Saturday, May 30, 2009

End of May...Storm's wrath still lingering.

The wrath of last weeks 5-days of rain still lingers.....

The St. Johns River is completely SWEET! That means FRESH water. At least the surface that I'm testing with my Hydrometer/Salinity Gauge.

Had a call at 6PM Friday, for today....4 passengers. BAIT IS EVERYWHERE, at the Jetties.
Problem is there's no fish there! Bottom fished with pogies all day long.

We fished the jetties, and up in the river with pogies I caught with one toss of my castnet. And came up with basically no "gamefish". I saw no one else catch a single "gamefish" either.

Drifted thru the bait pods, nothing! Tried running out to the shrimp boats, no sharks there either.

If I was a Redbass, and wanted salty water I'd be on the beach where the pogies are. Behind the surf with all the pogies I could eat. But I'm not a Redbass, and they must have some other agenda.

Then, at 3pm I had a non fishing trip, just 6 people out for a burial at sea. Which was nice. Took maybe an hour total. Yes, I'll do about any kind of "cruise", up to 6 passengers.

While cleaning the boat today, I had a call for tomorrow. Then, another call for Sunday while walking thru the grocery store at 7pm. I remember years ago, I booked most trips weeks in advance.

Last night at 10pm, I booked Sunday....yeah, that was pretty late. But we got it done so I could hit the sack for a 4:30am wake up and a roll call at B&M bait & tackle by 5:30am.

Weekends are becoming a real mad house there. I see a distinct difference in attitudes between weekend and weekday folk. Weekday folks aren't ready to run you over.

Today, some guy driving a truck that looked like Bob Chandlers original BIG FOOT, towing a giant Contender, thought he owned the place. Pulling thru the parking lot running over the median, dropped clumps of mud outside the front door of the shop via his gumbo monster mudders. It's always those Contender owners, "years ago it was the Fountain owners".

We'll see after Sunday what the deal is in the river. Because with two passengers Sunday I'll be going back to Float-rigging, etc.

Talked to a friend of mine and he said the water looked like the river 20 miles out, while he hunted for Kingfish. He didn't catch any kings either.

Can't wait to have some good photos again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5/25 - No TROUT, changes.

Ya' know after week long storm like we just got over, that dropped so much rain on the area. You would think something would have changed afterwards?? Something, anything....

Well, the waters less salty in the river in Mayport. There's probably not a Pogie to be had for 100 miles on the beach. The water temp dropped. And we're probably set back a bit now, on the "Fisherman's summer calendar" .

But as far as the river Trout fishing, I saw absolutely zero change today.

I had Mark M. aboard today. After some reconsideration, Mark decided it wasn't going to rain all day and I met him at the boat ramp around 11a.m, high tide.

The water at the boat ramp was a 18 parts per thousand on my salinity gauge. That's a huge change. It was so hot and humid, that I was seeking shade behind a dock piling while waiting for Mark. That's another change.

So when Mark arrived, we turned left from the boat ramp and headed up river.
We float rig fished spots from the Little Jetties to 14 miles up river of the boat ramp.
With out a single Trout. Not a Jack, or a Ladyfish, just the usual Mangrove Snappers eating every shrimp we drifted behind the boat.

EXACTLY....the same thing that we did last Saturday, prior to 20" of rain, and day after day of high winds. THIS ABSOLUTELY AMAZES ME.

We ended up at the same spot that we caught Trout on last Saturday, and that's where we found them. Or at least I found some. I drifted my float along with Mark drifting his, but intermediately between running a bottom line also. Doing whatever I could do to muster up some kind of "box fish".

And I caught 4 trout, from 15 to 22 inches for the cooler. Mark was a bit frustrated, and I can understand why. His float rig was running the same area, and it seemed that he was doing nothing different than I was.

The bottom rig, baited with just a dead shrimp caught some Croakers, with one big keeper, a Spot, and a few tiny Jacks. The Croakers were a change. Because last Saturday, I tried the same thing and caught no Croakers. I'm looking for that "sign" , that says; "fish are pushing back towards the inlet, because of all the fresh water in the river."

The salinity at this spot was a 10 ppt. (parts per thousand) and had that "tinge" of yellow to it, which means fresh water. The tide had to get low, before we even had any action.

Mark was out to learn. So I told him as much as I could as the day went on. And one thing I mentioned to him is, "the tattle-tale fish".. Just like when fishing offshore for Kingfish, Baracuda's kind of go with kingfishing. Jacks and Ladyfish kinda go with Trout fishing this time of year.
Just like Sharks with Tarpon chum fishing. There's always the "other fish". That you should be catching while in pursuit of the one species your looking for.

Well, we barely had any Jacks, and we had no Ladyfish at all. So my theory sort of is, if we don't have these numerous bait attackers, how are we going to catch Trout?

This is not a rule. Just something that's noticeable. Something that makes a mental note in your head, while tracking large Trout in the river this time of year.

Believe me, I'd love to go out and chum fish for Tarpon and have only Tarpon hook-ups. But it's a rarity. Same goes for catching good Trout. I love it when it's all Trout, and no junkfish such as Ladies. But that is not always the norm.

The tide was getting good and low, so we made a move as the sea breeze was really starting to blow. And we found a handful of small Speckled Trout and a Yellowmouth, and Mark finally connected with them. It was now 6pm. So we decided to work our way back.

We passed DOA Rob, a buddy of mine who is a die hard Trout fisherman, also. He and his friend Greg had basically the same exact day we did, but also got into "Spots", another type of Croaker family of fishes. And they had 4-5 of these Spots, that we 13-14 inches on jigs and shrimp.
Greg's in the seafood business, and has never seen Spots so big come from the St. Johns River before. So that was an obvious change, due to all the fresh water in the river. They also had some Trout and 4 keepers up to 19 inches and lots of small Croakers too.

Well, it may take some time for more Trout to congregate, or as I have found in the past to bottle neck into a area, because of the salinity. I've seen it before. And that's what I was hoping to find.

I didn't take any photos of the Trout we boxed, because I caught them. And that wasn't the point. I wanted Mark to catch them.

Next up, will be some Jetty fishing. I'd like to get some live baits, and try the bottom fishing for Reds along the jetty rocks. And also get up behind the shrimp boats if they're close to the inlet and see if the big Black tip Sharks are stacked up in their wake.

Five days of constant rain, and at least 3 days of winds over 40 knots offshore is nothing to sneeze at......that's some severe weather, for the month of May!!

I lost out on 4 days of charters over this holiday week. Now I'd like to see some really good fishing be the outcome.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

5/21 - No Sunshine...only a state of mind.

I'm reminded of the saying..."the flood is over and the land is dry, why do you wear your pants so high?"

"Well, it's Florida.......Go Figure."








St. Johns River, color/clarity?????? - POO/Muddy


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

5/20 - Storm Humor.....what else is there to do?

Some people just don't get it.

I do, I have me self a plate alloy boat.

No screws, just welds.....C'C'MON.


c/o -

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

5/19 - Mother Natures wrath, on me.



Sing it with me.....the tune from the show Hee Haw. You remember, ole Buck Owens and Roy Clark?? I loved that show!!

"Gloom, despair, and agony on me! (WOE!)
(I wish I could make a living)
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery! (WOE!)

(damn, I'm bored already!)
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. (WOE!)

(replace wind, seas,and rain for the word luck.)
Gloom, despair, and agony on me!"

(please support your best fishing report, fishing


SEAS 10-11 FEET...way offshore 12-14 feet!!!
(let's go hunt that Cobia...NOT!)







NOTE: Hurricane hunter aircraft patrol has been cancelled, that's a good thing!!

Usually after weather like this if there is any bait availible, the big time fresh water flush in the river, will help my Trout bite. I do remember years when we had a storm like this that the Trout will bottle neck into an area, and in the past it was perfect. Because we couldn't help catchin some GATORS.

The river....oh, it'll look like soup, though.

One time I saw a big tree floating by and there was a baby Raccoon sitting on it out in the middle of the river. Another time, we were anchored up fishing for big Redbass in October, after a big storm, and a huge snake swam by the boat and was trying to get in via climbing up the outboard motor! I had a fella on the boat that was freakin out. Yeah, that was real manly of him.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

5/17 - something different.....

Had Julian & Diane M. and their Niece aboard today for a tour "Yes, a...... 3 hour tour."
The only difference is it didn't end up being a sit-com that had re-runs for 25 years.

Actually, it was quite refreshing, not struggling to fish in that river today. Because the weekends out there are getting to be down right rediculas. If I was a fish, I certainly wouldn't be hanging around "the hub" with all that boat traffic.

Oh, how I love winter!!

I brought the big deck chairs for comfort, and went soft peddling our way from the jetties to the Dames Point, around Blount Island, then to Ft. George and back.

The ICW north, was a joke! Jet ski's everywhere playing stupid human tricks. Saw one guy riding with his back to where he was going sitting on the handle bars of the jetski. They run around like flies. I was just waiting for one to run into me, as I idled along. I can tell ya this, "don't even think about fishing anywhere around Ft. George on a weekend in the summer." It's basically off limits for me.

I gave my group the low down on as much as I could. And glad I paid attention to what I've learned by local historian and "Sea Daddy", Capt. Randall, the Timicuan Trader. A sea-daddy, is a guy you go to for answers. And Capt Randall is my "SD". He also knows a lot about Timicaun Indians, the the first Europeans settlers the Spanish and French. And local river folklore.

We left out from Mayport at about 11am, and were back around 2pm. And by then the wind was up. But by the afternoon, it was no 10 knots out of the SE, thats for sure. The sea-breeze was whipping really good.

My phone started ringing for late notice Monday trips at 11am and then again at 4pm. I guess these folks haven't seen the local weather reports.

The first thing I do when planning any fishing trip is I look at the weather.

Here's what I see:

They've been harping about the weather, so I'm leaning toward believing them. If did go, we'd have to leave at 6:00am and I'd need to make a long run.




......if so, good gawd is this gonna screw up everything near the jetties and especially any headway we've made toward summer, along the beach!! (POGIES, COBIA, KINGS!!!)

Set-backs, here we come.

To tell you the truth, you know who I'm thinking about?
The people who reserved their charter weeks to months in advance. And the ones I take every year, at this time. My steady customers, I see year in and year out. They're the ones that are on my mind right now, while looking ahead to Thursday and Friday's forecast.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

5/16 - Tide Running

Had a call from an ole friend Jim H. on Thursday and he wanted to take his son out. I haven't seen Jim in at least 5 years! We met many moons ago at the Inshore Saltwater Anglers Club here in Jacksonville.

He doesn't have his boat any longer, but wanted to take his son Jimmy out. I was really concerned with the tide, since I really needed as much falling tide as I could get, no matter what we were doing. And since it was a Saturday, the HUB - (From the Jetties to the ICW) would be one constant wake with all the weekend boats. I needed to get out of dodge and go somewhere else.

I was thinking bottom fishing for the Redbass, but yesterday I didn't find any Pogies. The jetties were a mess later in the day with the S.E. sea breeze. So I told Jim, get to the boat ramp early, "feet on the deck and pulling away 7am or earlier. So I can catch as much falling tide as I can."

Well, let's just say.....7am came and went and I was at the dock still.

But let me remind everyone, always be as early as you can. Especially, when I tell you your days fishing is really determined by the tide.

We made a run to go float-rig fishing for Trout and to get as far away as we could from the "HUB". And it basically worked. We were about all alone, most of the day.

On the first spot, Jimmy was the hot rod. He hardly paid attention to his float, but it went down first with a small Jack. Then, it went down again after he re-baited with a good fish. The drag pulled, the fish ran and I was hoping......and yes! It was a big Trout.

A real nice 21 inch Speckled Trout.
Then, 2 minutes later he caught another one, just a tad larger.

The action wasn't ballistic. So we made a move. Then, Jim Sr. caught a 21 incher, then a 17 incher, and then 2 throwback 14 inchers. Then the falling tide current died. We poked around, hitting a few more spots, but the tide was just starting to flood. So that was it...That was our falling tide.
We headed back to Mayport and went to the jetties and slopped around at the jetties with our last 6 shrimp. But didn't catch anything.


I've headed out to this same area by myself, last May. And was on location before the sun came up during a weekday, and yeah, the low light and cooler temps even in May, makes all the difference. This day, I was done and home by 10am.

Here's a few I caught last year in May.
I had 5 in a row like this one, last May 22nd.

Here's the 4th one.

Here's a few from the Eulberg Family caught exactly one year ago, next week.

Rachel was proud of this one!

Mom got in the action too!

I cannot stress this enough. Early, Early Early, is what you need to be, so we can to get on the spot early, to catch summer Trout. I'm almost thinking about doing dark thirty trips, departing the dock at 4am.

FYI: Just in time for the Memorial day holiday week!

looks like this may screw things up!

Friday, May 15, 2009

5/15 - Confarction

Ya know, I usually have my phone on from before sun-up till at least 8pm. I give everyone more that 12 hours, normal human hours, to contact me.

P.S. - Do not email on a Friday night, wanting to book a trip for Saturday at 7am.
CALL me instead!

But then again there's those emergencies....

So today I was booked but, my man Mark was stuck in Virginia he said on his message. And when did I hear the message?
At 7:30am while sitting at the dock wondering, "where is Mark?" It's a new phone I have with so many bells and whistles on it I didn't know I had a message.

So to make a long story short. That little easterly and North Easterly blow we had on Tuesday, Wednesday, and even Thursday.


I ran down the beach, staying north of the Jax Beach Pier. And saw, not a single Pogie.
No Rays, and of course No Cobia.

I jigged a few Greenies at the jetties and fed one to a somersaulting 100 pound Spinner Shark on a light rod which no way could even slow it down. That was a 3.2 second thrill.

Why is it that as soon as the wind blows, all the Pogies end up 20 miles south of the Mayport Jetties? When we have bait that is.

Think about it for a minute. They're here. They're just over near Hanna Park. Wind blows for two days. Where are they afterwards? 20 miles south, again?
Today, that's where some were caught this morning.

I think it has something to do with the St. Johns River's influence on the area water's outside the inlet. Instinctually, the Pogies head north. Or at least it seems that way to me. So it has to be something why they always end up back south of the St Johns after a blow.

Biologists can study this fish and that fish till their face's are blue for all I care.
But if you're wondering why and how about the fish, STUDY WHAT THEY EAT, first!

When we have no bait, it's really a bad year. When we do, it's a good year. That simple.
I think everyone would agree on that.

The wind blew S.E, again in the afternoon, today. And with an incoming tide. What do I refer to that as?? K.O.D. - kiss of death. Any East wind on an incoming tide.

So tomorrow (Saturday, same tide same wind) I'm going float-rig fishing. And giving that inlet and tide, a rest. Just need to catch as much falling tide as I can very early in the morning.

We'll see.

Monday, May 11, 2009

5/11 - I LOVE A MONDAY???

I swear to you, that the boat ramp parking lot today looked like a Saturday in July!

Actually, I looked at my reservation book after I put the boat in the water, because I thought I may have woke up in bazzaro world, and thought maybe it was Sunday, afterall?

Maybe the big time Dolphin bite offshore, along with the Cobia bite inshore along the beach had something to do with it. Or has unemployment rose to double digits, and like a fishing guide in February, everyone's out subsistence fishing......ya' know, for groceries?

Maybe because today was Slick-Dead-Calm along the beach, and the forecast for the rest of the week, at least till Thursday is very windy, to down right breezy, and cooling off.

Can ya believe I'm saying "cooling off" and it's the 2nd week in May??

Yep, it's been hot and BEAUTIFUL!!!

Well, like everyone else. I had to go check it out too. It was way to nice of a Monday to actually be booked with a charter. And like usual I couldn't even get anyone to be a crew member. My dad wanted to go, then punked out. I called a buddy that should have been off, but he was up to his ass in Alligators with house renovation. So what the hell, I can sight fish alone no problem.

I left out early around 8am. And my plan was to do a bit of trolling with my new TGT rodriggers.

So I trolled some small Drone spoons with 6oz weights ahead of them along the rip line outside the jetties, and then turned south to the S.E. Hole area. To let the sun come up, for some sight casting.

I can't say I ever got bit.
Although I did see lots of small Spanish
Mackerel jumping around. And the amount of bait below the surface is unbelievable.

Cloud after cloud of bait fish schools passed across my color scope screen.

I was actually hoping to get bit by a King Mackerel, even a small one would have been fine by me. It maybe a tad early, but you can't catch one inshore on the beach if you don't try.

While dragging the spoons got me to my destination. I was thinking "somewhere around the Jax Beach Pier", I'd turn westward and started looking for the big Manta Rays that usually have Cobia shadowing them.

The boat traffic heading southward was pretty damn heavy as I neared the beach in 40 foot of water. At one point I saw a big swirl and started heading toward it, when a friend coming south ran right over the area. He slowed up and I said "I think I just saw a Ray over there, but you came right across there." Oh well, I'll keep looking.....

I moved around a little bit, but being alone and sight fishing is kinda tough. I'd put the boat into gear and then jump up on the front platform of my console. A great spotting area, good and high up. Only problem is, no one's steering. And inevitably the boat starts to veer in a circle. So I'd jump down and correct my direction, and jump back up on the console.

My plan was if I spotted a Manta Ray or a Cobia, I'd jump down, steer and then go to the bow platform and cast. And then, I saw a small Ray and it had no Cobia with it. Then, I saw another and it sped off so fast I couldn't find it again.

So I took the boat out of gear and just floated in that area. I was standing to the side of the console when I saw two Cobia swim straight at me. If you don't know, they are curious fish and love to hang Manta Rays, and believe it or not.......BOATS. Boats like mine and Shrimp boats. I guess we're like really big Manta Rays. And most fishing boats do exactly what a Cobia loves, provide food!

I provided FOOD alright!

One Cobia was larger than the other. So pitching a rigged squid to them with a big 7/0 Gamakatsu reversed barb short shank hook, I had to try and get the larger fish. Both attacked the squid like it was their last meal....and the smaller fish lost out to the larger fish. So with my 9 foot G. Loomis Pelagic casting rod matched up with my mini Accurate B-197, I reared back and let the larger Cob' have it, hard.

Cobia are great fish. And their fight is similar to a big Redfish, I think. But against this 9 foot Pelagic series rod, not much stands a chance.

The fish made a few runs down deep, but the whole fight only lasted 5 minutes or so. Till I was able to sink the gaff hook in it's lower lip and drag it over the side.

I weighed the fish and it mashed my 30 pound scale past the 30 pound mark, so it was 30 something pounds, which seems to be about the average size of the Cobia being caught.

The limit is one per person per day at 33 inches to the fork in the tail. So my fun was over, I had my limit, and packed the fish into my fish bag with some ice and headed north back to the boat ramp.

I passed huge "muds" in 26 feet of water just south of the south jetty, running over huge pods of Pogies. But using a dead squid was nice for a change. No live bait needed today. Cobia love a squid.

I certainly didn't want all of this fish, so I called my parents and they met me at the dock, so I could clean the fish and give them half, in turn for taking these photos.

Pretty good deal, huh?

-Plan your day ahead of time!!
-Call me with some dates.
-Make your reservation on my "polices" page.
-I'll call you between 4-8pm the day before with a heads up.
-That's how "you" catch fish.

Are ya ready to go yet?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I love aluminum boats....But!

Here's an example of what not to do in you're Australian "Tinnie".,23816,5036426-5014156,00.html


-you'll have to hit your "back" button to get back to:

5/8 - Super Fun.....and trying a new product

Had Miles C. and his father-in-law Dick aboard the Jettywolf, for a day of river/inlet Redbass'n.

I'm not even gonna attempt to describe all the aspects of the day we had. Because Dick just sent me some great photos that they took with their camera.

But after going to get Pogies behind the surf, which was a two toss situation to get all we needed.

We went straight to the jetties. Miles was up first and had a nice big Red on. But then again, the fish acted went from fighting like a normal 30 inch Redbass, to a turbo-matic Redbass running out to the channel........OPPPS, Miles found out what happens if you don't get them to the boat quick enough in the summer time!


Bite straight off behind the head!
JAWS, plays no games.

(gotta love it)

It was a great day, and we had loads of action, from Redbass to big Bluefish jumping behind the boat to Jacks playing with our Pogies like Cats with a mouse.

Dick was estactic!

A KEEPER sized Redbass is "not" the norm...most are larger than 27".
We had one "keeper".

My new "TGT" - Tournament Grade Tackle "rod riggers" worked great!

I got them to keep the rod tips lower to the water when bottom fishing the river current and for my King Mackerel fishing trolling with either live bait or my favorite Drone Spoons.

Miles caught the largest of the day, a 17 pounder that drew a jet-ski on-looker that had a Blacklab Dog with him on the jet ski! I'm all for BlackLabs, but ya don't see Dogs stradling Jet ski's very often.

The guys caught some Jacks, and some really big Bluefish.
They basically are just by-catch in between the Reds.
But are fun, if they eventually eat your pogie. They do more messing around with them, then actually devouring them.

Super day, lots of action. And I guess the sharks are in close now!
Ohhh, that means someone's gonna join the "100 pounder club" here soon.


It's as easy as this:

Plan at least a few weeks ahead - Call me - Reserve on my web site - I'll give you a heads up the night before - Get a good nights rest - Show up at dock 15 minutes prior to departure - Be ready to fish!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

5/7 - how small is too small

Had a trip today with two women and a 3 year old lil' girl. They requested a 1/2 day, and I said I can do as long or as short as you'd like.

I met them at 10am this morning. And went out along the beach to get some "live" Pogies.
But didn't have alot of time to dedicate to finding bait, so I gave it my best shot right along the Navy base. All the while I had some fresh dead Pogies from the day before that'll work in a pinch.

Needless to say I didn't find any, so we came back to the jetties. And right as I was cruising along the inside of the North Jetty 4 Coastie boats, a Navy ship, a Seatractor tug, and the pilot boat were heading out.

Is it just me or is the United States Navy, and their Seatractor tugs, not responsible for their wakes??

Because as all this traffic passed, the wakes had to be no less than 8 footers back to back.
I can imagine a small 17' Jon-boat sitting along the jetties getting swamped, rocked up, capsized or even worse someone being killed.

One of the women on my boat had sort of a look on her face of disbelief. I told her, the general rule is "you are responsible for your wake", but that doesn't seem to apply to the US Navy or their contractors.

The 3 year old lil' girl was sitting in the other woman's lap. And as we got into the river the lil' girl seemed to be just fine. But mom said, "I think we should just go in."
I believe they may have thought the river/inlet to be a different situation. I explained I just wanted to get fresh live baits, so we could maybe catch them a nice Red. And let's not go in but just go up river a little bit and try some fishing. She agreed.

I went to the lil' Jetties anchored up, and pitched out two dead pogies on the bottom. I've caught some beautiful reds here this week, already. The 3 year old I guess was getting a bit rammy and Mom said, "let's go in, she doesn't seem to be doing well."

So I pulled anchor and she called their ride to come pick them up. And I made the short trip back to the boat ramp.

Day Done.

The point here is, I've had youngster the same age aboard before that were boys, and man were they into it. Of course, in a 3 year old "into it" kinda way. And I've had 5 year old lil' boys outfish their own fathers.

But really, no younger than 8-10 is my rule. And 10-12 for an all day'er.

I don't frown on taking the kids. I just had four nine year old boys on the boat back on April 25th and we had a blast trolling for Spanish Mac's and Blues at the jetties and along the rip line outside the rocks.

I tell people all the time, I have a (2 hour) kids trip posted on my rates page. Especially for the real little ones. That's kinda what we did today, but when it was booked they requested a 1/2 day fishing.

Each day is different, a different challenge, different people. It keeps you on your toes for sure!!

Oh well.......onward I head.

Please think NOW, if you are thinking Memorial day week. Plan ahead, reserve in advance.
It makes for a happy cappy, because I will be planning for your day.

2- guys, 8 hrs. One never fished in Saltwater before.
No holes barred....Full Moon.......the challenges never end, do they?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

5/5 - Sporte at the Big Rocks

Had George M. and his buddy Peter visiting from NY, aboard the Jettywolf today.

Decided right out of the gate to turn due east and head out the inlet in search of the magical "POGIE". Them little slimmers are the ticket for big reds. And I had a plan all laid out.

"Go get some Pogies, then hit the inside of the jetties. Anchor up, and as the tide fell we'd pull reds to the boat"....yeah, just like last Saturday.

Well the jetties were a mess. Slop City!

And as I rounded the south tip of the rocks, the wind hit us in the face, and so did the salty spray of a nice wind chop on what I was hoping to be "Lake Atlantic".

First mistake....listening to forecasts!

So we ran around the rocks and to the beach. I marked all kinds of small scattered little fish on my sounder. And let me say on thing about bottom scopes. The most valuable thing on my machine is the A-scope feature, when scanning the bottom for a nest of Pogies. It gives a view of what is exactly under the boat, versus the history while building the screen. If you ever need a new bottom scope, make sure it has an A-scope feature. I love mine, because it works!

I made a few tosses with the cast net and came up with some "horn bellies", little jack like bait fish not good for anything in my book. So was the horn bellies what I was marking?
Hmmmm, could be.

About that time, the Pelicans were coming from off the beach. "Time for breakfast!"

Usually they are your best friend when searching for Pogies. They have a way better vantage point than you do. A few dove towards some Pogies, obvious only to them. the sloppy seas. I saw zero. But as the sun got higher, I spotted a few flips on the surface.

"There they are boys", I told George and Pete. A boat ahead of us took off south, I suppose not willing to patiently wait it out. Well, I'm frugal, and have more patience than fuel to waste riding in this chop.

I made two tosses of the net, and hit pay dirt.....all the pogies we'd need. Back to the jetties we went.

HOLY MOTHER OF ALL CREATURES....the swell was at least 4-6 feet and folding in the middle of the channel between the jetty rocks. I went to where I wanted to anchor. Hemmed and hawed and went back on inside. No way we can fish in that! Then, I felt I was second guessing myself. So I turned back around and went back on out for a second look. I could have anchored where I wanted too. But would it be worth it? That's the big question.

There goes my plans!!!

As usual, I sided with caution and headed back over to the south Jetty. It was relatively calm and nice just outside the south tip. So we anchored up. Tossed out a few Pogies and sat.

Well, the reason you hire me, is not for what I do, obviously not because I try to have the very best in tackle for you (most people wouldn't know the difference) But the biggest reason should be; T.O.W - "time on the water." And the short and sweet of that is, the GUT feelings I get.

And my Gut told me, we were wasting our time here after 15 minutes. The current was all wrong.

So we bid farewell to the jetties and headed up river.

I immediately knew exactly where I wanted to go. Because with all that time farting around getting the Pogies, the tide fell dramatically (Full moon is on Friday!!) and this next spot should be "IT".

And "IT" it was......

We weren't there long at all, and before ya know it the rods started to double over.

I've been using my custom Biscayne Float-rig rods with their Shimano Curado 300 DSV's for light bottom fishing the past few trips. And man do I love those rigs. It's an absolute pleasure fishing good ole fiberglass rods again.

Here's George with his biggest Red to date a 31" 12 pounder that kicked his butt!

These Redfish were super copper colored. The deep dark bronze fish are pure "river reds".

So after releasing this fish carefully, it was time for another quickly because we could loose the slight current we had at any moment. That's the way this spot is.

And then it was Pete's turn.

I'm not really liking having to use my camera phone for taking charter photos.

These two are the only photos out of 5 I took that turned out. The screen is way too small to see what I'm taking photos of.

Looking forward to getting my boat camera back from repairs.

As I knew, the current quite right after Pete's 28-1/2 inch Redbass. So we made a move.
Hoping for more "sweet lips" as George called the Reds, we ended up in a nest of 4-5 pound Jacks. Which wasn't a bad thing, George and Pete had fun with them. Or at least the ones that actually ate our Pogies. Most of the time they just ripped the pogies to shreds. But we still caught a handful of "pullers".

By now it was getting really low tide. So the guys tried their hands at Float-rig fishing. And found that it wasn't as easy as fishing a pole holder and a circle hook for the Reds.

But after a few spots they caught a couple Trout, a Ladyfish and a pupper Red.

The tide was flooding in by now so we had a sandwich and headed back to the dock.

I told George and Pete that in the year 2009 so far, I believe I've had actually 2 to 4 what I would call windless days. Ten knots or less from any direction would be considered windless.
Or at least calm days at the jetties....I'll add that too.

But persistence and patience paid off today for sure when it came to catching good Redbass bait.

Next up:
Thursday, 2 adults and a three year old (???) half'ish day.
Friday, two guys ready to fish.

Memorial day fishing plans?????
Reserve NOW!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

5/2 - Birthday present from his wife

Eric B. all the way from Tallahassee sure is lucky to have a wife, that when it came to a birthday present for Eric, she thought "FISHIN".

Yep, the whole family came to Jacksonville, including Eric's father who was also coming on the trip. All the way from out west. For our 8am departure. A 172 mile ride I think Eric said, from his house.

So Nawwwww...I wasn't under any pressure!!

A birthday trip plus 172 mile early morning ride. Heck, I did have a customer come from Tampa twice to fish with a friend, here in J-ville. And I was blown away by that...twice!

I was thinking let's see if there's any "butt handers" (blacktip sharks) behind the shrimp boats. So I took off we went out the inlet in the residual swell from yesterdays 20 knot SE breeze. And when we got to the shrimp boats I could just tell, not much was going on. The first thing I looks for is Dolphins in a frenzy. And lots of them. We looked behind two shrimp boats, a small one and a big one. And both had maybe a 1/2 dozen Dolphins following as if visiting the hot dog vendor on the street corner. No real excitement was going on. The Shrimpers were out deep too. Not up close to the beach.

So we moved on.....Plan B, was to go get some pogies. The choice bait of the season. Chit-Chat on the radio was they were all the way down by Jax beach pier and THICK.
So from offshore of the chum hole, we ran all the way to the pier. And thanks to friend Pete, he pointed them out to me and with one toss of my castnet I had all I'd even need. My 8' net swam away jam packed with Pogies. A 1/4 of them went into the livewell, and 2/3rds went into my chum bag to store them.

Before moving, I made a cast out with two rods with live pogies on each one and made a drift across the front of the pier, while cutting and tossing some pogies overboard. I wasn't leaving here yet, till I'd see if any big monster beach Redfish were around.

The drift lines got hit by Bluefish....that's all. So we ran back to the jetties. I thought the tide would have changed over by now with an 8:30am low. But I was surprised to see current still running between the jetty rocks. So I quickly navigated a pack of Coasties, one Submarine, and a tug boat to get to the other side of the jetties. (Do you ever notice that on weekends is when the Navy stuff is going on? They have all week, don't they?)

So I got to my spot, tossed out the anchor and before the boat came completely tight on the anchor line I pitched out a Pogie to the bottom. Two seconds later......there was a rod shaped like a horse shoe in the starboard side rod holder and my Curado 300 DSV, was smokin'!!!

Eric a fresh water lake fisherman was up. And this ain't no bass. It's a Redbass, "Brutus T. Redbass" in the deep water heading East.

And I told Eric's father, "That livewell full of frisky pogies is the reason why we're hooked up after being here two seconds!"

Well, the bite didn't stop there.

I rebaited as fast as I could after snapping a shot with my camera phone, and got baits out again.


These fish ranged from 28-31 inches. But our goal was a few keepers. (under 27")

So we stayed at it and kept the bite going getting re-baited and back in the water as soon as we could.

The school of Reds were right behind the boat. And made for some
kind of action,

We ended up getting our 3 keepers from 26-27 inches, and finished the last of the falling tide current with 7 Redfish and when the current slacked, one big ugly stingray. The bite would be over till the tide turned and the clean green water flooded between the jetties.
Eric's father was feeling seasick in the slow swell, so we packed it in to go clean our 3 Reds.

You can see from this shot, I'm not all that good yet using this phone camera. But it gets the job done at least.
I sent my boat use, water proof camera in to get fixed yesterday.
When the pogies are around, I like to feed them pogies! Even if it means having to go get them a good distance away, that's the part I don't like though.

Friday, May 1, 2009

4/30 Good Bye April.....good bye early


Have some pre-booked trips coming up. So I went out and just wanted to check the "state of the Trout". Yeah, after today it's pretty much confirmed.

No more Trout fishing in Mayport.....they're GONE?
And man, was it fast and way too early.

If you don't know, here's the deal. On our coast it's Trout nearer the inlets in the cool water, and when the water warms up, the further away from the inlet's they go. That's the quick and dirty way of describing it. But, since this really isn't a massive freshwater river we have flowing through our coastal zone here in J-ville the Trout want some freshwater to spawn and follow the shrimp up river.

So I watch it like a hawk, waiting for when the disappear along the jetties and Mayport area, and head to places like down-town, or all the way to Orange Park, FL!!

Believe me, I'm not happy about it, either. I used twice to three times the fuel in the boat, and twice the bait, and need more hours in a charter day if that's what we have to do to catch'em.

But "IF" this was actually a big time freshwater flowing river......take the BIG Mississippi for example, with huge amounts of fresh water flowing 24 hrs a day. The fish (Trout and others included) would run to salty water, rather than what they do here. Which is run towards sweeter water.

Believe me, I'm amazed in the complete 180 it is here compared to other areas with big time rivers. Our St. Johns, really is like just one big salty path-way in the Jacksonville area. Not a river in the sense of the word. Or what rivers are to others in different parts of the country.

So with that said, I went to the jetties to really check. But first, I hit the rip line and looked for Tripletail outside the jetties on the last of the falling tide. It was sloppy and choppy, because of the high EAST winds the last few days. And of course, I'm always doing this by myself. Which couldn't be any harder. Run the boat, watch the ripline, be ready to cast. All while slopping around bobbin' and weaving through the rip.

RIPLINE; defined as the last of the falling tide coming out the inlet, where the dark river water meets the clean green ocean water. Different temps, clarity, salinity, current. Basically, to the fish, "it's structure".

Here's the color change line, aka: RIP.

See the color change on the right side of the photo?
The rip is where all kinds of junk collects. Weed, trash, foam, you name it, collects on the Rip.

But most importantly.....BAIT. And I sure saw bait. Threadfin Herring love the Ripline. And so do Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, Cobia, King Mackerel, Tarpon, Redfish, and Tripletail. That's what I was looking for.
Here's the first one I ever caught sight casting from the Rip, back on March 12th.

An odd looking fish that is GREAT EATS!
Notice that it looks to have 3 tails, hence it's name.

They lay on their sides and float along, looking like a piece of debris. Which attracts small bait fish, seeking protection. Which in turn, they eat those bait fish!

Dark gray, to almost black makes them easy to spot along the Rip line.

So as I slopped around along the Rip. That's what I was looking for. And I saw two of them.

One was about 18" and another was over two feet long! I use a small cork above a stout hook, where I pin a live shrimp. When I see one, I try and judge the current, and make a cast near the Tripletail, so the live shrimp drifts right up to it. They are quite aggressive, and if they don't get spooked by a slapping boat hull or engine noise, they suck up that live shrimp like a fun size Snickers bar!!

Well, I made a cast to each one I saw. But like I said, in the choppy sea and alone it's not the easiest thing to do. The boat scared the smaller fish. And the big Tripletail I saw I don't believe even saw my live shrimp pass by it, before it moved away down deeper.

You can spend literally hours doing this, and I did. And only got two chances at casting to the the Tripltails I saw. I milled around till the green water come up on the south jetty as the tide rose.

And another sign of some seriously EARLY activity was the 3 foot long Barracuda I witnessed stalking mullet on the end of the south jetty. Holy crap....It's not even May and the cuda's are at the rocks already!!!!!

The end of the south jetty was crashing with monster swells and was down right nasty. Consecutive days of high East winds really messes things up, let me tell ya!

EAST winds.... I really hate!

I anchored up as the tide flooded and tried my hand at some float-rigging down the rocks. Yellowmouth Trout and Speckled Trout....I've caught them here right into May in the past.

But I never lost a single Shrimp. No Trout, they're probably gone already I said to myself.

Yeah, this certainly isn't my favorite time of year,. let just tell ya'll that!! Heat of summer, and having to travel so far to my favorite fish, if I can find them in good numbers at all, is not something I relish and dream about.

So I left the jetties and traveled up river.....on the incoming tide. Which was as much fun as a slap to the face everywhere I went. Undesirables, on ever single stop. From Jacks to Blues to small Spanish Mackerel. (well, undesirable to me, when I want Trout.)

I finally ended up about 12 miles west of the boat ramp on a favorite dock of mine. And here is where the "ass handings" took place. The wind was blowing "EASTERLY", and was a genuine pain, but I got anchored up good. I sent my float-rig and live shrimp into the depths of this dock and had 3 fish I couldn't pull from underneath it. I had them on and heading my way. But man were they strong and the pilings sharp. I believe at least one of them to be a really big Trout!! I got a glimpse of it, as the fish made its way across the top of the water around a piling. The other two fish, could have been Reds, or Jacks. And now after seeing DOA Rob's huge Snook....ya never know. I could be loosing a Snook on docks like this one. Really out of the way, hidden, and full of fish sometimes.

I did pull 3 Ladyfish and 5 Trout from this dock, but only two of the trout were keepers.

So I moved on, as the tide started to turn. I hit a really old spot, that I never see anyone fishing anymore that's always been a Trout on a lure spot for me. And here is where I finally caught my (5) Trout limit, a few on a MirrOlure, and the rest of live shrimp. And had to work through 20 small 14 inchers to get the keepers.

Take this into consideration when booking a charter, (I know ya won't, but I hope....)
If we have to fish the river, we'll need a falling tide, period!!! I've been out doing R&D twice now in the last week or so on an incoming tide and didn't catch what I was targeting on the incoming. And as my dad always says, "if you aren't catching them, how am I supposed too....." And he's right! I know exactly what I'm doing, compared to a "learner".

Coming up this week:

Saturday: solo'ist, one man charter. We'll be staying coastal.....Spinners & Blacktip Sharks? Yeah! I wanna do it so badly.

Next Tuesday: 2 guys, on a falling tide. I believe we may mix it up a bit. Some river, some beach fishing.

Next Friday: 2 guys, incoming full moon tide. Beach fishing...Pogy pods, shrimp boats? If there's no EAST WINDS!