Monday, March 30, 2009

3/30 - NICE...

Had the Taylor B. crew on board today. And after yesterdays huge amount of wind I was really worried. I need a day that's seems like it's been so long since I had a charter when it wasn't blowing.

The forecast was 5-10 from the N.E. at first, then it switched to NW. And as we sat at the jetties this morning yes, it was N.W. with a light breeze, then later it turned to the N.E. But it was light, so it didn't hurt anything I had planned.

Things started out slow, but got better as the tide flooded in. The water was sandy looking at it should have been after all that wind we had. Cleaner water could have helped the Trout fishing. But we eventually got what we came for. A box of Specks and some Yellowmouth's. The best Trout was Keith's (hope I remember his name right....I'm bad with names) He nailed a fat 21 incher just as the tide and current got really right.

Taylor has float-rigged with bait casting tackle with me once before. But Charles and Keith haven't. And they sure picked it up well and fast.

The Specks and yellowmouth's kinda came in waves. We'd get a good rally of fish going and then nothing. I believe the fish were on the move and not hanging around, to long. Then, we'd get another wave come by.

We made a few moves. Added a few here and there, and only had one throw back small one all day long. But still, I was hoping to find the "nest". Which means action for hours. But believe the dirty water may have played a big part in no "nest" today.

So as the tide got high, we made a move again. I told the guys, we're moving to a Redfish spot. And believe it or not, it's all about high tide and the spot you get your by. And 5 minutes after being there, Keith sets the hook on a 22 inch Redfish, right after I tossed a jig out and hung a Sheepshead.

The current the died off, and it was time to eat a sandwich, so as we did that we travelled part of the "rip" that was forming on high tide, I don't see many distinct rip lines on high tide very often. But we checked a couple hundred yards of it, just to see if a Tripletail might be hanging out on it.

Time to step it up a notch. So we hit the north rocks and tossed jig-n-shrimp combo meals.

Again, HOT ROD Kieth set the hook on a Sheepshead. We stayed at it for a bit, but that's all the guys caught out of the spot. I was thinking, "more Redbass" myself.

All day out towards the "chum hole" sat a big sailing ship anchored up. And I mean BIG.
So I had to try and get a photo of it.

It was a good day, nice weather, and a good group of guys.

Next up will be Wednesday, Friday, Saturday - fishing the Redfish spots Tournament with clients, and then Monday and Tuesday with the Robinson's.

Lots of good it's "time to make the donuts", aka: cleaning the fish.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

3/27 - Nasty....

Had (5) people aboard and out for a bottom fishing trip. Looking for a BIG Red, a Drum, a big Sheeps, on that new moon tide.

Current & wind and heaviness, made it so I couldn't even anchor on any of the deep hard bottom spots, I usually fish. Anchor bounced like it was being pulled across blacktop!!!

It was gusty, cold and overcast.

Fish? Don't even ask.

Next few trips....I only have 2 passengers. "Have float-rig & jigging combos, will travel."


sent this photo of what it looked like out there, to our locaL FOX NEWS station's, Mike Buresh the meteorologist, he explained to me what we were seeing out there.
He replied, "Good stuff, Cap! Those are mammatus clouds. I received a photo from a viewer Fri. & noticed them myself. Mammatus is latin for "udder" -- use some imagination!!These clouds most often appear on the under side of the anvil of intense thunderstorms. In Fri's case, they were the anvil ahead of a thunderstorm complex in the Panhandle. I imagine the fish were skitish perhaps because of the falling air pressure? -Here's to some better fishin'!"
It did rain and blew even harder after I got home, cleaned up the boat while eating dinner.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

3/25 - Non-Gloomy day

I knew I had a very short time before the S.E. wind would start to blow. And I barely made it out with enough time to catch anything before it did.

But on my first pitch of the float up to the jetty docks, I caught this nice 17" Trout.

It was super nice on the river as long as the tide was flooding, and the wind wasn't a sustained 20 knots. This is what it looked like as I left the boat ramp around 8:30am.

After that first Trout, I made another pitch to the same spot and caught another Speck. Two casts, two fish. But the tide was high and just about to turn. I knew this good fortune was gonna be short lived. Because where I was anchored is all about rising tide, and as soon as it falls a bit as the turn around happens. It's usually all over. And that's pretty much what did happen.

I caught one more Trout. And then it seemed like all the bites just quit. If you're not in tune with what's happening every single minute while your out there. And have a lackadaisical approach, I believe your just wasting your time. So I said to myself, "I'll give it 10 more minutes or so and see."

I made a cast back up near where my first trout came from, and as my float drifted back toward me, it went down and I had me a rod bender. A 28" Redbass.
I had very short patience today. So after the Redbass, I moved on because the tide was now falling and if I wasn't going to get bit, I was gone!

So I headed to another spot at the jetties. And after pulling up there I could tell I was going to get a perfect "boat" drift right down the rocks. Hmmmm...I'm all about covering ground. So I turned off the engine and just drifted slowly right along the rocks.

I pitched a Jig-N-Shrimp. And believe it or not, for about 30 minutes I didn't get a single bite.
So I switch over to my float-rig rod, set my depth at 14 feet and again made casts to the rocks to about 16 feet deep.

The wind drifted the boat one way, and the tide drifted my float the opposite. After about 3 drifts of boat and float, my line came tight my float disappeared. And I was in a serious drag burning tug-a-war with some kind of monster. Probably a really big Redbass.

As hard as I pulled, the fish pulled harder and straight down the jetty. I high-sticked my rod so to get a taller angle on my line so to keep it out of the rocks. But it didn't matter. The fish broke me off. Well, that was a fun 30 seconds!

I got tired of drifting the boat so I went back and anchored up along the rocks and pitched my float. For one hour I sat there drifting a frisky live shrimp down the jetties and never had a single bite....actually I went through 3 shrimp, because they just died of pure boredom.

I find that almost unbelievable, but believable. Like a switch, here came the wind that seemed to shut down the bite. A falling tide gets "bucked" by any direction with East in it. So that's probably why.

The wind was pretty damn strong making almost everywhere, non float-fishable.
But I did have a spot that was out of the wind, right in Mayport. Gotta remember, I have to limit where I go. I can't afford to run all over. Keeping it close to the boat ramp is the whole idea.

So, I pulled up to a protected spot. Float fished, nothing. Threw out two bottom rigs, nothing. So I packed it up and headed home.

Oh well, soon enough this wind direction will be over. I really needed to get an early start, today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

3/23 - Gloomy Day Trout

The first day in a week that the wind wasn't blowing hard, was this morning.

It was so calm that the bugs were chewing on me. There must have been a big hatch, because between the gnats and the biting flies I stayed in my hooded jacket and fleece pants all morning.

Was heading to the north. Way north, but got distracted and ended up stopping short. The water was clean, green and dead calm as the tide started to flow east.

On the way, I thought "call the National Guard...we have an invasion on our hands!" The small Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel are everywhere. I mean everywhere.

Popping the surface like rain drops as far as the eye can see in the ICW, river and even back in the creeks.

With the arrival of the Spanish Macs, it is truly spring time. Sometimes the calender says Spring, but without the Spaniards in the river. It doesn't always feel like it.

Next up will be the Jacks and Ladyfish.

You can either like this invasion, or not. I'm not all that crazy about it, myself. Because they make catching my target species (trophy spring time Trout) many times alot tougher. Because these Blues, Jacks, and Ladyfish are so aggressive. And next comes the 6" Mangrove Snappers. My bait bill will double by mid April. Because I'll have to bring twice the amount of live shrimp on a given day. Because these fish can be ferocious!

I hadn't float fished this area in a long time. The last time I was here and spent the day was back when I had the Bay boats. And I used to lure fish it a lot with top water plugs. Plus the tide was seriously high, and I needed some bank to show before the fishing got right. So I spent some time looking around.

I was all alone for 3 hours till I had the first boat pass by me. I told you the best days are Monday's & Tuesdays!! It was tranquil and dead still. Nothing but the birds singing and the crows squawking, in the woods adjacent the water.

I finally anchored up. And the fishing was really slow. The only bites I had while float-rig fishing were the Pinfish, which are now back in full force along any hard bottom, and the occasional Bluefish biting my hook off. The only way to stay away from the "pinners" is to fish deeper. So that's what I had to do.

My float finally went down and I had a big fish. Far back behind the boat on a long range drift.
It was a big Trout.
Good fish, at 22 inches. So I dropped it in the cooler and continued on.

I certainly didn't find the "nest" by any means because the next "take down" wasn't for another 30 minutes. I was on the phone, and my float took a dive. The drag pulled hard. I ended the phone call quickly while thinking I had a decent Redfish.

Which would be nice, since lately all I'm finding is small puppers.

The fish ran down the back and almost ahead of the anchored boat. Then I saw it. Another Trout!

I always tell people who say Trout don't fight, "it's because they haven't caught any large ones."

Boiling on the surface and shaking it head was truly big Trout antics. But you can't yank and crank. These are fish you must "finesse". This isn't shark fishing! That's why so many big Trout are lost at boat side. You have to take it easy on them, they have tender mouths.

I slipped the Trout into the net, and couldn't believe it. This fish was the exact same size as the first one. 22 inches.....a twin! But with a whole different attitude.
Just my luck. I had to release this one.
Only one over 20" per person is allowed.

But before doing that I had to check , real quick.

Yep, these two fish were identical.
One with a mean streak, the other a bit more passive on the hook.

I kept trying to see if there was a nest of large Trout hanging around behind the boat, but they were the only two I got on this spot.

The weather was going to hell, it started drizzling and the clouds got thicker, and with that came a cool easterly breeze.

I worked a few more spots, and only caught more Bluefish, Pinfish, and several really small Trout. So I left out.

I hit 2 more spots, as the tide started to rise. And couldn't catch anything but Bluefish, and small 15-16" Redfish. My last spot was a tricky one. I had to put the boat practically up on the bank to fish behind a shell bar that was flooding over with the incoming tide.

But the Trout were there, and that's where I finally boxed my limit of (5) fish. I caught a few more small Reds too.

It was getting late and the weather had really deteriorated compared to this morning.
I had no more shrimp, so I left for the boat ramp, cleaned my fish, and headed home.

If it wasn't for the East wind, that I know was coming. I would have just preferred to hit the jetties. The Pinfish in the creeks around the oyster bars are just intolerable sometimes, in my opinion.

Water temp: 63 degrees about everywhere.

But, I tried it and caught myself another 10 Trout fillets for the freezer....."hell, 5 fillets never made it to the freezer when I got home. But rather hit the frying pan!!"

Mmm, Mmm, good!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Article, I found and dusted off..since the wind won't stop blowing!

7-striped Jetty Snappers
by Capt. Dave Sipler

The term "seven striped jetty snapper" has become synonymous with the fish called a Sheepshead, here in N.E. Florida.

Many moons ago I wrote articles every month for what was the first local yokal fishing magazine in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Published by Mike Patterson of Atlantic beach, Florida, also an avid fisherman.

Back in those days when I wrote an article about fishing the Mayport Jetties, I'd refer to the Sheepshead that patrol the big jetty boulders as "seven striped Jetty Snappers".

They have the same broad appearance as a genuine Red Snapper that's a local offshore reef favorite. And they have seven black and white stripes. Which is also something most angler's don't even realize. "It's the ole so close to your nose you can't see it syndrome."

The reason I can say that is because, I asked "how many stripes are on a Sheepshead?" As a trivia question when Pelican and myself hosted our radio show on Saturday mornings.

The responses we got were really funny. Many people just didn't know. But one thing we did learn from a caller was, since the colors of the fish are black and white, is that white stripes on a black fish or black stripes on a white fish.

Our two hour fishing show on ESPN sure did fly by that morning, as we joked about the why's, how many, and what for.

Either way, "I coined the phrase!"

And the reason I can say that is because I never heard it till I wrote it myself.
Today, many local outdoors writers are using the term to describe a Sheepshead.

I started to notice this during the week of our last El Cheapo Sheepshead tournament held in Mayport. By the Jacksonville offshore sport fishing club.

The tournament is like any other fishing tournament. But the unique thing about it is, it's the only Sheepshead fishing tournament in the world that we know of.

I have a big time love-hate relationship with seven striped jetty snappers. I love catching them. I love it when my charter customers catch them. But I absolutely hate cleaning them.

There's nothing like navigating giant dorsal spines, heavily scaled skin, and a extra heavy duty rib cage, versus cleaning a nice 3 pound Speckled Trout or Flounder. That's easy and yields twice if not 3 times the fillet, for fish of equal size.
That's right. Sheepshead have one poor yield of filleted meat. I don't care how good of a fish cleaner you are. The yield of fillet versus unusable carcase is probably 20% to 80%. Twenty percent being what you get to eat, out of the whole fish.

Around these parts (N.E. Florida) Sheepshead reign as kings of the winter time fish. And I find it so very funny that regions of the Gulf coast could probably put our little area to shame in sheer numbers. And one of the reasons why is they are junk fish there!

Talk to any Texan, and you won't hear passionate, loosing sleep over thoughts from them, as you will around here. For some reason, N.E. Floridians are obsessed with them.

Take any given fall, winter, or spring day at the Mayport jetties, and you'll see boat after boat lining the jetty rocks all fishing for them. I call these folks the "sheep herders".

And while talking to them they will quickly admit that the yield of meat versus head, backbone, ribcage, and tail is ridicules. But the very next words will be, "but they are so good."

I guess I can't get over the bad taste in my mouth that was brought on by a charter customer I had once.

We went out while the Sheepshead were spawning, and congregated in one area of the river just inside the jetties. Using fresh cut pieces of giant chowder clams the size of softballs, we caught plenty of Sheepshead. The state limit is way out of wack at 15 fish per person, I believe.

We easily boxed 30. Mind you these are not small fish. Spawners range from 5 pounds to 10 pounds. The fish box on my boat at that time was jam packed.

As usual I clean my customers fish for tips. That's how I make back the money for standing and cleaning fish for hours on the boat that isn't part of the agreed charter price. Supposedly.

Well, I cleaned those 30 fish. It took me four hours. I was wore out, cut up and spined. The boat was a mess. I was a mess.

After bagging up all the fillets my customer said, "you want some of these?" I replied, "no, I'm good". They dropped the bags in their cooler, paid me my balance for the day and walked up the dock.

I stood there speachless!

Not a single dime more did they give me for cleaning all those Sheepshead.

I could have gone out and done a 1/2 day charter for the time it took to clean all those nasty Sheepshead. Yeah, I could have made another $300.

I guess the "ya want some of these?" was supposed to be my tip.

So there ya go. "I have learned now." And now we don't keep more than two or three Sheepshead on a days trip, if I'm going to clean them. If you want to clean them, we'll keep as many as you like.
Looking back....the monster ones caught stick in my mind more than the stuffed fish boxes.

Information on N.E. Florida fishing charters, go to:

Retrieved from"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stereo typical, March. Some what.

Looks like March is maintaining the stereo-typical pattern.
And from years and years of notes, that pattern is EAST winds.

Anything with east in it....NE, SE, and just plain EAST.

There's two wind directions that are tougher to fish in the Mayport area, for me at least.
Due West, and due East. But I'll take West over East.

If I look back in the archives from March last year, I see the same thing that's going on right now.
The later in the month, the windier it gets.

So, thats where you come in. If the forecast looks good. And you want to go.
Then get with me ASAP!
There's now only 4 more Monday's and Tuesday's left in March, and no one has yet to take advantage of the $50 off for two passengers.
There's (2) transitional times of year in N.E. Florida. First is around Thanksgiving, the slide into winter. And the second is Easter, the slide into summer.


I get asked all the time about how to tie the sliding stopper knot when using the float-rig.
Well, here's one version.
You don't have to buy those "knots on the tube" you can tie your own out of a very thin nylon string. Or even use 20# mono, if you're using braided line. Mono, won't last all that long versus the thin nylon string, though.

Here's another one, that's easier to understand and see. I usually just use this one myself.
If you can't find the perfect nylon string to make your own stopper knots.
Check out Du-Bro tackle here:
I found some spools of this thin string on Ebay once and bought a few spools. To just have.
Some people prefer those tiny rubber bands that are used for kids braces. I've never liked the rubber bands myself. Braided line cuts them real fast.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

3/14 - I thought Spring was here....

Had Perry Z. and his two buddies aboard, Stu and Richard.

They came down to the boat ramp and couldn't find me in the FOG.

And as I said to a guy at the boat ramp,
"this is an anomaly, FOG and high winds!"

The fella said, "isn't this par for the course?" I replied, "Well, usually when we have FOG this thick, it's really calm and no wind."

The North East wind was honkin'.
And to make things just a bit more drastic, it was super wet and C-O-L-D, too!

As Perry and the guys walked down the ramp, I said, "Man, ya should have seen the weather earlier this week." And they were a bit shocked because they too listened to the weather and they heard something about 70 something degrees. But they knew it was nicer earlier in the week, too.

Stu was in shorts and windbreaker, and I was so glad I haven't taken my winter wardrobe out of my truck, just yet.

I not only had on a long-sleeved T-shirt, but my Grundens fleece fisherman's jacket, and my Grundens wind stopper fleece pants over my shorts.

I had a feeling this radical weather change wasn't gonna be good for anyone, let alone me and my guys.

So we headed on the rising tide to a spot where as the tide comes up, I've been catching some Reds and Trout for over a week.

We actually can get on the spot, no problem. And as we fish I look ahead of us and there's 4 boats, and then some dude in a little boat pulls right up behind us within casting range and drops his anchor. Boats attract, boats is the rule.

The tides really nice, and we have great current. As I show the guys how to float-rig fish the area. And we get two small sized Specks. No other bites at all, no lost baits, no anything.

We ended up making a move and worked hard to really get something going. Even heading to the jetties and fishing there when it was "all wrong".

Then, I switched to bottom fishing. "Ya' know somethings really wacky when I break out the up and down rods."

After multitudes of spots we finally got into some Yellowmouth Trout, and small Bluefish (THEY'RE HERE, UGH!).

The fog never went away, and the temperature didn't change all that much.

It was just the day of the front. Because as I write this report on Sunday. The weather is beautiful. Sunny, 80 degrees, a light breeze maybe. But a thousand times better than Saturday.

This weeks forecast for my Monday & Tuesday 2 passenger, discount:



Thursday, March 12, 2009

3/12 - SPRING IS HERE....

Spring is here. BUT, just last Monday and Tuesday I sat in the river with the Creke group and the wind was 20kts and it was 30 degrees. Wow, how things change quick this time of year!!

I know the first real day of spring is on the 20th. But today, I saw the evidence.

What a huge difference this full moon has made. Right now, literally daily events will happen out there in the big blue and along the coast, and give zero notice. So you have to be paying attention.
Today, I saw a few small Cobia hanging around those "brown" Ray's that come first before the big Manta's. I tried to catch one, but they were skittish, the Cobia, I mean.

Outside the inlet on the color change, I saw millions of baby Needlefish. Not a huge fan of those Needles. But this years crop is already here.

Monster Bluefish were crashing tiny minnow sized baitfish offshore a few miles. A few came out of the water and they sure looked to be about 2 feet long.

Couldn't find a single Speckled Trout this morning at the jetties (the one area I tried) but I had my limit (4) of yellowmouth Trout in a matter of minutes. Which is a good thing.

Ocean surface temp at 2pm was 63 degrees around the jetties.

And I know this ain't no Trout.....but I still caught it on a float and a live shrimp. The best way I believe.
It's my first sight-casted Tripletail.
Yep, and exotic species for me.

I found them and had about 10 shots at several fish I saw laying on the surface as they do.
Mimicking a piece of driftwood, or weed.

The last one I cleaned was one that a customer caught on a Jig-N-Shrimp combo meal back in Greenfield creek, many years ago.

These fish cost a small fortune in fuel. Because they don't come to you. You have to go to them. Hunting them up.

By the afternoon the South Easterly wind really started to blow. And East winds and a falling tide means wind bucking the current. That right there, can shut down any bite, if your into one or hunting one. I still tried to catch a big Trout, but only found small ones.

So I headed back down river, and into the ICW. Where I caught 10 or so small 16-17" pupper Redbass. For some reason, where I often go is a nursery for them, I guess. While I'm actually hunting the ole folks home, for Brutus T. Redbass. But I did pick up a Flounder, too.

The wind was blowing so steadily and hard I gave up and went back to clean my fish and have a visit from some friends.

But this isn't the same "foul" that usually comes to see me for a cheap and easy meal.

Look, this Egret has green around it's eyes.
Isn't that usually Yellow???
This is a new guy if so.
Maybe a reverse snow bird from S. Florida??

Next up:
Saturday with three people.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

3/10 - WEEKDAY.....calm....

You wanna know the difference between last Sunday's ABSOLUTE craziness on the river and today...... "I'm holding a few of them."






Yep, it's unbelieveable how the quality of fishing is effected by incessant boat traffic. It's FLORIDA and even though none will admit it, most people don't act much like "real Floridians".

Last Saturday & Sunday was evidence that J-ville fisherman/boat owners act like people in the north on the first sunny, warm day of spring, for some reason. When the gals can put on thier new summer bikini's for the first time. And the 3 feet of snow is just a memory.

Real boating and fishing Floridians, do it all year long. LIKE ME!

And I can tell you simply, the difference between catching on Sunday and today was night and day!

Didn't even leave the boat ramp till noon. Approx. 30 or so Speckled Trout. 2-five pounders back to back! All the yellowmouth Trout I wanted. A 6 pound Sheepshead. And to top it all off, I lost two gigantic fish I couldn't even slow down, before they pulled the hook.

It's AMAZING, the difference when there's no cruiser wakes crashing the shore line constantly, and no boats running circles around me. And then, how nice it is to pull up to a spot that I always fish, and find no one there camping on the spot, catching nothing.

That's why I sent out and announcement on Monday. Here's what I sent everyone in my mailing data base....There's now 7 Monday and Tuesday's left in March. On these days for a 2 passenger trip only, I will discount these 7 weekdays left $50. Advanced reservations/deposit only.

I will actually, TAKE THE HIT TO MY WALLET, just so I can put you on decent fish.

That's why you hire me, right??


Need more info, just call 904-642-9546

Ocean water temp today on flooding tide: 61 degrees.
Full Moon was in full strength, thats for sure.

The Floatfreak, smells something COOKIN'!!!!!!
(or getting ready too, at least)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

3/8 - Completely Futile!

Had Tom W. (my neighbor) on board today. What I thought was a no stress one person trip.
But when we arrived at the bait shop there wasn't any shrimp...sold out from yesterdays crowds. So we waited about an hour and Wade the shrimp man showed up with his truck of "west coast" shrimp. Because he isn't catching any here in his home waters.

Small, weak, and generally very unappealing live shrimp. But hell, that's all there is.
It gets this way around this time of year. Another wonderful event.

Because it was warm, sunny and a weekend, the hordes of people on the water was literally a joke. Wake making cruisers were going up and down the intra-coastal waterway like tractor-trailers on I-95. Which was where we started first.

And I love it when you travel the distance and get to a spot where you've been fishing all week long (Monday-Tuesday-Thursday-Friday) and there's a boat sitting on the spot, that really burns my butt!! Wasted time and fuel.

Tom caught a few small Trout, but the constant wakes are just a big giant sign, "YOU WILL NOT CATCH QUALITY FISH HERE."

So we beat feet outa there. But the river was no better. The HUB as I call it, where the river and ICW meet all the way to the end of the jetties was a froth of wakes and boats everywhere.

I was just about to run north for an hour just to get away from all the people. There is peace on a weekend, in certain places.....It's Nirvana, but one heck of a boat ride away. I have seen this place with my own two eyes! But Tom talked me out it.

Then there was the full moon falling tide. So strong on a few of my spots I couldn't get my anchor to hold no matter how many times I tried. And these were the same places I fished on Thursday and had so many Trout it was ridicules. Now, I couldn't even anchor because of the current.

But, we did find a spot or two where the molesting boat wakes, and current were bearable.

And we caught a few Trout. Mostly small ones, boxing a few 16-17 inchers. I even caught a few decent Trout on a plug. The first time I ever tossed this lure. And I was impressed in it's versatility.

Those little treble hooks really gang hooked this fish really good.

We had to actually sit and wait for the current to slow down as the boat planed in the current at a spot where I just tie off. Only after maneuvering around several boats just to get to the spot. It was if the area I wanted to go to was being blocked off from making an entrance. I'm just not used to this kind of BS. And it was worth butting our way in through the lines of some "Croaka" fisherman to have Tom catch a 27 inch Redfish in that high speed current on the float rig and small hook.

At one point we tried fishing a commercial dock, and by the time I turned around after anchoring, there was a human standing on this dock even, casting in our direction!
Holy Crap, there's no escape!!!

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. (that's what the "borg" used to say to Capt. Picard on the new Star Trek, remember that?)

We packed up and went back to the boat ramp to clean our catch, and go home.

I guess this was a wake-up call, that I need to fish another county on weekends.
Okay.....more gas means, more cost. If you want to catch fish, and I want you to catch fish.

Saturday, March 7, 2009









I'll be hunting a box of these, are you coming?

For everyone
"spooked" by
the baitcasting
reel, because it might
backlash because
your thumb wasn't
on the spool.
This is for you!

3/6 - Not a re-run

Had Tim A. aboard again for a second trip. So we left out about the same time as we did yesterday. And I figured it would be best to go to the same spot we started at yesterday and fill the box with some Trout right away. Maybe, just like yesterday get just shy of a limit or two of Trout, and then move on to hunt bigger ones.

It was a beautiful morning, warm and sunny. And right away we started catching yellowmouth Trout and Specks. Most of the Specks were smaller than yesterday, but the yellowmouth were ferocious, and good size. The tide would be low around 11am, but here we were, and it was 8am.

We had a few hours till the tide got really low, when the Trout should really be chewin.

As we sat anchored, the sun got HOT, and man did it seem like it was going to be one fantastic day, weather wise. Warm, slick calm and no wind.
But that was going to change.....

So with some fish in the box we moved on. In hunt for a larger Redfish for the cooler, and some larger Specks. But, as the morning wore on, the wind picked up. And that warm sunny feeling went away.

We worked the jetties for a few minutes at two spots. And I just wasn't getting a good feeling in my gut about either one. The wakes at the first spot were incessant, and there was no current at the second spot. And everywhere else I wanted to fish was covered up with boats.

The air, the breeze, the water, it all was colder out there anyhow. I've had my fair share of cold this week. "I was out on Monday and Tuesday!!!" I just couldn't take more cold. Someday the jetties will warm up and spring will sprout warmer water temps.

So back to the river we went. And that's when the wind started blowing BIG TIME. The jackets stayed on, the hoods went up, and Tim and I were both wondering, "where the hell is that 80 degrees??"

I told Tim, "that forecast is for the west side of J-ville, in a Walmart parking lot!"

We ended up working our way up river and as the tide slacked went what seemed like hours without a bite. The wind was "bucking" the tide, everywhere we went. Which is not a good thing.
We finished up on one spot that the wind was so strong, it overpowered the incoming tide so we were pushed forward on anchor, constantly. Never laying in the current. Talk about a hassle, as the bow swung all over the place.

But we did pull a few pup reds, 4-5 small Trout, and one good keeper out of this spot.

We didn't limit out on Speckled Trout, and almost limited on Yellowmouth. And overall struggled after the wind came up.

Certainly not a re-run of yesterday's waylay of Trout along with some pup Reds. And Tim said he had enough fish after yesterday so whatever we had in the box was mine to keep.

Which was nice of him. Because I have no fish in the fridge, and sure needed some.
It was one heck of a week. From two days in the burning cold wind with 4 guys each trip, to milder temps with one guy for two days.
Everyone had a blast, and learned alot I'm sure.
Let's see what this week brings. So far March has had no lack of interesting weather, and fishing conditions.
But if things are right.....the Trout are certainly out there.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

3/5 - AWESOME!

Wouldn't ya know it.....someone does pay attention to the weather report, and then takes advantage of a BEAUTIFUL DAY.

And that man is Tim A. visiting his mother here in J-ville from the Tampa area.

He called me as I sat thinking about going whackin' a few fatties myself today.

I'm more than eager to press the custom "float-rig" rods I had built into service. I wanna wear them out. On Trout and Reds, of course.

So I met Tim at the boat ramp at 0700 hrs. And we made a B-line to a hot spot which DOA Rob and myself were discussing just the day before. Because it's all about the falling tide. Rob whacked the Trout on the DOA shrimp there to the tune of "dozens", so I know they won't turn their noses up at a lively shrimp on the float.

And 2 minutes after the anchor line came tight Tim was on his first Trout. It was I.G. (instantaneous gratification) all the way!

And here's where we boxed almost a limit of 5 Speckled Trout each at 15-18" , and 14"-18" Weakfish.

We stopped short of our limit just in case we caught a few monsters later. Because we still had 5 more hours of fishing to do! And we still had a whole bunch of throw backs. Talk about a Trout RIOT!

I was so busy I didn't take that many photos, plus I couldn't because of the areas we hit.(confidential) But, the day was fish everywhere we went except for maybe two spots that were strictly experimental try-outs.

Then, we went and actually tried to catch a Redfish for the cooler. I've been getting alot of "pup" size Reds. And Tim and I caught just that, a bunch of puppers Reds.

No matter where we went, the Reds were all the same size. I guess I'll have to go to the rocks at the jetties to get us a big Red. (I hope)

Because Tim called me when I got home and wants to book me again tomarrow. (Friday)

In between catching the Reds, we caught more and more Trout. They were everywhere!!

And we had so much fun just pulling on fish after fish every almost spot we went too.

We stayed inshore, because even when we were in the river the wind did pick up a bit and there was still a chill in the air. So I could just imagine what it was like at the jetties.

So we ended up easily with our Speck limit, and seven yellowmouth. Released a dozen pup Reds.

And I'm guessing we caught at least 40 Trout total.

We caught fish the entire incoming tide, and by the time the tide got high, that's when things faded at the slack. Tim learned alot and was really fun to have aboard.

Like I said, we'll be trying it all over again tomarrow. So stay tuned.....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3/2 & 3 - What a challenge.

Well, Speckled Trout season opened on March 1st, and if you are a frequent visitor here, you know I was chomping on the bit to go out and box me some, and have a weeks worth of meals.

March 1st as you may or may not know was absolutely HEINOUS!! (rain & gale force plus winds)

As usual I predicted it. Just scroll down and you'll read in past reports where I said that the first week of March will be almost non-fishable. And I was RIGHT! (as usual)

But, I booked the 2nd and 3rd. So missing the opportunity to go catch and "box" myself some on March 1st, wasn't as painful.

I AM DIE HARD. I LIVE AND BREATH BIG TROUT! You can't even imagine the anxiety I felt on Sunday (reopening of Trout) when the wind gusted 40 MPH and it rained.

So, here I go with the Creke family, (4 individuals) here from Illinois. We were going to fish two days, the 2nd and 3rd.

The tide was really not even close to perfect. High tides around noon. "Oh, man. This is tough, because I've been catching all my decent fish at the low tide, because the water's been so dang cold", I told Allen.

So on Monday we left the dock at 12:30pm, so to catch the falling tide. The guys ended up with one small Redfish and 10 Trout to 20 inches, as the tide fell, but the wind blew like all hell from the WNW in the river. The temperature wasn't all that pleasant either. But I've fished in worse.

The light heartiness of this group of guys made it a fun day for even me....the family competition was going strong while Dad/Grandpa caught the largest Trout.

I listened to the radio right on the boat so everyone could hear the report for our second day on Tuesday, and it really didn't sound that bad.

Wind was switching to the North at 15 knots, and a morning low of 30?? Yeah, it's not what any one around here would call Chamber of Commerce weather. But these were tough Illinoisans.

So with just a few keeper Trout in the fish box, and a high tide advancing another hour on Tuesday, we decided it would be best to leave at 7am, for our second trip.

I arrived at the boat ramp and the sun had not rose just yet. The cold wind burned my face as I pulled the boat off the trailer, so much that after I tied the boat to the dock and pulled the trailer out of the water. I decided to sit in the truck till the guys arrived...I'm usually in the boat pre-rigging all the rigs with new leaders and hooks and double checking my live shrimp's condition in the livewell. But sitting in my warm truck was such a better idea. But very unlike "me".

Fifteen minutes later the guys pulled in and I walked up to their vehicle and I think Mark asked, "So Dave, what do ya think?" I replied and said, "This may be ludicrous fishing....and it reminds me of the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday, when the Super Bowl was actually held here in J-ville, damn was that one cold day with two guys from Montauk N.Y."

Most people have no clue about how the 2005 Super Bowl held here, was supposed to be such a boom for this town, and for people like me in the fishing business. But, the only problem is that the Super Bowl is now in February......and what is February? Very Cold! Needless to say, it was far from a "Boom" for charter fisherman.

So in the cold I eased down the river with the Creke group in the howling north wind that just plain burned, and everyone took cover.

Tuesday was the kind of day that my live shrimp just laid over. A novice would think the whole tankful of Shrimp were dead...No, they aren't dead, just frozen!

I had one spot in mind that could be fished with four float rigs drifting behind the boat, with the wind to our backs, and I was hoping some fish would be there, we just needed a good incoming tide current.

The guys were all now Float-rig fishing experts. They all knew the drill. So I settled in on my spot. The current went from slow to faster as the tide came up, which is just about when the fish bit. A small flurry of action started with Dad/Grandpa AGAIN catching a nice 20 inch Trout. Then, a few Trout, and then 3-4 small Redfish.

From out of no where came a gust of wind that never went away. The wind speed doubled and we all swore the temp dropped and had to be 30 degrees. It was actually hard to concentrate on the fishing. Gloves were mandatory, hoods and hats, or forget about it!

And Mark (not pictured) was lacking both, no hood and no hat! Holy smokes, I don't know how he was taking it. If I clicked my heels and closed my eyes I could have been in Illinois, for all I know!

We were doing just a half day anyhow, and the consensus was "we caught some, have enough for lunch, I think we can go."

I have to say, these were two of the most challenging days I have had in a long while.

Besides the weather/tides, was also fishing four guys in high winds.

It's not as easy as having just one person on one side of the boat and another on the other side.

But it all worked out, and there was slim to no mishaps or bad tangles, bird nested reels or anything. The Creke Family were fun to have aboard.