Today, was the last day of the Hurricane season in Florida...bet ya haven't gave that much thought, have ya'?
Well, I had my nose seriously out of joint yesterday. I had a charter on Wednesday, well it was scheduled at least. Then, Wednesday morning at 6:30am I called my customer and said, "well we won't be going in this Small Craft Advisory today, the winds blowing 20 knots from the N.E. So let's go tomorrow. There's gonna be light winds Thursday." My customer, says he doesn't want to go on Thursday, and we reschedule for next week.
I hang up thinking, W-H-A-T?
So I get all tangled up on Thursday doing the "Bob Villa" thing, installing new appliances in my kitchen. Well new to me, given to me by my Aunt who got "brand new" ones. So all day, all I could think of was, "incoming tide, Trout, Reds in the green water...slam dunking fish after fish on another 80 degree November day" . Yeah, that's what it would have been like. But for some reason my customer and I are not out there. I'm installing a dish washer, overhead Microwave, and a stove, with no hardware....."where's those damn screws??"
So of course, today's forecast wasn't nearly as good, as Thursday. Just so you know, if your a possible potential customer, ALWAYS TAKE MY WEATHER ADVICE. Being a fishing guide usually also means we are "marine weatherman" too. Most of the time the forecasts on TV are for a Walmart parking lot on the west side of J-ville. Screw that! Listen to me! I know my watery world, that's why YOU are hiring me....or so I think.
To get my nose out of joint, I had to go today. I had 5 dozen live shrimp still in my boat that Nick and I didn't use last Wednesday while in his boat, and they are now sub dividing the livewell and selling condos in there! They need to die in a Trout or Reds mouth. I hate it when they get too comfortable in there.
So I went at 8am. Which was too early, because the area I fished when I got there was a falling tide but had no real current. Plus, the water was really dirty. So I had to hang around and picked and poked till I saw that green water moving. Plus, today it was cold and overcast and windy from the NW and then North later in the day. But I did get to literally watch the "front" pass right by. The sky finally opened up, and it got sunny and warmer in a matter of just minutes as the mass of clouds headed south like a blanket being pulled across the sky.
So when that current came and the water cleared up, here came the fish. I was float-riggin along with my "L.T." rod and reel (light tackle), when I got my butt handed to me by a big Red that I couldn't stop. My 8'2" Loomis 'greenwater' rod bowed like a horseshoe, as I tried real hard to keep the fish out of the rocks. Pop! Went that 15# leader. So I grabbed my "B.T." the Loomis Bucara 8 footer (big tackle) that is a man's kinda rod! It has big handles, and handles big fish!
I pitched out and drifted to the same spot, and in the choppy water the float was bobbing up and down and when my eye caught up with it again, the float disappeared. I reeled fast and lifted...."Oh, no......another ass hander". And before I could yell "WHOA NELLIE", the leader popped on a rock. WOW, Big Reds in the Slop, again. If I forgot to mention, the water was nasty rough, and the waves were folding....again!
It seems that either the SLOP likes me or I like the SLOP, because I seem to always be fishing in it. It's okay. I can handle it.
As soon as those reds showed up they were gone, because I just couldn't get another bite like those. The wind was honkin' and the anchor kept pulling free, and every 5 minutes the boat would drift off the spot. ARRRGGG!
So I re anchored, in a patch of calmer water behind a high rock. Pitched out the B.T. again and started catching Specks! "Hmm, I can dig it."
But the only problem was that I didn't bring any ice for the cooler. I was doing a serious "on a budget" trips today. And man were these
Trout nice and fat. I easily had my limit of
5 trout as I rotated between the "B.T. & L.T." rigs.
Mixed in were those classic winter species, Weakfish aka: yellowmouths.
And they sure are spunky. I can usually call it when I have a Speck or a Yellers hooked up. The Speck just doesn't run like the other "less respectable Trout".
But I love 'em all. Yellowmouth Trout are just plain fun to catch, I think. But of course I really love those monster Speckled Trout. I like the way they hunt, and what you as a angler have to look for to catch'em.
I was really hoping to hook up another big Red, because I was now more alert and that blanket of clouds was now gone. The sun was out and the day just looked better. But as hard as I tried, it was just more Specks and Yellowmouth Trout. Either way, both were running 18-20 inches.
Which ain't bad.
You can see, I didn't take the time to even photograph the Yellowmouths the way I did the Specks. But I do respect the fiesty fight they give. They're not the "Rodney Dangerfield" fish, that everyone makes them out to be. If you're looking for fast action, and big ones, the jetties in the winter is your place! I've caught them to 6 pounds out there, and the largest was caught on a MirrOlure 52-MR. They will also take a jig and grub tail, and they will gobble a DOA shrimp.
I love the jetties in the winter!
I got about 10 Specks and 8 Yellers,
and the action just died. So I headed
into the river. Not far, but just inside.
The tide was now high as it was gonna get, I had 5 live shrimp left, and I wasn't quiting till either the bait was gone or I caught a Redfish!!
I had to be redeemed. My pride was hurt loosing those two big fish back to back, I'll admit to that!
So I anchored up on a spot where I've caught, Reds, Trout, Flounder & Sheepshead. Let me re-state that...really, by now there isn't many spot where I haven't caught all those species and more. But when I pick a spot to go to it's, "what have I caught here recently, can I float-rig it in these conditions, and is the current right?" That's what goes through my mind, before I drop anchor. Oh, that's another thing, "what's the best anchoring angle, to be able to drift the spot?"
My 3rd drift out I had a bite as I tightened up my line. It fought good, wanting to get back to the structure. But gave up kinda quick.......Pup Redfish. Well, I guess it's time to quit and go home, right? That's what I said I'd do, but now my curiosity was peaked, so I pitched out and made a few more drifts in what little current or wind drift there was left. Float went down and I had a nice Trout. It came to the surface three times and was really putting on a show for me as it jumped a few times. That's something not all Trout do. But this one was spunky.
Okay, time to pack it in. Clean out the livewell, put everything away and head to the ramp, and
not clean any fish. Which was a time saver, I thought. Because when I got to the boat ramp I
saw ole Bud, from Boaters World sitting at the ramp reading a book in his car. He said his wife was in Minnesota up in the 22 degree's, so he could do anything he wanted, and waste as much time as he wanted doing nothing. I told him, "sounds like your leading the life of Dave...because that's me. I do anything I want, mostly."
He'd never seen my new boat close up so I gave him the .50 cent tour, before I put it on the trailer and headed home, to do my BLOG report for all of you!
Please remember when reserving your charter:
-Heed my advice on winter weather, good or bad.
-Remember your hiring a professional Guide, not a Taxi cab.
-Try your best to do some kind of planning.
-Boat traffic matters.
-Weekdays are great.