Ahhhhh....Cool weather! It started a few days ago, I guess. But today was winter on the water for myself and Nick. And at the same time, unfortunately it was a wet first day.
I met to go on Nicks boat, (his 17 Seachaser) at B&M Bait and Tackle at 8am. Where it looked like rain, and by the time we got our ice and shrimp and were ready to head to the boat ramp, it was raining.
No big deal, I brought a light rain jacket, a really old rain jacket that leaks, and was in shorts wearing of course, my Crocs. Nick was in full Frogg Toggs rain gear. The tide was high as we left with some serious rise still to come. A 6.3' High Tide, which meant a lot of fooling around till it turned, and a lot of Dave getting really wet and cold as the wind blew.
It was actually very cold out on the water. So much that through my leaky jacket, wet shorts and Crocs I needed to do something about this situation. So we headed back to the boat ramp, so I could run home real quick and get my full weather gear, and a fleece shirt for me and one for Nick...and to put on my winter Crocs. As we got to the ramp there was others there who were calling it quits, already.
Home and back in exactly 14 minutes, I was decked out in my serious winter wear, and Nick was warmer in a fleece shirt too. So off to any where different than the first two places we tried at the super flood tide. Although a few bait stealer's, one catfish and one small Trout were caught. So as we headed north from the Oak Harbor boat ramp on our second half of the day, I suggested a spot.
And for the next several hours we sat there having a great time. I mean, ya know it's a good spot when "yours truly" flips out my first live river cricket (shrimp) on the Float-rig and it drifts 10 feet and I have a 4 pound Trout hooked up. That's a "here's yer sign" situation!
(also know as Instantaneous Gratification)
So we got real busy fishing all angles possible, and started hooking up Trout after Trout.
Some were just under 15", but most weren't.
And then of course here comes the FWC. And picking the lowest fruit on the tree is always how they conduct business. Even though just 30 minutes before we watched multitudes of "Ghetto Cruisers" (giant boats that throw enormous wakes) run full speed ahead through the "Minimal Wake Zone" behind the Little Jetties. So we had to go through that routine before commencing our Trout Wackage.
I did get out of one Officer, "Holy Cow, that's a nice Trout"....I told him that's why I fish here.
Back on track now, Nick started to wack'em damn good. Then he caught a Bluefish we thought was another big Trout, then he caught a "chipper" Flounder.....Hmmm, variety?? But as the tide got low in a real hurry. More variety came, as in the Mangrove Snapper, juvenile Grouper category. I said to Nick, "before this current gone we ought to catch a few more Trout", and he caught 2 more, and I caught one.
What more could two guys in full winter fishing out wear ask for?
It was a good day as long as the tide was falling.
Because all it took was to choose a good spot, get a little lucky and we were quickly forgetting about the weather.
It's funny how accustomed one can get to having endless amounts of room in a boat. Nick 17' Seachaser is a nice little boat. But as he said, "It sure is different huh? Your always running into something." That maybe, but I have to remember how good I have it when it's just a few of us on my boat. It's all the room you want. I saw a boat ad for a bay boat the other day, that had a slogan, "EVERY THING YOU NEED, AND NOTHING YOU DON'T" Which perfectly describes my boat, I feel. We went no where today in Nick's 17 footer that I couldn't have gone in my 26 footer. And even though it was a tide with 2 feet higher water than normal....shallow was a relative term, today. We tried it, but really didn't catch what we wanted till we got into the main part of the river.
We end up with our Trout limit easily and threw back a few small ones and keepers, kept a big Croaker, and a Bluefish for Redfish cut bait on a later trip.....and I was loving it. And will love these eats, too.
It maybe Flounder time for many, but I'm not gonna throw the cast net for hours at high tide for Mullet. My bait is Live Shrimps! And B&M had some super sweet ones today.
And those lil' bait stealing sand perch in the creeks at high tide convinced me you don't need to bitch if you get bit by a Mangrove Snapper in a creek! The Sand Perch were everywhere in the creeks we fished.
It felt 100% different on the water compared to on land. And that's a sure sign of a wintery type day. But hold on to your hats folks, because the difference "on Land" versus "on the water" for the next few days is gonna be dramatic! We're in for a Big Blow. This time of year the fronts, or Noreasters will start to pass through way more frequently. And even though it's a real pain, when they land on the days I have people reserved for, or on every single weekend. Just don't forget about how hot and miserable it was in July. Unless you like catching more Needlefish than Trout, and more Jacks and Ladyfish than Redfish, in the river around Mayport.
I know I don't. We're finally getting into "MY" time of year. And it spells, T-R-O-U-T !