Had the pleasure of having Dr. Rodney and his daughter Tara aboard for a Saturday morning. They were in town for a wedding, and after fishing is when the wedding was. So we departed at 7am.
I decided to keep everything close. So we went over by the Navy base and did some float-rig fishing. But only caught Jacks and Ladyfish on the last of the falling tide. I'm going to mark it down in my log book this year, the day that good amounts of Specks show up along that bank. I just want to see how late it will be. Good number's of Trout. Not just a fish here and there.
I'll do an "educated guess", and say.....November. Because right now the water temp is still 80 degrees plus. Yeah, "PLUS" according to my calibrated temp gauge. There's been loads of food in that area. Especially on the incoming tide. Lots of glass minnow schools. Always pay attention to what kinds of birds are working the area, and what they're doing. On the falling tide this morning of course there's some smaller mullet jumping right up against the rocks. And "yep", we saw either Jacks or Redbass, popping the surface, 6" off the rocks, water busting, and what looked like tail splashes. But getting super tight to them is tough. Especially with one boat wake after another on a Saturday morning. You'll end up on or in the rocks after being waked. I've been there, done that. Looking to hook up on those reds that patrol the absolute edge of the those small boulders. And of course with a float on the line, because it's mighty snaggy fishing.
But like in the past, it's hard to ignore "TAILING" Redbass in close and tight. And don't forget your top water plugs, or un-weighted soft plastics. Right along that edge!
After some okay action on the float-rigs, you wouldn't have believed Tara. She was pitching and flipping like Bill Dance and Roland Martin. Bait casting tackle didn't scare her! She said, "I don't know the difference, so I have no reason to be afraid of the reels". Smart gal!
Sometimes people ask me, what would be my perfect charter......and I usually reply, "Two smart gals who haven't been fishing before. Because I have a clean slate. And of course I always enjoy having the woman aboard. It's a departure from the norm."
Keeping to our tight time line, I decided to go try some "Bait & Wait", for the bull Reds. Again, keeping our travel time to a minimum (damn, ya gotta love river fishing, just for that fact) I pulled up across from the Coastie station and anchored up. And set out two rods with crab baits. What seemed like a long time to me as a I.G. - instantaneous gratification, angler. One of the rods went off......A burning run, smokin' line off my mini Accurate twin drag reel. I called for Tara who was relaxing on the bow, she sprung up and after looking at the rod, said "Dad you take it." She was just a itty-bitty gal, and I wanted to see her tangle with the junk yard dog on the end of the line. But Rodney took the rod and was now in a heated battle.
And a few minutes later the line went limp. The line broke, the 50 pound super braid line! The fish was pulling so hard, I'm sure a weakness in the braid was found. It gets nicked too. And 50 pound no stretch line turns into 20, easily. Oh well. So I grabbed more crabs and another rod and we sat waiting again. Every few minutes I re-baited, keeping fresh crab (stink bombs) on the bottom. It's all about the smell down in the darkness of the 38 feet of water. Keep baits changed, and rolling out the crab scent. So if you're not staying very busy, re-baiting. You're probably not keeping fresh stink bombs on the hook. That's the difference between using cut bait and crabs.
Cut Croaker, Bluefish, Ladyfish, Mullet, Pogies, have a longer shelf life on the bottom. And when the lil' peckers are chewing on a large chunk of cut bait, I just refer to them as "scent dispersing devices". Because too many times, they'll be nipping at the cut bait and all of a sudden. Brutus T. Redbass will come on the scene.
We got bit again, and this time it was a fish with not as much "spit and vinegar". So it makes me wonder "how big was the one we lost?" (if you catch a big mean Red with a Eagle Claw 7/0 circle hook in it's mouth trailing a leader and a bunch of Berkley 50# super braid. You'll know where that fish has been) Rodney fought and fought. Arms getting tired, feeling the burn in the forearm, when finally the big Red appeared.
A nice 25 pounder. Tara, reminded dad and I that she didn't sleep well the night before in the hotel, had to take a nap, and get "dolled up" for this evening festivities. So we gave it a few more minutes, didn't get any bites right away. So we called it a morning, and made the short ride back to the dock.
On a short time line, we caught fish. And had some excitement.
I had some live shrimp left in the bait well. So I took off down river, pulled up at a spot and caught, 5 Speckled trout, and only two were keepers at 15-17". Then ended up at the jetties, where it was sloppy as all hell. Big swells, crashing the end of the rocks. I stuck one good drag burning fish and it broke me off on the float-rig. And caught one 13" Mangrove Snapper. Then packed it in, cleaned the fish at the dock. And went home. Cleaned up the boat good, after 3 trips in a row, and went in and made Cheezy Pasta with veggies and fried Trout and Mangrove Snapper for supper. Watched some TV and was sound asleep by 9pm.
Pre-booked in advance charters with regulars October 2nd and 6th and 7th.