Thursday, August 9, 2007

8/8 - Let's experiment...7-species within a square mile

Had Jeff Heath, and two friends aboard today. The two friends were some of our local Navy boys out of Mayprt.

Since the last few trips in the river has been for crap, I headed north to Amelia Island. Float-rig rods, and my medium weight bottom rods matched with my lil' power houses, Accurate Boss-197's with twin drags. I was ready for about anything.
ACCURATE TWIN DRAG B-197 - the ultimate light tackle powerhouse!

If ya don't know by now, there's BIG Specks in the surf this time of year. And as I always say, I'll go anywhere to catch them (I usually do). And I've been picking off some surf Specks here and there. And when ya do, they ain't small ones. Last trip to Amelia we boxed 4 from 19-23". It's not a quantity kind of thing, but rather a quality thing.

And last Saturday when I had that Scout boat about run me over, I was experimenting in a slew. A sand bar just off the beach with good water in between. So I headed right to that spot today......but on a falling tide. When I usually catch these fish it's on an incoming tide, instead though.

But experimenting we will go.......So I anchored just off the beach in 4 feet of water, we had monster current doing the FLUSHING , so no worries about water movement. Bait was all over, and when I see bait, meaning finger mullet, I know TROUT....BIG Speckled Trout should be in the area.

So I get the 3 guys going on the float-rig and they take to it like water. I see no problems here. They ought to do good. Jeff, their host has his float go BYE, BYE, first. And he comes tight with a real big fish.....and it's a trout. Taking drag, on the light tackle and small hook. And here's our first Speckled Trout. An absolutely beautiful 4 pound 23 incher. They're so gorgeous coming out of clean green ocean water. I felt soooooo good being able to target these trout, even on the least of all productive tides. But that's my goal. I want to know and be able to do all. When it comes to these fish that NO ONE else can claim much if any knowledge of. Surf Trout? I might as well be speaking french to the average "who-yaw" around here. They haven't a clue, how to get them in the wide open ocean.

So, one isn't proving much. But it meant the world to me. So my boys keep on fishing. Loosing baits to un-knows, hooking un-knows, loosing the un-knows........but that's okay. If it's what I'm looking for, they take the float down. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Because Trout don't mess around, especially big Trout.Jeff's up again, (the man from Indiana) this time it's a real ass-hander. The drags ripping, and he fights it to the boat, then around the motor, then up on the surface. This fish would have been lost if I let that happen! But folks on vacation from Indiana, get 2nd chances. It's a nice Redfish....exactly 27 inches (max keeper size) I'm really excited now.

We may have only two fish in the cooler, but let me tell ya', these two fish, where we are fishing, takes INSIGHT with EXPERIMENTATION, and I'm the only one I see who does this. Plus there's always more than one way to skin a cat. As the tide slows towards dead low, I don't see that the other two fella's having the appreciation for what Jeff just happened into, so we move on and go catch some Whiting up in Nassau Sound. It's a waylay!!!! All the 10-12" Whiting you could ever want. I couldn't keep up with re-baiting lines and casting out for the guys. But the fish were really small. So we kept some frier's, and threw back the rest, along with Jacks and Ladyfish.

Off to spot #3. Now is when things get really interesting.I find a 10' hole out amongst and area that's averaging 6 foot. So I drop anchor. And tell the guys "let's continue with the bottom rods, and shrimp for bait....dead or alive."So the first bait casted out was of course the fishes go to bait. Steve feels the fish move remember we were just Whiting fishing.

He has a 3 oz. sinker on a Nylon slider above a swivel attached to a 15 pound test leader, and a Eagle Claw 2/0 L197 circle hook. And as the fish moves off he let's it pull down on the rod as I taught him. AIRBORNE.......go's a 30-50 pound class Tarpon!


Caught on a rig meant for a one pound fish, and a piece of dead shrimp! Steve does great. The fish stays close to the boat, as it leaps 4 times completely out of the water. He keeps the fish on. Around and around the boat the fish swims. Getting closer to the gaff in my hand the whole time. If I could have just touched the leader, or if he could have just put the swivel of the rig at the rod tip, I would have considered it a catch. But the fish remained 10 feet away at least at all times.I stayed anchored up and Steve had the fish swim by the anchor 2-3 times already. No more following a Tarpon for Cappy Dave......that's BS. Cause every time I do that the fish rests as we drive around a lot, with the Tarpon in control of the battle. A "No-No" in my book. So we stayed anchored up in the current.

Under the boat the fish went in the 10 feet of water, around some more, and as Steve's T-shirt became soaked with sweat, the fish went for the bow, and it went around the anchor before Steve could blink. I pulled the anchor and we still had the fish on....but as I looked and saw multiple wraps around the anchor line the fish parted with us.As we quickly found out, the fish broke the Eagle Claw tiny 2/0 circle hook in half! And on Steve's line was swinging a perfectly good 15 pound Ande 24" leader, a 3 oz. bank sinker and a hook shank and eye.

We saw more Tarpon busting all around us as Steve fought his fish, so I upped the hook size to a 5/0 and leader to 30 pound and we tried for another, with no more Tarpon hook-up's afterwards. I know why! The falling tide was over by then and we sat on a slack anchor line, and had no water movement. And then saw no more Tarpon.

The guys caught some bigger Whiting that could eat a 5/0 circle hook, and a few small sharks. So we moved on.I re-anchored up by the beach. And we used the float-rig rods and were assholes to elbows in a full fledged Ladyfish RIOT. And after 10 of them, we packed it up, because Steve had to get to work and make some noise around Mayport in one of those Helicopters that circle the area constantly.

So it was a great day full of surprises, and a guy from Indiana who was the lucky on the float-rig in the morning.I love when some experimenting comes together. Give me an incoming tide and I'll find more of those jumbo Speckled Trout.....(just not a Saturday please)

I HAVE A NEW DIGITAL CAMERA it when I came home. So I'll be back taking daily report and recent catch photos of the day. It's a SEALIFE under water and on land waterproof digital camera. It's really nice. And as the old saying goes, "nothing stays dry on a center console boat, that is the reason I went with a dive camera....rated to be used down to 75 feet!