Friday, April 11, 2008

4/11 - He said it was gonna be good!

Dale Houck....
Recently a new Jacksonville resident, Fisherman, boat owner, BLOG reader.

Booked a trip several weeks ago. But as time neared, the wind was blowing. But Dale said "don't worry it's gonna be beautiful." I replied, "hey, I'm always prepared for big wind...just in case."

At the dock this morning Dale and buddy Marcus were early, and ready. We left out at sunrise.

I had big plans, since Dale's whole purpose of the trip was to learn how to "float-rig" fish. He was interested in the how's and why of catching the Speckley rascals....Trout. So I had plans to take him and Marcus to a spot that's a big fish spot, but has never been a serious quantity spot.

First few bites on their drifting shrimp along the jetty rocks were Jacks and Bluefish, fun, but not what we came for. But no fear, Marcus lifts and set the hook on a drag pulling fish. And it's a 5 pound Speckled Trout.

This fish set in motion a nice run on big fat Trout. The rock that the fish were behind, was revealed.

Just get your float to drift that lively river cricket (shrimp) near that rock and your float goes down.

Yep, that's the magic of float-rig fishing the jetties. When it goes down, like a bullet. Mark that rock!
That's where they'll be.

The current of course when we arrived was sort of too fast, but I timed it just right, because not long after, the tides push would slow down, and when it did the Trout started chewing.

As we continued, Dale's reason for reserving his trip, "mastering the art of Float-rigging" was right on target. And Marcus...he was doing just fine, too. It's an addictive type of fishing, for the angler that wants to stay active, learn the currents, and not be tying on rigs all day from bottom snags. To me, it's "MY" way of fishing. There's only one fish I haven't caught on it that frequents our waters from time to time and that's a Snook. We don't have lots of Snook here in the Jacksonville area, but they are around. I know where they are, too. But just don't get there much.

The fog was thick this morning, and would come and go. So cloaked under the dense fog, we sat undisturbed as this was a Friday that just might as well be a Saturday morning.

We ended up with 7 trout from this spot and 3 were 5 pounders. And man, they were sweet. This area has produced even larger Trout. I have seen them up to 8-9 pounds. In the winter. I haven't caught any. But I know they frequent the area.

Not every Jetty rock is the same. Some spot just hold fish better. Some are Redfish spots, some are Sheepshead spots, and some are Trout spots. And it's all too do the window the tide gives you.

Show up on the right spot, but on the wrong tide, it's like anywhere inshore. It doesn't mean the fish will be there. People always ask me for "spots" as if there's a magic rock where anyone with no skills can catch big Trout. And with as much tact and diplomacy, I try to explain the whole process, if I can. But there was no having to explain this to Dale or Marcus. They found the rock, I just supplied the tide and means.

We fished until the falling tide completely died, so it was time to move on. So since Dale was wanting to learn, we tried a little Jig & Shrimp fishing. Looking to get Marcus a big fat Redbass on some serious light tackle. But we never caught one.

Then we float-rigged the same area, and still didn't catch one. I knew they were in the area, I just saw two caught on a float-rig on another boat. But for some reason, we just couldn't connect.

So we moved on and tried another area. It was so covered up with boats that it was tough fishing.

Instead we just caught a Jack or two. The Jacks are getting bigger, the Bluefish are also larger, and the Bluefish aren't as ravenous as they were a few weeks ago. I don't mind Jacks in the 5 pound class or larger, they give folks a good pull. But those little 1/4 pounders are just plain bait eaters.

The fillets today were great. Purty, purty, Trout fillets, for all kinds of dishes. And Dale even let me have 2 big ones for supper.
Thanks Dale, I cleaned up the boat when I got home and then blackened those chunky fillets, add a big scoop of potato salad, and a tall glass of sweet tea, I was in GATOR TROUT HEAVEN!
Tomorrow (4/12) I have a double header, one charter in the morning and another in the afternoon. Then comes Sunday's (4/13) two passenger trip and a big time weather change. It was 80 something today and the weathers supposed to turn COLD??? I just put away all my fleece for the year, last week!!
Here's all of the photos I took today on my "Recent catch pages" :