Had Chris C. and his girlfriend Jessica aboard on Tuesday. Originally, the trip was planned for last Tuesday. But the weather was windy and overcast, so since Chris had any Tuesday open, we moved it to this Tuesday that was windy, but not overcast.
Yeah, sometimes ya just can't win.
So we headed out for big Trout and plenty of big Croakers. I worked the same area that I fished on Sunday with Don Z. The tides were a bit different but easily manageable, the forecast was for 15-20 knot East S.E. winds. So we headed up river.
Since Sunday had me still with anticipation of what today could bring. I made sure to "kinda" follow the same track. To target these big fat Speckled Trout.
On the first spot, the Croakers....big Croakers were insane, as they were on Sunday. Fish after fish yanked Chris and Jessica's float's down. Fantastic action, and fun no doubt. But something was different...NO TROUT I.G. - (instantaneous gratification)....Not a single Trout bite!! Was it that the Croakers were so viscous that the Trout couldn't bit? I don't think so. Because we had plenty of big Croakers (to 14" ) on Sunday too.
So, to save some frisky live shrimp for our big Trout hunt, we moved on and tried a few other locations. But by now the high east wind was bucking the falling tide, and fishable areas were far and few between. So we just moved about, in this same area that was relatively protected.
I knew the Croakers were a given. So the hunt, I soon found out would be for "any" Trout.
And I don't give up all that easy. Jessica caught the first one. A 14-7/8's inch Trout.
A radical difference from Sunday, when they were mostly 18-23 inches! But it was our "Targeted Species".
We just kept catching Croakers. And no Trout.
So I kept us on the move, searching.
Jessica also caught a mini-Redfish, that was hanging out with the Croaks. It was the same size as the Croak's.
Then we met up with my buddy D.O.A. Rob.
A fellow Trout connoisseur. He'd tried the same areas and came up empty handed too.
And let me tell ya' that doesn't happen to Rob very often. So I knew something was going on in Bazaaro world.
The salinity in this area was no different than on Sunday. There must be plenty of food around, because the Croak's are ferocious. The only thing that was really different was the wind, and it's direction. I told Chris and Jessica, that of all the wind directions East is the worst on this part of the St. Johns. It's as if it blows against the grain, in more than just one way. It has the ability to really kill a bite, and I think we're experiencing it.
Either way we plugged on. Float-rig fishing where we could. And then, Chris found another Trout, a small 15 incher.
Then, afterwards we made another move and I caught a keeper Trout as I surveyed around with my float-rig.
I think we found some. The last two came from the same spot. A piece of bottom that was on the end of a long drift, hard to get too in the wind and current. And then even on a Tuesday afternoon, a boat came in and parked right on top of where our floats were heading. Two, dead shrimp chuckers.
We had a box of Croakers, though. A day saver, for sure. From 12-14", these are surely some nice fish fry fillets. And our two keeper Trout. We met up with DOA Rob again after making a zip code change. He said he lost a big fish on the float rig on one spot, and that was it. But didn't know what it was.
The wind now in the afternoon was really "gettin it" in the middle of the river. I've exhausted about all I could do on the float rig hunt for a big Trout. So we finished up the day, hiding from the breeze and just bottom fishing a little bit.
And what did we catch? MORE CROAKERS....and smaller ones.
Our pursuit of a Gator Trout, certainly wasn't from a lack of try. We worked hard and long, with what the weather had to offer. And the big Croak's on the float-rig are always fun.
I made a deal with Chris, that I'd clean his Croakers. So it was time to head back and get the assembly line going. And get all these Croaker's filleted, skinned and de-boned. Didn't count how many we kept. But I'd guess it was between 20-30 of them. So I'm glad I have a comfortable fish cleaning arrangement on my boat to do it. It's on thing I love about my boat, it's so versatile. I can even make it into a fish cleaning factory, too.
Complete with running water and several garbage disposals.