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 it...it 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.