Last year, on September 26th I went to Nassau Sound by myself to catch me a bunch of big beach Whiting, Black Drum and Pompano. Because just a few days before a buddy of mine wore them out. He called me, but by the time I got there the tide was over and so was the big bite. But I had a few but my buddy Rob, loaded up.
When I went there on the 26th, solo. I didn't get a single bite. And I started noticing dead mullet on the surface floating by the boat. Then, as the falling tide picked up the whole sound was a flood of dead fish. And I never lost a shrimp. So I headed to the bridge and pitched shrimp up around the pilings, and eventually caught 4 chunky pup drum. And then came home via the I.C.W.
I pulled up to the dock at Mayport and saw friend Guy there sitting in his golf cart. I said, "Man there was some kind of massive fish kill up in Nassau river, there's dead mullet everywhere."
Being the consignment boat sales owner at Mayport Marine, he said to me, "I read in the paper that there's a Red Tide up that way."
Like a brick bat over the head, I said... "Holy Mackerel, yeah that's what it was I'm sure. Dead rotten fish pouring out with the tide from inshore."
We don't experience Red Tide here very often, so I was totally taken off guard. Guy said, "you didn't have trouble breathing or anything? Ya know it gets to your eyes and throat."
"NO", I said. "I really didn't feel any effect."
The moral of this story is that there sure is a lot that goes on that effects our fishing. This summer was 73-75 degree Ocean water temps in the middle of July. When the water temp should be 83 or above!
Which really isn't as bad as I've seen it. In 2004 on July 3rd I rounded the north Jetty heading to Nassau Sound to do a Tarpon chumming trip with Anne Quinley and here brother and sister-in law. As I ran from the river into the ocean, I looked down at my temp gauge on my JRC color scope, and saw 63 degree water. How we did it, was a stroke of luck. But we ran into warmer water at the sound, had chum and in the first 30 minutes of chumming had a 50 pound Tarpon on, with Anne screaming while she struggled to get the fish to the boat. It was all being in the right place at the right time, that's all.
I also had a river Tarpon on the 1st of July that year. Way up Nassau river, the same size. Two in two tries, and the water was really chilly.
Then why not this summer. I kept trying and trying in the 73-78 degree water. But as you remember, I just resorted to the Blacktip sharks, behind the shrimp boats. Which was fun too.
Well now is another time...it's what I call the "second chance" at a Tarpon. They were at the jetties all over the place right after Tropical Storm Fay.
So we know they're around. And if I could, I'd go out and chase them behind the shrimp boats, RIGHT NOW. But the problem is 4-6' seas and Small Craft Advisories with 15-20 knot East Northeast winds. The second chance doesn't last long as they will start to head south. And of course this happens during good Trout fishing (eaters), and spawning big Redbass.
Rosanna Rosanna Danna, a character played by the late Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live used to always say....... "It's always something" .
But if the seas allow, it used to be that I'd anchor up at the south or north jetty for the big Reds on a falling tide only, catch some small Croakers, and then pitch them out for the Reds. And one year we hooked as many as 9 Tarpon, a few spinner sharks, and caught numerous big Reds.
What a day!
You don't know this, but when you pick a day, call me, and reserve it, all these scenarios go thru my head. Well, ya know it now, I guess. I not only have a fantastic memory, but I write everything down too, in my tide book. As you may have noticed, writing isn't a big deal for me. 1200 words a day is a goal of mine.
Still, the best is yet to come folks. Here's a really pretty fish caught where I hope they will be this year......in the sand off the jetties, during the spawn. It was October 4th, in the late afternoon.
And you can plainly see how close we were to the end of the jetty.
The reason I'm using this photo is, the husband of that gal standing there, (Not pictured) will be on my boat with three of his buddies on October 18th for a late afternoon charter, and we want fish like this once again!! (and seas too)
Last fall the Big Reds were a morning ritual for me.
We'd head to the rocks and actually do a controlled drift and hang a bunch of them and then go catch some "box fish" aka: Trout & Drum. It was fun while it lasted.
Here's some of those fish off the sand, from us drift fishing, which we don't often get to do around here.
Do not let these good times pass you by.
I'm hoping for a really good fall season, and of course can't wait till that first morning I have to reach for that old fleece shirt that's hanging up in the back seat of my truck, since last year.
I left it there to remind myself that my favorite season, will come around again someday.
And now it's almost here....just like all the news people are counting the days till the BIG election?
Well, I'm counting the days down till the air cools and days are shorter. And yes, I can't wait till this election crap is over too.
This photo is really funny looking. It looks like she has an extra head growing out of her arm...
Yeah that's Don M. Jr. and his sister. Had Don aboard last week with his dad, and he'll be back next month with his sister again. Maybe we'll get a photo without that extra head....hahahah.