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?