Thursday, January 31, 2008
Well......since then "stick a fork in my ass", cuz I'm done! Today I had Ashley, and his dad and son on board.
Today reminded me of that line from the movie, "Something about Mary" Where Chris Elliott who played Woogy, says to Ben Stiller, "Each day is worse than the next."
Since last Tuesday, that's how it's been in the Mayport fishing department for me. And I can see that it not only is a change in the fishing. But it's a change in the people I have fishing.
When the fish aren't behind the boat chewin'.....it's not as fun. People get all quiet, and I'm the only one even making any comments.
I'm not gonna go into any details, because honestly I don't have the strength too.
BITES, ya gotta get'em if your gonna catch a fish!
Somethings gotta give. Redtide wasn't even as bad as this week.
March 1, is only 29 days away!
Monday, January 28, 2008
So we had some time till the water started moving the "right way".
The water was cold, but I had confidence that once the tide got low we could do better than yesterday's freezing incoming, all morning.
The fellas were not all that "keen" on my racks full of high dollar baitcasting reels. But they seemed to do fine as most do, kicking the spinner habit for one day. Ya' don't fly fish with a Zebco, and ya don't float-rig with a Spinner! It's just that simple, in my mind.
So to make this short and sweet, cause I'm tired today. They didn't even get bit until the water was low. And I knew it was gonna be that way, going in. We fished some creeks that I can get in. First was a winter sized Flounder around 14". Then a Sheepshead. We then moved on after seeing that those two were it, in between the pinfish bites. And caught a few Reds at that spot, too.
One thing I observed is that even though float-rigging is easy. You have to work at your presentation constantly.
I told Tom the ole story about two tournament King fisherman in the same Go-Fast boats with racing stripes and 5 engines on the stern. Both boats are exactly the same....as so many are in that field of fishing. Both are fishing 6 lines, on down riggers, and on top. Both are dragging chum bags. Both have the latest and greatest tackle. Both have the stealthiest rigs out with hand caught ribbonfish. Both are side by side on the same stretch of bottom offshore.
But one boat is getting bites, hooking fish, and putting them in the custom fish bag. And the other isn't......WHY?
Well the answer is; one of the boats is doing 25 things right all at the same time. The other isn't. They're drinking beer, listening to the radio chatter, and only shaking the chum bag every once in awhile.
That same thing goes for Float-rig fishing or any fishing. And when the going gets tough as it is now with the cold water, and tides that aren't all the strong. I believe presentation and every detail counts. That's fishing.
We went to a spot I had planned on trying once it got right. Again in shallow water. The temp was now up to 57 degrees over the 54 we had at the high tide. It was GO time.
And the guys caught a few Trout, a throwback, and a few more pup reds. But, it may have just been me. I think there was a lot more fish behind us....there had to be!
The water was warmer, the wind was damn near dead calm, and the water was slick as glass. As the sun started to go down we moved not far away and I pitched them to right where I caught a 21", a 20" and a 19" Trout in three casts last Tuesday. The only difference was the current speed.
They caught a few Trout, but no big fish bites.
Many spots where there's shallow water fish, are out of my reach I'm sure. Back in the creek behind the creek....especially the larger Reds. It's this way every year at this time.
DOA Rob did real well early this morning at low water in his Kayak. He caught good Trout, in a shallow area off the main river.
Right now, it's as if you only need to do a 1/2 day trip, with a just before low tide departure. And as soon as the tide starts pouring in and the water starts to come up. Time to go home. No sense trying to work any high water. At least not in my opinion.
Thursday's my next day up, again with a 3 pak.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
You would have never have known it, by the looks of the weather report. And the way the afternoon turned out. But Jaclyn & Brian H. from Ft. Worth Texas showed up right on time.
Prepared? MMmm, personally I don't think so. Brian must have polar bear in his blood, because just looking at him made my heart skip a beat, the way he was dressed.
I gave fair warning over the phone twice. While they were still in Texas, and when they arrived in J-ville.
Another thing I had a bad feeling about was the FISHING! Being that we were all freezing. Can ya' just imagine how the fish feel? The Cold Blooded critters? Water temps were 54 degrees on my RayMarine C-120 machine as we headed to the first spot. That was the first thing, now for the second. INCOMING TIDE! All you're asking for then is more cold water to come flood the shallows. Not a favorite of mine by now means. Third thing, but not all that bad as forecasted, was the 15-20 kt. winds from the N.W. I have a good feeling that's why it felt so dang cold. All that fridged air blowing from over land, cold land! If the wind was N.E. or S.E. at least that's air that came across warmer waters.
One thing about water temps and fish species. Most of our local fish really seem to fade off, when the water temp drops below 60 degrees. Check a preference chart, sometime and see for yourself. It's just part of the burden we bare here in N.E. Florida in the deep winter. But on the bright side, thank goodness it's not below 60 very long.
Right off the "git-go" I handed Brian a rod and reel and got him used to Float-rigging, and casting my Chrome Rocket Abu's like an ole pro. I could tell he had some talent. Then, I went to give Jaclyn a rod and reel to get her going, and the reel was hanging up from the cold......yeah, like ice in your rod guides up in some "land of the Inuits", the chrome over brass Rocket reels do this from time to time. So 5 minutes into the morning here I am breaking out the leatherman, and taking the other float-rigged reel apart. And after a bit of man-handling it started working properly.
I told Jaclyn and Brian, "I hate a tackle failure, and if it fails just a few times, it's off to the auction block! I'll replace it in a heart beat"....yeah I get super pissed off when reels don't work right. But I guess, I'll be keeping this one. It was just hung-up.
Brian caught two micro yellowmouth Trout around 10 inches. Not a good start. Moved off to another spot where a likely larger Trout would "maybe" be.......ZIP.
So in the back of my head, I had an alternative plan. BAIT-N-WAIT, fishing on the bottom.
Oh yes.... the dreaded bait-n-wait, which on a morning like this equates too Bait -n- Freeze, starring at rod tips. So that's what we did, on a Sheepshead spot not all that far away in the ICW.
My mini-Accurate reels & Loomis Backbounce rods, were on a winter day mission. I practically had to blow the dust off them bastards this morning as I grabbed them off the rock and said, "boys, your going today!" (I know...only nuts talk to their tackle) Usually, these rigs don't see any action till at least April on the whopper sized Drum if they are biting well.
We moved around and tried a few more drops that had hard bottom, and submerged shell bars, And still came up with ZERO.
I really wanted Brian to get a decent sized fish at least. Instead of the imaginary T-shirt that said, "I went all the way to Florida, only too freeze may ass off and catch a 10" fish." (photo c/o, S. Conrad)
So, we packed it up and took a cold ride to the jetties. The south side of the south seemed really popular, since the North side of the north had white water crashing over it. So that's where we headed. At least 10 boats were there, and I never saw any catch a fish. I had Jaclyn Float-rigging deep and Brian was casting up shallow. And Brian got bit.......Wow, a BITE!
His float went down twice, but it was a 7-Striped Jetty Snapper, and when he reeled in he had a perfect tail-less Shrimp. And after close inspection, you could see the teeth marks practically.
Tip O' the Week: If you're Float -riggin, and want to have a "better" chance at hooking up with a sheepshead, as a variety fish. Use the smallest shrimp in the live well. You'll have a better chance at getting that sheepster to take the shrimp whole versus nipping off the same part we eat.
We left the jetties as did 90% of the other boats out there and headed to a spot in the river not far away. The tide was high, the current was zilch, but we still tried it as a last ditch effort.
I pitched out Brians float, and while he was taking a close-up photo of his lovely wife holding big fat Shrimp, I had my float do a lil dance, and I set the hook on a Flounder about 14". I handed Brian the rod and he reeled it in. (I have been called Capt. Magic before....)
So, there ya have it. Our one and only gamefish species. I tried to take a pic for today's blog, but my camera batteries were dead. Go figure.
Monday's charter (3) passengers, departs at noon........lets see if a falling tide makes any difference.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Well, even though most people don't consider charter fishing as a business, because I don't have employee's and a office door you can walk into. The I.R.S. considers it a business, and so do I. And a business is out to make money. So my usual response is, "It's okay, but it always looks better from the ouside".
Then there's the enthusistic e-mails I get, where local folks want me to give them the perfect spot to be where they can catch all the fish. Back in my WNNR & ESPN days doing a expensive radio show with friend Ken aka: "the Pelican" as the co-host, we'd always reinterate, "there's no magical spot" .
And the other kind of e-mails where someones all "Gung-Ho" to go fishing, and you end up reading, and replying back to them 4-5 times and when it all comes down to it.....They never book a charter, and may have never intended too.
Then there's the Nigerian scam artists. Those emails are so stupid and blatantly idiotic.
Example: "Dear sir, I ams traveling froms London to your area and would like to charter your boats for 4 days, 2-couples, for 4 hrs eachs days. Please let mes know whats credit cards you recieve and I will expoditiously sends yous monies to covers the deposits......bla,bla,bla." Yeah like that sounds like a real person? And in my almost 12 years of chartering full-time, I have never had anyone reserve 4 days in a row!
Then how's this one I recieved today......
firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: (his e-mail address is here so you too can spam him, if you'd like)
"Those are some nice you trout in those pictures you post on your website. Too bad no one will ever get the chance to catch them again. I would like to be able to take my future generations fishing. I am sure you only keep what you eat, but how much can you eat? You must be related to Jim Hammond." -Fellow fisherman
Obviously, this asshole doesn't get the fact that I subsistence fish, like an Alaskan Indian Tribe.
Yes, I eat it all. And go by the limits. I guess Jim Hammond received the same non-grammar checked e-mail, also.
I am looking into doing a Internet based radio show. One evening a week. A call-in show, where you as a listener can call in and ask questions. I'm thinking something like a Thursday from 8-10pm. Just listen from your computer speakers, LIVE.
The nice thing is no sponsors have to be involved, I don't have to worry about offending anyone. I can talk about some of the same stuff that goes on here on the blog, but in probably greater detail, and anyone with speakers and a computer and telephone can listen and be on the show too. I can have guests on it, and they don't have to be standing here next to me. They can be in another state all together.
I WANT YOU, to let me know if you would be a listener and/or caller. If I don't hear from a good group of people, I'm not gonna waste my time. Because like all things, even this Blog. It will mean hours of work on my part. E-mail me at: Charter@captdaves.com with "Radio show" in the subject line.
So if it's something that interests you. You'll have to let me know.
(wheww....just re-read this myself on Sunday evening and fixed all the edits. Sorry, but I get distracted. Usually it's the phone.)
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Tuesday I went out and it was a glorious day. Wednesday I couldn't go. But on Tuesday Ernie couldn't go, but could on Wednesday, so we went today.....Thursday.
Being it's still a full moon tide, we didn't leave out till 10:30am. And man was it nice. We headed to the jetties to try out a new rig I've been working on, to replace snaggy and expensive jig heads, that I normally would cast up to the jetty rocks.
Personally, I don't have much problem fishing a jig deep in the jetty rocks. Probably because I was one of the originators of the technique and have been doing it for a long, long time. But I'm always thinking about my customers, wanting it to be easier for them, while saving me the cost of so many jigs.
So Ernie and I went an anchored up along one of my normal spots along the rocks. I had two different rigs set up, with basically the same concept I came up with.
Ernie snagged the jetties a few times, but it was his hook that he'd loose and that was it. I on the other hand kinda snagged a few times, always got my rig free, but never lost a single rig.
Okay, so what was the out come of the development of a new rig? I don't know!
But one thing was for sure, the weight part of the rig was never lost. Will it work? Yes, it did.
Now did we catch any fish?
NO.....but we only "jigged" one spot, waiting on the falling tide. And when we saw a boat up in the river go "stern east", we left out to follow the exact same pattern I worked on Tuesday.
Oh and by the way. It was warm, hardly any wind, and slick seas at the jetties at 11:00 am today. Absolutely gorgeous! The water temp on the other hand, is a cool 55 degrees on the surface, on my machine. And since all the true wintery cold nights and days really started. The jetties for me have been quite dead overall.
We caught some Trout instantly on the next spot. But it's a tough spot to fish on the full moon falling tide. So it was in and out, with 4 Trout in a matter of just a few minutes. They're there, big time. But the tide doesn't give me much time to fish the area.
Then here came the wind, and I was still on track to follow Tuesday's pattern. And this is when things started to fall apart. The sky darkened, the wind picked up, and it was obvious as hell, here comes the FRONT! One Flounder and a few Trout later, it was time to move on. The N.W. winds are not too kind on this spot if you're a Float Fisherman.
By the time we left and anchored up on another close spot, it was evident our beautiful morning weather was over. But we kinda knew this going in....all the forecasts said late afternoon it would be all over us. The air temp plummeted, and at our last 2 spots we tried anchoring which was a chore in the 20 knot winds, and then came the rain.
So we packed it in.
Didn't take any photos today. I think ya'll know what a 17" Trout looks like by now.
I'm looking forward to Monday and Tuesday which are the next trips that I have reserved.
The weather's "supposed to be" great, and the temp in the 70's.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
left out at 10am this morning.....but what else was going on that makes me a happy angler??
But to really fool them I used a real long leader. And on my first cast up into a shallow shell covered bank, I had my live river cricket, snapping across the surface.
When you catch a big Trout. Do not waste an ounce of time. Get that fish to the boat, netted and de-hooked fast! And another bait on and back out to the same exact spot.
Monday, January 21, 2008
It's gusting to Gale Force (32 MPH), over cast and cold still, along the surface of these local waters
This time of year, each day runs into the next. And I don't even know what day it is without looking it up, on the Plasma Driver. Kinda like I'm caught in a time warp continuem, on the back side of a star cluster vortex.
So I have plenty of time to play around on the ships computer....
Here's a bit of video shot on November 14th earth year: "2007", out along planet Earths, Mayport jetties rocks. The fish were chewin' that day so good it was almost "EPIC".
Nick Watson, from the galaxy "Rathkeltair", was behind the lens of his vintage Sony cyber-shot 21st century, digital camera. Experimenting with the Video option.
I don't have sound on my ships computer anymore, from back when I was hit by a Romulen pulse ray, and the ships engineer can't get the sound to work. So I have no idea of what I was even saying in it. "I just may have to try the replicator."
We messed them up on what was a super great day to be an Earth Jetty Angler!
Here's the days end photo, ya may have seen it before posted here. Like I said it was an Epic battle between marine species and us. And we won!
Because we had "limits" of Trout, Yellowmouths, Reds, Black Drum, and several Sheepshead.
I hate replicator, Fish. It ends up tasting like Vulcan ass!
So fresh is what I go get.
And we released a bunch of Reds, Black Drum and Trout.
Yes, November is one of my favorite months to visit earth. And so is April.
The two transitional times of year.
Falling water temps in November.....rising water temps in April.
Hence, TRANSITIONAL!! I learned all that by talking with local 19th century anglers.
But today is another story....I wouldn't wish this kinda wind on my worst enemies, the Kilingons!
And people on Earth don't think we here get "cabin fever".
This a time of the year for contemplating. I'm working on a revolutionary new rigging method for fishing the jetties.....by studying my success on other planets, besides the tried and true Float-rig.
To all the Earth Anglers,
Thanks for visiting my star date log.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
It doesn't matter, when you have Kirk M. on board. Kirk as you may remember is a fella I've had out with me many times in the last month or so. He's the guy from N. Dakota. And is doing 2 trips a month, this winter. The stuff that bothers most people, like wind, cold, fog, and wet doesn't effect him one bit. Even if all of those conditions are in the same day. And with that kind of attitude, it doesn't bother me either. Because I can hang with the best or worst conditions, also.
Well, since I've been teaching Kirk the inshore fishing ropes (IE: that the Float-rig rules!) You may have seen a few of his land based catches he made on a prior post on this reports blog, aptly named...."The Student".
He found himself a nice lil' spot along the inlet's rocks and has been wackin' the Trout pretty damn good lately. So of course, we were all excited to fish it from the boat. And that's where we went this morning at 8am.
Bundled up in my usual post Christmas attire of multiple layers of fleece, and with my slicker pants with shorts underneath. I have to remain Florida like...C'mon.
We soft peddled our way over to his spot and anchored up, so precisely, I amazed myself!
When he said, "that's the rock I stand on"....That's where I put the stern of the boat. Then I hit the "save" button on my GPS map plotter. "It's logged and in my files, now!!"
Now I have to give that rock a name, and I think "Kirk's Rock" it'll be.
Yes, I have many names for rocks out there. The Poop Rock, The Bull, Prudential, The Cave, The Blow-out, is just a few that come to mind. Fisherman are famous for wacko names for where they caught a fish. It always has to be something that you'll remember.
So here we are at the wrong tide or more like the tide that Kirk said he doesn't catch them on. "The water's too high and the currents too fast", he says. "It's okay, we have all day to try it on and off if we want", I tell him.
So we grab the "HD" Float-rig rods -(8' G. Loomis Bucara's matched up with Shimano Tek-300 levelwinds, a 2 oz Salmon Stalker EVA float, a 2 oz. Trout lead, and a heavier leader and hook.) All for deeper, swifter water. And the ass to pull a big fish from any structure.
We weren't on anchor 5 minutes, and I floated my rig way, way past the hot spot that Kirk pointed out, and my Float goes down! I click the reel into gear and reel and lift......
"It's a good fish! Pulls line, and it's a Trout!"
Ahhh, a nice 21-22 incher, in the net. I drop back in the water with a new shrimp, let it go back to the same spot, quickly learning the way the current moves along this patch of jetty and my Float goes down again....drag pulls harder, loads of head shaking!
"Oh, Oh, this may be a giant Trout. "
Now remember Kirk caught a giant Trout here. So that's why we're here. For "Gator Trout", not anything else. As I work the fish back towards the boat, all I can think about is that this maybe a 6-8 pound Trout..."please let it be a Gator! It sure feels like one."
Then we see it, and it's a 26" Redbass! A nice catch, but a let down. A real let down.
Yes folks, a 26" Redbass can be a let down to a Gator Trout hunter. It happens to me all the time.
This time I really thought the fish was a big Trout, because it did way more head shaking, and less running. Usually Redbass run, and run. And do less head shaking than their speckled counter parts. But Specks & Spots, go together. So it wasn't all that bad.
The problem was, that Kirk of Fargo, "master of the Kirk Rock area", had only one bite!
We have a deal, we fish together. No one sits and watches the other guy. And no matter who catches what, Kirk gets 99% of all the fish. All I need, is some dinner that night. So he usually goes away with a pretty damn hefty cooler full, each time.
So we keep at it and wear out the spot all we can. Going for deeper drifts, shallower, closer to the rocks, further behind the boat. We worked that place till each live shrimp saw ever jetty rock from the boat to 100 feet behind the boat.
And not a single other bite!
So we moved on.....
To the South Jetty, then Snag Ally, and then again at low tide, back to Kirk's Rock.
"this ought to do it, the tides much lower now"...is what both of us thought.
"Holy cold water Batman.....I think we have a problem!"
We sure did. For some reason no matter what we did, we couldn't get bit.
At Kirk's Rock, both of us had so much confidence that because it was now lower tide and the current was slowing. "If they would have fired up, it would have to be NOW!"
And they never did.
I even broke out some bottom rigs, for a little 'Bait-N-Wait' fishing and never lost a shrimp to a gamefish.
So then we went and tried a "Capt Dave Gator trout spot" on the north Jetty, that's like "Kirk's Rock". Deeper, swifter and if there's a Gator Trout in the area, it ought to be here too. We caught nothing. And I even tried a bottom bait too, as Kirk worked the rocks on his Float-rig.
"Okay, were they the only two fish at the jetties today?"
But we can't quit now. So we packed it up and ran to another zip code up river.
First spot, had some nice current, but only Pinfish. We worked it feverishly too.
So we went to a last ditch spot. I managed a small Speck. Then made a slight adjustment, and found a bunch of small Yellowmouth Trout, and Kirk finally caught one decent keeper, and a few throw backs.
I know who had the "funk" on him, today! Mother River was paying him back for all the fish he's caught off of his rock during the week. And I was thrown a few bones, and I'm usually the one screamin', "I GOT BAIT TOO!"
So it was a frustrating day overall. But of course we had a blast out in the gloomy, nasty, cold weather. Can ya tell by the photo's that it was a perfect "winter day"?
Dark and grey without one glimpse of sun shine.
I know the fish are tough to catch in the 59 degree water.
Oh, the life of a Gator Trout hunter....it's a tough job sometimes. But it's not all that bad when ya have a guy like Kirk on the boat. Who always has an up beat attitude, mixed with killer instinct.
Can't wait to see the sun again. Because when I do and the Trout do too, it may not be good for their health and well being.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I was so into surf fishing and long distance casting that I wore my bank account dry, before I bought my 26' BLM. I used Breakaway tackle mostly......the brits have it ALL figured out!
And used to be on the Breakaway Tackle forum, talking fishing and casting with the guys in Corpus Christi TX. That fish the 63 miles of undeveloped beach also know as Padre Island National Sea Shore, P.I.N.S - as it's called.
And I used to talk on the phone with an "old Kodger" who forgot about as much as most "yungin's" like me knew. And from him is where I was turned on the one of the best LONG DISTANCE Fishing reels ever made.
Today, Penn's distance casting mag reels are cheapy looking and have lower spool capacity. This reel is old school and old school works! A Penn 970 Mag. What makes it special....the fact it's SIMPLE.
-(1) rare Earth fixed but adjustable Mag, assisted spool slow down
- easy to adjust!
-High spool capacity
-Parts easily obtained at: http://www.pennparts.com/
-Easily cleaned and lubed
I have for sale one of these 80's vintage Penn 970 Mag reels in absolute pristine condition. Original box with metal corners...remember them??? Original paper work, cloth bag, and rod clamp. If this reel was used once it doesn't look like it. And I doubt it. I had line on it, but I took it off.
Perfect for 20# mono, and I had this reels sister and made my farthest measured cast of 460 feet! Get used to the mag, protect that thumb, attached to a 13'6" Breakaway LDX or HDX.....and let her fly!!!!
These reels have EZ access to bearing cups and can be tweeked with Rocket Fuel high speed or slowing oil, and look out. Not a competion grade reel, but rather a fishing reel for the beach. Back in the 80's these reels were all the rage around here for King Mackerel fisherman, and for casting to Cobia...from a boat.
250 foot casts out past the first 'gut' should be achieved in the first day for a well rounded Bait Casting angler, with an educated thumb. Spinner people do not apply.
Sorry the photos are sharp, but I took them with my dive camera and it's not the best at close ups.
Box, paper-work (schematics) rod clamp, and reel are for sale here, before it goes to Ebay or Craigslist or Breakaway's Forum where I know it'll get a respected value.
This reel is in all respects is brand new...in box since 1980...something.
I'm starting out at $100. (OBO)
Can easily accept PayPal, Visa, M/C, money order payments. Will ship priority mail for whatever it costs, which won't be much.
If you're a real surfing angler and want to hit the deep water. This reels for you.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The last time we fished together is when he worked for the St. Augustine RECORD, and we did a story about pitchin Jigs-N-Shrimp at the St. Augustine inlet's rocks way back in 1998 I think.
Ya know.....back when hardly a soul threw jigs n shrimp at the jetty rocks in Mayport even.
I know it was in April, because I just did the Florida Sportsman Fishing Expo. And did seminars about light tackle Jetty fishing, and the expo was in March.
And man, did we catch a lot of fish that day down in St. Augustine!
Reds, Trout, Yellowmouths, Ringtails, Drum, Jacks, Blues, Spanish Macs, Flounder, Sheepshead....It was a rally of fish down there along the rocks.
Well, today we tried it out of Mayport. I talked to Jim via email because I read his article on fishing with a "clicker" type float in Fernandina with Terry Lacosse up in the creeks.
So we got talking and planned on doing a story about the REAL style of Float-rig fishing for Trout and more, that I do.
We left out at 8am damn near dead low tide. It was cold as all get-out, but of course we've fished in colder. The wind was light, but blew harder and harder as we fished.
We fished and fished....I did sort of catch a few right off the bat. But I lost each fish , as if I had Teflon all over my hooks. They just shook off, or slipped off the hook as I was reeling them in. This hardly ever happens to me. But never say never!
It was really tough conditions. I could just feel it in my bones after the first spot we tried, that this wasn't looking too good. Because I know what "should" happen on my spots.
I did box a small 15 incher though, and Jim caught a small Yellowmouth Trout and a Bluefish.
We really didn't just, give up. We stayed at at. I fish as hard at 3pm as I do at 7am, and that's a key to success many times. But you have to get bit, before you can catch. And we weren't getting bit!
The largest Trout I did catch up in the backwater's was 19 inches. But that fish was a loner. And with a slow tide because of the NW winds blowing at least 15 knots and gusting, the forecasted 4.2' incoming was obviously stifled, and we got ate alive by Pinfish with no current moving.
So we bagged it and headed in after a good 6 hour try.
JUST MY DAMN LUCK!
I would have loved Jim to see a day like we had on January 6th or 8th....when I had 6 and 7 pounders on the boat, plus Drum and limits of specks. But the weather today was nothing like then.
REMEMBER, I SAID THE WEATHER IS USUALLY DAMN NEAR PERFECT THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF JANUARY????
WELL, TODAY IS THE 14TH...THE END OF THE FIRST TWO WEEKS. FROM HERE ON OUT 80 DEGREE DAYS ARE HARD TO COME BY!!
(just call me if ya need to know the real fisherman weather patterns....don't call Tim)
With Speckled Trout closing on Feb. 1st we were sort of under the gun to get a float fishing story out there with some really big time action. But we'll be trying again.
Jim's on notice that a call from me could come any day. If the fish are chewin and the weather's good....even in February. Because I don't stop fishing for those Trout for 29 days. That would be like asking an Eskimo not to eat snow!!
I'm thinking of a plan, I have in the back of my mind. Where the trout stack up, and the action is good. It's a run from my regular waters, and a gamble to say the least. But we'll not only be using a float-rig and live shrimp, but we could also use my "winter ugly" MirrOlures too. To catch'em.
I have my next charter on Thursday. The temp is supposed to be up and down, and the rain is supposed to go from up to down too....We'll have to see what the deal is.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Ya think it's some billybob way of fishing?
Well here's Kirk, the Navy fella who's been going out with me twice a month.
Who has access to an area we can't anchor the boat......off the jetties on the Navy Base.
And went today.
Here's what he said...
"That float rig is deadly from the rocks too!!!!!!"
Of course it is. That's how I'd be fishing if I was on a rock, attached to land.
And btw....to ya'll "clicker float" (cajun thunders, etc. and poppin corkers) keep them for the shallow water with no current. In the big water, ya may want to go traditional, with traditional "float" rigging.
Kirk said he had 25 trout today from 13" to 28".
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Ernie and I have talked over the last few months via emails. And he's a faithful blog reader.
And obviously read my last report when I said, "hell, just call me. I'll let ya know when it's a good day to go, if you're local" Of course, I meant weather wise. Because so many people even locals have no idea of what our weather is doing. But Ernie does, he's an avid fisherman! So when I said that, it sparked him to give me a call.
So at 10:30am, I finally got to meet him as we were heading out to do our best. Ernie uses the Float-rig as a LBA - "Land Based Angler" and fishes a lot up in the Ft. George area.
Now, I know that it was tougher fishing on Tuesday than it was on Sunday, even though I did have a nice big fattie on my 52M "winter ugly" MirrOlure. But, I had a friend that was out yesterday and he did well on the Redfish and had a 22 pounder on a float, even. But the trout were a tad slow. So I knew going in that it may not be a whirlwind day of floats going down.
But Ernie is a fisherman, I'm a fisherman......Key word: F-i-s-h, that's what we do. So why not go try. But reality was all too in our faces as we fished and fished, and waited and waited for the tide to turn and start to fall. And nothing!! A few bites, but damn it was DEAD!
Then all of a sudden Ernie was shocked back into the fishing world with a slam dunking, big fish. Just as we were talking about how dead it really was. The fish ran under the boat, around the bow, down the side. It was a 28" Redfish. From zero to a hero!! Ernie was up on me big time, all with one fish. As we worked the area together.
Alrighty....nice Red! And it seemed that the tide was starting to finally move too.
So we kept at it as I moved us around a bit and maneuvered us into better positions for our attack.
I my 12" bottom scope, I passed over a huge pile of what looked like Yellowmouth Trout out in deeper water. So I tried out deeper and caught, ONE! And that was it.
"If the eating machines of the inlet are not chewin', what the hell!"
But as we worked our float-rigs, we finally stuck it to a few Specks. The first one I caught on my "winter ugly" MirrOlure, but it was a small fish.
Then Ernie caught what I call a ocean size Trout. One of those solid and fat 18-19 inchers. No measuring needed. That's more like the fish I'm used to this time of year.
So, we're finally cookin'.....and boxed a few more jetty sized Trout. My favorite!
As you could see it was slick dead calm. A serious "bluebird" day. But I wouldn't blame the slow bite on that as much as maybe because just as we thought the current would run hard. It really wouldn't. My theories always are; If you don't have the proper water movement to move bait, then you don't get moving predators. But I wasn't about to give up on where a 7 and a 6 pound Trout just came from this week. Not until I gave it plenty of time.
It's funny how we're catching out there speck-less Speckled Trout. Many of the fish have no body spots, or very few.
Ernie said, "yep, I think this area is about speck-less and spot-less today" because, where were more Reds and where were more Trout?
It's a fine line we travel....We want super weather days. But super fish days aren't always super fish days. But when we have super fish and super weather days at the same time, it's a Monumental thing!!
And the ole saying is, that no one ever thinks about is "want more fish, that go fishing more often". So, I see those days. And as a reader you certainly can tell when they happen, because I'm so excited.
So we ended up moving on, to try another zip code. And that's when the pesky engine temp alarm went off again on my outboard, No biggy. It's a bad sensor, I'm sure. Because the buzzer has been going off so intermittently. So we ided and went slow from spot to spot and found that the current everywhere else was practically unfishable inside the inlet.
So we went a threw some jigs for those Black Drum. But never really had a bite.
Hmmm, I think Mother Ocean is trying to tell us something.
So we went to a spot where the tide and current ought to be right. And it was.
And we caught some Trout, but not an whoppers and 3 big Ringtailed Porgies, and finished up the rest of the shrimp in the livewell.
Today's totals were maybe 10-12 Trout, with 7 in the fish box, the 3 Ringtails and a released 28" Redfish....everything on the float, and live shrimp.
Not a killer day. But a beautiful one for sure.
And that dang sensor in the motor went off enough that I'm taking the boat on it tomorrow morning to Deonas Boat works in Yulee, to have that thing changed out. Just in time for the wind and rainy weather to come in to the area over the weekend.
Ernie and I are gonna go do it again this month. And I'm sure we'll do better. It was a good day, but could have been much better.
And BTW....that cider block anchor anchor????
I'm still using the same one and it works good.
Why the hell have I spent thousands on jetty
anchors that I cared too much about all these
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
REDEMPTION.....I NEEDED REDEMPTION!
After yesterday's follies in Simpson Creek and numerous other creeks with DOA Rob, where I fished behind him all day and never caught a fish on a DOA Shrimp lure. As he caught at least 18-20 fish! Good fish.....Specks!!
I went out to dinner with my dad after fishing yesterday, because it was his birthday. And as we sat in "Rite Spot" in Jax Beach eating a fine meal, all I could think about was what a crappy day I had. I take these things personally. And I know what you're thinking because I hear it all the time from readers in e-mails....."geez, I'm glad to hear you had a day like that too. It happens to me all the time, Capt Dave".
Well, my response is..."I can have a bad day when someone else picks the day, and I'm not fishing, THEY ARE." But I can tell ya, it doesn't happen to me very often. Just so you know before you hit that email button!
So, I got up to yet another wonderful morning. And had NO plans on going fishing. Even told a friend that asked me too go, "naw... I've fished three days in a row I think I'll take a break."
But as the morning went on, all I could think about was redemption. I needed to fix, my mental attitude. So I checked my email, drank my coffee, and looked out the window at yet another perfect day. (why people are letting the first weeks of January go by without calling to go fishing is beyond me. The first two weeks or so of January is ALWAYS beautiful!!!!)
So I hitched up the boat, threw in a few rods and took off. I could feel my anxiety starting to subside just by putting the boat in the water, if ya can believe that. I needed redemption. And this fishing thing and competing with myself is like a sickness. Plus, THEY'RE BITING, so get while the getting is good folks. February will roll around quickly and the Specks will be closed for harvest then. So this guy's stocking up!
I ran to the spot where I have confidence galore. And found two friends sitting there Float-rigging. I asked them how they were doing and they said it was super slow. Oh No! I need redemption!!!
So I grabbed my Loomis 8'2" casting rod matched up to a Shimano Curado DSV 300, that had the last lure I was throwing yesterday with DOA Rob, and that was a ugly colored MirrOlure TT. It was one of my bargain bin lures, perfect for winter time trout fishing. Because the flashier and the weirdest colors work in the winter time. This MirrOlure has a fluorescent orange head, yellow body and a gold foil insert. Really an ugly lure......perfect for winter time!
I made my second cast to the rocks with this winter bait, and it got slammed. But it was a small Trout. So I kept throwing. Only to feel it get hit numerous times without another hook-up.
So I grabbed my float-rig rod and fished a live shrimp.
My friends were right. Damn, hardly a bite. I worked deep, shallow and in between. Eventually getting a few small Trout and small Yellowmouth Trout. Then my buddies picked up and left.
They happened to be anchored right near a spot I call "point rock" now, after Kirk and I caught so many the other day in front of that rock. And their leaving left the spot wide open now.
So I picked up the MirrOlure rod and made a cast up to "point rock" let the MirrOlure sink a bit and then gave it a twitch, and I GOT SLAMMED!!!! Something hit that MirrOlure hard and was peeling line down the jetty. This was the exact spot where I caught the 7 pound Speck on Monday!!
I worked the fish toward the boat, very easy. Never ever yank and crank on a possible Trout when on a MirrOlure. They have a way of throwing THREE treble hooks real easy, for some reason. I could see it now, it was a big ass Speck, and had my lure across it' jaws. I grabbed the net, eased the fish closer, and went for it.........SCOOP.....and my REDEMPTION was made!!
Holy crap, I was so happy. I did it, and I did it with one of the lures that I used yesterday with Rob, after cutting the DOA Shrimp off my line out of frustration. Which made this fish only sweeter. I grabbed the boga-grip and weighed it. An even, 6 POUNDS!
I grabbed my phone and called my buddy Jeff.
"hey Jeff, you won't believe what I just caught on that MirrOlure from right where you were just fishing......a 6 pound Speck!"
He was glad to hear something good was caught, because he left because it was so damn slow out there.
But, I stuck to it. And it felt good.
So I continued fishing back and forth with the MirrOlure and my Float-rig. The lure caught a few more aggressive but small Yellowmouth Trout, and the live shrimp on the float rig was catching nothing! Because I kept having Sheepshead eat my shrimp. My float would "bob", and my shrimp would be gone. So I went to the smallest shrimp I had in the well, and kept at it. And finally nailed me one on the float-rig.
A 6 pound
"SIX" was my number, today.
I anchoring once. And had redemption just that easy. And it felt so good, too. The tide really slowed, so I moved on with 4 yellowmouth trout, my big Trout, one 15" Speck and the Sheepshead in the box. But I needed my limit. I eat a lot of Trout, so stocking up was the plan.
I pulled anchor or should I say, "pulled cinder block" .......By the way, I'm still using the first cinder block as a jetty anchor. I bought 5 because I thought I'd break it or loose it, but as it turns out, this 1/2 cinder black thing is really the way to go for me. Back to ole School. Because like many things in life, over complication is sometimes just that COMPLICATION! (see older report for Cinder Block anchor tutorial)
I tried jigging for a Black Drum for about 15 minutes, had one good fish on, but it got off somehow. Then went and Float-rigged a really good winter Trout spot, and caught 5 more trout, and kept 3 to fill my 5 Speckled Trout limit.
Then, headed back to the boat ramp, to clean my fish. So I can stare out the window at probably another nice day again tomorrow. A day I should be booked. But for some reason ya'll only want me to take ya fishing on windy, freezing cold days instead of perfect ones, like today!
I caught the tide perfect too. I wasn't even fishing till noon, and was done fishing at 4:00pm.
And what did I do when I got home?
I ate me some 7 pound Speckled trout fillets from Sunday's trip.
So when are we going Gator trout chasing? Reserve your charter for them quick, because in February it'll be all "catch and release".
Monday, January 7, 2008
So, I continue. But one thing I do know, is that Rob knows the area way better than me. Hell, he was just here yesterday too! And secondly, the first cast into a good spot, usually nabs the aggressive single Trout. And who gets first dibs?
My frustration was hurting. Especially after I've been here before, done this very successfully before many times, and was so excited last night.
Rob and I just couldn't figure out what was wrong. I was just not meant to be here today or any other day, I suppose.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Kirk is local #1, and he's a good angler #2, and he does a charter right #3. What do I mean by does it right? He wants "one on one" guided fishing trips. Kinda the way I always envisioned this business would be. Ya know, like a Fly fishing flats guide in the keys. But what are a lot of the calls I get? Well, I had one call today for 12 people, and another for 4 passengers offshore.
NO LONG runs to a distant land. Real easy to make a pit stop,
and I even had too. So we ran back and I visited Mayport Marine's
Remember.....I always believe in Photos say a thousand words. If it's happening, you'll SEE it here.
Friday, January 4, 2008
THIS WEATHER IS SEVERELY CRAMPING MY STYLE!
Wind Direction (WDIR):
NE ( 40 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD):
Atmospheric Pressure (PRES):
Air Temperature (ATMP):
Wind Chill (CHILL):
I want to go fishing. Hell, I have shrimp in my live well covered up with a blanket and the well sitting on a heating pad jacked up to maximum warp heat. But, can I muster the strength. Knowing all too well that the wind speed is 15 knots, but in reality more like 20 knots when I get out there. (something ya learn as you get older and wiser)
I'd go out and fool around, if the wind would die off. I bet it can cut ya like a fillet knife. Especially, when you're not used to such cold.
I don't mind the cold that much and can dress for it. But that wind is making me very apprehensive.
Here's a few pics of last year in late January and in February, when I was told I looked like "Yukon Cornelius" on vacation!
It was bone chilling this day too. But ZERO wind!
I have a charter on Sunday. The weather guessers say by this weekend, it should be bearable. I'll have Kirk M. with me....
Mr. N. Dakota.
He's obviously immune to all chill. But then again, I'm sitting here right now and freezing behind my desk! The heat in the house is running and just won't stop. I live in an ole Florida house, not really good for anything less that 40 degrees.
Unless I spent several thousand dollars in upgrading it. IE: insulation, windows, doors etc.
And the friends I have that live up in Mass. and Maine can't believe Floridians get "cabin fever", but I can tell ya that the first signs of it are coming.
Fever or not, I'm getting e-mail after e-mail for charters. Or "tire kickers" as I refer to them as. From all over, but I only take seriously, PHONE CALLS!
Most E-mailers, I never hear hide nor hair outa them ever again. But they want, something? And all this info here and on my web site ain't enough, I guess. (that's Amazing!!!!)
I'm sure we'll bounce outa this freeze soon enough. But what concerns me is big changes. I like to keep up with my fish, and visit them often. And I just can't muster the strength to go out today in this burning wind and cold.
I'm another year older.....and maybe smarter???
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
The huge weather occurrences are obviously easy to forecast, ever notice that?
But the slight things, like wind direction, speed are the tough ones. So, the weather guessers surely got this one right. It's really really cold.
I was standing in front of B&M bait and tackle yesterday, along with 50 other people on "customer appreciation day", which is always New Years day. Eating some of the best food I've ever eaten out-of-doors. Fried Grouper, Snapper, bbq ribs, greens, salads, beef, venison, chicken, corn bread, tater salad, brownies, cookies, stews, you name it....Each year I look forward to this on New Years day. The B&M folks, Rusty, Tracy and Patsy do it up right, along with help from customers who bring some superlative dishes for everyone.
If you're reading the blog, but not from here. Today was the start of a massive cold blast to hit Fla. Winds are gusting to gale force, the high temp is 40 on my back porch, and this morning it was even colder. The wind gusts have the temp feeling like it's 30 degrees...this morning it must have felt like in the teens. I've fished in some cold windy days (which can be seen here on this reports blog) but C'C',on....This morning had to brutal.
Not what we're used too. And 99.999% of us don't fish in. Because we're too used to nice warm days. (60 degree at least)
Yesterday, while at B&M bait and tackle, I was standing there talking to all my friends with a long sleeved T-shirt on and shorts. AND SWEATING in the sun.
I was invited to go fishing with a friend yesterday. Not even thinking about the cold and wind, I replied, "I have errands to run, or I'd go". Well, I just got back from B&M where I stopped in to say hello. Come to find out, this guy went fishing!!! According to J.B. that works at the bait shop.
"Dave, your cohort went fishing this morning", said J.B.
"WHAT????" I replied.
"Yep, and he left out real early, like 15 minutes after we opened this morning at 6am." said J.B.
"Holy Crap. Yeah, he invited me and I told him I could go after 9am, but he said that was too late. I said to him, man it's gonna be cold and he said, Oh well I'm gonna run the boat, anyhow"
"So how did he do?" I asked J.B.
"he's crazy.....But he caught himself some Trout!!!"
"Wow, that's one tough dude" I replied. "almost makes me wish I could have gone too."
His nick name; "D.O.A. Rob"
He's a fellow year round Speckled Trout chaser, and has now gained even more respect of mine.
He's my kinda guy.