Saturday, June 30, 2007

6/30 -end of June and here comes mayhem....

Wheww....if today "a Saturday" is any evidence
of what is to come this holiday weekend coming up.
It'll be all out MAYHEM on the water ways.

You should have seen the idiot I saw at the boat ramp today as I was getting ready to clean fish, while my charter was up at the rest rooms.
I wanted to shout to this guy, "why don't you at least PRETEND to know how to drive a boat", after he waked the whole place with a 4 footer, then did two attempts to pick up some girls sitting drinking on the dock (against the law), first attempt in his Ghetto Cruiser boat was a near miss of slamming the rig up and over the dock, second attempt was a direct hit! T-BONING the side of the boat on the corner of the dock. I heard CRACK as the fiberglass crushed. His ding-dong buddy said..."Man there ain't even a scuff!" Yeah, but inside the hull and all around the impact zone I'm sure was spider webbed and cracked like glass!

Personally, I laughed. And find idiots at the dock amusing as hell, but certainly didn't appreciate the 4 foot comer he sent in between the two floating docks.
And as ole Frank Sinatra sang, "THE BEST IS YET TO COME......" THIS 4TH OF JULY.
I had a really great crew today. Craig Wicker and his daughter Kaylee. She's a gal going to college on a golf scholarship. And my kinda young anglerette. Talented in Golf obviously and knows her way around a fishing rod too.
We left out at 7am, and had an incoming tide most of the day as I played "chase the moving water" up river. Which worked good at some spots, not so good at others. But they caught fish.
First it was Trout and Mangrove snappers. Then another trout or so, and Jack Cravalle.

As the theme of the day was PILINGS!
That's all we fished, during the incoming.
The weather was GREAT, the wind was almost non-exsistant this morning, the water was glassy, and we had a ton of FUN.

Even got chased off one set because of NATIONAL SECURITY, can ya believe that??
Tieing off to a bridge piling is in VIOLATION of a Federal roadway/bridge, says a security guard, per the wisdom of the "rock smart", Coast Guard. Ya' know, haven't we put up with enough bullshit? Can't judgement and common sense be used instead of violating a tax paying American citizens fishing rights? The harassment these days is just uncalled for. The feds "knee-jerk reaction" to all of this has the wack-job terrorist winning, and the feds fell right into their hands. My taxes bought that bridge, and now I'm looked at as a potential Terrorist? The Federal Goverment can kiss my ass, is all I have to say!
So we moved on, up river, following the tide.
And I eventually hit one of my favorite spots as the tide changed there.
And it was game on.
Overall a pretty damn good day considering all the river traffic, and fishing an incoming tide. (not even close to my favorite in the summer!)

15-20 Speckled trout to 5 pounds and 25" (fish in photo)
10 - Mangrove Snappers some were real nice fatties
1- small Flounder
Jacks, Ladyfish.
I have time to get ready for the Holiday next week, and plan on going north a few times to fish a good place for 4 passenger trips and kids.
Man it was H-O-T by the afternoon. And then of course the wind was HOWLING by the end of the day, as we cruised comfortably back to the dock in my battle wagon fish catcher, called the CAPTDAVES.COM-sport fishing machine!
I think the Wicker Crew are now possible, Float-Freaks too!

Friday, June 29, 2007

6/29 - Kids trip

Had Robert G. and his two "lil shavers", 5 & 9, on the boat today for a 2 hour or so Kids Trip.
I love doing these, because the kids get such a kick out of going, especially if they haven't ever been, as one 3 year year old put it one time......out in the big WaWa.

It was a short notice kind of trip. Robert just called me yesterday around 9:00am and thought we could maybe go then. But I explained to him. I'm not in my boat right now, and have plans and errands to do before the huge rush of July 4th week patrons.

So we hit it at 7:30am this morning, instead.

My plan always, when I do a kids trip is to go out the inlet, show the kids some Dolphins, birds and then hit a close shrimp boat, so they can see all the activity behind them as the drag. Especially the herds of Dolphins everywhere. Then catch a few fish......any fish.

So we go out and it's really swelly. The southside of the south jetty was pretty BIG (large seas) to anchor in and fish close up near the beach where most of the small sharks can be caught. I love to hook the kids up on some Bonnet-heads.

So we saw two shrimp boats way off to the east. So I went out to them. One was anchored up, doing nothing. And the other was heading in. Oh well, that game plan didn't work out.

So we went to go catch some fish.

I anchored up inside the jetties and pitched pieces of shrimp on jigs near the shallow rocks.
And the kids reeled in some small seabass. But getting the seabass was even hard. We were at the top of the high tide, and the Bait stealers were even hard to set a hook in.

So we moved.....but damn there was no current, and again the bait stealers that the kids like to catch one after another was tough going.

Next spot, glass minnows were everywhere up and down the bank. JACKS, I thought maybe wold be around, or even some Ladyfish. But there was none.

Bait in the water is the name of the game when doing a 2 hour trip, so I had no time to run around.

The youngest started fighting with his older brother and then the crying started as one punched another, and then it was a slow decline after that. We moved around in close proximity to the jetties more. And then the lil guy said he wanted to go. But both agreed they had fun. (yeah, until the punching started)

So we headed in.

Plus, I needed to be home early too. I had a UPS delivery coming this morning, and had to sign for the package. Which was my second Whoop-ass rod.......another G. Loomis 9' Pelagic series rod, and matching reel a Shimano Tek-500.

Remember way back many, many posts ago, when I talked about long rods being the best for (distance) float-rig fishing?? Well, the 9' G. Loomis Pelagic series is about as good as it gets. Unfortunately, this famed California Calico Bass rod was discontinued a year or so ago. Because it cost so much these days to ship 9' long rods.
My 1st one purchased came from Strike Zone, and I snatched it up as soon as I could......and it hurt. Because buying a G. Loomis Rod at retail isn't my thing. As a Pro Staff member for many, many years I get a great deal from them to have my customers using the best rods, when they fish with me.
So a 9' Pelagic series ain't cheap. Even at Strike Zone, now can you imagine I actually found a matching one at Tackle Direct. Johns at Tackle Direct who I also buy a lot from said "Dave, I have ONE, left".
I replied.....hold on to it, because I need it but need to save my pennies, first. Because I knew the "shipping cost" alone was gonna be a killer!

Rods at retail???? Holy Cow. But since I'm in love with them, and have saved thousands by using my Pro-staff account for so many years. I guess it's okay to pay retail for just these rods.

So today, UPS delivered the 9' rod and the reel for it. And now I'm so set up!

I use this rods for yanking Big Reds from under, or from around, and maybe even through pilings. Along with oversized Jacks....and big Trout too.

These rods are not FAIRY WANDS. But, 9 feet of float-rigging whoop-ass!

The tides are getting stronger this week and I hope to put them to use up river around some snaggly docks and rocks.

So as you can see, if you're reading this post and are one of the many customers that I'll have aboard in the coming days. I'm working hard to provide YOU with the best kick butt fishing tackle $$$ can buy, or your just getting lucky and choose to book a charter with someone who has a bad QUALITY ONLY tackle habit.

A rod for many purposes many work fine. But I am a tackle specific kinda guy, and use certain tackle for certain jobs.

These two 9 footers are refered to as the Whoop-ass Twins. ( yes, I even give names to my rods and reels) Hey, I have no kids. Just an old dog that answers to about anything if she can hear ya, first. So let me do my thing.......if it makes me happy.

C'mon big summer time Jacks, around crusty pilings. I have something for ya'!
It's 9 foot long, black and has gold threading, and a Shimano Tekota 500 spooled with new Berkley Super-braid!!!!!!!!!

Loads of fishing to be done starting tomarrow thru next week. Hope all goes well, between the possible thunder storms. That's why I'll be starting early and off the water early.

Remember, Sisters Creek boat ramp supposively shuts down for traffic on the 5th because of the Kingfish Karnival held there, the week after. They'll be erecting the "big top" for the 3 ringed circus.
Yep, its that time of year again!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

6/27 - Another typical summer day

Is it November 1st yet? Unfortunately, not by a L-o-n-g shot.

Had Mark J. on board today along with his friend. I stayed close because the morning falling tide of course was gonna be a short and quick one. Not strong by any local measure.
So we went into a creek'ish environment right off at the high tide.
I gave some seriously thorough float-rigging instructions, to these two wild and crazy guys who were chomping at the bit to get started. But we had some time to go over the details because the tide hadn't even started to fall yet.

Area #1 was actually a spot I fish in Deep, Deep winter......Same area that I fished on Super-Bowl Sunday all by myself, because everyone was SCARED of the winters chill. But of course I prevailed BIG TIME as usual.

But is the spot "summer-time" worthy. Yeah, but just not as quality. Instead of big massive Redbass, the summer fish are mostly pup Redbass. Instead of big fat 25" Trout, the trout are all small in the summer. And instead of never loosing a live shrimp from other than a quality fish, ya loose DOZENS to small pinfish in the summer. Worthy I suppose, because these guys caught fish had some "I.G." while learning what to do.

So you may have asked yourself, "what the hell is he talking about in that first sentence of this post?" Well this was your answer. During November starts the BLITZ on this particular spot we fished today. And we went through almost 4 dozen live baits before we had a keeper trout in the fish box.

Small Trout, and a bunch of small Reds & Jacks kept them going. But I was reminded that there was mouths to feed back home. But I don't guarantee all fish will be of legal size, especially when I'm dealing with east winds and slow tides, in June. But The fella's prevailed getting a few Trout and a 18" Red for the fish box.

So as I usually promise. I stepped it up a notch on them and took them to a favorite spot. Unfortunately, I haven't even caught anything there lately. And neither did they, but the practice was good for them because on a scale of 1-10 in difficulty.......this spots at a 9.95 level.

The falling tide was slacking fast so on the way back I stopped at ________. (I gave away the spot in the photo, so now ya know) and the guys yanked on Jacks one after another BIG and small, till the tide went slack.

The photo fish was a 10 pounder that KICKED some serious BUTT!
Especially, along that kind of structure.
Keeping the fish from going into it was the struggle like ya wouldn't believe for
Mark's buddy.

Overall, not a bad day. But you have to know me by now....I like a box full of big fat Trout, add in some Pup Black Drum, a few Flounder, and a 33" Redfish as a "kicker-fish". And I.G. for everyone on board at the first drop of the anchor. (doesn't everyone?)

But as of this Saturday & Sunday thru to the 15th of July, the tide strength will be building. And I hope to get back up river and back into what I was catching earlier in June.

Days still availible with GREAT TIDES are as follows in Yellow:
July 8th and 10th-15th. Then starts that dreaded "Kingfish Carnival" with the V.I.P Tournament on the 16th, and the Jr. Angler tournament on the 17th, which I can still conduct business during, with the 18th a open day too. But the 19th and 20th are out for charter fishing in Mayport. Plus, I have a follow up appointment in preparation for my Lasik surgery on the they can have at it and churn up the river and Ocean all they want. I don't care.

Please Plan ahead....Take "heed" to the dates and tides I mention, because your success can be based on it!

E-mail me at: for reservation dates and tide info, or better yet, just call (904) 642-9546 8am-8pm eastern time.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

6/25 - sometimes you eat the fish, and sometimes the fish eats YOU.

I told ya'.
Went out to try my hand at it yesterday, and realized one thing.
I must know what I'm talking about!

Started at the jetties (inlet) on a falling tide with a bothersome easterly swell, against the current. Overcast, rain threatening, a bit windy. A "front"
was pushing thru.....again??????.


Said to myself, as I often do in the summer, "hell with this place." And left.
Never saw any Tarpon roll, either. Which is why I went there.
Everyone's saying the pogies are gone, but saw a line of them outside the jetty along the bottom on my scope in 20 feet of water, and would see them "flip" here and there as I sat anchored. But everyone ran down the beach and past them, as usual. Habits are hard to break, I guess.
I have a "pogie poem" that my dad wrote years and years ago when he and I fished together.
I'll have to post it here's really good!
Decided to not go up river very far today. Especially with a 3.5' falling tide. Anything less than a 4.0+ keeps me closer to the inlet.
Ran down to the "lil' Jetties", and had a great drift on a spot that usually has a jetty jockey sitting there fishing 24 hours a day 7 days a week....but there wasn't one, YET. Caught some Jacks on this spot that is very hard to fish. It's one of my 'on a scale from 1 to 10, in difficulty float rigging spots. And it's a 9.95'.

The jacks were busting baits getting washed over some submerged rocks, but I never caught a Redbass, which is why I stopped there.

And it didn't take long before a jetty jockey, showed up with hands full of rods and reels and set up shop for the week, as usual. So I left.

Did some R&D in the ICW heading south. Poked around floating a few spots big catch pictured above. A 10" Red. Never caught one so small in my life!

The falling tide was blasting pretty good at this point, but it was short lived. Ran to a dock where the Reds hang out. Never lost a bait. Ran towards the Dames Point, fished a spot there caught a Ladyfish while on the phone.

Went to another spot close by and sat and waited on the incoming tide, and lost baits to mangroves and pinners. Then as the current picked up and the wind started to blow 15 knots from the SE, I caught a 18" Trout. I lingered or more like loittered there for a long time, and never caught another trout. Looked at two other spots on the way home, never lost a bait.

Out at sun-up, put boat on trailer at 5:00 pm....that's one L-O-N-G day. And then at the ramp at the end of the day,I have one of those Coast Guard Auxillery guys who wants to give me one of those USELESS inspections for a shiney sticker for my boat, that means zero when the Coasties need a quota filled. (and since I'm commercial, I get out of it because he doesn't have any stickers for me with him) Plus I say......I gotta go, now!

There was something in the air. Because even though the tide wasn't all that strong for very long. Something was up. I don't have days like this very often, I usually can get bit. I mean I went places that I never got bit by anything.....and the south jetty was one of them.

Next up:
Tuesday & Saturday.
"I hope they are ready to be on top of their game."

Friday, June 22, 2007

6/22 - Blue skies and weak tides.....this & next week.

Had Peter and son Henry looking to go 'yesterday' for today.
So we hit it early at 7am and I being a student of the
T & C, (tides and currents of the St, Johns) I already knew what I was in for.
Care of the F.S. fishing planner book that never lets me down, and I refer to as the "Guide Book to good days".

For instance; Yesterday we had 4' of water height between high and low tide. Per the tide book. And when you're heading up river far away from the source of the tide (the Ocean at the inlet) as I have been doing, 4' is the absolute minimum that will produce enough current to #1: make float fishing a viable technique, and #2: produce enough flushing action to make the fishing good. BUT....I went down there this morning anyhow, because it was a Friday and I didn't want to be out in the open to the N.E. winds blowing 15 knots.
Today's tide height was a 3.7' tide......and man did it make for a no current kinda morning on my spot where I've been catching Trout & Drum.
4'.o" versus 3'.7", you may say "what's the big whup?".....But please think about the BIG picture. 3 inches of water across the whole tidal region you are fishing is a lot of water. Not to mention what wind direction can do and atmospheric pressure also does.
We did catch Trout...they were small and the yellowmouths were active. Plus the Ladyfish were also there. And then later on the incoming we caught some small and medium Jacks, some more small Trout, a big fat Seabass and the pictured 24" Redfish. Henry was so upset his dad hooked that Red, because he wanted to catch it.
Want to know the difference between yesterday and today? Lets look at what the tides were in the same area on some previous trips.
6/20 - low tide Mayport time 7:30am, on this spot: 8:45am falling tide height 4.4 feet caught a lot of fish due to lots of current and approaching front. (see Blog entry for that day!)

6/15 - went up river "solo" because I knew it was gonna be kick-azz on my spots and it was! Mayport low tide 3:00pm, this area 4:45pm tide height 4.7 feet....means great fishing and lots of flushing action on my areas I like to fish up river. I caught loads of fish, and had a BALL....just re-read my entry for that date.

I think those two days are evidence enough that TIDE HEIGHT which equates to the amount of flow of current, is self explanatory. Learning to read the tides correctly and understand the out come, means a lot.
(If talking tide heights and current flow in the river is something that's unfamiliar or out of your realm of knowledge....YOU NEED A CHARTER WITH ME, if you're serious about learning this topic)
Here's this weekends falling tide height's:
Saturday - 3.3 feet = no flow
Sunday = 3.3 feet = no flow
(there's certainly no reason for me to go with those tides Trout fishing this weekend)
-remember during May, June and July the strongest tides are around New Moon's. Then hang on to your dock lines August 27th thru 31st. We're gonna have some big time tides then.
I may be obsessed with all this but since it is what I do, I think my freakishness with tides and currents is justified. We still caught fish today, and you can too. Lots of great big and wonderful fish can be caught during a slow tide. But I use these tide measurements to give me a clue of the difficulty level I will encounter during the day. AKA: Frustration Level, especially when I have kids aboard, who have no idea about what we're doing. All they want is a great big pull of that same fish they saw on TV or read about in that fishing magazine.
That's why Henry was upset today. Dad caught the one nice Redfish as we were talking and dad wasn't even watching his float. And Henry saw that dad's float was gone, and alerted him.
Henry was on his way to being a Great fisherman. He was a pleasure to have aboard at the prime age of 13 years old. I hope to have him aboard again some day.
I may hit the jetties Monday on a solo R&D to try for some 'poon action on the float-rig. This time two year's ago I hooked 5 during a light tropical storm. I could see them coming as they surfed thru the waves, and sat and waited till they rolled and pitched big Live shrimp to them or a pogie on the float rig,. and they ate it up like a Snickers bar! And each one broke me off. But unlike some people, I admit that I never actually caught a single one. some, hooking means catching when it's report time. For me, the word "catching" is when YOU see the photo here! There's a HUGE difference in my book.
This is the size I'm looking forward to hooking/catching at the inlet.
They are harder to catch, actually.

"They all eat.....SHRIMP"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

6/21 - Back up & running.....

Wheww....had a bit of a computer problem there for a few days.

Turns out that it not only shut me down and the computer wouldn't work, it also infected my e-mails too. Sending the people that I sent e-mails to, a Nigerian fishing charter scam e-mail.

I had person after person saying..."Dave I don't know how I got this e-mail about this guy wanting a charter, but I think this is for you". It's all a scam to send them money...AS SEEN ON DATE LINE NBC.

Either way, SCREW those Jackass's. And lets get down to Fishin' Buisness again!

I went and posted some photo's of 6/20 charter ( one post downof this one on this blog page) with the Hostetters, where 8 year old Ryan who came with his dad & mom all the way from Japan to visit grandpa & grandma for vacation on Amelia Island caught a LOT of fish.

And then there was today. (6/21)

1st day of summer is today or yesterday? And the phone was ringing like crazy today, which is a good thing.

Wow, what a RADICAL difference from yesterday!! The fish feel that "front" coming and had the feed bags on yesterday, compared to today.

Had Chris Smith out today with two family members....."Two strong, silent types" obviously. Because if I wasn't coaching them and telling some stories as I always do, the boat would have been silent as they worked hard at the task at hand, which was watching their floats float & drift with out many bites at all.

Although we did have some "I.G" right off the bat at spot #1.

With a bruiser of a Redbass at 30" and 10 pounds exactly.
But that's where the excitement ended.....kinda.

Ladyfish drove us out of there, as we got wet from the on & off rain all day....then came the winds, afterwards.

They did pick up a few Trout, one was a keeper. 3-small Flounder, one was a keeper. Some Mangrove snappers, 1 was a nice keeper.

Then at the end of the day at the last frustrating spot, Chris get slammed ducked by a BIG fish, and he gets run under the boat and around the outboard and SNAP goes the leader. Possibly a big Jack. But could have been a big Redbass, again. Because it really wasn't as fast as a Jack.
THE FRONT, came thru and that's what made today a s-l-o-w day. The bait stealers weren't even all that active when we fished thru slack tide into the flood.
The weather guessers got it wrong, AGAIN comparing what actually happened weather-wise versus what they said was gonna happen 2 days ago.
Wish I could just GUESS like that.
So as of 5:00 pm today I found out I going tomarrow too. (ya'll know how I love those super late callers)
And I hope the fish bite, even if we do get rained on fish biting would be great!
I knew something had to kill my run of Drum & Trout down at my Honey hole. But it'll rebound.
I pitched a jig several times, doing the "bottom feeder bump" trying to see if there was any pup drum around, and never had a bite.

Till Friday.....stay tuned. (check out 8 year old Ryan's catches from yesterday.....just scroll down) Sorry Dad & Grandpa, but kids get the photo op's)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

6/20 - CRASH......DUMP

I'm doing this entry on my dad's computer....(always wanting to be updated no matter what, I'm obsessed with having updated reports.)
Because my computer CRASHED!
It's now in the shop, for 2 days at least.

Then I have to re-load all my soft ware IE: digital camera, web site stuff etc.

In between, rain, phone calls and whatever else can break, I made it out today with some customers that I had on the boat 3 years ago. This time one brought his 8 year old son.

We had a ball.

Catching 10 - black drum,
1- Redfish, 2- flounder, and 7 -Speckled trout.....and of course some Ladyfish and Jacks and Bluefish.

Bags and bags of fillets!

isn't it always that way?
Kids & Women usually do very good.

Float-rigging and jig-n-shrimp combo meals caught them good.
And we missed the rain that's falling as of now as I write this.



Isn't it something how we rely on these things anymore??

Blog, Photo's, web sites, reports, I'm down when I do not have a computer.

It's a conspiracy!

Tomarrow, 3 passengers same deal. In river, light tackle float-rig fishing. YEP IT'S WHAT'S CATCHIN'.

New summer special prices......give me a call, today!

Monday, June 18, 2007

6/18 - thought of the day....ouch!

Since my post the other day mentioned
Honda's 100 HP coming out somewhere else
before it came out in the USA, and
my checking account had a hard time dealing
with filling my one tank of a two tank F-250
today, at $50 each.

And since no one is "ringing my phone off the
hook" (man that's an out dated saying now isn't it)
to reserve a charter, I ran across this rediculas
photo of not 4 or 5, but rather just 2 SeaVee boats
tied up next to each other, obviously some
where in south "kiss my azz rest of the world"

Yes.....look are not seeing things.
That is FOUR, 300 horse power 4 stroke Mercury's hanging off the transom's of those boats.
At damn near if not 700 pounds a piece, that's 2800 lbs of engines, and then lets not forget the 300-500 gallons of fuel in the tank(s) maybe more??? Hope they don't hit anything...I bet they'd sink so fast a rock would be jelous!

And my problem is filling up one tank in a twin tank 1995 Ford F-250?????

What is this, a convention of refinery exec's going fishing in the boats they bought their son's?

Cause I know it can't be charter fisherman!

And all I want in addition to what I already have is a 19' Black Lab Marine, Plate Alloy with a Honda tiller -steer 90 horse, AND SOME CUSTOMERS TO TAKE IN MY 26 AND THE 19!!!!

I bet these guys also have the south Florida fisherman's edition of a "Mr. T starter kit" hanging around their necks, too.

I hate fisherman that wear jewelry!

Friday, June 15, 2007

6/15 - Wish you were here!

Why am I out whackin them like no tomorrow, by myself ??
Because I can. And no one wanted to go.
I caught them sitting down, relaxing...... yes, even die-hard's like me sit every once in awhile. But not for long. ( I have room for deck chairs!!)
Because things really went NUTZ as that tide got lower.
Before fishing one spot, most of the day. I did try two others.

The first one I pulled up to, I immediately had a nice fattie on
my first drift of the float. Second drift I got my azz handed to me
and lost the fish to a piling encrusted with oysters.
Then on my 3 drift I caught a small Flounder.
Then it was time to move on.....

I need me some better size T-routs, I thought.
And I found them BIG TIME.
It was a New Moon, so nothing was easy about figuring out the tides. But hell, they were strong tides. And I'll take strong current over weak current any day.
Since I'm a "tide runner" in the summer months, when I head up river if I don't have a 4.0' tide or better, you can bet your britches we won't have that great a day, because we won't have enough current/tide. A weak tide doesn't reach very far up river.

-Remember, I don't pick the days, ya'll do. If I could have picked one
for you IT WOULD HAVE BEEN TODAY!!!! But instead I just had two kinda wacky calls. When a woman calls me, it's inevitable, this "possible" charter will never happen. Why is that?
As you can see, I took a lot of photo's of MYSELF. Because I'm the only one I know that does DAILY reports,with photos, trying to convince people, "yes, I'm YOUR man."
All these fish, and no waves, seasickness, or getting beat-up.
Right in my backyard.
Does anyone of the calls I get, that I send here ever look at this Blog? I wish I knew. I do this for potential customers, not for myself.
Yesterday's blog entry was to educate folks that haven't a clue on why we charge what we do. All this (here) I home work, I do for YOU. I'd love to be sitting in my lazy boy, right now. After a 12 hour day in the sun.

I totaled:
16- Speckled Trout, from 17" to 21"
and half of them were 20-21".....nice fish but no GIANTS.

5- Black Drum from 13" to 21"
perfect eaters, went in the fish box.

1- Flounder
Sorry, no photo. The spot I was on is a double whammy secret
Trout spot. No photos allowed.

6- Redfish 16" to the big dog a 30 incher, which was caught on a super fairy wand of a rod, with a jig and a dead shrimp. No one ever said Redfish or even the black Drum are smart or picky. I kept my one, and it was 21", perfect for the fish box.

1- baby Gag Grouper, these guys are on every rocky
spot in the river.

1- 5 pound Jack Crevalle

2- Bluefish

Then there's Mike.....
I'm heading home and pass by one of my favorite Trout areas
and see "Mr. Make Dave Depressed". We chit chat, and he hangs a big ole Red on a jig-n-shrimp combo meal, and then we chit chat, and he hangs another.

FOLKS....If you have any fishing ability at all, you need to call me!

Because a well placed jig-n-shrimp, or a float-rig on some of these areas in the river right now, will mean Hang-On time for you.

Bruisers are out there. But they don't come easy.

Cover, shelter, what ever you like to call it is where they will be hiding. And you have to get in there, and get them OUT.

The reason Mike is "Mr. Make Dave Depressed" is because that guy in that skiff boat caught two giant Snook last week, fishing MONSTER STRUCTURE that's not for the faint of heart or the beginner.
(2)- meaning 12 & 15 pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!
I fish at least every other day or more 12 months a year, and have for at least 11 of the years I've been in the charter biz, and before that I fished 3 days a week when I was a 9-5'er.

And have never even seen a SNOOK in Jacksonville!

People, are catching them. And Mike's in the exclusive Snook Club
and grinning from ear to ear!

I think I've made my mind up, at least for this year. I think I'm gonna stay in the river the rest of the summer, it's my back yard. And I like it, because I know it. I know that on about any given day, I can get into some kind of trouble, be it either attempting to yank a fat Trout from behind a Piling, or pull a Redfish from around a submerged rock. It's the direct opposite of what I do in the winter time, but the more I fish these kinds of places, the more I love'em. You will too.

(stay tuned to this report blog)
Float Freak......over and out & tired.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

6/14 - did some figuring

And the first Honda outboard I saw at the Miami International Boat Show was a 25hp, then a 45hp the next year....and that was back in 1990-91??


Ya know, I just received an email yesterday that was asking if business's were effected by the "fire storm of 2007" named by those stupid News channels on TV.
As reported, business' were feeling the effect. And the agency that sent the email stated that they were NOW going to put up on their web site that the fires have no effect on Jacksonville's tourism.

I responded, "Isn't it a little too late now??" since they were asking my opinion.

But all that prompted me to do something I have not done in a long while. So I broke out all my bills, cost sheets, and did my best tabulations. I know many of you out there think, "hey fishing guides are not like a company, or a real business, they are guys who are wealthy and just like to fish, and charge me way too much to go on private charters" .

No, that's not anywhere near the truth.

Here's what I came up with: (you can tell I'm really busy huh?)

CHARTER OPERATIONAL COSTS: (June 2007 bases on charter average)
With 100 % profit - (you'll read why at the end.)

#1 Fuel for boat – average usage per trip inshore 10 gal. @ $3.00 per gal. = $30

100% - $60

#2 Tackle costs - broke down yearly per trip $25.00

100% - $50.00

#3 Boat insurance - vessel insured and $300,000.00 Liability per trip $20.00

100% - $40

#4 Truck/ tow vehicle Fuel and trailer maintenance cost , per trip $25.00

100% - $50

#5 Boat cost, plus maintenance $50 per trip

100% - $100

#6 Bait & Ice per trip $25 (average day)

100% - $50

#7 Captain / Labor, figuring just hours of fishing (6 hrs) @ $25 per hr. (not prep or after trip IE: fish cleaning, boat cleaning, travel time etc.)

100% - $150

#8 Advertising, minimum of $25 per trip

100% - $50

Based on a 100% profit to offset bad weather, hurricanes, presidential election years, wars, stock market crashes, blown-up engines, slow mechanics, un-employment rates etc.........
Total: $550

Charter pricing averages $350 to $450 a day.

Empty Nesters spending "quality time" with the son's or daughters while fishing .....PRICELESS!

Simply put, the less charters that are done per a season or year, the higher the price will be. The more charters that are done the less the price will be. Just as I do with regulars who fish with me many times a year.

Monday, June 11, 2007

6/11 - have no plan pay the PRICE


And that's what Bryan and I did today. Bryan's also a local fishing guide, and we've talked about going out and messing around together on the river. And that's about all we did.....mess around.

I'm usually a plan it to the last "drift of my float" kinda guy. But today I was all whacked out. I got up later than I wanted too, because last night at 2am I awoke with a splitting headache.

Why a splitting headache, you ask? Because I drank a whole 3-4 beers yesterday evening, that's why.

I used to be the kind of guy years ago when I was much younger that could close the bar, or the bait shop with a 12 pack without even thinking about it. Probably consumed my fair share of "cases" at one sitting.

Not anymore. I'm over it. And have found that I get headaches after just a few, "SOMETIMES".
Well, I quit drinking beer to help with the carbs, and to overall save some dough too. Age has it's way of telling you....."hey dumbass, stop that!!"

But yesterday evening I was out at the summer kitchen I have behind my house barbecuing some country style ribs....mmmmm, they were good. And I had 3-4 beers with them.

And then 8 hours later I'm getting no sleep and have this headache that needed some aspirins. So I get up and chew 2 big ole Bayer aspirins, and hit the sack again. The alarm is going off at 5:30am so I better get feeling better quick. I end up rolling out of the sack at 6:20am and realize my headaches gone and I better kick it in high gear. Bryan's gonna beat me to B&M bait and tackle.

I get there we get 5 dozen shrimp, head for the boat ramp. With my big plan if ya wanna call it one. "Let's go to the jetties??" Why, I have no idea!!

We get out there anchor up, and I immediately set the hook into I don't know what. My float goes down on my 9 foot G. Loomis whoopin rod, and the reel dumps 100 yards before I can slow it down. The fish finally turns and I'm easing it back to the boat care of LOTS OF MUSCLE WORK. Remember, I was sound asleep 30 minutes ago!!!

Bryan, also sets the hook on his favorite float-rig rod and Abu Garcia reel and his line is also dumping off the spool at a high rate of speed. I get my fish behind the boat, I see a fin, nope I see my line breaking, instead. Plain ole 30-pound mono breaks.

I look over at Bryan, the fish is still dumping all his line......"Go ahead and just break it off, it has to be a stingray", I said. But Bryan does something, and I don't know what it was, but all I hear is KAW-SNAP!

HOLY CRAP...his rod breaks right
above the handle. And he looks like someone just stole his puppy! He exlaims,
"that was my steelhead rod from up in NY, ya know how many steelhead that rod has caught?? I can't believe it"And there was more un-fun fish.
But I'll move on.

So we then pull anchor and run down the beach
and I net some Pogies. We float-rig fish the Pogie Pods outside the Navy's beach front.

2 seconds into it, Bryan has a pogie on another float rod he rigged up, and has probably a shark rippp... the float rig, so badly I head his Power Pro line go ZsZsZsZsZsZsZsZsZs...float goes skipping across the water, and fish gone! "Wow, that was a viscous strike!"

Mean while I go bite less.

So after no fish (and if we catch fish it's on the float-rig only, today) we head on and up river to try a different seascape.

Trying a few great spots on the way........NADA!

Then, I take Bryan to one of my HOLY GRAIL spots.....just one of them. The tides still falling in the river, but on this spot it's DEAD. No water movement at all, and we have maybe 6 shrimp still alive in the well.

I'm experiencing "shortness of breath" , because I have not caught a single "fish", I mean non-shark, skate, or stingray, and we are now 18 miles up river from the jetties!

Bryan pitches out and his float goes down (with no current at all anywhere near where we were fishing) and catches a pretty 20" Speck.
Okay I blind squirrel finds a nut every once
in awhile. Then 10 minutes later as he's talking
to me has his rod almost snatched out of his hand
with another nice fat Trout.
All the while, as he's in the "I give up stage"
of our fishing day of disaster.
I catch ZERO on this spot. Because I
know how wrong we're fishing it and
how there needs to be some current, says Bryan.
And "Dave you care, that's why your not getting bit."

All our bait is gone, and we go back to the ramp, where a real Jackass I know is cleaning his Kingfish.
And he gives me the same "grief" about my Plate Alloy boat that he did earlier this morning before we left out.

"Contenders are over rated Clorox bottles, just like the rest." I say to myself, doing all I can to not stoop to the level of this local radio show host.

Why does my boat and what it's made out of concern others?? The only people that should be concerned are my customers. And they'll soon realize they are in a very safe, durable, stable, roomy, economic, fishing machine.

PS. My customers can also sit in big comfy deck chairs behind the leaning post. Can't in a 27' Contender, there's no room!

It was just one of those days......and a bit more planning would have gone a long way.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

6/8 - why do tides matter?

Had Curt & Butch out yesterday at 1:30 in the afternoon. They were staying at the Ritz-Carlton, and of course had meetings in the morning. So we left out at that time which was 2 hours before high tide.

Not what I'd call any where near "primo" conditions. But I had a spot or two to go and float fish, and that was about all.

Spot #1 - zero current, and zero fish. We were there a whopping 8 minutes, before we packed it in.

Spot #2 - Now, I'm way up river chasing the tide.....and we now had it PERFECT! Immediately, Curt is into Trout. Not large ones as I'd like, but 15-16 inchers. Butch......well he caught a few.

So we plopped it there and I didn't move. And I really didn't have any other choices. "High & Incoming late in the afternoon with the sun blazing overhead....."not a whole lot of choices at my disposal." And after a while I could tell the guys were getting restless. But this is the same place I fished on last Friday with Scott Williams, and they too were restless after an hour or so but we stayed, and boated more fish up to 5 pounds!

It's very hard for fresh water fisherman to realize how important the tide is.....or just plain water movement is. And on many spots it's water movement in the right direction.

Curt seemed to understand what I said to him on the phone...."leaving at that time of day leaves me a bit limited." The important part is remembering what I said while we're out there fishing. I didn't pick when we left.

The guys caught/hooked and lost about 15 or so Trout on that one spot.
So as the tide died and even the commercial "hook & liner" Trout fisherman left, that we accompanied on this spot, we moved across the river to another area.
And as I pulled up, I knew we were about 3 hours too early to have big success here, The tide was high and with barely any current, but we gave it a try. A few bites, came off a jig-n-shrimp combo meal I tossed on the bottom as they drifted their float rigs behind the boat.

So we decided to pack it in and head on back to the boat ramp.

We had a good time shooting the bull and catching some fish, and learning the ways of the float-rig that neither of them had done before.

It was a beautiful day. I can only imagine how good it would have been with a 7am departure. And fishing the falling tide early in the morning with lower light and cooler temps.

This is the time of year that if I have my druthers; we will leave early, and get back early. No sense sitting out there in the blazing mid day sun. 6 hours of fishing, intense fishing!! Getting on them fast. I like a 6:30 departure, if we can. And back and done at 12:30pm.

No photo's were taken today. I didn't want to jeopardize where I was fishing to a photo. I can be that good on some days!! And has been.
But ya know, no matter what the ole float rig and live shrimp sure can catch some fish. And everyone loves it and has a good time.

On 6/7 I went out by myself for a lil' R&D for a few hours. Float rigged the jetties and had a big Bonnethead shark on the float-rig, but just didn't like what I saw so I ran up in the river a little ways and caught some Trout...mostly small ones, and a 29" Redbass on my 9 foot heavy duty G. Loomis "whoopass" Float-rig rod. And I was glad I was using it, too. Because I pulled that big red from under a dock, next to a pile of rocks, with a raging falling tide. Man, I love that rod and reel. But it's only for Heavy Duty structure fishing or really big fish.
It's gonna be my Tarpon/Shark Float-rig rod also.

Here's the pic of me and the tackle and the fish.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

6/6 - Day 2, with Paul & Hoss

Remember, yesterday I said I wanted to go show Paul & Hoss a "ass handing" sized piscatorial punisher?
Well, I did. Unfortunately we never landed a single one.

What we did land was the small sharks in the photo's, plus a nurse Shark about 50 pounds, and a mini-Manta Ray. (and these guys thought those were whoppers!)

But right after we got the Nurse Shark to the boat and messed with it, I noticed one of our lines that was out and away from the boat, was now underneath the boat.
I grabbed my HD Loomis backbouncer, slammed the Accurate twin-drag to 30 pounds of pre- set drag pressure reeled fast and handed it to Hoss.

Here we go...........That fish turned out to be a 100 pound Spinner shark, and when it felt the sting on the 8/0 circle hook it BOOGIED! Snatching ole Hoss into reality. The drag smoked at 30 pounds of drag pressure like it was nothin'.

The fish flew out of the water tail walking and then spinning violently across the surface of the water. Cork-screwing like it was driven by some sort of machine. And at 150 yards away from the boat the leader broke. (50# Mason "hard type" nylon)

Hoss said, "I guess that's here's yer sign in shark talk? Huh, Dave?"

Yep, it sure was, I replied.

I ran out of greenies since I only jigged a few so we went and caught some big fat juicey pogies, and returned to the Mayport Jetties.

This time I re-rigged with 7 foot of 200 pound test crimped leaders with a 15/0 VMC monster circle, and a break-away sinker set up.

And as the incoming tide we go again.

Hoss yells, "Dave I think there maybe something on that one". I reel down, feel, feel, feel. And off it goes!!!

Another monster spinner shark (nearly a Blacktip shark, but with really a bad attitude).
Line literally evaporates off my spool on my Accurate 870. The lever drag is now pushed into the F-U-L-L position. I want to hand the fish to Paul, but cannot. I lean into the shark with all 250 pounds I have, as if I'm trying to break the rod. The fish heads for the north end of the jetties. Go's airborne, and starts "cork-screwing" again. But I have it, and I'm hanging on.

Paul & Hoss are freakin' out.

The fish is now close to 200 yards from the boat, goes airborne again and twists and POP goes my line. I look at Hoss, and say........"here's yer sign".

Man, do those tackle ruining SOB's have some Power. I want tackle that can handle them. The rods and reels I have right now work but I'm not sure if they work that great for this extreme animal that lurks around the jetty rocks in the summer. I 'd like a reel that can drop 75 pounds of drag on these fish. That's over double the drag I have now.

Before I went into being a full time "float-rigger". Me and an ole friend Pelican, used to sit out there and hook those spinners one after another. We started with 7000 Abu Garcia Ambassador reels, Big Game ambassadors, which aren't for any Big Game at all. We soon learned that those reels had no part in fish this size as we'd ruin them and then re-build them, and them ruin them again . That's when I moved up to Accurate reels with twin drags, and they graciously accepted me onto their Guide Program. And shortly after I owned 12 of the best reels I have ever used. BUT...I wasted time with smaller reels that fit on bait casting rods, mostly for big drum in the spring and big Reds in the fall. They work for them, because lets face it, a 30 pound red fights....but not really, compared to a 200 pound Shark hauling ass with a falling tide......and JUMPS!

So I see now that if I really want to be a contender, I'll have to some day step up to the plate and get me a REALLY BIG reel. Because if a 400 pound Tuna can be taken on a Big Accurate reel on a Long Range boat out of San Diego with 30 other guys fishing too, then that's what I need for these sharks. You cannot "light tackle" them at the jetties. Capt Randall my shark "go-to" guy who's commercial fished them for years says, "Dave, you'll never be able to dog one down so bad to keep him from doing the twist somehow. But catch'em at the jetties is asking for doing it the hard way!"

But catching them behind the surf on the beach requires way to much work! Chumming and all that bullshit. They are at the north and south jetties...and when they are there they are ready and able to eat about anything (although small sharks and stingray wings are the best bait) A big fat juicy Pogie always works. You just need good current, as with any fishing.

Here's a photo of the last one I personally boated at the jetties (by myself on a Chunk of stingray wing, of course in the month of June) It was about 125 pounds.
But I want bigger and more of them.
WOW! Now that "was" a big Shark.
It was fun today, but I was missing Float rig fishing
up in the river while fishing the inlet today.
Am I obbsessed or what? I know I have the right tackle
for that kind of fishing, already.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

6/5 - Float Freakin' one mo' time.......

Had Paul O. and his buddy HOSS on board today, they were from Pennsylvania comin on down to Jax. for a little R&R and fishing with the Float Freak.
I have them for two days, so today was day #1 so I figured I feel them out and see if they could "float the float", and they did. Catching 10 puppy Drum. It was all out drum fishing....they were carpeting the bottom on one of my good trout spots, just as they've been for a few trips lately.
So why not????
And the Trout have sort of slacked a bit on the spot, so the drum make for great light tackle fun. No fighting any crowds or seas, it was just what the guys were looking to do.
(maybe tomarrow I'll take them out the inlet and hook them up on something they may not want to tangle with. We'll see. EKG's please? Because now that we're finally in a summer pattern after Tropical storm Barry. Which is just what we needed to get out of that east wind pattern. With lighter SW winds in the morning, I hear bait is everywhere, sharks are prowling, big Reds are scowering the bottom, and Tarpon have been sighted!!)
They went away at the end of their trip with a giant bag of fillets. Care of my fast fish cleaning techniques at the dock.
I told them to get a good nights sleep, eat a good dinner of fish for good luck, drink plenty of fluids, and be at the dock again at 7am.
The river fishing is great. The salinity is lower, and with a good rain shower each day, river fishing will stay steady.
Not everyone is a monster fish kinda angler (I know who and who can not can handle monster fish, believe me.) and although Paul and Hoss may not be able too either, since they are fishing 2 days in a row with me. They deserve an "ass handing" experience tomarrow, before leaving to go back to Pa.
2 passengers for 2 consecutive days is a great way of doing a charter, by the way. Save some dollars by booking two days and getting to do different fishing each day. I enjoy it and if I enjoy YOU WILL TOO!
Call to reserve your private customized 2 day trip now.
Save $$$$$
Here's their recent catch pics:

Friday, June 1, 2007

JUNE 1st - Now it's really SUMMER!

C'C'mon...It's JUNE 1. Yeah, Now It's Really Summer!
Especially since today is the first day of hurricane season.
Other states probably celebrate June 1st with a Apple Harvest Parade.
But not here. We celebrate the summer season with a TAX FREE day to go buy hurricane supplies. And wonder if your home owners insurance company is gonna keep you or send you a nice letter in the mail that you've been cancelled due to "catastrophic catastrophe reduction down sizing".

Either way, here's what I did today; went to the eye doctor for the 4th time in two months, because I can't see right after wearing contact lens' for 34 years. And am attempting to see better with new glasses instead, for at least 3 months, so my eyes will return to normal. So I can get refractive surgery. I hate having to wear glasses & clip-on sunglasses! I will get the eye surgery no matter what I have to do. Then off to run some errands.....

Then I stopped by B&M bait and tackle. PEOPLE went fishing.....two friends of mine. One caught a few trout and was back early. One went and got frustrated. But while I was at the bait shop. Wade, the LOCAL bait shrimper from Yulee, brought in some of the sweetest looking NATIVE shrimp. I'm about sick of those west coast shrimp. They die easy, and just aren't as hardy and lively. These shrimp looked so sweet, I left the bait shop and went and got my boat and came back to get some of those river crickets, and went fishing. It was 1:00 pm.

I hit the river and went shopping for bites with my LOCAL shrimp.
The best source when shopping for bites is going to the fish mall.
Pilings! Pilings! Pilings! But as we all know, not every set has
the occupants we're looking for. But mine did.
And I was into TROUT.
It looked like rain the longer I fished. AND THAT'S OKAY WITH ME!
And now it's "tropical storm" number two called Barry. And it's going to dump some rain on us. Which will only do the St. Johns River some real good. It's starving for some fresh water. Which in turn makes the fishing better.
I caught during the falling tide; 10 - Speckled Trout, 1- Sheepshead, 1 baby Gag Grouper, and a few blues and ladyfish.
The largest Trout (in photo) was 20 inches. And I easily had my 5 fish limit. But I didn't take any ice, didn't plan on keeping a single fish, and released them all.
It was just nice to go out on a whim. I love living so close to the river and the bait shop.
I didn't get any whopper Trout today. I didn't go where I have been fishing with charters. I stayed closer to home. But did fish some old stand-by spots.
LOOK for the rain to make a difference "IF" they aren't blowin smoke up our transom's. 4-5" would be great. But remember, as long as south of Jacksonville gets it real good, it's about as good. Because that fresh water will flow north and give the river a sweet water boost.
I have three days Pre-Reserved next week, so I say Bring on the wet stuff!
FLOAT FREAK.....out.