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.