Monday, December 17, 2007

12/17 - Freeze...or Fish?

Had Steve and Ron N. with me today. Steve's a marathon runner and was here in J-ville for a race. And since his dad is the "fisherman" they thought it would be nice to take in some salty air.
Well that was way over a months ago when I first talked to Steve and he reserved his day.
But all looked good for race day. He said, "damn it was humid running those 26.2 miles." He really did good finishing in the top 20 out of over 1200 runners! So then, there was the phone call I made to him yesterday evening. "Steve, ya'll have any really warm clothes with ya?"
He replied...."Ahhh, yeah we'll wear everything we have." So, as I told him the weather's going from warm all week to really cold. I was thinking, "I hope he's prepared!"

Hey, this is the way it always seems to work out. Have a great guy reserve way in advance, arrive when it's like summer all the way from Connecticut and then his day of fishing is like no kind of coldness we've felt in a long long time. He and his dad only had today. They were catching a plane back home at 6pm. So this was it!

I arrived at the ramp early as usual, and it was me and a few Mullet chasers in the parking lot. That was it. Yeah, the mullet fisherman. Another fish crazy bunch. So I sat in my truck and waited for the sun to come up, for our 7:30am departure. I had on so many jackets and fleece pants with Grundens foul weather slickers I could hardly move. As I stepped out of the truck for a brief moment in the dark, I could feel the wind blowing and it didn't feel good.

Conditions according to the Mayport Bar Pilot weather station were at 6am:
Temp: 36.5 degrees
Wind chill: 29.1 degrees
Wind speed: 12 knots
Barometer: 30.21"

I knew the minute I rounded the corner to head to the jetties, we were gonna have our world "rocked"....(no pun) I mean, wind and cold.

As I waited and Steve pulled up, I glanced at the flag standing atop the pilot station building, and it was at full attention, flapping good and steady. I walked over to greet Steve & Ron and said, "I'm here to do a toughness check!" They chuckled, and said they would suit up and could take it. Hey, they were from Connecticut. So they jumped in the boat after I put it in the water, and we headed East. I usually have the boat in the water already. But just in case they said "NO WAY", I figured it was best to wait.

Impressed, as most are with my boat. We idled towards the Navy Basin before I go the balls to get up on plane, it was so bone chilling. The river had "fog" coming off of it. Ya don't see that very often. From the cold air laying, and the 65 degree water. (it's hard to see in the photo, but it was there)

We worked a good spot, but of course the very apparent 20knots of wind out here had the boat jerking the anchor out of the rocks, every 5 minutes. We never had a bite, either on the last few minutes of falling tide current. Aggravated as usual with keeping the anchor holding in this wind (I need a larger jetty anchor) I said, "hell with this fellas, I have a plan, lets get outa here!"

So we ran up river to a spot I call my safe spot, an area that I can always catch some fish on a really bad weather day. That's got a little protection from the wind.

After I got the guys all situated, and familiar with the how's and why's of the spot, Steve the "non-fisherman" hooks up on the first fish. A 19" Trout....skinny but still 19 inches.

Then, he catches another one. His dad and I are looking at him, because he just got done telling us that he doesn't fish.

If these pictures don't scream COLD IN J-VILLE
nothing does. Glad there's no photo's of me, because I couldn't bend over to pick a shrimp off the deck, I had so many layers on.

So....we found some Trout! I was feeling a lot better now. Better, not warmer!

Then, right after I said "ya'll ought to pick up a few rat Reds, Steve sets the hook again and starts
reeling in a small Redfish.
He does it again, and again.

Ron, his dad had to be thinking,
"what the hell's wrong with my shrimp?"

He ended up with one pup Red, and a small Trout. But Steve "the rookie" was the one fish all the fish for the box.

The guys ended up with 4 Reds and 6 Trout, a Jack Crevalle... believe it not! Aren't these fish supposed to be down in Ft. Pierce by now?

Keeping the first two Trout and a 21" Red.

But what were they gonna do with the fish? So I suggested, cleaning them, and taking the fillets over to Singleton's Seafood Shack and having them cook them up for lunch.

A perfect way to end a frigid fishing trip, before heading to the airport to head back North.

The guys agreed and thought that was a great idea.

I tell many people who don't have the want or means to keep their fish to do that, because there's no better way to enjoy a fishing day then eats some of your catch, before catching a plane
home. I know that's what I'd like to do if I was
on a time line.

Steve and Ron were great sports. They told me that they really were impressed with my patience, instruction, and my boat. No matter how bad it was out there, at least they were comfortable and had some fish, laughs, fun and stories to tell back in Connecticut.

All I could think about as I talked to Steve was that he ran 26.2 miles yesterday, and was out fishing today in this cold weather. He said he was stiff and sore today, but was good enough to fish all day. What an athlete!

He told me, "that ain't nothing, back home I've run 100 mile races!"

Personally, I can't run around the boat ramp parking lot with being stiff the next day. But then again, there's no fish in the boat ramp parking lot!

I was supposed to take Kirk M. (from 12/14) tomorrow, but due to this cold weather we decided that because I'm a cold weather wussy, we'll try it again on the 23rd or 26th instead.

I'll sure be glad to see 80 degrees again!
After today, I'll take 65 and no wind.

Today wouldn't have been so brutal, if it wasn't for the wind.

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