Wasn't doing anything today, and my neighbor Tom asked me if I wanted to go "play", on his day off with him offshore on his companies 31' Jupiter center console, with twin 300 horses. And I said, "sure....why not, gives me a chance to butterfly jig some more".
So we leisurely left Jacksonville Marina where the boat is kept at 8am. And headed to the "bait spot". And it was filled with cigar minnows. Jigging them up on the bait catching rigs was so easy. Compared to putting up with those Greenies at the end of the jetties, where it's one greenie to every twenty horn-bellied, Butterfish. That are just a pain in the neck.
Then we took off at mach 10 to East Fourteen (E.F. reef), about 16 miles offshore. I suggested that area, because last week Dale H. and i loaded up on ferocious Amberjacks on the butterfly jig tackle and had us a ball.
BUT....there's always a "BUTT", isn't there? Since last week a thermocline of cold water has enveloped the "party grounds", out to at least 30 miles or so. It's July, and the surface water temp is a cold 76 or so degrees versus the 81-83 degrees it should be. This always happens, right at the top of the summer season.
And the divers are saying it's 68 degrees on the bottom on some spots. This was the reason the big mean Blacktip Sharks vacated the chum hole area off the north jetty and weren't behind the shrimp boats last Sunday. The cold ran them out of there. Although they seemed to be back, so I learned by listening to the VHF radio today from all the "chatty cathy" fishing guides that were there chasing them today. (I only carry a handheld VHF for emergencies. So you won't hear me talking all day, rather than fishing. I wonder what they'd do if they couldn't talk all day long?)
So Tom and I didn't expect much. The only thing I wanted to do is catch a kingfish on a butterfly jig, and a bottomfish....any kind of bottom fish. Tom, he used bait. Live Cigar minnows, and cuttlefish. And I don't have to tell you who caught more fish and bigger fish, do I?
I did. The jigging out fished bait. We both caught Amberjacks, but I had more strikes, and fish.
Tom caught a few Vermillion Snappers, aka: B-liners, trash fish, and one cuda. But besides catching Amberjacks, I also caught a B-liner, and a Seabass on the jig, so there were my bottomfish. And I also caught a Kingfish on a jig too. I like it when I make a prediction or set a goal and it all comes together.
I know this isn't ground shaking stuff here, but as a "rookie jigger", it meant a lot to me. As I said before, this butterfly jigging is as addictive as Float-rig fishing inshore is. I can't get enough of it.
I like it because I used ZERO bait all day, and made no mess of the boat and although my goals were completed, I did have plenty of excitement.
I HAD MY ASS HANDED TO ME TWO TIMES BY REALLY BIG FISH!!!! (Tom, never did on bait.)
And since that's what it's all about. It made my day. Even though I lost another jig to one of the fish, against a wreck. It was all worth it. I absolutely love the TC4 construction, action and durability of those Shimano Trevalla Jigging rods, matched up to my small but super powerful B-197 Accurate twin drag reels. Playing with the tackle, is also part of the fun. Switching jigs, checking actions of the jig, colors, retrieval speeds, everything that goes with it, is part of this game.
We flew out there in this boat and flew back twice as fast as I go in my boat. But there is a price you pay for speed. And that's how you feel when you get back to the dock. I was tired, wore out, hot, and sunburned, when we got back to the dock. My "soft and slow peddling" out and back from offshore in my boat may make for a longer day. That's what I'm used too....gives ya time to recoup, I think? Then, unlike an "Aluminum alloy boat", we had to wash the boat with soap and a scrub brush, then cart everything back and forth to the truck at the marina. More work than I'm used to doing with my "spray off and go" boat.
But man, was it fun to just sit and ride, and then get on the reel and jig till my arms fell off!
I learned a lot more about jigging, and used many different jigs and techniques. And believe it or not the least expensive oldest style (Norwegian style jig) caught both the bottom fish, and the King Mackerel. So it actually pays to have many jigs and keep playing around with them. And you'll soon learn that all those fancy $22.00 jigs don't catch anymore fish than the old standbys.
(I don't own a single $22 jig...my most expensive one is maybe $9. And the $6.00 ones catch fish great!)
Tom and I had a good day together. I'm glad he asked me to go along.