Saw a documentary last night about people living above the Artic circle that were all subsistence hunters and fisherman......man they caught some seriously big fish in nets under ICE! And it got me thinking. With all our technology, rods and reels, and fancy boats, if you had to subsistence fish in today modern world, you'd probably be on one good diet.
"When I actually catch a Needlefish....it's TOAST!"
I had to of feed 2 dozen PRIME live shrimp to these bastards today. A SUMMER TIME SCOURGE, for sure. And my list is getting longer. (3" Mangrove Snappers, Pinfish, tiny Ringtails, and of course those orange beaked Terns.....the bait stealers from above.) Live shrimp these days is expensive. And each one that gets robbed makes me angry for some reason...hahahahah
I did catch some dinner today, (thanks to my fancy technology, and never give up attitude) Those Needlefish almost sent me packing, though. If I could have shot them all with a gun I would have! But I had to out smart the skinny bastards. We had no real tide today. Yes, the water rose and fell, but anything less that a 4' tide in the St. Johns is a no tide to me. So with less current to deal with the skinny scourges were everywhere.
The first 3-fish of the day, was one that I wish ALL fish were like. GROUPER, baby Grouper. They're eating machines. Baits 3/4's as long as their entire body aren't too big to eat. Hell, they know they have a big mouth and aren't afraid to use it. This one ate a Mullet today as long as it was.
The others were bigger, at least.
Then, I got what I came for. The reason I put the boat in the water on a 97 degree day, and fished in the 88 degree surface temp water.
In between the Needlefish, I slid my float-rig down the rocks I was fishing. (I fooled them by baiting them to some dead shrimp I tossed out and away from the boat) YES, FOLKS IT'S CAME TO THAT. My Float went down and up came a big TROUT to the surface. Almost a "T-rout"....I write T-rout, when I feel they are T-rex size. This one looked a lot bigger in the water. But ended up being 2 feet long.....a 24 incher.
Still waiting on a Trout pushing towards 10 pounds. Each year I think...this maybe it. I don't really believe Trout that size inhabit our river as much as they did many moons ago. For a guy who fishes for just Trout 12 months a year. You'd think I would have at least hooked something close to 9 pounds, wouldn't you?
I think there was more big Trout on this spot, and kept trying for another. Because my theory is "one is okay, two means you were more than just lucky." But the Needlefish ended up running me out of there. So I guess I was just "lucky". I hate that! I don't like feeling Lucky...I like skill, being the reason I catch big Trout. Yes, they are an obsession.
I ran around looking and looking for a place there could be more Trout, and less Needles. Since the tide was so weak, I looked at places that during a solid 4' 5" incoming tide the current would actually be too strong for float-rig fishing. But with today's tide, would be just right. I eventually found that spot. But more than anything, it had a flooding current that was pushing so much bait, it was unbelievable. Schools of mullet, glass minnows, and pilchards were everywhere. Birds going crazy above, and the Trout were below. Up on a submerged, but shallow shell bar.
Instantly, I hooked a Trout. One after another. But since we can only have a (5) Trout in Florida, (15-20", 1 can be over 20") While tossing back the small ones. I weeded through them like a bag of broken potato chips, looking for good one to EAT!
I caught a 15 incher, so in the box it went. And with a small mullet on a fish-finder rig I tossed out, I caught an 18 incher that was just swimming around on a slack line. I only knew I had a fish on that rod when I went to check it......."Lucky again", I guess.
On this one spot I probably caught 25 Trout, and only pulled out two keepers. And I never had a single Needlefish bite, to my knowledge. I banged on those schoolies out of SPITE, till all I had left was some wore out or dead shrimp in the live well. So I packed it in and headed to the dock to clean my Subsistence catch of the day.
When I got home I did make dinner out of these fish and had enough for tomorrow, too.
But not exactly what I wanted. I wanted my (5) Trout. Like the folks up in the Artic circle. I need some fish to eat.----------------------------------------------
School's back in session, and I instantly feel the pinch. Next "pre-scheduled" charter is Sunday.
I'm taking reservations of course, for September and October....Please call ahead to reserve the best tidal dates. I hope things cool down sometime soon. And we could use a good storm to turn over the water, too. I hope this year isn't like last year. No storms, meant no huge rain fall. Which means, no flushing of the river to send all the shrimp out. But It'll come....it always does.
And I can't wait.