Thursday, February 28, 2008

2/28 - Like Christmas Eve!

ONE MORE DAY, till the month of February is over! It's like Christmas eve for me. I despise February, Election years, politicians, Government intrusion, TV commercials, and 6" bait stealers.

But February takes the cake. Because my beloved Speckled Sea Trout are closed for harvest in the my part of Florida. And my freezer doesn't have any of them in it. I finished the last of my stock pile about 8 days ago.

Just like this old picture, the cattle man and the Sheep herder are talking, and wishing for some Trout, which is depicted up in the clouds! (or that's at least how I see the picture)

You'd think I'd just love February
being a "Valentine baby"
and a Aquarius and all.
So what has that all done for me, lately?

I'm more into a stringer full of Specks. Hitting the dock at the end of the day, getting out the fillet table, passing the knives over the stone, and getting busy with some fish cleaning.

Mind you, I don't mean hackin', carving, hack-sawing, which is readily done when Sheepshead and even Redfish are in the cooler. I'm talking easy filleting, deboning and skinning which takes maybe 2-3 minutes per fish? To produce a skin-less, bone-less, perfect back strap of meat. That fits perfectly in my big well seasoned cast iron skillet. Fried or even blackened... I love me some T-routz.

Here's a few pics of some memorable days in the past, and they won't be the last!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What a difference a day can make.....

2/24 - Had Kevin M. visiting from New Jersey, and two friends Paul Sr. & Paul Jr. aboard. Wanted to spend the day, just hanging around the jetties. At least that was what my plan of attack. Couldn't even get into the bait shops parking lot. A1A north was solid boats at 0700 hrs. "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?" Finally, got some shrimp and ice. Got to the boat ramp, and it was if it was the morning of the Greater Jax Kingfish Tournament.

I really thought that something was going on that I didn't hear about. I can't imagine what kind of zoo it must have been on Saturday's Sheepshead tournament. But it was just the fact that the weather was nice. If this is any indication of what's to come, I'm going to make some serious adjustments this summer.

We headed to the jetties for some Float-rig fishing. Then we did some Ring-tailed Porgy fishing, targeting the toughest lil fish there is to catch. Tried to catch a big Red, but ended up with Flounder instead. And the majority of what the guys caught were small Yellowmouth Trout, while drifting the rocks. Enough for a good fish fry. Caught only one Speck while in the yellowmouths. No Sheepshead or Reds! The jetties were very busy with boats all over the place.

Very, very challenging is what working the float for the Ringtail Porgies. They scored on 3 or 4 with one being a big fat whopper. I usually catch a Sheepshead when doing the Ringtail Porgy thing. That's what I was hoping for. We even experimented with some free samples of a new artificial strip bait called "Slurp" that I got at Gander Mountain, and pieces of Berkley "Gulp". Personally, I think that crap is just a giant hook in the lip to catch Fisherman. And our test confirmed my opinions. Shrimp would get instant bites from Ringtails, while the artificial stuff would never get touched.

End of experiment!! If it cannot catch a Ringtail at the end of the jetties, imparting no action of any kind, and shrimp can. How do they claim on the package that it "out fishes live bait"?????
That's all B.S.

2/25 - Oh.....Monday's! Usually a wonderful time to be out fishing, right?
Then how come between the north and south jetty at 1pm I counted over 40 boats?? Either way, earlier in the morning, we had the whole place to ourselves. Which at least made me feel better. I had Robert & Ray on board. It was a better day than Sunday, I could just feel it.

Originally, I was supposed to have Robert and Ray back on the 13th of Feb. But we decided since the weather was iffy, we'd reschedule. And as I pulled up to the jetties, I was glad we did. It was perfect!

I first had the guys jigging the rocks a bit, since we had a nice slow incoming tide. The green ocean water just looked so tantalizing. But they never scored a Redfish while jigging, which was my intent.

So we moved off to go do some float rigging the rocks. The wind was a light N.W. and the incoming tide made for some tough positioning of the boat. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to getting anchored up just right. Because too many times, if I'm off just a bit people new to float-rigging have a hard time getting the bait where I want. A friend and I were talking about it the other day....for some people Float fishing is the "hardest easiest" fishing they'll ever do, is what he said. And he's right. It's so easy. But so hard for some. So I work very hard to have everything as perfect as I can.

But Robert and Ray did great! (once I got the anchor positioning good) while working with the breeze and current.
As I was re-positioning the boat, Ray hit pay dirt!
a beautiful 13 pound Redfish. It kicked some serious butt. Thank goodness I had them on the heavier float-rig rods.

Then Robert hooked up. His Red went way up into the rocks, then shot out to deep water, and right next to the boat his line broke! Probably got nicked by the rocks....but a great battle anyhow.
I know they out "February Trout".
The Yellowmouths, because we caught them on Sunday. But usually this time of year they are so much larger than they have been. Then, Ray hooked up a few really fat Yellowmouths to add to the fish box. FINALLY, so big ones! The tide was perfect. We were in a good position. And soon the current slowed on us.

But since the action was all right here, we stuck with it and this is when the guys really shined.

They would cast to the spot, and work their float.
Just as I would. I told them earlier that you have to actively fish...just not go through the motions.
And they did and were rewarded!

Ray was the HOT ROD, and next got one that was left behind from all the tournament sheep herders on Saturday. A Jumbo Sheepshead! Looked larger than it's 7 pound stature.
I was so glad by now I brought the G. Loomis "Bucara" rods with the two oz. Float rig set up on it. Because it's just that little bit of insurance that
nice to have when catching fish this size against the jetty rocks.
Oh...I almost forgot. The bluefish are out at the jetties with a vengeance. Is this a sign that it'll be a early spring? I'm not sure.

But in later years it was. First it's the little Blues, then comes the little Jacks, then the Ladyfish, then the Spanish Mackerel, the Pompano, and then it's SUMMER! So the blues maybe a messenger.

The guys caught plenty of Blues but then it was Roberts turn and he laid the wood to a 9 pound Redbass. I think the reason Ray was getting all the bites was because Roberts hat was scaring all the fish away.
The action was good on this particular spot, but still no keeper Redbass. All were over 30 inches.
By now we were all turned around in the breeze, so I re-positioned again and Ray caught another Red...this time too small.

In between it was constant action with the bluefish. And I didn't really mind. Because I can remember not all that long ago I'd come out here to this same area and catch zero! The jetty water temp was around 64-65 degrees. And we just need it to creep and hold around 68 and all hell should break loose.

Less people, boat traffic, a windless day...we had a nice soft breeze that's all. Till the afternoon then the S.E. Sea breeze started just like in the summer. But all in all. Just a two angler charter, made for a great day. Where we could mess around and try different things. And headed back to the boat ramp with zero shrimp left in the live well.

And since it was a re-scheduled trip, and the rest of this week is supposed to get windy, wet and then cold again, then warm again. It sure felt good.

Really looking forward to March 1st....even though usually during the closed Speck season of February. I catch plenty of them along the jetties. But this year I haven't, for some reason they just are not out there like they have been during other February's. I can remember one year when and ole buddy of mine and myself went to the jetties and wore out the big Specks and Yellowmouth on DOA shrimp and MirrOlure's. Just for the fun of it! This year the Speck bite seemed to end the last week of January....right after Kirk M. and I were out there catching 6 and 7 pounders.

Each year is different. And if you do not keep up with it practically on a daily basis. You can easily get lost, real fast. But then many people fishing the jetties are targeting Specks? NOT MANY!

Thank gawd for that....but then again. In 10 years will there still be any Sheepshead??

Friday, February 22, 2008

2/22 - Just waiting it out

I haven't done a big time report in awhile, nothing all that ground breaking to report, that's why.
Couldn't believe no one responded to my revolutionary jetty jigging rig. It would surely work great for the El Cheapo Sheepshead tournament on Saturday 2/23.

"I like them on the float, best" Like this 10 pounder I caught while on the Taylor charter back in November.

I have been fishing lately. And just the other day, on the day of the full moon......that was also a Lunar Eclipse. Oh, the tide was hell'ish that day. As myself and 3 last minute callers attempted to fish around the jetties. We literally couldn't give away a live shrimp, on the float-rig or while bottom fishing. Water temps in the area were 60-62 degrees. And as I moved around searching and searching, we never actually saw anyone else with a fish hooked up.

I hope the JOSFC's Sheepshead tournament goes well for them on Saturday. I'm a sponsor, and do what I can. But CHOOSE not to fish it. I'm not into the crowd fishing thing.

My instincts are telling me, after studying past years that the jetties area isn't gonna pick up till we reach that 65-68 degree water temp mark again. Which with the track we're on right now, should be the end of March. By the last week in March of 2007, the jetties were on fire.

And I made plenty of notations in my planner book, that FINALLY, the fish were biting good enough that every body caught them. The Specks were back, the Yellowmouth Trout were consistent, and the Reds were showing up when they're supposed too, again.

While pitching out a float to do a "survey" drift on the Cox charter, on March 23rd, I caught the first Jack Crevalle of the year, a five pounder! Usually, the first Jacks of the year are those pesky 10 inchers. And by the end of March, right on schedule came the Pompano.
I used to say;
"Spring has sprung"
when the first signs of Spanish Mackerel hit the inlet. But since they aren't nearly as fun to catch as Pompano. I believe spring has sprung when we start catching the first Pompano, these days.
It's easy for anyone to see what was going on last year, just as I can look on the side bar of this blog and click on last March. And review the posts. That's why they are there. I do it all the time.
I have a few days coming up, with a few groups on these last days of a memorable February.
You'll probably begin to see an attitude change as March progresses. Because I hate February in J-ville. And just the word M-A-R-C-H, is a lot easier to contemplate.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

2/16 - Better but not great, it's still Feb.

Had Don B. with his Brother-in-law Buddy, and his son Dan aboard. It was one beautiful day, and Jacksonville knew it. The boat ramp was packed in the morning. Lot's of people heading offshore.

I told the three well versed fisherman, I wanted to try a bit of "slower" fishing today. Something different. So we bottom fished the ICW for some Sheepshead, on a spot where I've caught as many as 5 just messing around. But Dan caught the only one, and Bud picked up a Yellowmouth Trout, that also frequent the spot. "They're down there somewhere...", I told the guys. But of course in the hauling butt current it was tough fishing on just the right spot.

We then went south and studied the shore. It was real low tide. All the creek mouths were empty, so the Redfish should be just off the banks. And as we approached a very likely spot, there they were up on a flat spot that dropped off to an 18' hole right up tight to the bank. What a perfect spot to anchor up and fish the deep, along the bank.

As I idled up, the Reds were waking huge V's in the water as they came off the flat and dropped into the deep hole. I slipped the anchor over the side, grabbed three bottom rigged rods and pitched into the deep. If any more come down the bank, they'll have to swim through this hole to continue down the bank. We never caught a Red! We sat there staring at the shallows waiting for more to come. But they never did. But the boats came....waked us, and it felt like trying to catch a Red off the end of the boat ramp this morning. Because of the traffic.

By then the tide was ultra-low, and there was no more current pushing. So we either just had to wait or run back towards the river to get some kind of water movement. Then the phone was a friend, out fishing with his brother, son and friend. "Dave, we've been at the jetties all morning and caught one Sheepshead and one small Trout, where are you?"
I said...."I'm south on the ICW and we've caught the exact same thing!"

So we worked our way back to the river, pulled out the float-rigs caught some Pinfish and a nice Speck that got off in hardly any current, while I contemplated the jetties myself. We end up passing my buddy, as he went into the ICW, and we headed toward the big rocks.

Every year, when the Specks are closed for harvest, and the February fish bite is damn near dead, friends and I used to say; "Well, there's always the yellowmouth Trout at the jetties....A winter time Day Saver!"

But lately, they have even been hard to come by. But today seemed to be too warm and sunny for them not to be there. So we headed towards that particular rock, where I find them.

But of course, there was boats everywhere, as I pulled up and dropped my 1/2 block economy jetty anchor over the side. One boat was pitching jigs and shrimp and caught a few.

So...they're here! But are they as I like them? Like a pack of hungry Wolves?

I use my scope a lot this time of year, when looking for the tightly packed schools of yellermouths. And as we sat, I marked them in 14' under the boat. But as we pitched float's up close to the rocks, and out off the rocks. They were hard to find. Then I caught one, and found where they were.

We all caught some, not all that big, but they were FISH! And since we were fishing, it was just what I was looking for! I of course caught the largest one, and we had a throw back or two, a few get off the hook under the boat, but action insued. And as we fished, these damn Yellermouths couldn't be any harder to catch. Because we needed to re-anchor to get on them better. But couldn't because of all the boats around. Unlike some people, I attempted to give some relative space to others, not park on top of them.

We had 6 in the box now, and the Sheepshead from earlier. And were wittling down the live shrimp in the well. But Dan wasn't looking all too good. He said, "Hmmm...I'm not feeling all that great", as he took off the piles of clothes he had on, now in the heat of the bright sun. He looked sea-sick, and then hung over the side to relieve himself of that nagging feeling.

Come to find out, the warmth of all the clothes, and his car-sick abilities, the small swell at the jetties as the tide changed, sent him into a sea-sickness state. Ut-Oh.

So we packed it in and headed to the boat ramp to clean our fish.

Those yellowmouth were sort of day savers really, and I was relieved to go to the jetties. Back where the JettyWolf boat belongs and feels at home. But they were way to hard to catch for some reason. They were only on a small spot, we had to cast to get our float's drifting over that exact spot. Par for the course though. The largest one caught was 18 inches and pulled like (2)-15" Specks tied together. That's what I like about them.

Lesson learned, I should have went and just done what I usually do, instead of expierementing around in the ICW. We probably would have caught the same "one" sheepshead at the jetties, too.

Didn't take any photo's, although I should have. I'm gonna buy one of these though, before spring. I'm gonna have it attached to my windshield, so I can just snap group photo's, and even get in a photo once in awhile.

I'll be able to suck that mount onto about anywhere on my boat, leave it and just use my camera's timer or video capabilities and not have to hold it. Or sit the camera on a flat spot, as I usually do.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2/14 - Jetty Revolution!

I thought hard and long about if I even wanted to pass-on my new Jetty fishing idea. Because this is revolutionary, I think. Just remember, you heard it first here. Don't try to pass it off to someone as if you came up with this idea, because I will find out!

No one is probably less of a "crowd follower" than I am. C'mon....I had a MayCraft boat, no one else in the whole area had such a brand. I fish Accurate twin-drag reels from California. None the less for charter fishing! I do not guide out of a flat bottom $10,000.00 Carolina Skiff....that right there, can make you different around here! And ya'll know, I went Plate Alloy with my new boat, because I wanted a life time boat.
I made my own "Capt. Dave's Approved Jetty jigs", banana head shaped, to snag less in the rocks than a round headed jig. But over the years I have found jigs can even be a pain in the butt.
My light tackle jetty jigging has slowed down over the years. I anchor up, take my time, let my customers pitch and work an area, then maybe move around. I like it that way, no hurry.
No cast here get a bite, and then the boats somewhere else 2 seconds later, because the wind's blowing and the trolling motor is at warp speed trying to hold us on the spot. I did the trolling motor bay boat gig for many years.
Plus, pitching up to the rocks isn't my only fishing method. I like to mix it up with other kinds of fishing, these days. You know...Float-rigging! Ahhhh, I love it.

So I searched high and low for something that just doesn't get stuck in the jetty rocks, like a jig does. Because c'mon, "if you are not snagging the rocks you just aren't fishing jigs correctly, right?"
Yeah, that's what I used to think.

Remember, I'm in the business of taking people fishing who probably do not know how to fish like you and I. Everyone assumes, that taking the general public fishing is like taking their buddies fishing. Who you cares if they caught any fish, as long as you do. Well, it's totally different for me. I want my folks to catch fish, learn, have fun, and enjoy the day.

So taking into account the fact that jigs are always getting snagged in the rocks, because most people I take never pitched a jig up to a 60' pile of underwater boulders before. Snags every two seconds with some folks can mean a lot of re-rigging, and a lot of lost jigs.
I remember my ole Bay Boat/trolling motor days, with spinners, 12# mono and jigs. Taking three people usually meant 30 jigs a day or more!

So I came up with what seems to be an alternative:
(please excuse the fuzzy photos, my water proof dive camera doesn't do all that good close up)

First, I found these small 3/8ths ounce weights called Mojo sinkers. An "inline" thin shaped weight
that some bass fisherman came up with for ahead of a rubber worm..."carolina rigged".

But they are really expensive, $4.00 for 10? And what if you want a 3/8th's one spot, and a 1/2 oz. on another? Then ya have to buy more of them. But I tried them, anyhow. I slid it up on my super braid line, and then just tied on a hook. Just as some people find that "pointed worm weights", again from the bass fishing world, work good too. But the larger they get, the wider they get also. Cheaper than a jig still, but "stream lined" and versatile they are not.

I made a "knocker-rig" of sorts with the Mojo weights, and it does the exact same thing as a jig. It worked okay, and the snags were less than with a jig. I had a thin profile, but that was about all.

I wasn't satisfied. So I scanned the world wide web and studied various rigs that are used by Salmon fisherman in swift rivers. They all talked about a "slinky weight". Hmm, that was interesting. A piece of parachute cord with small lead shot inside it, and then the ends melted together, to form smooth stretchy sleeve. Then, poke a hole thru the end and attach to your line. A no foul sinker for bumping down rocky streams. My mind was really working then......but a "slinky weight" still looked like a big fat snagging sinker. So I scrapped that idea.

So, I pressed on....And low and behold it came to me.
I remember seeing this lead called Hollow-core a long time ago. A roll of super soft lead, that had a small diameter, and a small hole that ran thru it, hence the "hollow-core" name. But where can I find some. So I kept searching, then found the manufacture, and then found who sold it. I quickly ordered 2 rolls at 9 feet a piece. 3/16th's inch in diameter.

Now, instead of just a 3/8th's oz. Mojo sinker, I can cut this to certain lengths and have 3/8's or a 1/2 or 1 oz. depending on how long it is. And rig it like a knocker rig, (like a egg sinker) above a swivel and a short leader.
Wella, I had stream-lined, economical, and versatile all in one.

Next was the experimentation stage....

So one day, Ernie a customer of mine and myself went to the jetties, to do some "jigging" or is it called "hollow coring" now??

Ernie fished a length of the hollow core that weighed in at 3/8th's oz. above a short leader and a 1/0 Eagle Claw wide bend hook with a shrimp on it. And I fished a piece of hollow core like a knocker rig, with it sitting on top of the same wide bend hook.

We pitched the rigs up into the North Jetty, and worked it just like a jig-n-shrimp. And it worked, for me! No snags. But Ernie kept getting the hook on his leader hung in the growth on the rocks, and would have to break his mono leader. Which meant re-tying hooks and leaders.
I'd call myself a master "jetty-jigger", because I've been doing it a very long time. But with a regular lead head jig, I still loose a few during the day. But this time, if I got hung up at all, just a quick snap of the rod tip freed my rig. It was a Joy!

Since I use 50 pound super braid line, I doubled it, then added a length the hollow core, and then tie on the hook. The system worked great. The hollow core bends easily, doesn't wear the doubled braid, and the doubled Braid is so strong that if the hook gets really stuck, I can straighten out the hook, bend it all back, pin on a new live shrimp, a be back in the action right away.

Our water is so dark, and jetty fishing has never been a stealthy type of fishing. What's the big difference between a jig and a length of hollow core?

Other than, jigs are expensive, bulky, and snag easily. Hollow core is cheap, versatile, and rigging time isn't that much more.

A jig-head never stopped a Redfish, Black Drum, or a Sheepshead from eating a shrimp, and I seriously doubt the hollow core will either.

And can ya just imagine the usefulness of this for vertical Sheepshead fishing with a fiddler crab, on a short leader? What a nice slim profile. No more getting that fat egg sinker stuck between the jetty rocks. Personally, I like the knocker way of rigging. Since I rarely do any "dabbing" the rocks with fiddlers....too boring! I gotta be doing something. I have to actively working a bait. Not just hanging it over the side of the boat. Although, it is a successful and traditional way of Sheep herding.

The other day when I was out at the jetties with Jason M.
He used the hollow core on a short leader, and I used a Mojo weight at first. Jason caught Sharks and Seabass (it's all that would bite at high tide) casting up into the rocks with his leader and hollow core rig, and I did loose a Mojo weight rigged knocker rig style. So I went to the hollow core rigged knocker style, and never lost another rig while we were there, and neither did Jason.
The hollow core is so flexible, and soft that getting it stuck isn't a concern, the hook is your only concern. I have something here? I think I do.
I don't have any trips till Saturday, and figured the Blog needed something.....since no one's interested in making a bid on the rods I have for sale. BTW...they are some kick-butt rods, those Okuma's.
So, I could have and probably should have kept this exciting new rig up under my hat. But since I told my neighbor. I figured I'd tell you all.
Not everything is free!!
I think I'll let you all find the hollow core yourself, if you're interested in giving this non-snagging rig a try at the jetty rocks.
Remember, your hook can still get caught, but it's hard to catch a fish without a hook. So, my next step is to use a smaller hook instead of a 1/0 wide bend. To lessen the entire profile of the rig.
If you are successful, send me a photo of your catch. (please size photos first to an email-able size, 400 x 400 is a decent size.) I may use it here, in a blog report, ya never know.
This is what I do during the deep winter, I contemplate things. Always looking to make my charter trips better. I'm a "tinkerer". Always wanting an edge so I can take someone fishing, no matter what the skill level, with the least amount of headaches.
I continually upgrade my tackle, looking for the best rods and reels to do specific jobs, for my clients. And at the same time YOU as a Blog reader hopefully can also benefit, either in learning a new trick, or by getting a great deal.......on maybe some Okuma rods?????
I change rods and reels like tournament Kingfisherman change boats. I buy stuff just to try it out, like the Mojo sinkers and Okuma rods....It doesn't mean they didn't work. But many times a week later, I may have found something I like better.
It's my J-O-B, to play and experiment.
Someone has to do it!

Monday, February 11, 2008

2/10 - Rods for sale

I have 4 - Okuma Guide Select rods, brand new...well as of right now used twice.

They are California "Swim Bait" rods, meaning HEAVY action casting. Seriously sweet rods, very light weight, but MEAT MOVERS! .

I had Tarpon or giant Reds, in mind for these, that's how bad azz these rods are.

Split rear grip, ALCONITE (hard as a diamond) Fugi guides made for super braid line usage.

Could be used for casting, jigging, heavy lures, or sinkers for Big fish.... Or bottom fishing for Snapper/Grouper even, with a nice quality reel, like a Shimano Calcutta 700. Would make for some mighty fine rigs.

7'6" Heavy action - Bait casting - Split Rear Grip - all Fugi materials - rated for 1-5 ounces.

Google, Okuma Guide Select 1-5oz. rods, and you'll see them from 109.00 to $89.00.
ALL (4) for $300 (that's only $75 each) - Visa/MC/PayPal, accepted.....Shipping/Ins. for what is quoted via UPS.

I'll supply the rod tube and professional packaging. I have tons of rod tubes. Under 8' for UPS is still affordable that's why rod manufactures do not make long one piece rods anymore....FYI.
Here's one of my favorite web sites for tackle, being a rod & reel enthusiast and all..... - Read a review on a very similar Okuma rod.
Call Capt Dave at: 904-642-9546

Friday, February 8, 2008

2/7&8 - Winter wackiness.....

Had "regular" Kirk M. and his buddy Bill that was visiting from N. Dakota on board Thursday.

Man was it a nice morning. We left early to go fish a different zip code. I needed a scenery change, and just a day to be left alone. No Cone-heads driving over my lines, no FWC bothering me, no Coasties, and no rent-a-cops, or noise pollution.

But the story was "no bites = no fish", where we went, except for two scrawny specks. And not long after the tide finally turned so we could fish the falling. The wind started to blow, the air temp fell 20 degrees, and it clouded up. Our nice sunny day was over.

But here's an FYI.... I marked 68 degree water on one spot, at low tide. Haven't seen 68 degree water in 2 months. But it didn't matter. The front came. And our day was just practice in futility. If ya can't get bit anywhere; shallow, deep, river, or creek. What can you do?
So we went home.

Then today, on Friday. I had Jason M. on board. Just he and I, out on what promised to be as super nice winter day. By no means the same as on land, when the temp is concerned, it was chilly. But at least I was in my Aftco shorts, with just a jacket, and was perfectly comfortable all day till the late afternoon. Water temps back at the "hub" are on the why is fishing still so dang tough? I marked 60-66 degrees, from the jetties to the backwaters today. We fished the falling tide all day.

Started out at the jetties.....No more "world tours" for me. I got that out of my system, real quick, yesterday. We jigged the rocks and had a some Seabass, and a couple cold water sharks at the high water. Then, we went float-rig fishing the rocks for one small Speckled Trout.

There was 3-6" what looked like mullet everywhere, 12 feet deep. I marked knots of them stirring up the sandy bottom on my scope at 12 feet. Then they started flipping the surface.

As one fella yelled to us, "the birds sure are eating better then me!" I agreed. They had all the dinner they could catch.

So we left the jetties as the tide started to fall good and fast. Jason wanted a Redfish, I would have settled for a Drum or at least some fast Yellowmouth Trout action, to keep us busy. But they are not even there.

We ran for awhile, and went into some shallows.
Where Jason and I both caught some nice fat Specks, with no current just plenty of due East wind...which was forecasted to be a west wind.
(could they have gotten that any more WRONG?)
Then, as the baitstealers arrived, the Trout bites stopped as fast as they started. So we moved on up in the river.

My first drift at the next spot was another nice "would be fishbox" size Speck. Then a monster of a ship passed us and we drug anchor off the spot a little, and couldn't get another Trout bite.

So we went back to jigging. And then scored on a Sheepshead. And not long after the current died there too, and we swung around as the east wind pushed the incoming tide in quick on us.
So we packed it in and headed to the dock.

Not much different than I thought the day would be, really. We weren't keeping any fish. So I just wanted "action" and we had a little. But it could have been worse. Thank goodness it wasn't.

Gander Mountain Outdoor store in the new City Square shopping center off Duval Rd. up near the Airport is having a "Meet your Maker" event this weekend.

Factory tackle Reps, tackle sales, seminar speakers, various Pro Anglers...and ME. I'll be there too. Hopefully answering questions about
Trout and Float-rigging techniques, and maybe a seminar??

I'm unsure exactly what I'll be doing exactly.
But a meet and greet is cool too.....I'll be bringing loads of photos and my favorite float-rigging tackle, to help show the technique.

If you aren't out chasing the illusive fish in the river.....come on up and see us.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

2/6 - Internet weekly, call-in radio show

Well.....the "poll" announcement I made on the right side of this blog. Saying I was contemplating doing a weekly internet radio call-in show, recieved about 8 replies in the last few weeks. That's maybe 1-3% of the emails I usually recieve.

Just call me, Ron Paul! (Great ideal's...just not in the political liar's club.)

Yeah, that means taking one day a week, to sit down and set aside an hour or two to go over what's been happening one evening, would have maybe 8 listeners?


So at this time, I'm not going to go thru with the set-up of it all.

Like this blog, the intent ALWAYS is for the purpose of "future" charter cleints to get a feel for what I do and what's going on. And I don't neccessarily think, that 1/4 of the callers I get even look past the home page of my web site, to even get to this wealth of information, and entertainment many times, that's posted here.

Let alone, they would listen to their computer speakers, at 9pm on a thursday and call-in and ask a question. I get 20 emails a week on average and can't even get those people to call, rather than "tire-kick".

I take CALLS, seriously. And have learned over the years that e-mails, are window shoppers 95% of the time.

I appreciate the folks that did email me and let me know. And I guess they are the loyal readers, and past and future loyal customers.

Thursday is my next day out, with "the Kirkinator", and his visiting friend from N. Dakota.
Plans are to get out of the "hub", where all the activity is, and really try a different area.

Hopefully we can avoid the seriously handicapped and inconsiderate, by doing so.

I need a change of scenery....anyhow.

Usually by this time of February, I'm all about heading to south Florida for a serious change of scenery, by going to the Miami Boat show. But have decided that how many Fiberglass boats do I really need to look at anymore, since my passion is 5086 welded Plate Alloy!

-wanna learn more...go to: - here's is where you'll find me, and my think alike friends.

The Seattle International boat show is where I'll head's where the toughest of the tough are on display, each year.

Problem is, there's probably no cultural shock factor, and 1/2 naked "cuban chiketta banana's" walking around. Because it's certainly not 80 degree weather in Seattle! I guess up there, the gals wear Flannel shirts, and wool long pants? Not as appealing, that's for sure. So the boats have to be the draw.....

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

2/4 - So called "perfect" day....

Well, it's deep winter now. Being that it's February and all. But unlike February, the weather this week is warm and sunny, at least according to the weather reports. Starting Saturday, and probably ending on Thursday. We're in a nice un-seasonable warm weather pattern......or that's what you may tend to believe.

So at 8am on Monday, myself and Nick "Rathkeltair" Watson went and hit the river.


It was so foggy, we couldn't see anything. No kidding, once out of the shoot at the boat ramp. We were at a dead stop. Not even my "spidey sense" could get me to jump on plane and head to our destination. Which was at least 10 miles away. Ten miles, would have had us arriving somewhere around 3pm, if I continued on at the same speed inwhich I left the dock....."IDLE SPEED!!!"

So right off the git-go, those plans hit the perverbial white sheet! Since it was just Nick and I, my plans were to go hit an area of the river, that I haven't been too in awhile, NOT looking for Trout, because of the closure. And if we did, maybe out sized fish. A place where dark shallow muddy bottom scattered with structure prevails. 99.999% of the time over looked by many.

But years ago, me and the Pelican went in there with DOA shrimp's and MirrOlures, and actually caught a few nice Trout, Flounder and Reds. I could just imagine what maybe could be, when I hit the area with the power of the FLOAT-RIG, and live shrimp!

But high water entry along with a falling tide during the day was mandatory.

As we idled past the Ferry, after stalling to wait for it coming accross the river, tooting it's fog horn "not enough", we waited to pass after we heard it pushing into it's slip on the Mayport side.
I followed along the shrimp boat docks, and I mean hugging them as we couldn't see 50 feet even, and then on down to the Coastie Station. Lucky for us the tide started to just push eastward as we arrived. So I dropped anchor and on my first drift, I caught a Trout.

Nick was all "Sheephead like", and was wanting to catch a convict today. But admitted, he probably doesn't have the fortitude to sit and dab over the side, even when fishing in his own boat. Which is partly my fault, I think. I got him into the "float" way of life, and now he's pretty addicted to inter-active fishing, rather than baiting and waiting.

We left out with 3-4 Trout caught, and eased down river in search another spot that was out of the way of possible traffic, and to where we might be able to catch a Red or Drum. But two spots later, we had neither. I went into a creek...what's the deal with the creeks anyhow?? The tide was rapidly falling, and the only thing that we could even get a bite from was the herds of pinfish that seem to thrive in any water less then frozen!

I said to Nick, "No matter what the water temp is, 89 or 50 degrees pinfish seem to always bite in the creeks. I bet the water could be damn near frozen and we could get pinner bites, while all the other fish are dead floating on the surface." me they are a neccessary evil sometimes. I don't like fishing them, but sometimes have too. And sometimes catch fish in them, and sometimes I don't. My favorite fishing is big water, with the possibilities of big fish, backed up to monster structure where I have to work my float like a fly fisherman works his fly down a stream in between the boulders. And when I connect, it's an all out tug of war, to perplex the fish from it's liar.....that's my favorite scenereo.

We did try a few other spots, and found a not so likely spot where there was thousands of tiny ribbonfish popping the surface of the water. They were maybe 6 inches. And what a big Trout candy. But we never lost a bait to anything other guessed it. PINFISH!

About then the fog lifted. All in one a matter of 5 minutes the sun pierced thru the dense whiteness, and blue sky and sun along with warmth appeared. Yes, warmth. It was quite cold out there. But now it was too late in the morning to traverse up river to where I had planned to go experiment. So we hung around all the same spots in the Mayport area.

We caught Trout, Trout, and a few more Trout!

We were on one spot, mind you it's a MONDAY at 11am. Minding our own bee's wax when some asshole in a bright yellow flats boat come racing up to us. Comes off plane with his noisey engine, points his bow straight at my float drifting along a set of rocks, and drives right up to it with his bow. Holy crap! Who does this asshole thing he is?

I yelled to him....."hey, can't ya see I'm drifting right back there?" And he replies, "Oh I didn't see your float....and don't you know your blocking the gap in the rocks to get to the other side?" "There's 10 more gaps in the rocks, use one of those....." I yelled back. Then he murmers something else and I yelled to him, "I have a photographic memory....I'll remember that boat, believe me!!!!!" (yes, I can throw a big wake if I want)

Nick and I can't believe it. And the guys got a kid with him, great example for the kid, "so spawns a future inconsiderate!" when ya have an perfect example like that.

Yellow, off brand flats boat, with a Yamaha V-max engine with some scribbly name on the side in black letters. Obviously some "cool guy wannabe", who came in like a lightning bolt and started throwing some lure and feverishly working it as if the fish were swimming in 75 degree water he was twitching and casting so fast. I get such a kick out those Flats boat crowd. They all think they're the Roland Martin's of the saltwater fishing world. In their Columbia fishing shirts and fast cast attitudes.

Needless to say, Nick or I ever got another bite after this wannabe drove all over the fish. So we left out, and so did Mr. we followed him down the river. He obviously didn't catch squat at that spot. And I know why!

Okay, now were maybe up to a "limit" or more of keeper Trout...So we hit another spot. Nick immediately hooks up before I even toss the anchor, but looses it. We anchor and set up on the spot and never get another bite.....?? Okay, I can take a hint, and we go to where the water from a huge flat pours into a deeper channel. The water temps really up now, almost 61 degrees!

I catch a Flounder, and then we make an adjustment and we start catching more Trout.
Redfish....where is a Redfish?? We can't believe that there isn't any here, along a wonderful shell covered bank on the first of the incoming tide. In the bright warm sun. Not even a pupper.

So we move on to a spot DOA Rob told me about that's real close. I've caught Sheepshead, and Trout on the spot, but never any Reds, but DOA Rob says it's a Redfishy spot. I pull up and go to drop anchor in the wide creek. And here comes two old guys in a 16 foot Carolina Skiff. I walk to the console and start backing up on the anchor. And these dumbass's drive straight down the side of my boat, and as I was backing down and to the right I had to quickly take the boat out of gear or I would have run my Honda straight in the side of their skiff, they were so close to me.

OH MY GOD....this area is the land of the IDIOTS!!! Who the heck drives right down the side of another boat in a creek that's 150' wide????? This bastard does!!!!
I'm telling ya, I waited till Monday at 8am to go fishing. Because I saw the boat ramp on Sunday and there's no way I'd fish in that without getting compensated heavily. And here we are on a Monday, and we have two encounters within 2 hours with two complete idiots. I must have been the magnet of the day.

The spot has two big shell bars that are slowly being covered with the incoming tide. So Nick ties on a MirrOlure 52MR and starts chucking around and I go to a jig-n-shrimp combo meal. I working for anything besides a Trout.....I guess Nick's working on his "cool guy" casting techniques, I don't know. I could not keep the pinfish off my jig. So how the hell is a Red or Drum gonna eat it. I worked the jig as long as I could take it. Then picked up my Float-rig, so I could catch a fish. And immediatly started catching........TROUT, again. Not big ones, but at least they were fish. Then I caught a Bluefish, and then back to more Trout.

Nick went back to the jig-n-shrimp. And too was eaten alive by pinfish. And caught ZERO.

As we sat there we could see the fog rolling in again over the trees from the east where the fog pulled out too. When the fog burned off in the river you could plainly see it hovering over the ocean to the east. As if just waiting to come back again. And by the time we left for the barn, we were in the thick of it again.

We caught at least 20 Trout, and possibly had two limits of 15 inchers (10), no out sized Trout, a keeper Yellowmouth Trout, and a 14" Flounder.

Needless to say, it was a frustrating day having to hang around the "the hub" as I refer to it. Between the jetties and the ICW crossing at the little jetties, up a few miles towards Ft. George, and down to Atlantic Blvd to the south. It's the area that gets pumbled by the masses who don't know where else to go. And we got stuck fishing it. Because of the weather. On usually a quiet Monday, in February. Which wasn't.

I'm so looking forward to the July 4th Holiday on the St. Johns, already.....