Monday, May 19, 2008

5/17 & 18 - The weekend...

If you've been following the weather saga, then you know how days got switched, because of supposed weather threats. (that never happened)

Well, we got out on Saturday versus Friday. Had Dan, Dan Jr. & Matt on board, for a 8 am Saturday departure. It was dark with ominous black low clouds hanging over Mayport as far as the eye could see. Winds and possible rain looked to be killing what seemed to be a busy Saturday at the boat ramp. I was there really early, and watched the boats come streaming in. Some folks just sat in the parking lot and stared at the sky, while some just loaded up and took off eastward offshore.

I sat waiting on my guys, thinking "damn, there was nothing wrong with Friday......"

They arrived and now my plans were really in a funk. Go up river? Go East?

What happens if all hell breaks loose? Those black clouds, and cold winds screwed me all up.
So I decided to stay relatively close just in case. And as we began fishing from spot to spot. It was quickly evident that something was wrong. No Trout.

The guys caught some fish, but of course not targeted fish. We worked areas in the river, then as the front lifted and just seem to move away. The sky cleared, and here came the sun. We even ran to the jetties for awhile and never lost a bait to a decent fish. That was really something!!!

We tried a lil' bottom fishing for a big Redfish for awhile. Using cut pieces of ladyfish, but only had the bluefish tearing at it. I think momma nature was saying to me; "HERE'S YER SIGN."

The guys ended up catching Jacks, Blues, Ladyfish, a Spanish Mackerel, and a big Croaker.
And as we pushed into the 7th and 8th hour of the day, I had to cry UNCLE! I had to go again on Sunday, and that's when Dan Jr. finally caught a 14" Trout.

It wasn't the easiest day of fishing. The wind was ever present as always, and turned to the East North East in the afternoon. Which made things tougher. Float fishing should have been really easy for them, but turned out to be a challenging. All in all a tough day, with not many keeper fish.

Thursday... was I believe the best day of the whole week. But of course I wasn't booked then.
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I got home on Saturday pretty whooped, and called Adam my Sunday charter. The weather forecast seemed to be better. So I went over the plan of attack in my head that night.

Different zip code, earlier depart time. Adam and his dad arrived right on time at 7:00 am on Sunday. No way was I going to leave late. Not with the afternoon winds that we're experiencing each day.

So we headed off up river. A bit easier trip with just two guys. Both were locals and fish the river and offshore themselves.

But it's all a "give and take". A early start meant leaving just before high tide, and having to work through slack tide also. A ran straight to a spot that has produced some great Trout and Redfish before. A dock with loads of structure....but a tough place to get any current on a high tide.

As I showed them what we would be doing, I nailed a 19 inch Trout. "I.G." - instantaneous gratification! Okay, let's try here. Adam and his dad caught 2 or 3 Trout, and we tossed two more in the fish box. Then, the spot seemed to dry up. Plus, I had other places I just had to hit, if I wanted to fish with some current. And it's easy to just sit in one spot, and miss any tide for a later area that might be productive....so like any expedition. We have to stay mobile.

So we took off south again. Still on an incoming tide. We anchored no less than 4 times and on these super old, but proven Trout spots. One of them we never even had a bite! I think we had a few small Jacks and Bluefish, that was it.

Not nearly as many Jacks and Ladyfish as on Saturday. Probably because we were 12 miles up river.

I kept thinking of an ole rule of thumb I was always told by my mentors..."Incoming tide-Full moon, can mean the kiss of death for a float fisherman." But I hit my #1 incoming tide Trout spot and we never got bit. It may have been that the current was going on way, and the wind was blowing the opposite?? Rules of thumb like that are fine, but if someone has one day to fish. And we have to choose the best time of day. We just have to work with what we have. So I kept on the move.

Still no Trout, so I ended up back at the first spot, now on the falling tide...And the Trout were still there. They were smaller and sporadically biting. So we just laid back and enjoyed the bites that came every once in awhile. Adam and his dad who really were not bait caster people ended doing very well at it. Adam was really getting it.

Remember, it's not a cast, but rather a "lob".

I really do not like having to cast, but rather just flip the float-rig out behind the boat and let it drift. But unfortunately, this weekend wasn't much of that. Which again makes it tougher for folks.

Getting to the boat ramp dock was a chore at the end of the day. In high gusting winds from the west, a hauling butt falling tide. Which had to calculated, and looked at for a few minutes before attempting with out smashing the dock at 25 MPH!! Glad we got started early, because it was nice and windy in the afternoon, as I predicted it would be. And we even had a little bit of rain and thunder.

My next trip is on Wednesday.....check out this forecast! Sounds like I cannot win no matter what I do, huh?

Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 8am. Partly cloudy, with a high near 90. Here's the neat part......."Breezy, with a west wind between 10 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph." WHAT??????????

Maybe they are completely wrong and that's actually Thursday's forecast. I'm pretty much gonna go by what Dave thinks, not what I read.

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