Had a great window after the morning rains to go hit the inshore waters with a buddy in his 17 footer. So we went out as the tide was rising, went in some creeks and tried our best to figure out how to get from "East Hannah Mills" area, across from the Sisters creek boat ramp all the way up to Weir Creek....also known as, Garden Creek at the mouth of Ft. George above the Kingsley Plantation.
Well, we got pretty darn far up in there heading north. But the use of a 12 foot ladder would have been a great tool to have. Because as we went in creeks and got to dead-ends, we couldn't see over the marsh grass to find the next creek that lead north.
With just the aid of a small handheld GPS that had a map, we didn't get lost, but we never did find our way up to or close to Ft. George area via the maze of creeks back there. I did it once a long time ago, in my 17' skiff I had. I went from Weir Creek (Garden) all the way down to across from the boat ramp at the Sisters Creeks Bridge. It's serious back waters, and can ya' believe we still ran into another boat on a Wednesday morning??? The tide was high, so we really didn't fish much back there.
Frustrated we ditched our plans and came out a creek into the ICW, almost where we wanted....but still over a mile short of our plan.
The Trolling motor (of course) was going wacko. So we lost the real use of that item. So onward we went into the Ft. George area at high tide. Zero was going on, and only caught a big Whiting that had mosied in from the inlet and was sniffing around an oyster bar. And as the tide started to fall we hit all the places I've caught great winter Trout before....and I caught just ONE!
The whole area seemed dead. We went outside the bridge and of course every single bank with structure had a "LBA" on it......a land based angler. So we couldn't hug the structure. Nick my buddy said, "Boy, Jacksonville's un-employment rate must be thru the roof, since even on a Wednesday there's people everywhere ya go!"
So we worked our way back inside Ft. George. It's been more than a coons age since I've been up there and the place is just one huge sand bar these days, compared to years ago. But some of the same spots I used to fish were still the same. Still no Trout! So we tried another spot.....and Nick caught a really nice one. Then we had 2 questionable sized fish, we released. Then, I got a big fattie.
As all of this was going on, we started to notice that the whole boat was covered in small FLIES!
I'm not talking 50 or 100.....but a thousands of small FLIES. They were covering the whole boat. We laughed and joked about it at first, and I said, "hey buddy, I think ya need to pressure wash this boat with some Clorox and soap, ya have some funk attracting them". But really that wasn't it, maybe someone didn't shower?? hahahahah. They were coming out of the marsh grass or something. Attracted to the boat for some reason. And then came the gnats. At first they were just in our ears, but as we kept fishing we started getting them in our mouths as we talked....I swallowed a few hundred! Nick was freakin out! I kept fishing.
We were perfectly positioned on a spot that SHOULD have been a Trout fest. A beautiful bank with thick oysters, marsh grass and good water flow, and the tide was falling fast. If there's a classic looking Trout bank in Ft. George this spot was one of them. But the fish were sporadic. I even caught a big Lookdown. What a cool fish! A chrome hub cap, with fins and a mouth.
That's the cool thing about Ft. George and Nassau Sound. Sometimes you catch uncommon fish while looking for Trout.
By now the gnats were really bad. We couldn't breath they were so thick on us, and the boat was literally covered with flies. WE NEED TO HAVE THIS BOAT EXORCISED!!!!!
Nick couldn't take it a second longer. And he did his best. But I was the one in shorts, he had long pants on. Maybe I could take it because he caught one more trout than I did and I wanted to up him. I was willing to stay. I kept saying, "see when the wind blows....they all go away", but there was hardly any wind. I was just saying that to bide some more time for my float to go down!
We ended up leaving and had two big fat Trout in the box. And ran as fast as that lil boat can go, 40 MPH. Which is pretty fast! All the way back to the lil Jetties where we fished a really good spot. And on a Wednesday, remember....watched the USCG want to come hassle us, but turned away at the last moment for some reason, then watched boat after boat blow the "No wake zone", just after the FWC passed by. Then, got waked some more by idiots that just don't get it. And then watched the FWC come back and BLOW the no wake zone himself.
I think we learned their trick. When they want to run that zone behind the Lil' Jetties, they just put on their Blue Lights! And run thru it. Because it was WAY too obvious to us as we watched them pull into the zone, turn on the blue lights, get up on plane, and blast away.
I think not. Because I've seen them do that before.
Can they not hit a Manatee? (and we all know these zones are all bureaucratic)
I think not.
One thing is, we can't prove that they do turn on the blue lights when they want to get up on plane and get a donut and cup of coffee back at the office. But C'C'mon...It's not an unobvious trick.
Hypocritical? I think YES.
So we sat there and fished a really great spot and caught Mangrove snappers, but NO trout. Then moved and tried another spot, and caught Mangrove snappers, and no Trout. I think we had some bad mojo, going on here today. Or either it was just a bad day. I went to my graphic when I got home, to check out what the deal was with the combined Barometer and winds.
And the barometer was LOW, as we fished, but so was the winds. I'm still trying to figure out the correlation between Barometer and slow fishing days.
Although not set in stone here are some basic guidelines.
Rising Barometer: Fishing is Best
Rapidly Fluctuating: Indication of good fishing (regardless of fluctuating up or down).
Static Barometer: Fishing is poor
Falling Barometer: First part of fall is good fishing. After the fall continues for several hours, the more the it goes down the poorer fishing will be.
Unusually Low Barometer: Don't bother going fishing!
This graphic has the 28th and 29th on it so is this just a forecast of the winds and barometer??
But it's what I look at in addition to the reports I use for the Mayport Pilots station dock, weather at:
Either way, we had hardly any wind today, but of course I have a charter tomarrow and the forecast is Small Craft Advisory 20 knots.....so I'll be re-scheduling another one for later.
The problem is no planning. I get calls, and people want to go the next day. And we get blown out. So we end up planning anyhow for a day that isn't Small Craft Advisory 20 knots from the N.E.
Oh well. Tis' the season for small windows of good weather. And that's what I strive for.....work with me folks.....work with me.