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.