Had good ole Chris K. on board with me today, doing a solo trip. We've slayed the winter Sheepshead before, killed the Trout in the summer, caught Kings, almost everything because I have known Chris for at least 10 years, and he's been fishing with me on and off for 10 years.
So, I mentioned to him (and he's read the reports about "butterfly jigging"on the reefs) , instead of inshore fishing we go bend a rod on some of those Amberjacks. He needs his ass handed to him, because he hasn't fished in a long while. So what better way of taking the "Office" out him, than a good tug 'O war with a reef donkey.
The seas were flat with an occasional swell
so let's go see, I thought.
So we pass up the shrimp boats and possible sharks as we head east. Stop at a bait spot and no sooner I jig up a bunch of horn bellied butterfish, and cuss them because they're not big plump Cigar Minnows than a little Cobia swims up to the boat. Maybe 24" long, but what the heck I keep it interested and then drop a banana shaped jig over the side and the mini Cob starts chasing the jig around. But of course doesn't eat it. And didn't eat a horn belly either.
New bait stop......Cigar Minnow central! If ya' like to use 3" skinny little Minnows for kingfishing. I know I don't because my rigs are larger than the bait.
We move on to R.L. reef (Rabbits Liar). My old stomping grounds when I was so into trolling I couldn't see straight. We get there, and there's no bait on the screen of my scope, we try live minnows, and nothing but a small Seabass.
I told Chris we were gonna hop around a lot, till we found the Mother load of Amberjacks. And RL proved to be a really bad move. So off to A.H. (the Amberjack Hole) It's name sake is the fish we want, so why the hell not try it. I go to every high relief piece of structure, Culvert piles, Tugs, a Barge, and still nothing but reef Satan's.....lurking Cuda's. That are so damn smart, they'd never eat a butterfly jig unless it had a King Mackerel attached to the hooks.
Okay, we head for the East Fourteen-Fifteen reef, aka: E.F. Where every reef donkey catch I've made has come from so far. And what do we drive right over??? A stack of baitfish looking like a Christmas tree on my scope, and as I pass over it behind us rises the largest school of A.J.'s I've ever seen. They are just popping the surface, ripping around like mad dogs chasing a rabbit. But they were attacking a school of bait, and in the man time they come over and run around the boat, hundreds of them. Chris and I cast our jigs out and frantically start jigging. They'll chase a jig, the gang up and follow a jig, but we couldn't get one to even strike a jig.
Then as I'm feverishly casting and jigging, I get the line wrapped around the tip of my rod as one hits my jig, I go to give the rod to Chris and get the line off the tip and Whammo....the line breaks and I loose a jig, leader everything. Then the AJ's just disappear.
We keep trying the tops of the big reefs, and Chris snags a Lizard fish, or one actually attempts to eat a 5" long jig. Then, I grabbed a brand new jig rod, that hasn't even been used yet, made two drops to the bottom with it and jigged and as I was jigging and reeling the rod broke in half, just above the top fore grip! Wow, that's an odd spot for a rod to break. This Shimano Trevalla must have been built on a Friday in China! (thank goodness for Shimano warranty)
Man, if it weren't for bad luck we'd have no luck at all.
The chilly thermocline is really in full swing now!!!! Water temps this morning as low as 74, and then as it got hot the best I saw all day was maybe 80 degrees. Keep your jig down long enough then reel it up fast and feel it. They were cool to say the least. Bait pods on the surface.....none. And only one flying fish all day is all I saw. Although there's no lack of non-biting AJ's a EF.
So we try bottom fishing with cigar minnows again, not even a bite. So we move on and drop out some dead cigar minnows and troll.
A BONE! We got a bone thrown to us! Chris catches a nice Kingfish on a dead cigar minnow, only to have it chopped in half by two cuda's below the boat, after a lengthy battle.
So, by now we pretty much know the words to the HEE HAWW, Buck Owens and Roy Clark song.
"gloom despair and agony on me, deep dark depression excessive misery. If it weren't for bad luck we'd have no luck at all....Gloom despair and agony on me......"
So we packed it on in and headed back towards the inlet.
Stopped at the sea buoy and started a slow troll again with the dead cigar minnows....ZIP!
Headed to the inlet and I saw three Shrimp boats still working the Chum Hole area, so I asked Chris, "Wanna see if there's any Sharks present and hungry?" He said, "why not".
But as it turned out, the shrimpers weren't dragging, and one was heading in and one was doing mach 10 due north. Yep, it just wasn't our day.
It was a nice day, no wind, calm seas. But I'd trade rough seas, big winds for loads of fish, any day.
And as I always promise here on this REPORT BLOG....You'll get the good, the bad, and the ugly. Today, was just bad.
So since Chris has been with me all these years. We're gonna do a short day tom arrow (Weds.) with the float-rig rods and live shrimp. I have a hunch about a certain fish I caught this time last year. And they were willing and able. We'll have the perfect tide to hook Chris up on a Black tip shark or two. And then go hunt my hunch.
So stay tuned. Ya' know what Chris and I are hoping for, I'm sure.