Monday, September 22, 2008

9/22 - The Dark, Wet, Gloomy, 6 hour challenge

Was over at my parents for Taco Sunday....yeah we name days for what Mom's making for dinner. And of course they have cable TV and I don't. One of the dinner at Mom's perks.

And of course I have to watch all those fishin' shows I never get to see. And I kinda took a liking to a new one. It's called the "Urban Challenge" , or "City Limits", something like that....on Versus.

It features one of the New Young Guns of the bass fishing world. Mike Icconelli. From what I've read, he's one of the "bad boys" of bass fishing. Excitable, competitive, and I've even read he's been banned or thrown out of a tournament or two because of his antics. And of course, he gets his own TV show, because of it. "It's all about $$, I'm sure. In the long run for him".

I couldn't help understanding the premise of the show, though. And being very familiar with what it's all about. He goes to places he hasn't fished before. An urban area inside the city limits of Washington D.C. and Chicago were the two places in this episode. Has a local guy with him, be it a Pro or an average fisherman. And the goal is; a limit of keeper bass (5) for each angler, in less than 6 hours, within the city limits.

Kind of the same thing I do, except I'm looking usually for limits of Trout. I many times have more than one angler (up to 4, and that's a handful), and most of the time they are not local fisherman, or even accomplished fisherman. And have 6 hours to do what I gotta do, and do it inside the city limits of Jacksonville's urban sprawl. So you can see, I watched this show, intently.

So I was talking to DOA Rob, and we had a plan if it was fishable to try it on Monday. Especially since I had a Friday and Saturday charter that the 20 kt. N.E. winds and rain would have made unbearable. For every fishing difficulty factor on my customers, subtract 10 bites per person.

So the way I see it is, add 20 knot east northeast winds...take away bites. Add in weekend traffic, subtract more bites, add in rain and discomfort, subtract even more bites. So we rescheduled for hopefully a better day.

Continue to read on....because Rob and I went and did our own city limits/urban challenge.

Rob and I left for the dock at 7am. We get to the Mayport boat ramp and it's closed till Tuesday, while they repave the parking lot in the rain. Okay...where do I put in the BIG METAL boat?

Oak Harbor boat ramp, which is small, usually very shallow and crowded with no parking. But luckily this was a Monday. And there was no such thing as a low tide today or all weekend.

We're in the water and head to various spots. Even an area that Rob wore out the Trout last Tuesday. ZIPOLA!!!!! Unless you count Ladyfish, and 3 inch Mangrove Snappers. We don't. It's Trout, or at least "box" fish. (Fish that go into the cooler)

We're on our 5th to 6th hour of the challenge now, and have zero Trout. We were rained on, and I mean BIG rain. Rain that came roaring down the river so hard that we could hear it coming before it hit us. Then wind, oh we sat in calm all the way too 20 knot gust that jerked us all over the place on anchor. I kept telling Rob, "we ain't doing so good in our city limits, urban challenge!!"

Then, Rob thought of a spot on the way back towards the boat ramp. I was familiar with it, but always had trouble fishing there. Either the current was too strong, boat wakes to often.....something. He says, "no, no, I mean around the corner from there...." "Oh, man I've never thought of that", I said as we yanked up anchor and made a B-line to the locale.
We pulled up, dropped anchor, pinned on a live shrimp, and on my first cast. BAM, a good TROUT! And from then on it was fish after fish for over an hour. Just like on the TV show.
Rob and I caught at least 10 Trout to 18 inches. Not whopppers, but at least they were BITES!
Only a handful were keepers, but that was okay with us. We just went 5 hours or so catching crap fish. And no Trout. And man, we were excited. Just like Mike Iconelli on the TV show!

Then, in amongst the Trout we started catching large Mangrove snappers, 12 inches and better. We could tell no one's fished here lately. Because almost every single Mangrove was a keeper at first. We actually went about 30 minutes where we caught fish on every drift of the float-rig.

And Rob's a lure man! And he was dropping his DOA shrimp rigged rod for a float-rigged rod.

I kept saying, "this is just like the TV show!!" And it actually made it fun, being that no matter the rain, high winds, dark skies, we finished the challenge victorious. BUT, did we do it in less than 6 hours? NO. Did we have 2- limits each of our 5 Trout, NO. But if we weren't fighting the weather, I think we could have.

And in the back of my mind, I'm thinking....I hope people understand why I suggest to reschedule their charters on these nasty days. Because if two guys that are "masters of their domains" have trouble like this, how do they think their charter day will go? I strive for quality, if I can. So I hope they understand.
Rob and I finished up the day, cleaning our catch and splitting the fish. We each got a bag of fillets. And our undershorts were almost dry by the time it was all over. I like a challenging day like today when out with a friend. I just don't like a challenge that makes my underwear wet in the first two hours of the day.

This weeks weather is the same stuff, wind and rain?. By Saturday it looks to be better with lower winds and less rain chances.

Good, I'll be out on Saturday with 2 adults and 2 kids....Hello Mr. Croaker???

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