout) all on the low, of course.

Always take a low tide over a high tide. That's my theory.

So we all basically started at the Jetties. The go-to area to always catch something.

My guys caught, Ladyfish, Jacks- small and mediums about 5 pounds. Blues, and hooked two Manta Rays that were swimming down the rocks. Plus two Spiney

Puffers, one 14" Trout.

Some of the other boats had a Flounder, some Reds to 34" a few Trout. They were about the only few Game fish caught. Everyone caught Ladies and Jacks.
We all had a good time, and I always appreciate taking this Group every year.

TIDES...It's all about those, TIDES. If ya' wanna really fish for game fish species.

Yesterday, when I was catching those big beautiful Trout the salinity was a 22 parts per thousand, on a scale of 0-40 parts per thousand. The jetties are about a 36PPT.
So 22PPT is pretty low considering NO RAIN, and no real flow to the St. Johns River.

If I had my druthers here's what I'd do the rest of the summer.
*have unlimited fuel at my disposal at a good price......."That will not happen".
*fish only the river south, and keep up with the salinity day by day.
*stay away from the inlet because it's a magnet for many non-game fish species.
*when I'm down river and start catching Ladyfish, Jacks, or Blues...go further south!
*and fish on a perpetual falling tide, only! Yeah, like that will ever happen.

Today's Ramblings:
I go through this every single spring time, and that's wondering why when a friend of mine comes back from Venice LA. from fishing with his Guide brother-in-law, and after hearing all those Redfish & Trout stories he tells me,why is the fishing there so great? There's a scientific approach to why...and I wanna know it.

I think besides the endless marsh and waters, lack of people/pressure on the fish. It has to do with the Mississippi River! It flows fresh water ALL THE TIME. We have a river right here. But it does not flow, and flow endless Fresh water all the time 365 days a year.

This may sound obvious, but it's not. Especially, in the spring and summer when spawning and estuarine species (

Redfish, Trout, Flounder, Drum, Sheepshead etc.) want to find and live in "brackish water". Because it has a lot to do with their spawning cycle. Just as it does for our river shrimp.

So think about it....When we have Hurricanes/Tropical storms to the south, all the rain water goes where? Into the river. And the fishing is off the chart when it reaches us in J-ville.
We must have rain, hurricanes and tropical storms.
In Venice LA. they have that flow all the time. So when the fish want it, it's there. Which also possibly makes for very successful spawns, which in turn means more fish year after year.

Here's actually a quote from a fishing guides web site over there about the salinity & spawning:
"There is little doubt that Venice is an amazing fishery. In spring vast numbers of speckled trout are on the move to the south in search of saltier waters to spawn. April and May are two of the best months to catch the big sows ."
So it sounds as if the "opposite is happening there...they move closer to the Gulf to get the right salinity??" Because they are in brackish. Just the opposite here in our river.
Kinda the same deal of when the damn flows-over down in Guana River State Park...the fish stuck in the lake side (the sweet water side) rush to the salty water coming in over the damn from the ICW side.

On another note; for one second think of all the pollution that went into that river after hurricanes Katrina and Rita!
I had a native New Orleans man on my boat today. He lived through Katrina. So we talked about it naturally. He said, "I do not know where all that 'garbage' went in the river, out to the Gulf of Mexico I guess", he stated. And I was thinking, "how about all those TOXINS, SEWAGE, & CHEMICALS that went into the river and out into the marshlands and passes, Gulf??" And the fishing again is through the roof over there. Because of the constant flow of fresh water from the Mississippi River?? I guess the word "flush", means more than a good poker hand.

We have a river in name, maybe. Not necessarily in theory. The Timicuan Indians called it, "THE RIVER OF LAKES", because back then the river had a mean depth of 9 feet, the inlet was a giant sand bar, and the Timicuan's knew that the river had no real flow, so they aptly named it for what they thought it was more like. And according to anthropologists, they were dead on. A theory is that thousands of years ago, the river was a chain of lakes/wetlands. And through erosion, forces of the tide, and Ocean height, the banks broke through and connected to form kind of what we see today.

Basically, some rain would be nice.

That's the thought of the day. So I'll just live with knowing Venice, LA. is over there. And I'm over here. And I'm happy as long as I get my fill of big fat Trout, one way or another.
I just have to stop talking to that friend of mine after he goes there. Because now he's telling me he also saw a fellow BlackLab Marine Plate Alloy 26' owner over there, too. (Ya' know Louisiana is a big Aluminum boat state) and says to me every time I see him, "Dave, ya know how great of a boat that would be for fishing the passes and rigs over there?" I usually say...."No, I don't because I've never been there, but you need to invite me!!"