Saturday, October 31, 2009

10/30 - Is this really two days before November?

Had John G. and Jay aboard today. From Ohio and N.Y. They came down to J-ville for just a bit of messin' around and for a day of fishing. Well, we fished alright. Fished our tails off. Especially float-rigging, looking for some Speckley bastards....that's what I call them Trout when they're making me mad.

We fished and fished, moved around, sat in monster current, you name it. And never got the first Trout bite or Trout to the boat. It wasn't for a lack of trying or working hard. I know I worked hard on my end. I pulled my Achilles tendon behind my heel and it was throbbing with each step I took, and each time I yanked and cranked my giant length of chain and anchor back into the boat.

I swear it was noon or later, and we couldn't even give away a live shrimp to anything more than a Pinfish or tiny Jack. Which, this all started back last Tuesday when I was out with George and Tom, progressively got worse on Wednesday, with Mike and Phil, so it was no shock, that now by Friday, with the due east breeze and up coming full moon, that it may be a bit of a struggle finding quality Trout like species.

So I basically had to just give up. I was at the end of my line, by 1:00pm. So we sat on a spot, using 1 oz. egg sinkers, a real long leader, tiny hooks and light rods and the smallest live shrimp and pitched out behind the boat as it swung back and forth and caught about 20 Mangrove Snappers. With some really decent ones going into the fish box. We boxed 13 good fryers, 2 shy of our boat limit, before they shut off as the tide changed. Along with a Sheepshead and a small Black Drum adolescent Ladyfish.

I didn't want to attempt the jetties this morning, with the east wind and I'm sure, sloppy seas. But now as the tide changed and the wind laid down, I had no choice, but go look at it out there.

So we saved just enough live shrimp to go give a spot a try. We soft peddled our way out there. And once on the spot, it seemed we could easily fish.

With not a whole lot of sea legs, John and Jay could at least lean into the boat as we rolled in the swell, and froth. On the second anchor attempt, I was dead on where I need to be. We pitched out float rigs up to the rocks, and it didn't take long before John was hooked into something really nice.

Turned out to be a good size Redbass, that ran him straight to the bow. After a long day of no big pullers. Just the twitch, twitch of one pound Mangroves under his belt, he was a bit taken by the slam dunk and "see ya" attitude of the jetty junk yard dawg he had hooked up. It looked to be a Red anywhere from 26-30", it was hard to tell as it came near the surface....ONCE! Then, pop the hook let go and we had to quickly chock this one up to a "fishing experience".

Back at it we went. And again, it didn't take long before John was hooked up again. This time the fish went toward the stern, and then under the boat a few times. Coaching as much as I could, we really needed this one, "in the boat!"

After a good slug fest, John guided the Red to my waiting dip net. Unfortunately, depending on how ya look at it, the fish was 28-1/2 inches long. And a real beaut, with loads of spots.

Not a keeper, but a good catch none the less. Jay was ready to pack it in, or was a bit uncomfortable with the seas out there...."it was undetermined".

So we headed back to the dock to clean the Sheepshead and Mangroves.

Because John and Jay's fish had a date with the fryer at Singletons Seafood Shack. With 28 fillets they had almost 4 pounds of cleaned fish. And in my opinion, I'll take them nice small crunchy along the edge's fried fillets of Mangrove Snapper over a Redbass, any day!

So, the higher water falling tide in the morning has been a genuine struggle all week long. It's still so damn warm, and this weekend isn't going to help. Be it the backside of an El Nino year, no hurricanes, no tropical storms, or whatever it was that "didn't" happen this year. I'll take the latter, any day.

Because there's no way I should be out tracking Trout all week in the last days of October and not be able to find them where we fished. Last year at this time sure was a totally different story.

But no matter what, if you're willing to stick with me. We'll put fish in the boat, even if I have to anchor us up in the chop & slop, or take up Mangrove Snapper fishing.

Next up: Sunday with Don and Theresa.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

10/29 - New blog Widget....

If ya scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, You'll see I have a new "widget". Widgets are kind of like a new application on your Iphone, for us here in the Blogoshere.

It's my buddy Nick Watson's band Rathkeltair. You all have seen Nick here before, he fishes with me when I'm wanting to do some R&D (research and development).

He's the percussionist/drummer of the band. Ya know, the sweaty guy in the back of the stage.....

If you find yourself needing a bit of R&R (rest and relaxation) from all that Hip Hop, boy band and girly crap on the radio. Give a listen as your browse my daily reports

Your ears will say, "hey now.....that's some serious Celtic Rock fusion."

10/28 - REPEAT....less wind, but HOT.

Had Mike M. and his brother-in-law Phil aboard. Mike's wife is one of those rare wives that honored Mike back last Father's Day, with an private fishing charter for two, gift certificate.

I told her, to have Mike give me a call when it got to be "fall", because the fishing is better than, and it's not as hot as summer........."Well, the joke was on us, it was like a summer day."

It might as well been a tad cooler August day out there.

So we tried a good acclimation spot near the Navy base to start. We had a falling tide most of the day. Neither Mike or Phil had ever float-rigged before, but it didn't seem to matter. These guys were on top of it, like no tomorrow. Bait problem! Even though they admitted to being "egg beater" users in the past. So I could tell. Tackle handling wasn't going to be an issue today. And that was good.

The Jacks I believe pretty much have left us with the big mullet a few weeks ago. Around 10/7 when I was out at the jetties with Craig F. casting top water lures to them, and getting his butt handed to him. So what was the first catch today? A tiny 1/4 pound Jack or two. And a Lookdown fish. Lookdown's are some what tropical. So that says to me, I guess the water just isn't cool enough yet? I read 71 on my temp gauge.

I had yesterday's Trout spot in the forefront of my mind. If I could only judge when to be there with this west wind pushing the falling tide out pretty hard. It was warm, and the west wind had everything to do with that I'm sure.

So we pulled up stakes and hit the spot where the Trout came from on Tuesday. The current was so strong it was ridicules. My anchor got stuck on something too, as I went to rescue Doc Miller that was there with his anchor wrapped in his prop. The anchor "chain" was wrapped on some kind of junk on the bottom. But I did manage to finally get it off, and get over to Doc Miller who had his secondary anchor out. So we helped him. Then, headed on.

Had no plans of doing any big Redbass fishing in the deep today.......heck with that!! I wanted to stay on the float-rig and find some Trout.

I was replacing the water in my bait well every once in a while, and noticed I was getting a big time die off again! In the morning the shrimp were jumping out of the bait tank, and now they were hardly moving. I checked the river water and the salinity was super low. Around a 18 part per thousand. As the west wind blew this river water out, most likely the less salty the water became. Non-spunky shrimp makes for not a very good Trout bait.

We found some fish and weeded through a bunch of 14 inch male trout, and only boxed one or two good keepers. On a spot that even gave up 4 pound fish in July!!!!! So I'm really wondering where they are at, at this point.

So we moved on to basically the last spot of the day. No current, be we waited it out and finally the incoming tide (less than 4' on the tide charts) came and we had a chance. We boxed and released a decent amount of Specks and Yellowmouths.

And Mike even got rocked up, by a Black Grouper! His float went down, and he had a serious bend in the light trout rod. Then, the fish just quit. I said give it a little slack. And he did, and the fish swam out of it's hidey hole. A really decent size "inshore" Grouper, just as purty as a peach.

We ran out of bait on this spot and ended up catching a few more Yellowmouth Trout on dead shrimp. Then came the Pinfish. So we headed back to clean the catch.
Again, through hard work and diligence we had a decent bag of fillets so the guys could have a fish fry.
I'm back at it and it looks like I'll end October 2009 with a Friday the 30th charter with two guys.
It's at least around this weekend if nothing else that we get some cooler weather. It's not hard to forget about other "Florida vs. Georgia" football game weekend's in the past.
One that really stick in my mind was years ago with Wayne S. and his family from over off Hecksher drive. We departed early on a rising tide, and a N.E. wind blowing about 20 knots.
A big time K.O.D. kinda day.

The tide was coming up so fast that everything was underwater. It was freezing cold too, as I ripped up the river and into Mill Cove, where we tossed nothing but popping corks with 1/8th oz jigs and shrimp under them, and "BOXED" something like 20 trout, 4 Reds, 2 Sheepshead, and 5 Flounder, and 12 Black Drum, and released another 82 fish!!!!!!!!!!

Now that was my kind of "Florida vs. Georgia", kind of weekend!!

10/27- this October??

You'd never know it was the end of October on the last two days I fished. It was warm, to almost hot. And I felt as if I was going Trout fishing in July instead of October. Because the bite was slow. The wind on Tueday kickin us around, and the fishing labor intensive, no matter if we float-rig fished, or looked for big Reds on the bottom.


Had George M. on board again this week, with his friend Tom. We worked the falling tide as hard as we could. George is getting super comfortable with the baitcasting reels and float-rig and Tom picked it up real fast as if he'd been doing it all his life. So it wasn't from a lack of trying, that we went hours, before putting a good fish in the box. But when we did. They were outstanding size Trout, 17-20 inches every one. The bite on one spot was so good, it started to remind me of a real fall day, when limits could be caught with in minutes.

I told the guys, "stay on 'em", you just don't know when they'll quit. And as soon as the tide went almost dead, and the wind came around blowing across the spot. The bite ended as fast as it started. So I adjusted ourt anchor position, but it didn't matter. That was it! They were gone.

I played round up and down the river all morning. Looking at different spots. This bite of Trout wasn't till noon. Earlier, we tried some good trout areas with out much as a "sniff", and even tried to get Tom a big Redbass.

So, after these Trout quit. I ran back down river and got in a spot that's not as windy and we went back to the bottom, fishing big shrimp and cut Croakers, looking fror that monster Red.

And that didn't work. We did stop and had to wait for the tide change, which was like waiting for grass to grow. And caught some Yellowmouth Trout.

Don't know other than maybe the tides is why it was so tough of a day. But, all I know is I'm ready for less of this hot weather. Wind? That's part of winter fishing, I can deal with that.

But an endless summer? Naw, I'm seriously ready for a change. I believe, this was my second trip where I wanted to hit the jetties. But didn't because of the high winds. The last day I made it to where I want to fish out there was back on 10/7 .

We ended up with two bags of fillets for the guys for a Trout Fry. The healthy size of the Specks made for some mighty fine eating.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

10/23 - NO JETTIES, for the Wolfie

Had a group charter with 6 guys on two boats. Myself and Capt Jeff the "magic Wansor". Picked them up at Sisters Creek Boat Ramp, and headed straight for the jetties wishing it would be calm and I could anchor on a certain spot and do EZ damage to maybe some of them sweet Black Margates, Big Mangroves, Black Drum and of course Redbass.

But as soon as I rounded the corner I could just tell that my best laid plans will probably need adjustment. The wind was stiff out of the S.E. and when I went over to where I had planned to fish, the "rollers" would have been way too uncomfortable for even me. Let alone, the crew.

Capt Jeff headed south on the I.C.W. and was going "creekin". So we came back on inside and tried the slow, first of the incoming tide with the float-rigs. What do I always say...?

Incoming tide and N.E. breeze is what? K.O.D, right? Kiss of Death. Well, it might not have been a N.E. stiff breeze blowin', but the velocity of the wind and the current wasn't doing me any favors where we were at, so I pulled up stakes and made a run for it. A run to where I know it'll be more fishable...."if the tides right, when I get there".

A good 8 miles, and we were there. And the current was sweet! Just right. The S.E. wind wasn't all that perfect. But we were so better off......But this was supposed to be a Jetty Trip! Not just in my mind, but that's the way it was booked, too.

Oh well, So I anchored up and the guys began working the spot on the float rigs. The same tide, same area, that Nick and myself wore out the nice fat Specks, two Monday's ago. But the bite was so slow.

Then, after awhile it picked up a bit, but just a bit. A few small Specks, and Yellowmouth's with mucho Mangrove Snapper bites, that the guys weren't connecting on. They were doing okay between the tangles. But three people who have never float-rigged before, along with the wind pushing all the lines together, it was bound to happen. I told them when we left the last spot, that I was going to "step it up a notch" on them. And degree of difficulty is usually what "I" mean, when I say that.

Then, we put a few specks and yellowmouths in the box, finally. With one real decent Speck at 18 inches. They were out for MEAT. And so was I. They had many mouths to feed, and wanted a fish fry. And then I got a call from Capt. Jeff. He had a whole bunch of pup reds released, a Trout and two keeper Black Drum. So that was good news for the frying pan.

I should have taken a photo or two of the Trout, but failed too. I was think too hard about, why they weren't catching more decent sized Trout, I guess. Then, we packed in the float rig rods, for a bit of bottom fishing. To liven up this party a bit.

The skies darkened, and we even got showered on for just a minute or two. Our over cast morning gave way to a dark afternoon.

I moved about 150 feet, broke out two out of three of my brand new Ugly Stik bottom rods, and found that the third ones reel was all hung up somehow. Oh, how I hate tackle failure. Especially, after all the TLC I give my tackle. Always using reel covers, and constant breaking down my reels for a good cleaning. So while we fished two of the bottom rigs, I tried to fix the third reel, which went against one of my cardinal rules. Never take a reel apart on board the boat! But, I half way did, and couldn't easily fix the lock-up. So we just fished the two Ugly Stik Tiger Lite Customs, with two Shimano Curado low profile reels. And it wasn't long before Brian got a chance to catch the first fish on the new rods.

14 pound Redbass, that acted like it was 44 pounds!

Then, on went a new bait, I cast out to the same spot and BAM...Another fish on...... Just that quick!

A 30 incher at 8-9 pounds. But what a pretty Red, with its total of 35 spots.

We fished a bit more, ready for the next go round, and the anchor pulled loose. I quickly re-anchored, and we got more baits out. We had about 15 minutes before we needed to be back to the dock. So we gave it a few, and didn't get another Redbass right away so we packed it in and headed back to clean fish.

Capt Jeff was pulling up to the dock at the same time, and had the two Black Drum, a Yellowmouth, and a nice Flounder in the box. With our 4 or 5 Trout. The guys may all have a sandwich for the 7 of them staying at their rental house on the river. So I gave them the bit of jumbo dead shrimp I had left, so they could fish off the dock behind the house and maybe add something more to the fish fry.


I had a couple dozen live shrimp left, so afterwards I went back out and fished two spots real quick, on the now falling tide. I caught 5 Mangrove Snappers (all keepers to 12+ inches) and three Specks at 15-16 inches. And was out of bait.

I was happy, because I now had dinner myself. I went back to Mayport, cleaned the fish, fed the birds and went home and had myself a fresh fried fish sandwich (or two). Which rounded out a decent day for me even.

The wind never stopped, and the river was quit chopped up as I headed home. I guess the wind is gonna keep on blowing? So maybe I won't make it to the jetties on that perfect incoming tide with no wind, next week? We'll have to see. Either way, they're biting in the river.

Next up: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10/19 & 20 - WEATHER CHANGE

Left out on Monday with Nick W. and it was "freezing". Don't know how cold it was, But it was cold enough that I had the heavy woolies on all day long. But that's not a bad thing. I wanted it and and I like it, though. Change is GOOD.

THE that was another story!

Our faces were beat red, from the suns glare and wind. But we didn't see much sun till almost noon.

By days end it had to be gusting over 20 knots out of the NNE. And made for a serious struggle all day long. Anchoring was a real pain, and staying anchored was even tougher on many hard bottom spots. Then, the current of the New Moon was a real blaster. But we prevailed.

The big fish was a 23 inch Trout, that I caught. We worked from down river to the Mayport area. And later in the day we poked our way close enough to the jetties to see the North rocks being washed over with white water coming from the ocean side.

Here's a few pics of the day.

(yeah, two jackets, fleece pants!!)

We caught lots of "short" Trout, Yellowmouths, Mangroves, and a Flounder. Just enough for two fish fries for Nick and I. So when I got home. I fried up a few pounds of fish.

Not all that bad of a day for the first real cold morning of 2009 fall.

So at the end of the day I called George M. My charter for Tuesday. I wanted to warn him of the possible cold weather. I'd hate to see him show up in shorts and a T-shirt if it was going to be like this.

I didn't know, that on Tuesday the weather would change...more like the temp would change. But the wind was still going to be a factor.


So George was nice and early at the dock....I like that. And we took off on Tuesday right on time.

Just like Monday, the incoming tide and NE wind made for a real K.O.D - "kiss of death" morning.

We tried all the way past the Dames Point area. Working spots for a bite here and a bite there. On a real old Trout spot that I don't hit very often, I told George. "I come here to get my butt handed to me", it's usually Trout if you have good current. But working dock piling that are really close together mans "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!!" if a big fish takes your live shrimp.

And that's just what happened to me. I drifted my float-rig up against a concrete piling close to shore and BAM...I was hooked up to something I couldn't stop. My float rod bent in the shape of a horse shoe as I reeled and pulled as hard as I could. Fish off! And when I reeled in to inspect the damage. George and I stared at a straightened out hook. Oh well, it's not like I didn't expect it. No other bites, so we moved on.

We caught a few Mangroves, Croakers and Yellowmouth Trout. Sheepshead. Bottom fished a spot for awhile looking for a Big Red for George, while waiting for the tide to turn.

Then, after it did we got into a few Specks, but they were small. The wind was really blowing now. At least 15-20. But we stuck it out.

Did I mention, it wasn't as cold either. I was back to shorts and a sweatshirt. Now this is what I like. Cooler, without the BURN.

We boxed a few Specks, a Sheepshead, some Mangroves and just before the current sort of died on the spot we were on George hooked into something massive. Drag burning runs, and heavy.

It was a Redbass. And a big one on the light Ugly Stik Striper rod. I pleaded with George to take it easy on the fish, no heavy drag and reel down and ease up on it. This is the fish of the day, so we don't want to loose it.

George was all smiles!

And after he finally got it to the boat it turned out to be a super nice fish on Light Tackle.

A 33 inch Redbass. And on the float-rig with a #6 hook and out of deep water!

I brought some fried Trout with me today, and let George have a few tastes. Even cold the fish is great. I gave him my simple procedure of how to fry fish up, and he was all about wanting to give it a try this evening.

So, I got a email from George just before I sat down to write this report and it read:

"Thanks for a great day. We had the most amazingly delicious, epic fish fry tonight - it was awesome!!!"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

10/14 - Where, when and how

From the pages of my daily log book, straight to you....

You may have noticed that I'm sort of keeping track of when my Trout friends show up EAST of the boat ramp. Sort of? Hell, I'm gonna break out the "highlighter" and circle that day. So I was lying when I said, sort of.

As Anglers, we don't have much to go on other than seat of our pants gut feelings, or last years notes, or like here, "when someone tells you about a bite going on".

Either way, I keep last years Florida Sportsman Fishing Planner on my desk. So I can look back and see trends. And the differences from year to year. Because I keep relatively good notes on things that interest me.

I split areas up into sections in my mind, you may too. And when I mark down "Mayport ____"

Meaning as example "Mayport Reds", "Mayport Trout" etc. it means within sight of the boat ramp/shrimp boats etc.

Well, last year on October 9th, I have a big red circle around that date with a note saying "Mayport Trout"........yeah 40 of them off one spot!!!!!

Now not to give away the whole farm. I've been there, and NOT done that yet in the same area.

Key word: YET!

Then, I was out on a nasty blustery day in 2008 (have ya noticed we haven't had many of those "yet" this October??) I had out John C. and his lovely wife in and the two of them tore the Trout up. That's probably why it hasn't happened yet, this year (?) Because we haven't had that really nasty weather just yet.

This is just an example, of course. But from around Oct. 9th on, it was GAME on in Mayport.
Especially for my Trout friends.
These are the kinds of trends I track. And I don't care what other's might say or report. I go by what happens on my boat!

Don't know if any of you regular readers ever go back and look at the "archive" pages here. But if your out to learn something, like tracking a species, the when and whys and seasonal patterns of our fish. It behoves you to get to know the archives list.
I get emails asking me those same questions. And of course I actually do all this typing for prospective customers. But they don't seem to take the time to look at it, or use the archived months of reports. I would.
So what I do, is steer people to them instead.
Believe me, if I was looking for a charter guide.
I'd want to know what he can do for me, and what's his track record during the time frame in which I want to fish.

THAT'S THE REAL REASON I DO THESE REPORTS. It takes lots of extra effort, but I want people (customers) to see what's biting and when.

See ya out there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10/13 - deep water T-routz

Had Nick W. on board with me today. We departed at 8am. And tried to float-rig fish within a mile of the boat ramp..."just checking to see if the fish think it's fall yet."
Tried two spots and the only thing we came up with was Nick getting slam dunked along some rocks by a "ass hander" which remained un-seen. And lost hook after hook from vicious strikes, that Nick said, as we started wondering "what the hell...." "Dave could these be Spanish Mac's?"

I said yeah, I bet they are. Because the float would go down with super speed, and no connection. Just lost hooks, via those small razor like teeth of the Spanish Mac's.

Oh did I mention the wind? It was blowing pretty good, overcast, zero sun shine, and yes "a lot more comfortable that the average October 2009 day, so far."

We were after one thing. Okay three things....

A box O' TROUT. We'd certainly take Flounder. And a brawl with a Redbass on the Float rig. Not much to ask for on a iffy weather morning.

But that's why I do what I do. I counted no less than 4-5 boats turn around that were heading offshore. And that included Capt Scott's 70' party boat!

That's why I have zero interest in offshore fishing. I went through all that for years with charters. And didn't care for it. And never looked back. No one has to worry about me crowding them on the reefs, that's for sure. Today, Nick and I were fishing, not catching, but fishing within 5 minutes after letting go the dock lines.
So after finding out that either the tide wasn't low enough, and the only willing fish smiling on our very sprightly live shrimp had too many teeth. I pulled anchor and headed down river.

We worked a real go-to spot, for when the tides low. Nothing. So we moved on one more time. The wind was a huge problem on a good "hard bottom" spot, plus there was another boat near that I didn't want to disturb. But, when I finally got anchored up, both Nick and I caught two good keeper Trout, right away. This is where they usually are, and we were fishing 22 feet of water. And a few Ladyfish. Then, my anchor kept pulling loose with the combined current and wind. "It's a tough place to anchor" I told Nick. "The bottom is like trying to get the anchor to stick into concrete." Many people discount the fact the Trout can be caught on the float-rig in 20 plus feet of water....."why not". That's why I use 2 oz. floats and two ounce leads on my rigs.

Works just as well in shallower water, and perfectly in the deep water too.

We left that zip code and as we pulled up a few miles away at another good spot. The current here was about slack. So we hung out for awhile and the tide then started to come on in. We re-anchored and adjusted our location, so to fish the spot better. The wind seemed to die down as it many times does, when the tide changes.

First drift of the float.......Yellowmouth Trout, second drift.....nice Speckled Trout! We were now in the "MEAT". And we were making our drifts in 20 plus feet of water and actually catching Trout in 26 feet.

Stan Milestone, previous owner of B&M bait and tackle and I were talking about Float-rig fishing one day. He's a master when it came to Trout, and back in the day before he found Pompano to his liking. I remember him saying that he rarely fishes over 12 feet deep. And yeah, that can be the case many times.

But not on these spots, and not today!

Personally, I find that if you want to get away from bait stealers, and them small Mangroves Snappers, many times going deeper on areas that you can, means, you'll find Trout. Where you didn't know they were. I like experimenting. And I liked what Nick and I were doing on this spot!

We soon caught our limit "plus" of really nice Trout, not having to even measure many of the fish.
Especially this one, that I nailed.

A sweet 5 pounder, that I was gingerly reeling in as I was talking to my fellow Trout fishing buddy D.O.A. Rob on the cell phone. He was heading south to Guana State Park in pursuit of none other than a big Trout from his Kayak.
Here's a bit of perspective.....for comparison.

Damn, I love catching Trout like this one after another and Nick sure did too. We ended up with 7 Yellowmouth Trout also, a few Croakers, then Nick had a deep water pole bender hooked up.

We were hoping for a keeper Redbass, but it turned out to be a 30 incher.
All on one spot, and in 26 feet of water.

The day may have started out slow, and Nick and I were wondering if maybe the weather had the fish off the bite. But as usual, we didn't give up. And just continued hunting around.

The air temp was glorious!! We never broke a sweat, the shrimp were frisky and happy as all hell till they were pinned on the hook, of course. We never saw the sun. And just didn't care.
After all the hot weather. I'd take weeks if not months more of these kinds of days.

And I hear more is on it's way. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

10/7- The "Costanza" rule.....

Well, after yesterday's river trip hunting up big Redbass in that full moon incoming tide. I decided what ever I do today will be the opposite, just to see.....

So I attempted to do my version of the "George Costanza rule"; "If what ever you're doing is wrong. Then, the opposite must be right.

I didn't do anything wrong yesterday, but it just felt like it. Because the current in the river was kicking my butt!

Today, I had the Fuqua Family aboard. The wind was pretty stiff at probably a sustained 15 knots from the WSW. First, we tried float-rig fishing, along the jetties. And never had a sniff from a decent fish. And my shrimp were going comatose fast. They just are not living. Out of 10 dozen, I had maybe 4 dozen dead at 8:30am. So I decided to do my best attempt at "Occams Razor".....(for the non-history buffs out there.) That's another name for the K.I.S.S. system.

So we pulled out away from the jetties and set the anchor down right where I wanted to be after a second attempt, only after for the 200 time, catching someone else's 50' of anchor line tangled in an anchor that must have been sitting on the bottom for the last 25 years. It was now considered "structure". That's why I hate anchoring at the jetties any where near the tips.

So since I still had a bag full of live crabs. We started with them. Two rods, cracked Crab...and after a good while. Z-E-R-O Redbass or anything else. The boys needed action. So as I tended the crab rods, I pitched out a rod with one of the dead shrimp, I had.

What followed was: Black Margate, Mangrove Snapper, Keeper Redbass, Jumbo Redbass at 26 pounds, Bonnethead shark, Jack Crevalle, and possibly one Monster Shark.

Three rods went to dead shrimp instead of crab, because they were eating it up. All the while we were smack in the middle of, FALL MULLET RUN MADNESS. IN FULL SWING!!!!!!!

Mullet coming around the jetty were being smashed by literally thousands of Jacks. We had Jacks running down the side of the boat. Mullet were flying through the air. There was Sharks, no doubt big Spinner's too. I decided to take a rod and tie on my favorite top water Trout lure.

A Luhr Jensen "Jerkin Sam" that's about 4" long, and looks exactly like a mullet jumping accross the surface of the water. I handed the rod to Dad, Craig, and he jumped on my front bow deck and made long bombing casts towards the packs of water wolves killing the mullet schools.

Just a low profile reel, a Shimano Citica and a Ugly Stik Tiger Lite rod is all I had besides my real light weight float-rig rods. After a cast or two Craig had a pack of 20 pound Jacks following the lure. I told him, "People go all the way to Brazil, to cast top water lures at those Peacock Bass with that lure. And you have fish 10 times better here by the thousands!" As he slurped the lure across the water on the third cast, he was hooked up!

Absolute smoking run, burning and churning that small low pro reel. Then, the fish came inspection the fish literally snapped one third of the front treble hook off.

Next up, was another smoking run. Lure lost. Busted 30 pound super braid line. So I broke out a Rapala jointed lure I have never even caught a fish on previously. Upped the mono leader to 30 pound. A few casts and Craig was hooked up again on the bow deck. This time there was no stopping this fish (I'm thinking big, big shark) and before ya know it, Craig's yelling "it's not stopping, I'm getting spooled!!!!" So he busted the fish off, thank goodness. "That's $40 worth of braided line on that reel." I said in relief.

Okay, one Rapala lure left. A few casts and he's hooked up again. And to my disbelief the small Citica reel scores again on a bigger fish then it was ever made for. A Jack. A good 10 plus pounder at least. All the while this was going on Craig's wife was on a nice Redbass at the same time. Can you say, MAYHEM???

The next cast was another freight train attack that ate the lure right off. Lure gone! Ands now I'm out of lures.

So we're back to all dead shrimp on the bottom, when Craig casts off the side of the boat versus the stern. Rod doubles, his eldest son is on it. He fights it, tiers. Then, mom comes and takes over. And it turns out to be a 26 pound Redbass, again on the light Citica reel and Ugly Stik Tiger lite rod. Man, I'm seriously impressed with my tackle choices.

Breaking the record catch size of Doug Wurster a few weeks ago with a 24 pound Redbass on the same light weight rod and reel. I love it!

The incoming tide started to slow and we had a few bites here and there. And even the Mullet/Jack/Shark brawl was fading fast. Totally, freaked out about their day. That was only half of it for the Fuqua Family.
We went back to the dock, I cleaned up all their fish and they hit Singleton's Seafood Shack with my reccomendation with a big bag of fresh fillets. A great way to end a perfect day for folks staying in a hotel room.
I was at B&M Bait and Tackle later on, and bumped into Craig again and he said "My goodness, that blackened Fish was awesome, Dave!" He was getting more tackle for surf fishing this evening and tomorrow. That's dedication.
Everything we did today was basically the opposite of what I had previously planned. And the main thing was to stay out of that strong river current. I only anchored up to fish twice really. And the second spot is where we stayed. Again, not what usually happens.
So don't discount the "George Costanza Rule." It works!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

9/6 - Pullin' something out....

Good to have the Brandt Family on board again. This was there fall trip. They've fished with me so many years that we have it down pat....Fall and Spring usually.
"BUT"...oh there's always one of those, huh?

Incoming, full moon tide, challenging to say the least. Smokin' current, say the least. Since we bottom fished for Reds. Preferably big Bull Reds! Hell, it's October isn't it? Get Go Time.

We sat in the ripping tide in several locales for probably 3 hours without a sniff, nibble or even a glance at fresh live blue crabs (whole and cracked of course...) I moved around alot, trying my best to find "fishable" current, but in deeper water.

That didn't work. I told Bill, "Damn I almost wish I had my down-riggers still...I believe a ten pound down rigger ball on the bottom might do it."

To make a long story shorter. I finally threw my hands in the air and tried a spot that was shallower, along some serious structure, when the tide was high, but the current was still moving and slowing down. And had two of my crew members at the bow fishing straight down with dead shrimp, while I manned two crab baited heavier rods out the stern.

Finally, Bill reeled in a big fat Croaker about 14 inches. Holy Moly, Fish in the Boat! And that's when a stern rod went off. And Don reels in a perfect keeper Red at 26".

Then, not 5 minutes later, it was Don's mother's turn, because another crab baited rod bent double. Shirley was on the rod and handling it like she's done this before (she has!!) The drag rips and she's in for quite a battle.

She had plenty of coaching that was for sure, as the fight lasted a good while. But she did great and still had the strength to pull the 26 pounder up for a photo.

Then, it was Bill up next. And he scored what we were hoping was another keeper Redbass. And man, we thought it was......till I measured it. At 28 inches, Damn! But a nice fish indeed. So back it went ready for another day.

The tide slowed after a few more Croakers. And the fast action on the Reds quite as fast as it started. So we kept with the same program the rest of the day. Two people fishing shrimp up on the bow, while I manned the crab baited rods in the stern. We came back east and worked the Little Jetties and had big time Croaker action on the shrimp, releasing a bunch and boxing only the larger ones...again up to 14 inches. But no more Big Redbass.

So I hit a prime last year early October spot. ZIP....No Reds, no anything except a small Seabass. Last year, at this time the spot was Yellowmouth Trout and Reds galore! But this ain't last year. It seems much warmer, air and water temp. This seems like an endless summer we're in.
And they say 10/7 is going to be almost a record breaker at 93 degrees!!??

Did I mention by days end we sat through at least 6 different rain showers? Yep, they moved fast, but it was on and off with the rain jackets all day long. And comfortable till the sun finally came out around 11:30am. Prior it was really cloudy and quite nice. I love the cloud cover.

So we moved on and closer to the jetties. No Red bites on the crabs, and only bait stealers on the shrimp rods. And it was hours till the tide was low still and the current would slow. So after our last shift on the rain jackets, we packed it in to go clean our fish.

But we had action and came back with fish for a few dinner's.
And I always like seeing the Brandt's and having them aboard for day fishing.
Next up....May, the spring trip.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

10/2 - I've seen different October's......

Had Don M. aboard again. This time with his Dad, Don M. Yeah "D & D fishing team".

Ran to the jetties first thing so I could dump my bait-well water and get fresh clean Ocean water in the tanks. Don't want anything to do with the river water right now. My bait was pretty happy, and so was I.

So while there, we float-rigged the jetty rocks for awhile. Man, was it basically, DEAD.

A couple Mangrove Snappers and a few Black Margates. And the Mangroves seem to be fading off a bit, where we were fishing. They surely are not like they were weeks ago. At the high water you could whack some super studs and many of them.

When they are 14-18 inches, boy do they make for some serious pan fried fillets. As good a eating as any fish out there. And a breeze to clean.....and ya know " I likes that!".

We moved around and still came up with not much. Saw a few "crowd pleaser" sized Tarpon rolling near our floats and live shrimp. And of course them finicky bastards weren't out to please us by no means. I hooked one last Tuesday while out goofing around...but that day was basically a wash with the west winds and comatose shrimp, because of the river's fresh water.

So myself and the two Don's headed down river and tried for a keeper size red in the river. Burning up some frozen crabs I had left. Don Sr. got one Red to the boat, a 28-1/2 incher. We lost another good bite, before all the crabs were gone.

I really was wanting a few Black Drum off the spot, since I've caught some real nice ones here before. But now with the crabs gone we moved on and tried a few Trout spots, but the tide wasn't right. It was screaming, when I needed a slow soft ebbing tide instead.

We ended up by the Navy base. Where on a falling tide has been EL TORO CENTRAL. Jacks, and I mean Jacks, pouring through willing to test your light tackle, my charter's skills, and while eating hooks and leaders like candy!

The two Don's went in the black when it came to getting all that bit, to the boat. And in between all the dang Ladyfish, one could stand. I actually tied on hooks and leaders and grab for the net most of the time. I did get a chance to take a few sets of pictures in of a few Jacks that made it to the boat.

I told Don Jr. here's where you can get long hard battle experience. Trout don't give this to you because Trout fishing/catching is more finesse fishing (which is why I love it). But Jacks won't cut you no slack. They expose what you still need to work on, when it comes to a fish that burns drag, bows rod's into horse shoe shapes and gives you some burn in the arms. Especially on my light Ugly Stik Striper rods. The guys were using. It was fun watching the rods bend, though.

We saved a few small Ladyfish for cut bait, and then tried for a "keeper" sized Redbass. And again, after approx. five 4 oz. bank sinkers and 8 leaders we finally got one to the boat. The nasty bottom we were fishing, and lost fish via slam dunk bites and blistering drag runs, had my light bottom tackle ripped to shreds. But we got what we came for.

Bottom fishing means a lot of tackle just plain lost to the river", that's why I love float fishing. But each time we tried it, we did get our "Targeted species", which was a good thing. Size of the Reds, is just the problem right now. It's hard to find that under 27 incher, where I fish.

We sure hooked alot of fish today. And if they all made it to the boat, it would have been pretty impressive. But that's the way the wake splashes.
I'm usually impressed if half make it to the net. Which would be a good ratio. Remember, folks.....these ain't the same as Billy Big Mouth Bass. They pull so you have too, or they'll find the motor, the bottom of the boat, a rock, you name it. Then, all ya have is the distant memory of the fish that got away, instead of that nice tasty fillet. Which is always a reminder of that great catch.

Although it was kinda a funky day's fishing. We sure had fun!

"Our fish have bad attitudes."