Monday, August 31, 2009

8/31 - Good Bye August!

Yep, another month closer to the "COOOOOOL". And I can't wait. I wish summer was about 2 months and we went right into October or November temps as soon as July was over.

Had John H. and two guests aboard today for a late afternoon 1/2 to 3/4 day trip. So we left the dock around 1:00pm and headed up river. But not before running into Bob a ole customer.

He pulled up to the dock and told me what a great day he had at the jetties. He had Redfish stories, and a nice one in the box, along with "monster river Mangroves". Especially this one, which was a real STUD when looking at it in "person". (the photo isn't doing it justice)

So, I had 10 dozen live shrimp and had plans on float-rig fishing with the three guys on board.

And then maybe trying for a Bull Redbass after some light tackle fishing.

And it all worked out perfectly. On the first stop, and on Johns first drift of his float he nailed a 17 inch Trout. The guys ended up catching some throw-back Trout, a few Ladyfish that were perfect bottom bait for later, and a Jack.

Then the tide slacked, so we ran back closer to the inlet and did some bottom fishing, with cut Ladyfish.

We weren't on anchor more than 15 minutes when the first rod bowed over. Kevin was up and handled it with ease. We were using rather light Ugly Stik's matched up to my Accurate 197 twin drag reels that are so smooth and can produce serious drag pressure on any fish. Smaller than a Abu Garcia 5500, and packed full of bearing, and drag washers. My Accurate's will go into my will. Because they're that well built.
The big Red pulled and the rod bowed real good against the flooding tide. And turned out to be a healthy 22 pounder.

The next bite didn't act like a big Redbass.
I can tell right away.

It was a giant Stingray, and out of all 4 of us aboard came to an agreement......"we all hate them!!!"

So I broke the big Bastard off. And then we called it a day. John was showing his guests a good time, and now it was time for a good dinner.

I was happy. Targeted species in the boat. No problem, on both spots we fished.

Next up tomarrow: George M. going just for the big Reds. That's all.

(and maybe a few stingers,'s inevitable)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

8/26 - CHAPTER 2, w/ Kirk, in from Peru

Okay, if you read the report proceeding this one. You learned that Kirk M. and I have fished alot together. And he's back in Jax, for a few days from Peru. let's get to the meat and potato's of our second day together on the big St. Johns.

Okay, this gets really good.

By 11:00am Kirk and I are out of shrimp, we have 2 limits of trout to 4 pounds, 2- Reds, 18-21", two Flounder, and two Mangrove Snappers.......IN THE COOLER. And caught a bunch of throw back trout too. I MEAN A LOT, of throw back Trout!!!

There was no sun anyhow, it was on & off windy and overcast all morning long. Felt great actually.

Kirk ain't here to play games. He fishes 12 hrs or that isn't called a fishing day. He just isn't farking around!! He wants to fish, period!
The weather is what "we" call PERFECT. And that's why we were ripping the fish!!! They put on a serious feed bag before the blow coming on Thursday/Friday.
We go back to the dock. We unload all of our fish, Kirk takes them home. And he them stops by the bait shop and comes back to the boat with 15 dozen live shrimp!!!!

I told ya, he ain't messing around.
I believe we're gonna do a second trip of the day?

So we leave the dock for the second time. After purchasing 27 dozen shrimp.
So back to where we left off. But now, with a different tide. But it didn't matter. The fish were chewing the bottom of the boat. We stopped at 2 spots and had our limit of Speckled Trout already and no less that 30-40 throw-backs.

They're heading my way. Towards the EAST!

I'll give ya'll a hint. When I see small shrimp boats dragging the river. That's where I fish.

We slam-dunked another 2 person limit. with Trout up to 3 pounds. Picked off another Flounder, lost a Flounder, and I caught a exact 27 inch Redbass on a jig and Creme Litl' Fishie, soft plastic lure.

Toss in a few more Mangroves and we were soon out of 15 doz. of our afternoon bait.

We easily caught a HUNDRED or more Trout today, between Kirk and I on our two different trips, today. No kidding! And I arrived at home well after dark.

I almost felt as if I was in Louisiana. (where I was supposed to be this week anyhow)
Was today and omen or something? Was the Speckled Trout gods shining on Kirk and I, knowing that he's been stuck in Lima Peru. Where he can't fish. And I was supposed to be over in Louisiana slaughtering Trout and Reds right now.

I have to admit, when the suns shining, the winds calm, there's no chance of rain and it's June through September. That those days ARE NOT my favorite days to be out fishing.

Because everyone else is out also. And I always do better on a day when the weather's a bit off. We usually refer to it as a Barometric pressure change in the fishing world. And I believe we had it today, for sure.

Thanks Kirk.
I'm sure this won't be the last time we "wack'em and stack'em", as usual.

See ya soon, and take care buddy.
KIRK'S ROCK, next time? (and that's another story, hahahahahaha)

Monday, August 24, 2009

8/23 - FISH, caught everywhere.

Had Kirk M. aboard today. Kirk's fished with me many, many times before. BUT, usually in either the fall, winter or spring. So he's used to a bit of a different scenario. I don't think he's ever been on my boat when it's 90 degrees.

But he was in town, from Lima, Peru. Where the U.S. Navy has him spending a few years. And he's just thrilled with that, BTW. So fishing is an activity in which he has been severely lacking.

He wanted to go, but I thought I was going to be in the great state of Louisiana fishing for a week. So when I had to cancel on the La. trip at the last minute, I emailed Kirk and said, "I'm now open to fish Sunday the 23rd."

To my disappointment, I'll be possibly fishing the river here for a few more years, before I can fish the "oh so bountiful" Louisiana inshore waters.

We caught fish at every single spot we went too. There's no lack of bites. We even gave bottom fishing a try again. But was there after the big Redfish bite was about over. 20 boats of all sizes were jam packed into a small area. I initially went in there just to say HI to some friends. Instead we caught small Yellowmouth Trout. As we talked with my friends. And the big Red bite was about done, so when the current went wacky we moved on.

We did try the jetties, earlier. The water temp on the incoming tide was 75 degrees. We were one of 3 boats fishing the rocks. The tide was pouring in, and Kirk hooked a Ass-Hander! Probably a really big Jack. And it ripped him down the jetty and around the corner and then shut the door.

My Ugly Stik "Striper rods"....which are my new charter Float-rigging rods, got a super horseshoe put in the one that Kirk had in his hands, on this fish. Bowed up and drag smoking. It was super cool. But once the big fish hooked around the jetty. It was over, when the light 15# leader popped.

We were looking for some incoming tide Redbass, of course. But the jetties just didn't feel really right for some reason. And that cool water was suspect.

That was about it out there, so back down river we went. Yep, we did some back and forth stuff. But settled in around Blount Island to the Dames Point bridge area.

In the river we caught Speckled Trout about everywhere. But most of them were shorts, 14-12" Trout. Out of maybe 25 total we kept six of the largest. A 14" Yellowmouth,. and two Mangrove Snappers.

But the really good thing is every spot we fished (Float-rig) we caught fish. Even a quick stop up in a shallow cove in 2 feet of water, we still caught Trout. Small ones, but they were Trout.
(we were looking for a red....even a pup red)

Hey, at least my Speckly friends are all over the place in the river. That's a good thing.

The ratio of keeper sized Trout was a bit of a bummer. I bought no less than 10 dozen live shrimp. So we were ready!
I thought.

The incoming tide came very quickly this morning and by the time the tide turned and we had ebbing water again, and were on a decent bite good Specks, we ran out of live shrimp.
We had keeper Trout from 15 inches to 20" being the largest.

Kirk thinks while he's here that we maybe able to sneak out around 3pm again this week, after he's done Navy business over at Jax NAS. I'm all up to that. Late afternoon falling tide bite? Yeah baby! Hmmm, I think I have a few "top water" spots I'd want to try.


Saturday, August 22, 2009


While towing a boat today, it rained. At one point I couldn't see the bow of the boat I was on, it was so dark and coming down so hard, at 5:00pm.

Here's going under the Dames Point Bridge, after it backed off. Sheets of water were pouring thru the drain holes up on the bridge. Looked really cool in person.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

8/20 - you think aluminum is odd?

Yeah, it's years later now, but I still get looks, stares and stupid human comments about having an alloy plate boat. The only real reason is because mine isn't painted.

Well, over on my other site. ( we had a member post a really serious fishing machine, sitting in Biloxi, Miss. Currently docked outside the Palace Casino.

Trinity yachts supposedly has them lined up to be built. Yeah, aluminum boats!!

That's if you really want to call these boats, at 122 feet long with a 24 foot beam!!

And it's all aluminum...go figure, huh? So when you think I'm some sort of odd-ball, think again. Or the next time you see a maga-yacht come in the St. Johns River.....think again.

Just because it's painted. You may be fooled.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

8/18 - A really nice day on the river!

Yeah, it may have been a bit breezy. It has been for a few days now. But that's what kept it cooler. The sun may have bumped in and out because of the clouds. But that's what kept it cooler.
And yeah, we may have gotten really wet because of a short rain shower that snuck up on us.
But again, that really cooled us off.

Had Louise H. and her son Garrett aboard today, visiting from the Lone Star state. And actually quite close to the good ole Gulf of Mexico, one seriously fishy body of water. But as Louise told me in the beginning...."we're not fishing people". But heck they wanted to give it a try.

And I think they were very pleased that they did. Because we had a really great day. And even though they may have been fishin' rookies, they both did exceptionally well. And as usual, when I have the gals aboard, they're the fish magnets!!

After I shagged off my morning "stow-away", we took off just after 8am.

We headed up river. At the first stop, I try to find a nice calm easy to fish spot. So everyone on board gets acclimated to the tackle and gives me a chance to teach them about float-rig fishing.

And we were on our spot 5 minutes with lines in the water about 30 seconds when Garrett hooks the first fish of the morning. "I.G" - instantaneous gratification!!! That's what I like to see. And coming to boat is the first Speckled Trout. Not a keeper, but it doesn't matter at this point.

Then it was mom's turn, and Louise reels one on in.

Right then, we started to get some falling tide current, so we shifted on over to an area that had good steady current, straight behind the boat. But that had the wind straight to our stern, and we wobbled around a lot on anchor. But we got the job done, and started catching Trout right away.

We were fishing now, no more than an hour maybe and already caught 6 and had 3 up to 19-7/8ths of and inch, in the fish box. Again, not bad for my float-rigging newbies. They both got into the rhythm and that means fish!!

After boxing some nice Trout up to 20 inches, we moved on and tried our hand at some bottom fishing for a big red. But it's still summer and the first hook up was a monster Stingray that smoked off line so fast there was no stopping the big "dumpster-lid", and it broke off.

My patience for this is about a foot long. Starring at the rod tips, (I hate stinger fishing...) so we moved on and went back to float-rig fishing and catching good fish. But the next spot was short lived. Here came the clouds and ran us off to a safe haven, but as I ran there, we ran straight into the big rain. We got wet, but during the down pour the boat was safely tied up and we took cover with a handful of other fisherman under a roof that was close by.

After the shower we found a nice calm river and a lesser breeze on the next spot. Caught some more throw back Trout and boxed even more up to 20 inches, again. Along with plenty of Ladyfish and jacks, and the days only Mangrove Snapper at 14 inches, that hit the ice along with a double limit of beautiful Specks. I know, I couldn't believe it either.....only one Mangrove?? We really didn't have many problems with the "shrimp snatchers" much at all, today. Maybe because I fished deeper waters, further away from the hard structures.

Louise was the "hot rod" all day. And it was well deserved. She was on her game.
I believe, she should fish more often. She might get really hooked.

They ended their day by taking a bag of freshly caught trout all filleted, de-boned and skinned by their guide to Singletons Seafood Shack and having them cooked up for them. They just don't get fresher than that. Louise gave me some also, because they had more than enough and when I got home and put everything away I was reminded of what a nice day we had with a big plate of fresh fried Speckled Trout myself for supper. Ahhhh, the fruits of our FUN. sure did taste good.

See ya out there...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

8/16 - In Between Fishing

In between seeing me on my Big Alloy Boat, wave when ya see me on this big red boat. And hopefully it won't be a "waving me down", because you in need of a tow, fuel, or a jump start. Or to be pulled off a sand bar.

Yep, in between fishing charters I'll sometimes be in the red TOWBOAT/US boat.

It's not Big Alloy. And I almost forgot the way F'glass feels on the water. But I'll have to let it slide, this time.

Next up: Tuesday's charter, then maybe Saturday and then a definate Sunday charter.

Friday, August 14, 2009

8/14 - Almost one year ago......

Remember Tropical Storm Fay? Or "Faye" as some spelled it.
It was last year, NEXT WEEK.

Myself and DOA Rob went out the first day afterwards that was calm enough and not raining and I caught my largest Redbass to date; 50-55 pounds.

Tropical Storm Fay was a real belly washer and from there on out the season basically began.
The "fall'ish" season I mean.

The Reds were about everywhere, and so was the bait.....CROAKERS. Yep, that's what I used,. them and cut Ladyfish (cuts down the population of the slimey pun intended, hahahahahahah)

I read these stupid reports about going and catching 175 Croakers, as if that's some kind of super charter fishing day. Yeah, who's cleaning all them damn things. It's not like they are 15 inches a piece. Your guide isn't.

That's all fine and dandy for some, but I'll catch my larger Croakers on the float-rig and a live shrimp, like I usually do. And be happy with 5-10 big ones up to 17", then move on.

Because all the waiting thru the 99 degree temps, scrounging and putting together new tackle all summer long, is all for the preparation of SEPTEMBER.

The days are shorter, we've usually had some significant storms, the water's cooling off and it's all about.....

The first week of last September Paul M. from New England caught this beautiful 6-1/2 pound Trout.

We're loosing basically a minute a day of daylight. Wish I could speed that up a bit and make fall get here even sooner.

Monday, August 3, 2009

8/3 - No sooner ya turn around......

No sooner ya turn around and it's August!!

Wow, I'm glad days fly by in the summer. Because it's all that shorter of a wait till winter. And I can tell ya right now. I'm ready for shorter days, cooler temps, and BIG FAT TROUT at the jetties.

But, I can not go through a summer without sharing with you a Poem my dad wrote back on December 19, 1992, when I used to troll offshore. The poem is all about a "N.E. Florida summer routine".

I can tell ya honestly I was always a better "dead" bait guy. My dad may have done this Pogie Poem, but I lived by the saying "a 5 pound box of frozen cigar minnows, don't leave the dock without them".

Here ya go.....

Pogie Heaven by Don Sipler

Around the end of the rocks we raced

Back to the beach, warm air in our face.

In the distance we saw the birds fly

we scanned the surface with a keen eye.

There they are! First one then many, other boats are coming, quick get

They're in front of us! So throw it straight.

A good cast yielded a bounty of bait.

We turned the boat slowly to the open sea.

Happy the Pogies were where we wanted them to be.......

I believe this said it all.