Friday, July 31, 2009

7/31 - how to burn 8 dozen shrimp....FAST!

Really, how do you burn 8 dozen of the finest fat & local, live Nassau River shrimp in short order?
Just take two fish crazed young boys fishing for what ever bites. Yeah, my goal was to stretch some strings. And did we!

Had Charlie H. grandpa of Finn (8 years old) and his brother Elijah (6 years old) on board today.

If every charter day went as good as this one, I'd be one "Happy Cappy". The problem was I spoiled these kids. Because we weren't on location and lines in the water 5 minutes before a rod was bent and a drag was getting yanked.

Ladyfish and Jacks, throw in a Mangrove Snapper or two and we had 30-40 fish to the boat, with some lost and there went the first few hours. So went it came time to try and put a decent "keeper" in the fish box which took patience, the boys told me, "we don't like this spot!"

The action wasn't fast enough. So Grandpa Charlie and I had to tell them about the word, Patience. And with a little we ended up with a nice sized Mangrove Snapper and a box sized Black Drum. Which was targeted species at the last spot of the day.

The boys learned how to Float-rig fish and watch for their float to disappear. And then later how to feel the bite as we bottom fished with a light lead and a long leader.

Float-rig fishing is the perfect technique for anyone, and even more perfect for the youngest of fisherman. Just let the current take the float, and when it goes under, start reeling! And the fish is ON. And the battle ensues.

The boys had double hook-ups all day. It was perfect weather. And when the dark clouds came, we were out of live shrimp by then. So I ran fast back to the dock, so as to stay ahead of a storm coming from the west. And got the fish cleaned, and bagged and they were on there way back home just as the first rain drops fell and the wind got strong.

Perfect timing!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

7/29 - Another Adventure with Tim from Tampa

Thanks to all who came out to Dick's Wings last night for the Float-rig fishing seminar I did. And thanks to fellow local angler and owner Chip Davis for having me.

Chip said, he felt that about 25 people were in attendance on the stormy night.

You sometimes have to watch out for what ya wish for when you include "Dave" in something like this, what I was thinking. I can pontificate on for hours, and did. But your delving deep into my world when handing me a microphone and say...."talk fishing Dave". Even though I felt, I was a bit rusty. Since it's been awhile since I've talked to a large crowd.

I love what I do. And have no problems with teaching people anything I have learned over the years and passing on info.

I heard billionaire casino owner Steve Wynne say there's two different kinds of FREEDOM; there's "Rich Freedom", like owning and building casino's in Las Vegas. And there's Poor Freedom, like being a beach bum surfer dude. Mr. Wynne always wanted rich freedom to do what he wanted. Well, I guess "Fisherman" falls into that poor freedom category, like a beach bum surfer dude.

But either way, it's Freedom, right? I have no interest in owning big buildings, and having thousands of employees. Instead, I have people all over the globe that love to do exactly the same thing I love to do. And that's F-I-S-H. And that means a lot to ME.


Today, at 9:30am I met "Tim from Tampa" at the boat ramp. I wanted to get started on the first of the incoming tide. And I wanted to go....."somewhere else". So we went North.

Tim has fished with me many times. Our last time was two days in a row. And it was like NO other two days in the summer that I've ever had before. We some how got involved in a mass confluence of Redbass of all sizes at the jetties, like I have never seen before in June.

Here's links to those two days, if you'd like to read more about them:

So since I told Tim, that I doubt we'll have a day like either one of those, this time. We're going else where. But no matter what kind of trouble Tim and I get into, it's always an adventure!

We went float-rigging......naturally. So that meant trying to catch "summer Trout" and whatever else. Well, we got into a Trout bite and right as we thought we were in the MEAT, the bite quite.

Four nice Specks, behind the surf. Yeah, summer beach Trout!! Damn, I love that. Clean, green, shallow water. But no sooner the bite started, then the wind started to blow. Which I believe was responsible for shutting down the trout bite as soon as it really started. The water was basically slick, no surf, and oh so calm. Then came some S.E. wind that chopped up the water, that started a bit of surf swell.

But the fish were fatties.

Yeah "Fatties".....look at this Trouts belly!!!

Here's a close-up.

Looks like the fish swallowed a tennis ball! The fishes belly was all distorted. Well, it turned out to have huge roe sacks, being a female. And instead of tubular roe sacks, they were big and round. Obviously, something went wrong with their formation. And the eggs were dark green rather than dark yellow. We checked it all out, while I cleaned the fish. It was something I had never seen before, that's for sure. That Trout probably felt like me after eating a giant Dicks Wings Cheeseburger and waffle fries and 3 big glasses of iced tea at 10:30 pm!!!

Tim ended up catching a total of 4 keepers and 4 - 14 inchers during the day. In between Jacks, Ladyfish. We ended up hunting around the rest of the day. But it sure was fun.

I caught either the worlds smallest Flounder, or the worlds "hungriest" Potato chip.
But as the afternoon went on. We had a few diversions from my master plan for the day.

Some included lightning, rain, wind and utter gloom & doom.

So plan "B", turned into plan "F", seeing how I had no control of what was going to happen with our wonderful day on the water.

Yep, we skirted rain, winds, lightning, temp drops, and clouds that looked like "Jesus fingers" coming down from the sky to snatch us up and take us to Kansas!

So needless to say. We moved around a lot. But that turned out to be a good thing. As I moved away from the dark skies and rain, I went to areas I have been to in years.

And Tim and I caught more Trout, Jacks and Ladyfish. And had some surprises while doing so.

At one point we were anchored up on a shallow bank with oyster bars and a nice shallow sand bank tapering into deeper water. Tim hooked a Ladyfish and had it just disappear from his hook....along with the hook. "hmmmm, what the heck was that??" It wasn't like the fish came off the hook, or broke the leader. There was a definite weird wake or something behind the fish. We just thought that was odd, and kept fishing.

Then I went to reel in and check my bait, and had the water open up a hole behind my float. "wow, that was a big fish, I almost had!" And we kept fishing.

Then a few other weird things happened, and again we just kept float-rig fishing. Then, right as I was talking about not catching a Trout for awhile, my float went down. I reeled, lifted and had me a Trout coming to the boat.......I thought!

But that Trout took off, after a giant boil appeared in the water, and I thought I saw a huge silver fish. As my reel smoked I was hooked up to a drag burner. TARPON!!!!! I yelled. Tim's face lit up, and I had it still hooked up for a minute. With my tiny hook and 15# mono leader. Then it broke off. I thought.

No it didn't.....I still had something on. But as I reeled in, we quickly learned, this was no Tarpon bite.

I had a Trout alright, but someone else thought it was dinner!

So I quickly said to Tim, "were gonna catch this dude!" So, I rigged up a not so heavy bottom rod with a heavy leader and a 12/0 circle hook, with no weight.

Tim re-baited with a live shrimp and I baited up this half eaten Trout and we pitched out behind the boat.

I no sooner got the Trout out behind the boat drifting away in the current, when Tim's float went down with a fish (probably another Trout) and he came tight, and my 1/2 Trout baited rod, doubled over. Tim's toothy friend came to the surface and ate his fish, and broke off the entire float rig, and my rig with the half trout took off and then went slack. My hook was bite clean off an 80 pound leader. Tim's float drifted off behind the boat. Well, that's $5.50, so we pulled anchor to go retrieve it.

Okay, we found the fish, and some more trout. But in this small piece of water along a shallow bank near the oyster bank was also where a set of JAWS was fishing. And "IT" found us.

We thought these were sharks busting holes in the water around our floats. But remember I said I saw a SILVER fish, and thought it was a Tarpon???

Well, now that I had time to think about it. This reminds me of a few days ago at the jetties. When we were catching big Mangrove Snappers. And a monster silver fish came in and slashed through the area while my clients reeled in Mangrove Snappers. And it was a big BARRACUDA!

This FISH, or FISHES, weren't sharks. But rather Cuda's or a single, CUDA! Up in the shallows near and oyster bed!! HOLY......."Snaggle toothed Ledge Trout". CUDA'S????

Now that's another first for ME!! Wow, what an adventure.

Well after loosing the float and going to get it as it floated away in the current. We decided to head home. Because this was bearing down on us. Storm number 4!!

It was one heck of a fun day. And I always enjoy having Tim aboard. He's up for about anything, and is flexible, along with being a good angler.

We ran through some super sloppy, rough water on the way home. Proving the "mettle" of the big Alloy boat, because I gave it holy hell, so to get some distance between us, and the next set of rolling "Jesus fingers" that was chasing us home.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Why I Iove 'em, while trying to understand them.

Friend and "fellow Trout Tracker" DOA Rob, has a friend Greg that was down in Guana Lake the other day. Greg saw a little commotion on the surface of the water, so he went over to investigate.

And found this Trout, which turned out to be 7 - 1/2 pounds, with a mullet stuck in it's throat. The Trout was barely alive, and the mullet had been stuck in it's throat for awhile Greg said, because the "forward" half was a bit decomposed. But the mullet still weighed in at a 1/2 pound.

Gator's, Hawgs, whatever you call'em, big Trout provided stories and proof like this from time to time. The photo isn't all that great, but you can see the tail of the mullet sticking out this fat trout's mouth.

(Greg also said the nasty green algae at Guana's 6-mile boat ramp was so thick he had to "row" his jon-boat threw it)

Had lunch with DOA Rob today, and we both agreed that it's a real rarity to catch any Trout around here on a bait that large. I told Rob, "I've used small live pogies, pilchards, mullet and Croaker, all less that 6 inches, and can count on one hand how many Trout I've caught. But then use a live shrimp and BAMMMM........I'll then catch that GATOR Trout."

Rob pretty much agreed with me and has had similar experiences.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

7/25-26 Summer's Pinnacle.....

Last week was a "marker" for me. Because I see the photos everyday of different summers, as I shuffle through my thousands of fish pictures on my computer. Comparing then to now, isn't all that healthy of an activity. Let me tell ya'. It makes for second guess-itis. Because some summers seem as if I was in a whole different world.

In bazzarro world nothing is ever the same. At least not the things I look forward too.

One thing that's the same is the Algae bloom in the river once again......yeah, crap like that is always the same in that poor river during the summer.

But last weekend like many summer weekends we struggled to catch enough decent fish. So what's the difference between right now and what was going on in this photo??

Obviously a WHOLE LOT!!! Yep, that was 7/14/07.

HUGE difference, huh?
The secret was then, and probably now also, is "GET OUT OF THE RIVER!!!"
These fish above, in this photo came from no where near the St. Johns River.

This weekend I worked really hard and this weekend's fruits of our labor, were some Trout to 19" and lots of 14 inchers with Don M. and Jamie and Eric on Saturday. We finished up our 12 dozen live shrimp with Mangrove Snappers about 12 of them to 16".

It's just not my kind of summer when Mangrove Snappers make for the majority of the catches and the fish in the box at the end of the day. I want better and more that Mango's!

But, then on Sunday I had Ray L. Sr & Ray Jr. along with Ray Jr.'s friend. In the morning we fished the river for zero. That's where we had strings of algae on our lines and plenty of the particulates of it in the water. NOT GOOD!

We ended up at the jetties where Ray Sr. lost a Speckled Trout along the rocks .(WOW, Speck #2 at the jetties so far this summer) lots of small Jacks, and then finally one that was big enough to put up a fight. And then later we ran out of 12 dozen live shrimp after catching about 10 Mangrove Snappers for the fish box.

I'm going again on Tuesday and Wednesday. And I'm thinking....."NOT in the St. Johns River".

When we reach this time of year. I believe the river gets to where it's begging for a summer flush. Usually Tropical Storms or passing Hurricanes take care of all that.

You'd think that the astronomical tides we're having right now would flush that river. The New moon tides this month are some serious ones. Upwards of 5.5 feet of water movement in 6 hrs. Hope things are better afterwards. I'll be able to tell.

Looking forward to fishing some where else for a change. In less than 30 days, I'll be heading to Venice Louisiana for a week. Totally different enviroment over there, thats for sure. I'm so excited!!

And Tuesday 7/28 , we'll be talking techniques at Dick Wings on Beach Blvd. Come on by, the topic is Float-Rig Fishing. Need more info: email me or call.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

7/22 - YEAH of these!



But every trip to the jetties right now we have a chance at one.
The problem is, most are not "crowd pleaser" sizes.

"Crowd Pleaser" is defined as; no special tackle is needed, no massive hooks, no 200 pound leaders.
And the "Captain Pleaser" part of it all is no running around on a damn "snipe hunt!!"

They are right there. Right where we're fishing for Redbass, Jacks, Mangrove Snappers, Margates.

This one was caught on a 15-20 pound leader on the float-rig, and a G. Loomis 7' poppin cork rod.
With a live shrimp, at 8am in the morning.

We hook'em all the time. Tarpon that is. Just last Sunday we had one on for a nano-second.
Then we had one hooked up again on the 8th of this month.........while jetty fishing.


Why can't any of these be landed???

The truth be told is that most people I have on board are completely shocked when a Tarpon eats their live shrimp and hauls ass for Europe. And even if they snapped to it and held on, usually the fish is way too big, for the tackle we're using.

And lastly, even if the Tarpon is small enough (crowd pleaser size) not many have the skills to battle a fish like a Tarpon on "LIGHT TACKLE".

BUT, the reason they're getting BIT, is because they are using LIGHT TACKLE in the first place.

Light and small hooks, light leaders and a frisky live shrimp will always get eaten by a persnickety Tarpon.

The tide stage is why they are there. Right where we are. Because that's where I want to be, and that's the tide I want to be there on. And Tarpon feel the same way at the Mayport Jetties.

Remember, I'm talking FLOAT-RIG fishing in the day time at the jetties.

NOT: Bottom fishing, casting jigs, or fishing via the moon at midnight. Don't think mom and dad and 9 year old Sally from Indiana want to go out at 12:00pm.

So, starting Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday's charter I will have aboard "heavier" light tackle and some one will be chosen, when the time is right to use this tackle. For one thing. That Tarpon bite that we'll probably get. If they want too, that is.

I've had plenty of people catch Tarpon over the years, but only one or two have been at the Mayport Jetties. Because it's hard, that's why I'll keep trying. Plus I'm there already!

Why run all over, when my chances are the same along the big rocks.

You can make a mistake with a Trout on. And you can make a mistake with a Redfish on. But don't make a single mistake if you have that Tarpon on for awhile. There's no room for errors.

Even with a "Crowd Pleaser".

Because Trout and Redfish don't do back flips 5 feet off the water's surface!

Monday, July 20, 2009

7/19 then the 20th

Signs of the trips with hardly any notice. And you know by now I like to plan!

It was 8:30 pm I believe, when Adam booked his trip the 19th for himself and his buddy Skeeter. They dropped into J-ville Fla. from Texas. And wanted to go fishin'.

This new moon tide has been strong (and will be even stronger in the second half of this report)

Basically a 3.9' tide with a 0.4 negative on the low. I round this
out to be 4.3 feet of water that has to get out of the river in 6 hrs.

Well, far up river the green algae bloom is now in effect. I seen it for myself. Particulates of green algae in the water everywhere. And this was in the same part of the river that after checking was completely FRESH water on the surface. No salt water in my tests.

And do you remember what a green algae boom does?? To remind you, it's kind of like Red Tide.
Both really hurts Fishing.

We didn't catch anything far up river.....and basically caught nothing till almost noon. It's funny how things are. In the river for me it's usually not till low does the bite turn on, and at the jetties and on the beach, it's all about the incoming tide, lately. At least it's this way for this Float-rigger.
Well, we found the fish eventually and had 20-25 Trout to 4 pounds. A mini Sheepshead that bit because Adam was hung on the range marker. And when the rig came free the mini 7 -striped jetty snapper was there on his hook. Then, a few Redbass at the jetties, and a Tarpon hook-up. Plus Ladyfish, Jacks and Croakers and Mangrove Snappers, of course.

Pretty good day, even though we could have just cut our looses and went out for 4 hrs late in the day and done the same thing.

They left out with a nice bag of Trout fillets.


Then I had back on board, Monday the 20th the Richard H. crew. Richard, Richard, and 10 year old Ryan. Our last trip a few years ago was phenomenal. They caught Flounder, Trout, Reds, Drum, Croakers, Ladyfish, Jacks, you name it and all on one spot. But that was in June two years ago.

This year.....on the 20th.

Tide: 4.1' with a negative o.6 falling tide. I round that off. Add the two and come up with basically a 4.7' tide, that has to push out the jetties in 6 hrs.

Needless to say, we tried bottom fishing and float-rig fishing with minimal success. And really only had any decent bites at dead low tide. And most of them were Jacks and Ladyfish. One Speckled Trout and a couple okay sized Mangrove snappers hit the ice box. A lost "drag burner" Jack along the Navy base made things interesting, then we hit the jetties. And that's where a 19-1/2" Redbass got put in the fish box.

It was a really tough day with astronomical tides that really just plain screwed up things compared to yesterday. Then later in the day storm clouds loomed and we called it quits.

Now thanks to the Greater Jax Kingfish Tourney, I have a few days off. And as soon as it's over
I'll be right back in the thick of it, next weekend.

At least this week is the "1/2 way through the summer" marker for me. Usually things improve from here on out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

9/14 - Just not enough action

Had George and Peter back aboard today. The game plane was to go after Sharks and or Tarpon. Ran the shrimp boats right off the bat, ZERO. Then eventually caught a small "whatever" shark.
Then a buddy called me and said,

"Dave the Pogies are thick, all along Hanna Park."

We ran south and got Pogies on a scattered pod, filling a fish basket full. Then ran a bit further south and there was my friend Mike. Hooked up to a Tarpon already. We drifted the pogie pods (acres) and had Tarpon occasionally rolling the surface around us. I tried the bottom, the top, chumming, and not chumming. How the hell can you get 3-4 Tarpon's attention when the baits so thick. I don't know, but Mike was slow trolling the outsides of the Pogie pods with his trolling motor. We were engine off drifting through the pods.

We caught a few more sharks. Certainly not the 100 pounders I was wanting. So after hours of drifting around the Pogie pods with no big Sharks or Tarpon, we went back to the jetties.

The tide was almost high. So we fished the inside of the jetty. The tide was pretty high and the current pretty good as the sea breeze kicked up. At this point there wasn't much else to do or places to go, so we stuck out a near nonexistent fishery during this time of day at the inlet.

But did manage a 19-1/2 inch Redbass. And many lost sinkers and rigs in the jetty rocks.

So been there, done that....won't be doing it again. I may go and do some Kingfishing on the reefs. But I'll be hanging up my beach Shark and Tarpon, search. I just don't have the patience.

It's official, barring any weather problems I will be heading to Venice, Louisiana for a week starting AUGUST 23rd. The mother-land....where the limit on Trout is 25 per person because they have that many Trout. Oil rig structure, and the Mississippi River providing fresh water 24/7 is the difference between here and there. Plus it's the Gulf of Mexico. A totally different animal then the Atlantic.........THEY CATCH LIMITS OF SPECKLED TROUT ALL SUMMER LONG IN THE HEAT!

Remember to come on by Dicks Wings & Grill, Beach Blvd at San Pablo rd. (next to old Walmart in shopping center) July 28th @ 7pm where the talk won't be Kingfish, but rather a seminar on, all you need to know about Float-rig fishing and probably more that ya want to know about Float-rig fishing. I'll be there to answer your questions, show you my rigs and we'll talk shop.

Here's a reminder of the why and how.......

I'd like to thank Jim Sutton of the Florida Times Union newspaper for the great article in the Sunday (12/21) "outdoors" section of the paper."ya just won't believe how long that article, or our day on the water took, to get right."

If you didn't see or read it, Jim pretty much hit the nail on the head! And damn we caught some seriously fine "jetty" specks that day. All in one spot! Many of my tackle secrets are out'a the bag, now......but, I still have a few things (tackle items) that I've kept to myself.

Already getting emails about the Salmon Stalker Floats, too. I guess that will be good for Premier Plastics Inc. But not me...they don't do anything for me. (Best place to purchase is Cabela's.)

One thing that he or we didn't touch on is that when you see someone like myself wackin the fatties along the rocks, breaking out your poppin' cork, or Cajun Thunder thing, isn't going to be the same.

We have a saying on my boat;


(these are not float-rigs!!)

Were referring to people in other boats, that may think that's it's all about some kind of float.When it really has to do with "where" your bait is, depth wise.I love the float-rig because my people can fish the rocks and not be hung up every two seconds.And they don't have to feel a bite, all they have to do is not see their float any longer and just reel, and they'll have the fish. Be it a Redbass, Trout, Sheepshead, or whatever.I'm not a trolling motor kinda guy either....I'm an "ANCHORER" .

Back when I had three boats at one time (aptly named: "my 3 wives") I did the trolling motor deal up and down the jetty rocks. And it was quite tiring. So I went back to the basics, when I gave all that up. "I always loved fishing my cork."

This nice lady from California never ever caught a fish before let alone handled any fishing tackle...

But the float-rig enabled her to do some whoop-ass, at the jetties!

One thing that Jim said in the article that's oh so true is...


That's why you should come on by Dicks Wings and Grill on July 28th at 7pm.

Here's Jim's article: "JUST DON'T CALL IT A BOBBER"


Monday, July 13, 2009

7/13 - Calm and Warm

Had Don Z. and his son Greg aboard today. It was Greg's Birthday present from Dad.

Fishin'.....Always a good Birthday idea. Greg had a plane to catch late in the day, so we rammed & jammed all we could into our day, and Don & Greg were on time, and we departed promptly at 7am.

Took off down river. Tried to catch a few Black Drum on the first spot just bottom bumping a bit. But the Croaker's were having their way with us. And wouldn't leave our shrimp alone, long enough for a Drum to find it. Also caught a few decent sized "Spots".

So we moved on. And got into a bunch of Specks. I caught the first one right behind the boat, and it was a "boxer". Then the guys figured out right where they were. But they were mostly "shorts". Small males, in the 14 - 14-1/2 inch range. So we picked through them and put about 4 in the box, with a few Yellowmouth Trout.

But, it just didn't look like we were going to pull a big Momma out this area, that's for sure.

But we didn't have enough time or live shrimp to waste them on other areas infested with 9" Mangrove Snappers. So I ran to the closest big Trout spot, that didn't produce but one small Trout and a.........Mangrove Snapper, of course!

For every rock, dock, or submerged structure in the river there's 1000 Mangrove Snapper's living there. Am I going crazy, or are these lil' bait stealers becoming more prevalent over the years?

Do other Trout Trackers like myself, feel the same way? I just don't know. Yeah, they sort of saved the day last Thursday with Kevin and Tom. But then again, we had them up to 16 inches also.

We went and tried a spot that one day in late June, Dave C. and I got into 6-8 big fat Specks, all in a row of consecutive drifts of the float. Trout up to 23 inches. Well, today we hit it on a tide the same as that day in June. Many times the current is so fast here, you have to wait till it slows. I think I pulled the only Trout from the structure, and again it was a short male fish. I'll keep trying it though. I know 2- guys who pulled 10 pounders from this one spot in 22 feet of water, so it has history. No doubt about that!

So we headed to the jetties. The water was clean, green, and we had good current. The water temp was back to 80 degrees. Last week, from either all the rain or another summer time cool water inversion, the ocean temp on the beach was 75-76 again. And I could tell, because the catching was tough to slim up on the jetty rocks with that cool water.

But today, you would have never have know that the water was warm again. Because the action was really slow. A Mangrove bite here, a Lookdown there.....and mostly Rock Blennies eating shrimp that cost almost a quarter a piece!!!

I hate to 2nd guess a decision, but I should have headed out that way while the tide was still falling and went to my Jack Crevalle spot on the near low tide. Like I did on Friday, when Will caught that 10 pound Jack, that made his day, and his whole year!

Greg would have loved tangling with one of those. He and his dad Don were both good fisherman and bait casters, too. Don's fished with me in March before, on a cool day and hung a 22 pound Red, and some big Sheepshead and caught several big Trout. So Don knows what it can be like. And I know, he can handle good fish.

I believe half of the bites we had today at the jetties were again, BLACK MARGATES.

Because you'd no sooner set the hook, they'd be on and then break us off. It doesn't take much with the 15# Ande leader, I use. That's probably more like 20#, really. I like light leaders, small hooks, and a lively shrimp. I refer to my live-well in the summer as the ICU - Intensive Care Unit. Keep them cool, well aerated, and out of the direct sun light. Because it's all about a shrimps presentation. Just like a lure or a fly for a fly flinger. Make it look the best you can. Especially when the going is tough already. Like in the deep summer months.

Don, after multiple break-off's finally got one of them rock dwellers to the boat. I SWEAR THESE MARGATES ARE THE ONES THAT WILL BREAK YOU OFF IN THE ROCKS IN A HEART BEAT.

Don doesn't eat fish, so when we were back at the dock and I was cleaning the fish.
He took all the Speckled & Yellowmouth Trout and left me with the rest of the fish. Mangroves, Spots, a Margate and a Croaker.

I don't care what they are really, (although I do prefer nice fat Trout fillets) they all fry up real good with Zaterains Country Fish Fry Mix, and Olive oil. I had enough to make 4 small fish sandwiches tonight for dinner. And Mmm, they were good!

SHARK, TARPON, anything that pulls super hard......that's what is up next on Tuesday with George and Peter. They requested this trip after I told them about Runnin' and Gunnin' the shrimp boats out of Mayport last year in July. But this year there isn't many Shrimp boats in the chum hole right now. I saw a few today. I hope there is tomorrow.

Friday, July 10, 2009

7/10- Low pressure and no current

Had Maria and her son Will aboard that were visiting Jax from Virginia, and we took off around 7am. I knew there would be not much current to fish today since it was really slow yesterday too. But add in low barometric pressure, an air temp change this morning, another cool water thing going on in the ocean, a wind direction switch and looming dark clouds back and forth all day. And I knew I was in for a challenge.

Neither Maria or Will were die hard experienced anglers, like a few of my past trips were. So from the river to the jetties I struggled to get them into enough current to float-rig fish. Then after that wasn't working we tried bottom fishing, that wasn't working much either.

One cool thing was the sight of Jim Anderson in his fire engine red Shamrock hooked to a big fish flying through the air as we passed him at the tip of the South Jetty. Looked like he had a perfect crowd pleaser Tarpon hooked up, as the fish did back flips in the air, and was shiny silver.

I yelled, "man that's one of those crowd pleasers!!" And Jim was hard at play, with what was a big Barracuda, not a Tarpon. Wow, that was one pissed off snaggle toothed Ledge Trout!

He got it to the boat on a mono leader, so we went closer. He said he caught a small Seabass, and saw a dark figure swipe at it, so he sent the Seabass back down to the bottom and BAM....the Cuda took the bait. Jim went for the gaff, and came back to the rod, right then is when the teeth met the leader for the last time. And the Cuda swam away, a whole lot less frisky.

Either way, an excellent catch. Cuda's are definitely at the jetties. And very much on the prowl on the clean green incoming tide. I see them all the time.

We finally found a decent spot and Will caught a Ringtailed Porgie, and then a pup Black Drum.

But still the search was on for a place they didn't have to be master casters to fish properly.
Finally the tide started to turn around and fall....."oh what sweet relief!"

That's when Will's float vanished and he reeled in a nice Flounder.

The tide started to move along as it should and all they had to do is drop out the stern and let their float drift.

After a few small Mangroves, Blennies, and tiny Black Seabass, nothing was else was happening.

Heck we should of been hooking up some decent fish here. We had it all, now.

And not long after I said, "we should have some Jacks here, this spot is jack famous. They'll be that big fish that pulls real hard, for ya"

I was drifting Will's float out for him, because the action was slow and his attention was hard to keep on his float-rig. And that's when the float went under and I handed him the rod. This was a Ass-hander on my light float-rig rods that's for sure. The fish was fast and burned drag off the reel. Here is when the rubber meets the road for a Jr. Angler who's never caught a really big fish, let alone a big Saltwater fish. You just can't jerk this one to the boat. So I really had to coach him. I had to get into my commanding voice and have him react, when I told him too. Up under the boat, a few times. The fish tried it all. And after a wearing out of the fish and Will, a 10 pound Jack Crevalle came to the net....only after a long light tackle battle.

We ended the day on this big fish high note, and headed back to the dock.

Next up: Monday and Tuesday.

Not all the interested in this weekend, there's a wind switch at play to the east and no current.
I'll start again with a new week.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

7/9 - wacky and wet!

Had Tom and Kevin aboard the Jettywolf today. Left out later around 8am. I knew going in the tide would be weak, and it sure was. Water movement for this Float-rig fisherman was near to none at the jetties. But we stuck with it, because and incoming tide most of the morning made for not a lot of choices.

In a nut shell, it was a Mangrove Snapper kinda day overall. Interrupted by moments of WOW.

The WOW first came as Kevin got his butt handed to him by a really big fish (probably a Redbass). It seems to be a trend, when people first get slam dunked, no one really realizes how strong these fish are on light tackle. The fish broke him off and the whole leader was gone.

Then, I had the same thing happen to me. And I couldn't even stop what ever I had hooked up.
The rod was horse shoed, my thumb was on the spool, the drag was peeling and that was it. My 15# leader gave.

Next up was Tom. His float goes down, he reels and hauls back, and a Tarpon in the 20-40 pound class flies from the jetty toward the boat and almost came in the boat!! The fish hit the water directly at my boats transom.......splashing all three of us. I know the water was running down my sunglasses afterwards. That was a close call. TARPON TERROR, Oh no!!

The Mangroves were almost chewin' and stealing alot of bait. As a few were caught here and there. Then Kevin hooks and get the only Red that made it to the boat. a 19 incher.

You can see the darkness in the sky in these photos, so guess what was the next WOW of the day??

If guessed rain, you were right. But this wasn't just rain, this was a Forest Gump Big rain.

We could see it coming from the SW. And we had plenty of prep time. So I re-anchored and put out lots of scope just in case 60 mph winds were with it. We got our rain gear on. I packed away the wallet cellphone and turned off the big Raymarine sounder and put the cover on it. We were ready, now. And it was sort of cool, because as we prepped, every one else around took off....they still got wet I'm sure.

Here we are and Kevin and Tom were still fishing! The rain came so hard and visibility went from 2-3 miles to 20-30 feet!

It went by us quickly, and headed offshore to the N.E. Then the sun came out and all was good again......time to make a move.

But still just a few Mangroves. So we changed up locales and ran up river to try something else.

But the tide was so damn weak, where we were. Heavy duty bottom fishing just wasn't working.
So we pitched out with lighter rods and tight-lined with 1oz. sinkers and long leaders, and live shrimp. And not long after Kevin turned into the Snappa' Stroka'.

He found them, and real good sized one too. Slam dunking one after another after another.

Then, a few Trout. No Black Drum, or Reds, which I thought we might have got tight lining the bottom and working the structure the way we did. Kevin was the big Hooker that's for sure.

Can you believe he caught a "nail"....yeah a 6 penny nail! A blue button up shirt, and then an ole coffee filter. No one ever, has caught such a weird "SLAM" before. This dang river has so much crap on the bottom, I'm not all that surprised sometimes at what gets drug up from the depths.

We ran out of shrimp and headed back to the boat ramp to clean 13 Mangrove Snappers to 16", a Redbass, 2 Trout and a Lookdown. Everyone says to me how great the Lookdowns meat is. But this will be my first and last one we ever keep. It really wasn't worth the work of filleting it.

It was a day full of all kinds of wackiness and lots of fun, that's for sure.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

7/7 & 8 - GOT WET?

Had a charter booked for Tuesday. Weather looked windy and kinda nasty. Since the weather was windy and kinda nasty on Monday when I was out with Brian and Bob.

So we rescheduled for today. I was at B&M bait and tackle at 6am, and here came the rain, black skies and nastiness.

Rescheduled for Thursday. This better be it! Because I have a charter on Friday, so there's no more room to move it again, for a weekday trip.

I'm finally seeing sun out my window as I write this and it's now 2pm.

Stayed real busy hunting up a replacement for my broke Ugly Stik Inter coastal rod that blew up last week. Had to drive to St. Augustine this morning (since I had new found time to do so) and get a replacement down there and a spare. I love these rods for bottom fishing for my customers. They're tough, strong and have a gimbal butt, and only 6'6" so the kids can handle them too. Shorter rods are better for people less that 5 feet tall......LOL, LOL.............funny stuff huh?

Just got off the phone with Chip Davis. He used to fish all the Redfish tournaments around here, and did very well. He owns a Dicks Wings restaurant and asked if I'd come do a fishin' seminar on Float rig fishing, because he even wants to know more about it. He said his casting arm is wore out!

So this is the official announcement.
And like a good angler, planning is everything, right?? So here's enough "heads-up" time for you to plan to attend, if you'd like and are not worn out from all the Kingfish activity.

If you like to relax anchor on up and stay close and fish the river, then come on over to Dicks Wings; July 28th at 7:00 pm.

Here's a Google map page for where it's at:,0,13696242912456310217&ei=zttUSruHD9y_twed2O2tCA&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&resnum=1
Chip wants me to bring the "Jettywolf" with me and I can do that. So look for the big Silver Center Console....."what do people say to me all the time", Oh that's right..."Man, dats the biggest aluminum boat I've eva seen?" Or better yet, " is that boat stainless steel?"

More funny stuff. But, that's another subject.

So if your into learning some more about local fishing, then come on by Dicks Wings on Beach Blvd. at 7pm July 28th.

Topic of discussion. St. Johns River Float-rig fishing, tackle, how-to, fish species, what to look for, boat anchoring, and LOTS of stories and fishing tales. I've got plenty!!

Hope to see ya'll there!

Monday, July 6, 2009

7/6 - Good Morning!!

Had two great guys today. Brian C. and his dad Bob. I said, "meet me at the boat ramp at 0630 hrs. " And as I pulled in to the parking lot at 0620 hrs. There they were! Man, that was great.

Backed the Jettywolf into the water, parked the truck and we took off......for the Jetties of course. It was windy, 10-15, and choppy. And there sure was a bunch of traffic for a Monday morning. Thought the "holiday" was over????

Lots of fast action today. And lot's of "hub caps".....aka: "Lookdowns". Some small ones and then Brian caught an enormous one. 2-3 Redbass, mostly smaller fish, with one keeper for the box. Mangroves, and many hook-ups and break-off's too. But that's all good. The action was fast. And Brian never used a bait caster before, and after 5 minutes of instruction and you should have seen him pitch and flip like Bill Dance or Roland Martin!! Some people can just learn fast. And I'd put money down on Brian as a fast learner. Between him and Dad, they never skipped a beat, never had any backlashes.

The action slowed as the incoming tide faded, so we beat feet up river. Pulled up on a great Trout spot, and all my shrimp had died. Earlier I got some live Croakers from a friend and when I put them into the live-well and turned on the pump, I think I bumped the switch to the shrimp tanks bait pump to the "off" position. "_ _ _ _ happens." Nothing I can do about it now. So we hung up our Float-rig rods and moved on to bottom fish. Which I was going to do later anyhow. I wanted to catch a few more of those perfect eater Black Drum we caught on the 1st of July. So we moved on to that same spot.

The skies to the west were darkening....."REAL DARK". But we had enough time to try it.
I grabbed the bottom rods, pinned on a shrimp and cast both on out. It wasn't 20 seconds later one of the rods doubled over, and Brian grabbed it. It was a big fish!!

The second rod went off, so Bob grabbed that one. It was a keeper Mangrove Snapper, not a huge one, but a grease tester size. Brian was battling a good fish, and we kept looking westward as he fought it. His biggest fish ever! A seriously multi-spotted Redbass, a 30 incher at about 10 pounds. I said, "now that was what I was wanting you to catch at the jetties". But right here and now was okay too.

The wind started to pick up, the temperature changed right after a healthy release and a photo that needed the "flash" on the camera because of how dark it was getting.

We quickly put everything away, and I dragged up the anchor. And took off back towards the boat ramp, and stayed just ahead of the clouds, for a minute. Till they came over us.

And I snapped this photo to send to Mike Buresh on Fox 30 News for a First Alert Weather Photo, for today. I send him a lot of on the water storm photos so he can show them on the air.

This is what beat us to the boat ramp, and was the front of the storm towards the Atlantic.
Yeah, we got a bit wet. And the lightning was popping around us at the dock, so we called it a day.
Ending on a big Redbass, and a high note.
Wish we could have fished together longer. But sometimes ya just have to surrender to Momma Nature. Next time we'll get the whole day in. And maybe next time a box of fat Trout.
Thanks Brian & Bob.

Friday, July 3, 2009

7/2 - Summer days are never the same.

After yesterday with the young kids catching the Black Drum, I figured what the heck that's what we'll try today. Well, it's summer in J-ville Fla. and I should have known that just because you do one thing one day that it certainly doesn't mean that you can do it the next day.

So I had the Richard S. family aboard. Mom and the two boys and dad. What could be better than a little bottom fishing, and pulling in good eater sized Black Drum, with maybe a Redbass and a few Trout, Mangroves, and Croakers tossed in the mix.

I can tell you whats worse.......

Catching Toadfish and Stingrays!

The same tide, the same spot, the same current, the same shrimp, the same rods.....BUT not the same fishing, that for sure.

So after giving it all the time I could stand to produce, I pulled anchor and said heck with that we're going Float-rig fishing. So I gave the two boys a fast crash course in using the float rig. And they were right on top of it. And doing great!! I love it when I have young boys that are ready to fish, just like when I was their age.

First spot was a tuffy. The wind was blowing hard, and so was the current. But they got the hang of it, and boxed a Yellowmouth about 13 inches. The fishing was difficult here, so we moved on one more time.

Next spot, was right on the money. I believe it was the first or second drift when one of the boys was hooked up immediately. And it was a nice fat Speck!!

A pretty over 18 incher for the box! The boys were really into it, and running their float rigs back and forth like ole pros. Then, another big fattie, came to the net.

Man, I'll take these all day long. Serious "boxer" over 20 inches.
Glad to of had 4 people aboard, so we can keep them all because they just kept coming!!

These were 3-5 pound Trout!
And now Mom and dad were wanting to get into a few, too.

We had a few Croakers, Mangroves, only one Ladyfish, and one "pup" Black Drum.

We ended the day with 2-Yellowmouths to 20", and 5-Specks to 23", Croakers, Spots, Mangroves, a Stingray, a Ladyfish, and a pup Black Drum, using up all 12 dozen live shrimp. So we headed back to clean the fish. And I bagged them up so they could go straight over to Singletons Seafood Shack and have a early dinner of FRESH fried Trout.

Turned out to be a great day, after all. And I really enjoyed having these two boys aboard.

NEXT UP: Monday and Tuesday. I'm taking a break during the Holiday, because usually the river is just plain insanity, anyhow.