Sunday, July 15, 2007

7/14 - A perfect day, with a summer time flair

Had Chris "the Hooch" out with me today. Chris and I have known eachother for at least 10 years. He's fished with me many times, but is also a boat owner himself and an avid fisherman. But has been out of the fishing scene for awhile, is feeling kinda rusty and needed ME to help him get his groove on, again. And he DID!

So what else could he do, than call ole Cappy Dave, and have a great excuse to go fishing in my new boat. He could.... drag his boat out, plug around, maybe or maybe not catch something. And since being out of the loop, go on old recycled information, and do it all in the middle of July, by himself. Not a appealing idea, really. "The Hooch" is a lot smarter than that. This is the man who WON the first ever Jacksonville Offshore Sport Fishing clubs EL CHEAPO Sheepshead Tournament.

So I started thinking and thinking hard about where and what I wanted to do with Chris. Running up river and fish an incoming tide again was out of the question! And since it was going to be just him on the boat, no crowds, no friends, no co-workers. Just him and I. I wanted to do something special, and come up with something really good.

It's been awhile since we fished together. And I really enjoy the Hooch's company, every time he calls me to go fishing. So I called him the night before, leaving a message at his home. And then I started to get a bit worried. Six O'clock passed, then 7 O'clock, and then just before 8pm he called me back. He just got home from work! I was almost passed-out in my Lazy-boy when the phone rang. I told him "if you're tired now, you'll be even more tired when he has to be at the boat ramp at 6:30am", because we were going to head to a spot I haven't fished since April 4th. And it's a bit of a run. I don't know if it'll be the same as in the spring-time. But that last time I was there with just a 2 man charter, in two hours we filled the cooler with Drum, Sheepshead, Trout, Flounder and Redfish. But again........I haven't fished the area since April, so I asked Chris, "ARE YOU IN?" He said, "I'M IN".

So upon arriving at the spot. "UHHHH.....there's someone else already there!!" There's enough room for both of us, I guess. So we begin fishing, and right away Chris nails a Speck. Then a small BlackDrum. So then I get in the mix and we really find the Trout. And in a matter of just a few minutes put 10 beautiful Trout to 19" (no need to measure a single one) in the fish box! It was just what I was hoping would happen and "The Hooch" is feeling good.

But we both kept and eye on the other boat. He was in the drum hole. Hooking pup Black Drum one after another on what looked like Jigs-N-Shrimp. So we pull up anchor and go to SCHMOOZE on over there. The guy in the other boat says, "Ya'll limited out?".....I relied, "Yep, that didn't take long." Then he said to us. "Heck, we're done here, so lets just swap spots." "Now that sounds like a great idea to me". So he pulls off and moves to where we where, and I drop anchor right where he was. And he starts catching Trout, and we start catching Drum! Wow, ....what a decent guy, you don't meet that kind of person very often, anymore. Everyone was happy!

We also caught a 19" Redfish, hooked an unstoppable sized Jack that warped the line around a piling and broke off, and 6 perfect size Drum, with one throwback and a few small Jacks. IT WAS GREAT!

So far, it was the perfect charter on a perfect day. And the Hooch reminded me, "see...and you were sceptical, if it would be worth coming here."

So as the action slowed we packed it up and headed to the south Jetty, with a dozen or so shrimp left in the livewell. We switched over to the whoop-ass twins. My big bad 9 foot, Loomis Pelagic series rods matched up with Shimano Tek-500 reels and a 2 ounce Trout lead and bigger float.

I told the Hooch, that I want to use the bigger tackle here, just incase. In case of a inadvertent Tarpon, Shark or giant Jack hook-up. It's summer, deep summer...and at the big Jetties I take all precautions. (so not to be like many other fisherman that say, "damn I was just fishing along, and hooked a ______ and it schooled me, I wasn't prepared!") Rigged and ready for any takers we pinned on big jumbo local live shrimp, and began drifting a good spot to get your ass handed to ya. But as we fished, I was thinking to myself, "there ought to be some Flounder in here." And I was right.

Chris hooks a decent flattie. And as we continued fishing, I see one of those "PERFECT" Tarpon roll right where we were fishing. About a 20-30 pounder. The hardest of all Tarpon to catch around here. The small ones are finicky. And that's the size I want, of course. They aren't an all day affair to catch. But we get no hook-ups. I picked up the last shrimp in the livewell, pitch it out along the jetty rocks. And my float goes under. It's a nicer size Flounder. We are now officially out of 10+ dozen live shrimp. I look west and there's some seriously dark skies. So we beat it to the boat ramp. There's boats everywhere. But I get up to the dock, I have A LOT of fish to clean!!

The wind builds up, and here comes the torrential rain. Then comes the lightning. Fire in the sky is cracking all around the Mayport area, it was scary.......But Chris and I stand there cleaning all our fish in this weather like a couple nuts as hundreds of boats rush to get out of the water.

Water Spouts off the north Jetty were reported. A boat supposedly didn't make it to the inlet, either. They flipped over (??) and we saw the Coasties rushing towards the inlet, doing what we want them to do.........RESCUES! Instead of hassling fisherman.

Lightning popped all around us, as boaters rushed in from offshore. I heard the ride in was pretty heinous. But, our perfect day wasn't all that affected. So we got a little wet, and I learned I could clean...10-Trout, 6-Drum, 1-Redfish, and 2 Flounder in 30 minutes!! As you can see here, Ole Cappy Dave got his end of day photo for this BLOG and RECENT CATCH PHOTO PAGES before all the shit hit the fan. The Hooch and I had to work fast! Because 2 minutes after this photo was taken. ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!

Go to this quick link to see the rest of the pics:

Thanks, HOOCH!