Friday, August 29, 2008

8/29 - Just when ya think.....

Yep, just when ya think all "penis extender's" are made out of Fiberglass...
You find out you're wrong.

And that all "53 knot" Go fast fishing boats are plastic with racing stripe decals:


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

8/25 - After T.S. Fay.....A New Day.

The St. Johns River is making records. The amount of water that is breaking it's banks (river height) is at a historical high. There's going to be a good "pouring" of fresh water now, for a very long time.

Many people in Jacksonville that I talk to have no earthly idea of how this river works, it's ecology. For them it's just a thing they drive over on the cities many bridges. That's why they have me. But in all reality it's a living, breathing, organism. It has the power to make your life very uncomfortable or provide you a living, and thousands of hours of joy.

Heck there's so many local fisherman, who haven't a clue of some of it's most minor details. They just wet a line from time to time. But it's a "need to know" situation for me.

But "per my last report" where I talked about RAIN FALL AMOUNTS, and how it effects the river's marine life, is going to be a continuing topic here for quite a while. So get used to it.

Hit the jetties with my good buddy and fellow Speckled Trout Angler, "D.O.A." Rob Harvey.

I had a simple plan. Go east of the boat ramp, and no where else, with some live shrimp. Catch our own bait for the big fish. And just enjoy the day, with a friend.

The word on the street was "bait every where!" Mullet especially, getting busted by Tarpon after Tarpon. Well, that couldn't be any closer to the TRUTH!!!!!

Yeah, the water's nasty looking. Pretty much, it's just "browner" .

We anchored up and pitched jigs, and float rigs with shrimp at first. Then moved to bottom fishing catching Croakers. Which would be our BIG fish, cut bait. We made a small move and were so deep in Croakers, it was all you wanted. Then the tide started to really move and here came the wads of mullet and the Tarpon sucking them up like Snickers bars from the surface. The Tarpon's bodies would come clear of the water as they striked at a school of Mullet.

And what was so funny, is that the radio chit-chat was about there being no bait for the Captains going trolling. Well, if these fella's were " well versed" they would have come on over to the jetties. Anchored up and threw their cast nets on the massive schools of bait pouring out the jetties. But instead, they ran down the beach, and then to near-shore bait spots looking and looking. With obviously no success, from what I heard. There will be lots of gas wasted this weekend, looking for that mystery bait that was passed on by.

As we caught Croakers just for fun, and keeping the larger ones for a fish fry, I rigged up the big fish rods, cut a Croak in half and pitched the pieces behind the boat. And here's what I came up with.
This just wasn't a large Redfish, it's a MONSTER! My largest Redfish came several years ago, after we had a Tropical Storm that dumped 19" of rain. And now, same situation! That one was 53 pounds on a 100 pound scale. This fish, was in that exact category.

We had our fair share of Nurse sharks, while soaking cut Croakers too. And since we were covered up with other boats we couldn't adjust our position. Which will most likely be the same problem I'll have this Saturday...(Ugh...Saturday/Holiday crowds)

We worked through the small Croakers keeping the larger ones, and hoping to catch some Black Drum, which should appear in droves any day now. We were hoping they would be our other dinner fish. Oh well, no Drum, maybe another day.

This is Jax Kayak Clubs representative, local D.O.A Shrimp (soft plastic shrimp replica lure) master of his own domain. DOA Rob. But what the hell is that hanging on your shirt, Rob? Is it a DOA Shrimp Lure? Doesn't look like looks like a tiny lil' Remora! A Shark Sucker, aka: a Sneaker-head. Yes, it is. My Redfish had a hitch hiker, so I slapped it's sucker head on to Robs clean yaker shirt.

Oh, I almost forgot. There's good and bad after heavy rainfall storms the St. Johns river. The good is that the water at the inlet is really fresh, but there's also Sail cats.....EVERYWHERE!

Gaftopsail Catfish. And they are hungry! Here's a picture of what has to be the largest Sail Cat I've ever caught. FYI, if ya don't know...they're major junk fish! I've always caught them in St. Augustine. But hardly ever in the St. Johns.

Things really petered out, and we couldn't move around, we were boxed in by other boats, so we took off. And went and threw jigs and float-rigged live shrimp again. I haven't caught any Ladyfish or Jack Crevalle's in awhile, since they head up river during deep summer. But they are flushed out now, along with all the kitty-cats. And we caught our share of each one of those. But as I drifted my float down the jetty, I had a good bite. And caught a small summer Sheepshead.

Overall, it was a fun day. And hopefully, as the fresh water pours out the St. Johns River it will bring more Big Reds, Trout, and Black Drum, and bigger Croakers, and a lot more.

If you've been waiting for that "big summer change", as I have. It's here.
I'm excited and hope to have you on board the Big Metal Boat soon.

Always call, if your interested in a charter date.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


With all this storm stuff going on. Think about what happens after Tropical storm Faye.
South of Jacksonville had huge amounts of rain. And where does all that water go?
Melbourne, they say had almost 2 feet of rain. And it ends up in the St. Johns River.

I'll never forget the last time 20 inches of rain fell in the southern river regions. It wasn't two weeks later, that every fish in the Jacksonville river area was pushed towards the Mayport jetties. This event was also in late summer, early fall. All that fresh water literally pushed the fish "to" the Ocean.

(Think about it for a moment. Cold water 95% of the summer, no real storms other than BERTHA passing by which did suck away the cold water for a week or so, before it was just back again. FAYE IS A BLESSING!!!!!!!)

The Croakers were monsters! And coolers full of these tasty "stringer fish" were jetty fishing staples for weeks on end. The Redfish, Trout, Black Drum, Tarpon, Mullet, Sharks, Sheepshead, were chewin' so good that the end of the south jetty at times was like a High School reunion party. Boats were anchored on top of each other, but it didn't matter. Everybody was "giddy" with fishing fever. I remember being sandwiched between two friends. My anchor line was up against an outboard motor off my bow, and my stern was almost banging into another friends bow. And it was the most fun, I ever had fishing in a crowd.

Here's a photo of myself and Roger Walker with our limit of Black Drum, not in the photo was our 72 Qt. cooler filled with monster Croakers we hand selected for keepers.

All you needed was about a 5 pound bag of dead shrimp. And let the games begin!!

Around that same time, I had a charter with the Smith family from Ft. George. And as they filled the fish box, I made a cast with a DOA-terroreyes jighead with a dead shrimp on it down the south jetty and caught my largest Redfish ever. 53 POUNDS! On some serious light tackle. I had to bust out the 100 pound Tarpon scale, to weigh it.

So, hold on. Let everything calm down and then CALL ME!!!!!

As you may know or hear of, that during the summer it seems that all the fish in the river run up river and the reports from down-town to Orange Park is where you hear about big catches of Trout, Yellowmouth Trout, Reds, Sheepshead, Drum, Croakers.

But never fear, when all that rain water hits that part of the river. That fishery will go "belly -up", and fast! I say that with some sarcasm in my tone. Because I've actually heard rookies say, "the fishing in the southern areas of the river in Jacksonville is so good I may never fish in Mayport ever again."

Well, these dudes have a lot to learn about fishing the St. Johns River. The area they are fishing is very seasonal. Middle of the summer seasonal! But all you have to do is add 2 feet of rain water. And my stomping grounds, comes back alive out of the summer doldrums. (as far as top notch inshore/river fishing is concerned)

The later in the summer we get a storm like this the better. Late September, early October is the perfect time. But, with all these crazy ocean water temps we've had all summer. I'll take a storm like Faye. And look at the long range effect.

Same thing happened after the '05 Hurricanes that ran accross the state, dumped massive amounts of rain water into the river. And a few weeks later, I had one of the best Trout years I've ever experienced. Days that had myself and charters thowing back multiple 5 pounders, because we had our limits. That's a great day!

And don't forget about these guys.
Shrimp have been at the Mayport Boat Ramp, prior to the storm. Although small, these also come with the fish in the aftermath of big rain falls.

That same year I'm talking about, I threw my net all week onto the boat ramp itself early in the morning, and came up with as many as 4-5 dozen shrimp each throw. Wow, I love it when it's like this.

Half the problem is the anticipation I feel. Especially after all the rain in Jacksonville alone.
EVERY dang fish in the river ought to be at the jetties as the month ends and September begins.

Keep a look out, and call me ASAP. Support your local Hooker (me). If you enjoy reading this blog, before I have to make it by membership only.


And remember;
- "When pigs carry sticks, the clouds will play tricks; When they lie in the mud, no fears of a flood."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

8/13 - Bait...Better late than never.

The story on the street is that there is bait around close. IE: Pogies. And not far away is good kingfish action. And not far away is Tarpon. Another word on the street is that the Tarpon are again being spotted rolling at the jetties. And the big Spinner Sharks are spinning.

I haven't seen a Tarpon along the rocks since July.

I'll have to just go make my own report, real soon. Kids back to school, vacation time basically is over. And now bait shows up on the beach. And no one wants to gooooo try????

Recieved this email from a reader:

Hey I read on your blog you heard there was tarpon action at the jetties. I finally got to get out on a boat with a buddy last weekend(saturday) and he got me on my first TARPOON. We went to the jetties, lots of people catching big reds but I hooked a tarpon on 8" mullet. First ever.. it was like.. my cherry was popped and now I'm an addict. Fought it for 35 minutes saw it jump, got close to the boat and snapped the line! My buddy guessed it was near 100lbs. It was huge. Anyway, just figured I'd tell ya. Had a hell of time!

On another subject, I set up two Kingfish rods and reels with "lead-core" to try it, since I don't have down riggers. Figured if it was good enough for 40 pound Salmon, it's good enough for a "beach slimey".

Plus wanted to try the lead-core for trolling areas of the ICW, for Trout this fall.

But, that water temp put the kybosh to all that. Have never even tried it out yet. Maybe, I can get out there and give it a try now without just wasting time. The S.E. hole was quite fired up before the first shot of that cold water came on in.

Was hoping for a Cobia during some chum fishing excursions. But the only one that ever swam up to the boat was a tiny lil' 2 footer that hung around while I jigged bait on a spot, back in late June.
So, if things are turning around a bit (bait & water temp), there's alot of catching up to do.

Monday, August 11, 2008

8/11 - Buying the "LOT"...saves you $$

I know, because I didn't fall from the fish delivery truck last night. Everyone wants rods with reels. Don't know how many times I sold a rod and people ask what reel comes with it?
None!!!!!!! Did I say the word reel??

So this time I'll say; REELS.......REELS, too.

The (2)-8'2" G. Loomis Green water rods, and (2)-7'6" Okuma Guide select rods with (4)-Abu Garcia 6500 Chrome Rocket reels - Bargain at: $550.00 "I must be NUTZ!"

Contact me at: or call (904) 642-9546 (8am-8pm only, please)

SOLD - SOLD - SOLD - 8/13

Sunday, August 10, 2008

8/10 - What the hell are these????

Check this out:


I have to say, "they sure do look succulent!"

I've heard that if you use these for bait, that they're pretty damn good baits, too.

I've also heard that if there's one, there's many...and fish like TARPON, love'em. (so do Kings, Sharks, Cobia, Flounder, Grouper, Snapper, Redfish, Trout, Jacks, Ladyfish, ....ya mean about every fish that swims in N.E. Florida waters????? Yep.)

Can ya' just imagine, if there was lots of these around, and the ocean water temp. was like...83 degrees, what you could probably catch?
Now, if I could only have a day like this.....I'd be right where I wanna be fishing!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

8/6 - Tarpon try....

Had a great group of folks aboard. The Springer Family.
They've been coming down to J-ville beach for years and have chum fished many times before.
And were recommended to me by a family member that I have spoken to a few times, over the years.

It was a very late notice, call with not a lot of heads-up, but I made some arrangements to get some chum from a shrimper. So we could target some Tarpon & Sharks, inshore. And they were up for it.

Let me set the scene......

We've been experiencing 74 degree ocean temps, with a afternoon high of maybe 76-77. Rather than the primo, 83 degrees. Tarpon water? Not hardly! But, I've caught them inshore alson when the water temp was the same. It's just not this year that this is happening, it's almost every summer it seems.

Per my report from 8/5, I tried with the Rudy crew, the day before. But had higher hopes because everything was arranged before hand for more chum. And I was going to try a differrent area.

So we left out at 7am. Chum pick-up was at 9am. And we found plenty of shrimpers working the chum-hole. We did some run & gun behind them first off, and caught two Blacknoses, right off the bat. (smaller, but very speedy sharks) Just as a warmer-upper. John (son) and Hayden, (daughter) caught these two.

We met up with a shrimper working the beach, very close-in. And he really set us up. My chum bag was so heavy I could barely get it up on just my swim platform on the transom of the boat. It was just the ticket for all day assault on the warmer inshore waters.

But the tale of the tape....or more like the chum bag was, not a single POGIE. And my chum came from the beach. Which really hammers home what a no bait summer this has really been, so far. Personally, I believe that having schools of POGIES are an integral part of the overall status of our inshore (coastal) fishery. Yeah, yeah....they maybe in the canals, Mill Cove, or 25 miles up river. But, that doesn't mean crap for the coastal areas. Where Sharks, Tarpon, big Jacks, Cobia, King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, usually roam.

Remember fish are "COLD BLOODED CREATURES" . And they go where the food is.

So with the Springer family, and a 100 pounds of fresh chum I took off for a long ride to the only place I've ever caught Tarpon during the summer when the water temp is cold. It's a long ride from in front of the old Sea Turtle Inn, where my chum came from.

Yesterday, 8/5's report. Gave me hope, to at least stretch a string. But there was a big difference. We at least had "some" action.

First spot. Nothing but a monster Stingray and a small Blacktip shark.

Second spot. Nothing but a few skates, and a small Blacktip shark.

As far as a weather difference. We had a good breeze from the North West, today. Versus yesterday's slick calm, no wind, and absolutely intense heat.

We fished in water as warm as 84 degrees! Never even saw a Tarpon roll.....if there was any Tarpon in the area, our chum would have had them running to us, that's for sure!

This is about the end of my knowledge, of where they could be. And 95% of most local Tarpon guides wouldn't even think of this area, let alone know that they are many times here. Although we never had a hook-up. They do roam these waters very frequently.

We went through at least 50 pounds of perfect chum. And caught what we did on the dead Cuttlefish that were in my chum bag. There really wasn't any FISH eaters, any where around.

But the Springer family were really some great sports. And knew I was trying as hard as I could for them. Heck, we ended up about almost 20 miles from where we got our chum earlier this morning. So it wasn't like I was holding back on the throttle.

I was very impressed by these folks good nature, and sportsmanship. They're very welcome on my boat anytime.

Yep, those day dreams of a chilly December morning along the jetty rocks, in some fog. Casting for Reds, Drum, Trout, and Sheepshead....are becoming more frequent as this summer continues.

We need a storm again, like Bertha to go by here and suck all the water out this place!

REAL or HOAX? Make up your own mind. (high speed connection is best)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

8/5 - Extreme times, call for extreme measures?

Had the Rudy crew aboard today. The last time they were out with me it was mid-March. My notations of that day in my log book included the words, HEINOUS-SUPER WIND-DUE EAST. Even though it's a favorite time of year for me. It can be very windy.

So Joe called and I had today open. And this time, I'm dealing with the cold water deal in the Ocean. Hmm...Luck of the draw, I guess.

But then again, that's why I fish all day long in the 95 degree sun, then come home and do these reports. They are for you, not me. I know what's going on, you can bet on that. You wouldn't believe how much work goes into doing these. This "Google blog" publishing stuff, isn't always a piece of cake.

We departed at 0700 hrs, the summer usual. Headed straight to the chum hole. And had our pick of a whole bunch of shrimp boats to shark fish behind. I did the run and gun behind the first one and had a good hook-up for Joe and he had a taste of the power, and then the shark got off the hook. We did more running and gunning, and it just wasn't working. So we just drifted and set out a few baits when we had a taker. But it was a smaller shark. Fast, a quick turner. A buddy calls them Blacknoses.

But what we're always looking for as you may know is a 100 plus pound Blacktip Shark. Or any other "brand" in the 200+ pound mark, would be great.

Yesterday a friend caught a huge Cuda behind a shrimp boat, but not many Sharks. So yes, things are a bit messed up. The only clue is the 74 to 76 degree water temp.

I was really frustrated. So after gathering my thoughts I went to a shrimp boat and asked for a favor......some CHUM. The man, James said he didn't really have much fish chum. (another reason for the lack of sharks) But he gathered up about a 5 gallon buck for me in my chum bag. And we took off for a different area. And area where the water's warm at least. And maybe we could find a Tarpon. Even though my crew hadn't a clue what a Tarpon even was. I do, and they'd want want. I know. So I went where I've caught Tarpon before. It was a long boat ride. But I made great time, getting there.

There was ZERO wind after I anchored up, and man was it steamy hot. And the water was 80-81 degrees. I started chumming.

You have to get the sharks going before you usually catch a Tarpon. And it worked. Joe caught a Bonnethead Shark on a fairy wand rod, broke another off, we had a small Blacktip, a super strong Nurse shark. Well over 100 pounds, may have been 200 pounds!! Then another Blacktip shark. But never saw a Tarpon. But we at least had some action. Of course, I had no plans of making such a long run to where we caught these. "But sometimes ya just gotta do, what you gotta do."

There's that ole saying...."extreme times call for extreme measures." And this summer has been no exception.

This Nurse shark about completely whooped Don!!

They're like monster cat fish. They're slow and don't run all that fast. They're strong as all hell, and they know it. I failed to get a better photo, because I sort had my hands full after the shark eventually made it to boat side. I tell people, "This is the biggest Kitty Cat you'll ever catch." I was surprised to get a Nurse where we were fishing, that's for sure. You usually catch them around jetties, and reefs where there's lots of nook and crannies. But it came straight to our chum.

As soon as the tide got high. All of our bites stopped abruptly. I was about out of chum anyhow. So we packed it in for the long ride back to the dock. Which we needed, for a cool down period.

BRING: Hats, sunglasses, and plenty of beverages when the heat is really on like today. And I'm not talking alcoholic beverages either. That's the last thing you or I need.

Heading out tomarrow with four passengers, that I'll have to do the same thing with. It's tough going right now. And we so badly need a hurricane in the Atlantic to pass by, just like BERTHA did. Which changed the water temps for awhile, or a Tropical storm, depression or something. Just to suck all this water out of here, again. So we can fish the rest of this summer like normal.

The weather man on channel 4 TV is talking about the ocean water temp, right now! It's in the 70's from Anastasia Island, St. Johns County to just north of Fernandina Beach. Below it's warmer and above us it's warmer. Welcome to Bazzaro world, Jacksonville, Florida!

Here's my crew...sun burnt, hot and tired. Needing a cold beer and some A/C!

Monday, August 4, 2008

8/4 - Tarpon #1 of 2008

Well....since I had just a blast on Saturday's (8/2) charter, so much that I never even did a report about it. I did the opposite, today with Marty & Ken. The river water's even cool, and the ocean water is even cooler.

To quote Jerry Sienfeld, "This isn't good for anybody."

This thermocline thang isn't doing us any favors, that's for sure.

So we went hunting 80+ degree water today. And went to an area I don't fish much at all, because I don't have too. The ICW. (Intra-Coastal waterway)
I do have a few spots where I've caught some Trout, Drum, and Reds. But they certainly weren't there today. Because on two of them we never even lost a live shrimp or a mud minnow!

So we just kept working south.

In a nut shell the fella's caught a few Mangrove snappers, a lil puppy Black Drum, and a mini Tarpon.

These lil' dudes were all over one spot. Just swimming around, totally ignoring or savory live shrimp.

They'd roll, they wake wakes, they spook and shoot across the surface of the water. But never leave the comfort of one particular area.

Damn, I love N.E. Florida Tarpon!! (sarcasm)

And that was about it. Just one, made the mistake of gobbling a sprightly "local" shrimp under a cork.

Oh the water was warm, alright, 81 degrees. And Ken and Marty were looking as if they were about to fall out from the blistering afternoon heat. Accompanied by the lack of any breeze, down yonder. I fare very well in hot weather and I have to admit, it was stifling.

So with all that excitement. We came back to Mayport (Ahhh...I'm home!) And I saw a shrimp boat coming in the river, so we went out in Lake Atlantic where the air was cool, and the ocean water temp was a steamy 74-76 degrees and chased a few shrimp boats we found dragging out there.

One hook up on a smoker shark. Only to have it come off the circle hook. I kept trying and trying, to get another. Running and gunning up to the boats, but we never had another big bite. So we headed in, after one long hot summer day.

(right about now, I'm starting to have day dreams of chilly December mornings along the jetty rocks.)

Here's another pic of Poon #1, and may be the only one in '08?? It was a cute lil' bugger.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

8/3 - GREEN from Envy.

The water's off Long Island NY, are warmer than it is here!!

And here's a Big Black Sea Bass taken from there, enough to make any N.E. Florida bottom bumper "green-headed" with envy. (We call 'em green heads when they get that big)

Caught on a fellow members boat, from up yonder. After they caught his 1st Marlin, on his Birthday!! (I see big ole Sea-Biscuit's and I get excited!)

Wow. I'll take my allowable "10" of these...on a butterfly jig, and call it a day, thank you!

Here's another topic to make you, I mean me.... "Green with Envy" .

I'd put my money if I had any, on this boat. 34' of solid 1/4" Aluminum Alloy Plate!! A Yellowfin and Contender eating machine.
"The RockSalt 34"
No playing bumper boats at the Kingfish tournament
weigh-in's with this bad boy.

Unless ya' wanna get hurt. (

8/3 - The Graph

It's always, for some reason or another the
middle of the wonderful curve in the state where
J-ville sits. Like a Poltergeist, that cold water lays up in here, like a ghostly mass.
It's warm water to the south, and warm to the north!
And people wish they had my job?

Here's all ya need to know about the Thermocline:

I'm not even going to discuss yesterday's charter.

Friday, August 1, 2008

8/1- Tale of the table....Ocean temps!!!!!

My endless "HOT" button issue in the summer, is....
water temps!

Want to see the "Ocean water temp" story, really easy?


CLICK ON: St Marys (buoy) because it's close to the beach. and the St Augustine (C-MAN), because it's close to the beach.

Way offshore is where it's still warm.

Damn, what's wrong with this area and these summer time water temps?

What I'd like to see is a table made of years, summer months, and temps. So I can see how many times this happens and how frequently. Because it seems like almost every year during the summer. And a year without, is distinctly different fishing.

The Mayport weather station at the Bar Pilots Assoc. dock is unavailible, because the docks not there anymore...they're rebuilding it. I hope it's done before winter time.

It's my "go-to" Boat Ramp weather, link.