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.