Well, today was the day we planned on going.
I was so psych'd up last night. Especially after having such a great day with Kirk M. on board.
So I called Rob, and we figured out the tide and what time to leave. He had been up in Simpsons creek on Sunday too. So I said, "I hope ya have them all penned up for me." and he replied, " I had a great day today, the Reds were going off......"
I was so fired up, I was like a lil' kid and had a hard time sleeping!
This particular creek we were going to is a "local knowledge only creek". Because like most of the area it's filling in with continent sized sand bars. And it's for shallow draft boats only. And getting in and out is reserved for the people who frequent it, all the time to watch the changes.
I was once one of those people.
I used to fish it in my 17' Carolina Skiff, and my 22' bay boats I ran for Caps Marine. And had some great days up in there. Mostly tossing lures, as in MirrOlures and DOA shrimp. Hence DOA Rob's nick name. It's about all he uses. The only lure that has the perfect fake shrimp posture, profile and fish ability. I used to use them enough, that I got a bulk discount from the manufacture, even. So, I don't feel like I'm a rookie user. But DOA Rob has taken it to a new level.....almost the same level as Mark Nichols the inventor and owner of DOA Lures. Rob just does it on a local level in his boat and kayak. Mark, does it globally!!
So here we are. In the creek we always refer to as and "Ocean creek" because of it's proximity to the Ocean on both ends of it. Clean clear water abounds, especially in the winter. And so does BIG Speckled Trout, for the regular angler. DOA Rob, is that regular angler. Like I have names for certain jetty rocks and can tell ya' what tide and time of year that I've caught what size Trout or Redfish, so does DOA Rob. Each lil' feeder that dumps into Simpsons creek, he can remember what size Trout he caught there, and when.
That's called, LOCAL KNOWLEDGE!
We no sooner get into position for a drift with assistance from his trolling motor on his 'customized' McKee Craft 17 footer, than he catches the first Speck of the morning. We're using nothing but "almost" matching DOA Shrimp lures. His is a 1/4 oz. grey colored really almost black. Mine is a 1/2 oz. a tad larger, but not by much, and is Black with silver fleck.
He always throws the 1/4 oz. on a fairy wand spinning rig. And I always throw a 1/2 oz. dark in color, (doesn't really matter to me just as long as it's dark) and I was using a light bait casting rig.
The DOA shrimp is a great lure. IF you just use it the way its intended. It's a do nothing lure.
Just cast it to the right spot, and pull it along the bottom. No jigging, no hopping, or jerking. Because a naturally swimming shrimp neither jigs, hops, or jerks. Go to the bait shop and look at the live shrimp in the tanks. They "HOVER"....like waterbourne helicopters. They swim forward with the use of their finlets, located under their tails, and use the planers on their heads for up and down. Kind of like a submarine. Natures, lil' submarines is how they swim. And only kick and go backwards when attacked by a predator. A DOA shrimp is designed to look like a swimming shrimp.....ready to be attacked by a predator. Like a Speckled Trout.
Rob hooks up with probably 5 small trout in the first hour. I get one bite. Mind you, that we're both casting the same banks littered with oyster beds that have drop offs, where Trout lurk. Now, it's two hours into our day and Rob's got the first keeper Trout, I got 3 bites, and not a single taker.
I'm starting to wonder what the hell is going on?
I've been in this same creek, this same time of year, throwing the same DOA shrimp and caught loads of Trout. JUST AS ROB, IS DOING!
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?
The person running the trolling motor!!!!
I was in the back of the boat. So I had to search my own spot to make a cast, at high tide, not having a clue of the topography of the bottom. Just relying on my own instinct. But it never helped. So I changed my DOA shrimp and put on another, with a lighter Fluorocarbon leader.
Still Rob was "wack happy", catching a Trout off of every little spot, it seemed. And I still could even get a bite! So I went to a MirrOlure
Catch 2000. A slow sinking or suspending mullet imitator. And finally got a bite, now 3 hours or more into our drift down the creek. But Rob kept waxin' me. And now had released at least 7 or 8, and put 3 in the box up to 4 pounds! Plus, he had a pup sized Redfish or two. Along with tons of bites.
We did bring live shrimp, just in case. And I even tried the float-rig, but have ya ever fished a Float-rig as the boats driving around on a Trolling motor?? It can't be done, correctly.
Pissed ain't the word.....
I said after I finally caught a 12 inch Trout on a
3-1/4" MirrOlure, "Geez Rob, this is why I got up at 5am this morning!"
My frustration was hurting. Especially after I've been here before, done this very successfully before many times, and was so excited last night.
That's what really hurt. The dreams I had of a great day!
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.
And the funny thing was that I'm not some guy that fishes once a year. If Rob was in the charter biz, and this was happening. Holy crap, I can't imagine what a client would think.
And I was thinking also about all the charter guides I see fishing their asses off up on the front deck on the trolling motor, as they catch one fish after another. Sometimes looking oblivious that they actually have paying customers standing behind them that aren't expert casters, or fisherman.
We fished our way out of the creek, because we had to get out before the tide got to low to do so.
But not after Rob catches a nice Redfish off a shell bar, that I probably casted too a few times also with the MirrOlure and never had a bite.
After the Red, we moved on... and out after even running into a few sand bars because the water was so low.
We went to a second area that I have float-rigged before with another friend Nick, in his 17' skiff and that day we caught 4 trout, but the gnats ran us off before we could really enjoy the spot.
This area has Trout written all over it. Deeper swifter moving water. And Rob catches more Trout, while I get a tap on my DOA Shrimp, and that was all.
I switched to the float-rig and a live shrimp....pretty much futile in a moving boat, but I did catch a pinfish and another 12 inch Trout....sort of a mercy fish.
We leave there, run up another creek on the way home, and Rob catches only one big Trout there....I get one or two hits on my DOA.
Then, we run back the intra-coastal waterway back to the St. Johns River. And stop by White Shell rocks. I catch a 12" Trout there on a MirrOlure, Rob catches a few Trout on his DOA.
We left as the tide went dead, because I had to be home and on to an engagement by 5pm. And Rob ended up with 7 big fat Specks and a 23" Redfish in the box and probably caught damn near 20 of various sizes, to my 3 tiny yearlings.
So, what do you think the deal was today?
I certainly don't know for sure, but can guess....
If it's at all possible for a 1/4 oz. Grey/black "non" silver flecked DOA shrimp, to be all that different than a 1/2 oz. Black with silver fleck DOA shrimp?
I know local knowledge has it's benefits.....but I didn't fall off the mullet truck yesterday, either. I should have at least connected a few times with my DOA shrimp.
Was the cards not in my favor after catching a big fat Trout yesterday with my client Kirk?
(and just so you know our agreement is that I fish along with him....99.99% of the time, this fishing guide does not fish with his clients)
I really don't know....but if you'd like some 1/2 oz black with silver fleck DOA Shrimp lures. You can have them. I'll stick to my Salmon Stalker Float, and live shrimp, behind an anchored boat in perfect current. I won't wear out my casting arm that way, and will always catch me some dinner.
And you will too!!
Float-Freak, over and out!