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 there....my "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 again....how 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??

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