Did a 2 boat charter with a good buddy out of Beach Marine, with a group of swim team teen-agers and their chaperon visiting S. Jax Beach/PV area.
2PM to 6PM....so I departed around 12:00 from the house and headed to the boat ramp knowing all too well that the Saturday before Easter Sunday, was a zoo on the water. And it was.
I soft peddled my way from Mayport all the way down the ICW to Beach Marine on an incoming tide. I don't fish the "ditch" very often that far south. So I looked over a few spots as I slowly made my way through the maze of traffic on the I-95 of waterways.
I was early as usual, and got to really take it all in, as I came up with some kind of a game plan.
Our folks arrived right on time and we jumped in the boats and headed out. Man, I feel sorry for the folks at that "behind" Beach Marine boat ramp.....that's one heck of a small area jammed packed with people loading and unloading, jet ski's, ski boats, you name it and the seawall was lined with land based anglers (LBA's) casting into the thorough fare of constant traffic into Beach Marine.
Kinda reminded me of what you see in Miami.
The wind was whipping at 20 knots plus from the west. The full moon tide was ripping, and we knew this was going to be one heck of a tough 1/2 day trip.
I decided to run all the way back north to the lil' jetties. I was going to try to get off the beaten path, since I was in the proverbial "HUB", but there was no unbeaten path today. And as the tide fell and fell fast, I didn't want to get stuck up in some creek and couldn't get out. I really had to do some serious contemplating...."where the heck can we fish and CATCH!"
I had Lee the chaperon, his son and his son's girlfriend. Both were swimmers, but not big time anglers. So I found a decent spot behind the Lil' Jetties and anchored up.
I've caught Trout, Drum, Reds, Sheepshead, Jacks to 18 pounds, and of course Mangrove Snappers one after another here, before.
So I busted out the Float-rig rods and gave them a 3 second "how-to", these were smart kids and they picked up on it very fast. Halee, the only gal on the boat was up first. Sun burnt to a crisp stood next to me as I showed her what we're going to do....and what do I do?
Hook a really big fish while I'm going over the in's & out's. But it busts me off in the jetty rocks before I could say BOO!
Okay...I think we maybe on to something here.
5 minutes later, she hooks a 4 pound Jack Crevalle.
Her first ever F-I-S-H!
It kicked her butt!
Then, five minutes later she hooks a 3 pound Sheepshead.
Then, Lee's son hooks a beautiful 18 inch Speckled Trout.
Then, Halee hooks a 20" really beautiful Speckled Trout.
Wow, not a bad start!
I was pretty dang busy, so I didn't get to take any photos, plus my camera is acting all goofy. And even though the FWC was like Vultures circling a carcass in the middle of the road, while we were getting waked in the NO WAKE zone by 40' sport fish boats!! So I had my attention elsewhere most of the time.
The tide behind the rocks faded and changes quickly. And as soon as it did, our bites dropped off.
But besides the first bite, every single bite was a fish. They did real good.
The wind just wouldn't quit. And of course since we were catching fish, I had boats circling us like Vultures too, jockeying for a position around us like a magnet. But when the current changed, there was no sense staying here. So we pulled up anchor and headed back south on the ICW.
I stopped along a deep cut back and re-anchored. And we caught one Yellowmouth Trout. After 4pm, right as all the ICW traffic magically diminished. I told Lee, "4PM it's the bewitching hour, everyone packs it in and heads home now, after a long day of running around in circles."
We met up up with Jeff, the other boat. He looked to be doing the "Bikini tour". Since that's all I could see on the bow of his boat. And he said, they trolled and caught some Jacks and Spanish Macs.
Then we all headed back to Beach Marine. I cleaned the fish for Lee, and he was ecstatic to have some prime fillets for dinner.
Challenging 1/2 day? YOU BET!
Sunday I have a rest day, and will be back at it on Monday thru Wednesday. I hope everyone goes back to work, spring break is over, and I know I'll be fighting high winds and possible rain this next week. Just hoping to have some tranquility on the river..."it's all I'm asking for".