What a gorgeous day. Cool on land this morning, and cold on the water, with lots of Florida sun! But don't let this photo scare ya...I look like that all winter. It maybe my Yukon Cornelius look, but actually I had a T-shirt and shorts under my foul weather gear. Remember, I'm the anchor puller and don't care to get wet or sick.
Largest Trout of the day was this one at 21 inches. And I swore it was a the first Sheepshead of the season on the float-rig and a live shrimp, because it fought like a Sheeps in the current. With that tell-tale side to side action, but I was real glad to see it was a good sized Trout instead.
I had my limit (5) and had to throw back around 6 more of various sizes.
I only fished 3 spots all day, on the falling tide. And I'm not even gonna count when I went to the jetties. Because I couldn't stay anchored up, even though I was tossing the anchor way up in the rocks. The swell and boat jerking from side to side in the wind at high tide, had me packin it in before I could even settle in.
Stopped by and talked to a couple friends that were fishing the north jetty with fiddler crabs, they caught 6 Sheepshead and even a Trout on a crab. Then they float-rigged a little and had 3 more Trout.
It's fall in full swing now. And I like it. The water temps are diving and the bait stealers today were almost non-existant. I even caught a Mangrove Snapper that went 14 inches. It was a real fatty and of course went straight into the cooler.
The NE breeze blew, but it wasn't that bad except at the jetties. So I went into the river and caught my Trout. Of course, the best bites are on the last of the falling tide as usual.
The last spot I hit, I ended up being right on time for it. I pulled up and anchored, pinned on a live shrimp, and pitched my float out. My first 4 casts were Trout, instantly. I love this spot, because if you time it right as I've learned, many time you can have a limit of Trout in 5 drifts of the float-rig. I ended up boxing a few more and released the rest.
Then, I pitched a jig and shrimp out because I was hoping for a Black Drum. Which is sometimes a frequent catch in the cooler water at this spot. But instead on my first cast, I hooked up an exact 27 inch Redbass. Man, what a light biter this fish was....tick, tick is all I felt through my braided line and Loomis, Greenwater rod. So I lifted up slowly, and then felt the weight of a big fish, and then set the hook.
Ya know, I notice everything on my boat. And I know a lot of "fishing's details" only come with experience. But all too many times I see people feel a tap, be it a small bait stealer or a goodsize fish and they rear back like they're setting the hook on a steel jawed Whale. Ya' know what happens if you hardly do anything, when feeling a tap, tap on your line? The fish will continue to eat the bait and move off with it. Especially, if it's a Red, Black Drum, Flounder or even a Sheephead. Because the fish we are after eat their food whole. So let them take it.
I have to constantly remind customers to not jerk. Light tackle fishing is all about "THE FEEL"....and if I mentioned this once, I mentioned it a thousand times; "Bill Dance and Roland Martin, and the whole slew of TV bass fisherman do nothing but make my people loose fish." Bass fishing is bass fishing....and I bet you don't have to do those slamming hook sets to catch a Bass either. It's just something we as saltwater light tackle fisherman don't have to do.
I prefer small fine wire, very sharp hooks. Because they are "sticky". Think about it, is it easier to drive a needle into a piece of wood, or a 10 penny nail? I use "needles" when ever I can, and leave the 10 penny nails to the Shark or Tarpon fishing, not Trout, Reds or Flounder or Sheepshead. Along with a whole bunch of other species. Then, I match my tackle to the hook. Tackle should always be matched to that one thing on the business end. I like long rods with a light tip, and light drag settings too.
Especially for Float-rig and Jig fishing. A light-action rod gives you the sensitivity needed to feel those tap, tap type bites of even large fish.
I'll never forget going to a seminar when I was a member of the Inshore Saltwater Anglers Club here in J-ville. It was given by a Tournament Bass Fisherman, and if I recall it was all about using soft plastic baits, and similarities between Bass and saltwater baits. The fella was very knowledgeable, but as he passed around some jigs and plastic baits, I about fell out of my seat!
He commonly used a quality jig head, that was painted real nice, and had a black chrome hook. The only problem is the hook was an 8/0 size!! Holy crap, I use an 8/0 hook for Tarpon and sharks, and he's using this monster hook for a 2 pound Bass??? The baits maybe similar, but that's where it all ended in my book. He'd probably freak out if he and I went to the Mayport Jetties and a I break out my jigheads that have a 1/0 hook, that's made out of thin wire. And can commonly catch Redbass in 40 feet of water.......10+ pound Reds at that! And that's just not me, I've had thousands of customers do it too. Which in my mind is like tournament fishing, because ever fish counts on a charter.
Oh well...to each his own. That's why Baskin & Robbins has 31 flavors of ice cream.
Let's go fishing...it's that time of year I've been waiting for all year. And if you fished with me this summer in the blazing heat, it's NOW the time of year I probably told you to come back for the "better fishing". Because you probably said as most do, "Dave, when's the better time to fish here?"