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.
BUT WHERE'S 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."
Creeks.....to 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 than....you 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. cool-guy....as 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.....