Thursday, March 6, 2008

3/6 - The hunt in the deep...

Supposedly, today was the last day of the so called "good weather" for the next few days. But, in my mind today wasn't all that damn good. The forecast was for Northwest winds 10 knots.

Which was total BS. It was NE at 10-15. Especially at the jetties! Being it's just the beginning of March, I guess I could deal with it. But I'm really over N.E. winds.

At the jetties it was just plain aggravating. Since Nick Watson and I were out hunting the deep water for BIG fish. So we didn't break out a single Float-rigged rod at any time. But I threatened too...I can't believe I went a whole day with out working my float-rig.
Hours and hours went by without a single big fish bite on this new moon, tidal day. We just left way too early. And shouldn't have even bothered going till it was nearer to the low water.

With the jetties being just one aggravation after another; I.E. - Smoking current, wakes from tugs, and stiff NE wind. I decided it was just plain time to leave and go somewhere workable.
Because nothing was going our way out there.
So I ran down river to an old spot. But when we got there, we essentially missed the falling tide current. But, bumped into a fella who stopped us and told me he just found and read this blog, and my web site. Needing some help, since he's a Gulf Coast fisherman really. Yep, it's like night and day I'm sure. Between here and there. But on days like today, even the big St. Johns can be a real pain in the ass, even when you know it.

We tried the spot anyhow, and was into the yellowmouth Trout bites fast and furious. I knew they were there, but I had also caught Drum, Sheepshead and Reds here. But not today. So we moved on.

Next spot, about a 1/2 mile away. Serious H-A-R-D = F-I-S-H area. Hard bottom, lots of shell, ledges and rock. But we sat there for what seemed like over an hour before getting a real bite.

I had the idea of bottom fishing in the deep water, because I wanted to use my new 8' Biscayne rods, that I had built just for bottom fishing big fish, heavy current, with heavy lead.

And man, this 32" Redbass felt good on them.
Just what I was looking for, "Control in the trenches" with plain ole E-Glass type action and durability. These rigs are not replacing my Loomis backbounce rods matched with my Accurate twin drags, they're just different for a change.

Well, Nick and I had big plans for Black Drum, and Sheepshead in the deep, swift water. For the freezer. But for a sea trial with the rods, the big Red worked.

At least we didn't have anyone near us, bothering us, had good current, and could just sit and be happy, waiting for the next bite. Which didn't take very long.

Nick was up next. The 8 foot rod doubled over into a horseshoe shape, as the drag pulled hard.

I could tell Nick was a bit shocked, usually creek fish don't pull like this. And Nick spends most of his time in his own boat in smaller water. That's what is so much fun about dropping into the deep water out in the river.

The fish are bigger!


I almost had to remind myself that yes it's that time of year again, when the big Reds roam the channel edges. Because I catch myself many times still being stuck in the wintry January, February mode.



Like the top right hand corner on the home page of my web site states; "Florida's largest Trophy Size Redfish, April 1st- November 30th".
But yeah, those dates are not etched in stone, either!

Nick's Redfish was way bigger than mine....pushing 37 inches. He said, "Dave, I believe that's the biggest Redfish or Fish, I've ever caught!" That's good, I can add Nick to the long, long list of others who have told me the same thing.....

Next it was my turn. So Nick grabbed the camera and was gonna do some video of it.
I could tell it was a good fish, but not like the one Nick just caught. Then it popped up to the surface......"AH HAH!!!!! A Redfishes Ugly Cousin", a nice Black Drum was at boat side.


Now, things were starting to be worth the too early departure, the jetty conditions, and the second guessing.

"we need about 4 or 5 of these", I said to Nick.
At least that was my intentions when I got up this morning, and called him. Actually, that's not true. It was the intention I had yesterday when I emailed him and said, "Lets go fishing Thursday!"

Bait was nothing exotic. Just live shrimp.
And we were starting to run out of the big ones, that I like to use for bottom bait.

We did have to sit through some river traffic. They may get close, but at least this kind of river traffic doesn't come over and anchor on top of you, or drive by staring at you. Although intimidating, I'll take this kind of river traffic over what I sat in last weekend!

I waited, then waited some more, to get this photo. These two ships were passing.....

Even though it may look as if they are about to collide. Which actually counter balanced the surge from their displacement that we encountered earlier, from a single passing ship.


The St. Johns River. Never a dull moment.
There's always someone, or something to watch, be disturbed by, or amazed by.

We had an Osprey obviously watching us.
Because when I un-hooked a small Yellowmouth Trout and tossed it over the side, it floated for a minute in the current. And that was a minute too long. It was immediately scooped up off the surface by the watching bird from over head. As if it was just waiting for me to toss it over board.

I was waiting for the bite to drop off any minute, because the current was now 'coming in' on the bottom of the river, but still flowing east on the surface. Which most of the time means, "game over, time to move." But Nick got another shot, when his rod doubled over again in the rod holder.

Another Big Red! And this time I videoed Nick.
But come to find out, I hit the wrong button on his camera and it never took.....Oh Well!
It really wasn't the operator, but rather the instructor......lol!
Looks like Saturday's charter will have to be a re-scheduled trip. The forecast is for west winds 20-25 knots!!
So I guess today was the last good day for a couple days. Glad I got in my fishing fix.
We had such a slow start this morning, it had me wondering were we ever gonna fish fish big enough to pull hard against my new rods.
I'm glad we did. And so was Nick.

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