Sunday, November 29, 2009

11/29 - It just doesn't get no better!!

It's really too bad that these Holidays get in the way of fishing. (Not for me.) I'm talking the rest of the world.
People come here to J-ville, wanting primo fishing. And miss the primo fishing most of the time. They can't go fishing! It's the holidays!!!!  bla,bla,bla,bla,bla,bla,bla,bla,bla,bla

These over commercialized, keeping China rich, American holidays could just vanish off the calender and I'd not loose a second of sleep at night. Because fishing, this time of year is all I care about. While the rest has their Turkey dinners from Publix, black FRIDAY'S, and crowded car filled streets and parking lots of J-ville. I'll just get up at dawn, have a cup of coffee, and head out to breathe the cool crisp salty air, and catch my own dinner. It's why I'm in this business. Because I love my job, because it's not like a job.All I want to do is get you into lots of fish. If you'd let me.

I sound like a broken record to myself. Because I don't know how many times I've wrote this exact same statement, year after year.

"Don't come to J-ville in the 99 degree heat and look to have the action DOA Rob, and I had today. Because even though we're about a month late, as far as the normal fishing schedule goes."

It just doesn't get no better.

- departed at 8:30 am
- anchor down and on location by 8:35am (1/4 mile from dock)
- first Trout in the box, 8:45am
- two limits, (10-Trout) in the box by 9:30am

Stick a fork in me (and Rob).....cuz we're D-O-N-E!!!

Rob and I, when out together set our own boat size limit of 16 inches. An inch larger than a legal Speckled Trout.  Got to protect the resource, right? Well, I don't under stand why limits can't be regional, like Trout closures. Take away the commercial hook & line sale of Trout in June through August, and raise the Trout limit in N. Florida to 10 fish per person 15-20", with one over 20" as a trophy. That would be really make fishing for them a bit more worth it.


It's funny all the contemplating you can do when fishing. Converstation when out fishing is part of the enjoyment. And Rob and I talked, plenty. And talked about.......Sheepshead, too. Also, a cooler time of year fish at 15 per person which is, rediculas! No one needs fifteen Sheepshead and like Speckled Trout, the average "weekend fisherman" never catches 15 per person, either. So regionally, it's wouldn't be a give away program.

Just think, if you were with me on this BEAUTIFUL weekend. What fish tales you'd have, and what the cooler would have looked like......Stuffed like a Christmas stocking?  Rob and I had so much fun putting on a clinic, on this clear, cool, blue skied, winter day.

I also caught two Sheepshead. Which is about my personal limit of what I'll clean. They just don't fillet as easy as a nice fat Trout. And since I have to do all my cleaning on the boat at the dock. I make the rules.

We had no less than 50 Specks. Because after our limit of 10 was caught, I just had too many live shrimp left in the livewell from yesterday's solo trout slaughter, with the "no show" charters shrimp. So Rob and I made a move.....a whopping 200 feet and anchored up again and continued the whackin' & stackin'. Till every last shrimp was gone. And we were still back and done cleaning the fish at 1:00pm.


Hate to say it. But you sure did miss one heck of a weekend.

It just doesn't get no better!


Keep American's working!!
Let's s go fishing for the Holidays. Aboard Capt Dave's "Jettywolf" Comfort & Extreme safety in plate alloy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

11/28 - NO SHOW....

For only the second time in 13 years, today I had a "no-show charter". I even called to see what the deal was, and even waited around for an extra hour. So....I went fishing on their deposit. I had loads of sprightly live shrimp in the well, so I hit the closest spot I could, (just in case I got a call in return).

Yep, I went a whopping 1/4 mile from the dock. And in 30 minutes had my limit of Speckled Trout from 16-19 inches. I weeded through some 14-15 inchers. But at this point in the morning after being at the bait shop by 6am, waiting in the cold at the boat ramp for that 8am departure. It was all about "speed" and "closeness", and catchin' "dinner!"

I caught overall about 10-15 Trout friends, and even tangled with a monster Redbass, that ate my lunch!
I had been catching fish about 50-100 feet behind the boat on the ole float-rig. Completely a surprise to me, because they normally would have been right behind the boat. And when I hooked what looked like and fought like about a 33" Red, from that far away. The odds were agaist me.

I tell my customers the same thing.....but in a funny way. When their floats out behind the boat 150 feet, I always say, "Ya know, when that Blue Marlin takes that shrimp, you ain't getting it to the boat being that far away, on that light tackle."  Most know I'm joking about the Blue Marlin, but then again every once in awhile I do get asked if there really is Blue Marlin in the river.

I thought I was gonna set the hook on just another Trout. BUT I WAS WRONG.

But then again, I was really done, I had my limit of Trout in no time. Before I took off, I was minding my own business and two guys have to pick exactly where I'm at, and ride right up my float line. They were totally clueless. And there's a certain kind of fisherman out there, that no sooner they see you catching a fish, they're on you like, stink on shit. That's what these two clueless wonders were doing. They anchored and were catching 3 inch seabass, as I continued to yank Trout after Trout, from next to their boat.

The rest of the day, I just goofed around down river. Because it was so damn beautiful out there. Yeah cool this morning, but it warmed up nicely, the sun was bright and it was a glorious day. Could have been only better if it was a Monday thru Wednesday....(without all the others around)

Let me tell ya. Them fresh fried T-routz sure were goooood! This time I mixed "Zaterains" fish fry mix with "House Autry" fish fry mix. The house Autry is more flour like, while good ole Zaterians is more cornmeal like. Either way, there's not much I like better than a fresh fried Speckled Trout fillets. Maybe Pink Sword Fish steaks, but then again, that's more like fillet mignon from the ocean.

I can't afford Fillet Mignon, very often, so Trout will have to do.  

Maybe out with DOA Rob on Sunday. I still have dozens of live shrimp left.

Friday, November 27, 2009

11/25 bumped to 11/26: with Traveller Bob

Well, talk about L-U-C-K. Bob J. who's fished with me before, books his charter wayyyy in advance, which is great. Because it was the day before Thanksgiving, so he wanted to make sure to get that date.
He comes down with plans to fish with me on the 25th, and then go out in his own boat that he drug down from N.C. on the see how much soaked in after our day together. Bob wanted a little bit more confidence with the ole Float-rig.

Ready to rumble, Bob has taken every "hint" I'd put out here on my daily reports, about floats, rigging and tackle. He got himself, the exact same rods I use, for Trout fishing.

Bob's a Kingfisherman, and this past summer won the Fernandina King Mac Tournament with a massive 48+ pounder, out of his 17' Boston Whaler.

So needless to say, we didn't fish on Wednesday, in the rain, dreariness, and high winds. So right there, Bob's best laid plans went askew, due to Momma Nature.

So we went out on Thanksgiving morning at 0730 hrs. And it was beautiful!  I had a real hankering to get into an all out whack'em and stack'em fishing clinic. And that was hard to find, right off.
The falling tide was so damn weak, and I'm sure the weather just 24 hrs before didn't make it any easier on me.

But we eventually found a spot, that produced a bunch of Trout.....some were keepers and many were border-liners. Along with a couple "pup" Drum, which one was a keeper. I pretty much let Bob loose on the area. Since, I was hungry.  I stood ready as net man while eating fried Trout left-overs from the night before.

We had only "so much" falling tide in the morning. And believe me when I tell ya....."you need to pay attention to the tide height"  Because, we tried TWICE the same spot DOA Rob and I fished lures at on Monday. And it didn't produce squat! Cause, there was no current, no "flushing action". Which is imparative at this location. It's the reason the Trout show up at this particular area in the first place

I didn't take any photos. We didn't catch any super whopper Trout. Just some 15-3/4 inchers to around 17" box fish. And the amazing the funny thing  was, all around the area we found these fish at. Produced no other Trout. What?

It was if the fish were in a 20' round circle and no where else. Which is very un-common. Usually if they're on one spot, you can find them along the same bank, 100 yards down too. As the tide goes down.

We also caught a few Mangrove Snappers and kept them also, but the word of the day would have been:
Because that's how the tide was. We never went toward the jetties. We could see the water breaking over the North Rocks, and there was a swell coming in at the carrier basin, in the river. No sense messing with any of that.

Bob is great to fish with, and have aboard. And we had a fun day, as he honed his "inshore" skills.

Saturday with Eric and his wife from Savannah. It's her birthday.

The tide will be a bit stronger.         

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

11/24 - With DOA Rob

Man, what a great morning. Had a trip planned with my buddy, DOA Rob. Or more like, I called him and said, "hey, take me fishin'". So we agreed on when to depart, and where we'd go, and what we'd do.
Depart just after 7am. Fish just a certain area of the river. And use only lures...preferably just a DOA shrimp.  At least, that's what DOA Rob uses. That's how he got the name. People only wish they could catch the amount of fish he catches on that lure. Probably almost as Mark Nichols, the inventor.

I've caught alot of fish on them too. But I'm not as spacific as Rob. I'm just as happy with a 1/4-3/8ths oz. jighead with my favorite soft plastic pinned on it, the Creme Litl' Fishie.

What is a DOA Shrimp? Here's a color chart:
How to fish a DOA Shrimp? Here's a link with some tips
What the heck is a Creme Lit'l Fishie?

We weren't on the spot 10 minutes when Rob had already lost 2 nice Trout at boat side. The only problem with a DOA shrimp is that Trout do alot of head shaking, and do it on the surface. And the lure goes a flying..... Ripping a hole in their delicate mouths. And the DOA Shrimp, has one large hook and it's obvious the lure can get thrown, very easily.

Mean while, I worked straight through my DOA Shrimp with only a few bump-bumps. And was on too the Litl Fishie on a 3/8th oz. jighead. And finally was now catching a few Trout. No whoppers. Never have caught whoppers on a Litl' Fishie, for some reason. Rob boxed a few, and lost a few more. He was definately getting more bites. So we joked about that poor ass amateur that has to stand in the back of those Bassboats while the "Pro" stands up on the bow running the trolling motor catching all the good fish. During those Bass tournaments on TV. Well that was me.....but I kept getting right behind Rob and doing my best to get "better" casts off.

It didn't take long at all that we had our 10 keepers in the box, all nice Trout up to 20 inchers, and a small Flounder and Mangrove Snapper.

I bounced between two rods. One rig with a just a soft plastic, and the other a shorter rod, and a Shakespeare $23.00 bait caster I got off Ebay. A graphite framed reel called an Axium, that has a magnetic spool control. I was very impressed. I just got the reel the other day, and for the sole purpose of having a super light weight reel on a super light weight rod for plug casting all day. This little low profile reel is really damn nice for the price! If it wasn't for the price, I would have never even thought about it. But let's just say these Axium reels from Shakespeare can sure cast, once ya get the "mag" set up, just right.

I put a small shallow diving "slash bait" on, called a Bite-a-Bait. Which has been a good trout lure for me in the past...even though I'm a MirrOlure man, 90% of the time. But right now, seemed to be one of those times it should work. I was wizzing this little lure at the spot and got slam dunked by at first what I thought was a GIANT Trout, then I thought it was a Redbass, then I yelled to Rob......"It's heading toward the structure", we caught a glimpse of it. The light weight Axium reels drag just peeled, and was very smooth too as.......up popped a Grouper! A Gag Grouper.

It was the largest inshore/river Grouper I have ever caught. At a full 21 inches of pure bad ass!! And what a surprise, too. In a whopping 8 foot of water along some serious nasty structure...But the Shakespeare reel did it's job and I was surprised. Heck, If I find more $23.00 Shakespeare reels like this one. I'll get a few more.
What the hell.

We eventually started to loose our falling tide. And the bite dropped to near nothing. But Rob lost a few more and caught a few more, while I think I only caught one more. So we headed in, after about 20 Trout between us both. The agreement was to be done by noon. And we were now done, it was 11:30am. One spot mornings.....ya' gotta love it!

What a great trip. That's what winter days are supposed to be like. Because it's the best inshore fishing of the year. People that believe that in the heat of the summer, is the time to inshore fish in J-ville sure do have it wrong. I've been preaching that to my potential and regular customers for years. Some hear my sermon, some don't pay any attention. Well, they're probably the ones that don't read my daily reports, either.

One more time.......Now, is the time to book your inshore/river charter. Because it doesn't get much better, here in N.E. Florida. 

Wednesday, I have "Traveller Bob" on board, from N.C. 
I think I know where I'll be fishing.  
---------UPDATE: of course it is nasty and raining. So Traveller Bob and I will hit the river Thanksgiving day instead. Oh how is the weather really screwing me over these days-----------

Thursday, November 19, 2009

11/19 - F-O-G, means oh so F-I-N-E!

I rolled out of the sack around 6am, then hit the bait shop with a cup o' joe. And was so surprised by how many people were pulling into the parking lot....IT'S THURSDAY!!!!! What the hell, I thought after watching one friend after another head for the boat ramp.  I thought, I was the only one that didn't have a job today?

So, I went home got the JETTYWOLF and was back at the bait shop in 10 minutes, baited up and at the boat ramp around 8:15am.  There's nothing like living so close that with just a whim, I can just go fishing.

(I call it "LIFE PLANNED". I waited and waited, and when the time was right, I sold my old house and made a move down the road to my new house....just because I'd be closer to the boat ramp!! By 3 miles.)

I was anchored up at 8:30am and fishin'. And they were CHEWIN'. Because by 10:15am I had my Speckled Trout limit (5), and Yellowmouth Trout limit (4). Size? All super nice fish...I had about 4-5 that were questionable, so I released them.

Let me tell ya something. This wasn't fishin' was CATCHIN'.

If you know me. You know this is all I live for. If you don't know me, you ask me questions like, "so, ya fishin for them sheepshead, Capt Dave?" It's one of those things that just bust my gut, each and every year.  No one, ever asks me, "how's the Speckled Trout biting?" I find it so funny.

The fog as I left the boat ramp was thick, real thick. And I love it! 99.99% of the time, when we have fog this time of year, it's time to put on a Trout fishing clinic. And start filling the box, with tastey, easy to clean, predator fish. That will always roll in the Zaterains fish fry mix, and then hit a small pool of Olive oil till crispy brown in a hot pan. Not long after they're caught, if I have anything to do with it.

So after I boxed my limits. I had momma in mind so I needed to catch her and pop a nice Red or Sheepshead, or Black Drum. So I made a move, to happier catchin grounds.

I pulled up on a spot that's normally a super Trout spot. The tide was just starting to fall. But instead of Float-rig fishing I decided to try a jig-n-shrimp combo meal. And just cast, because as I approached the spot I noticed something I have never seen before. A steep underwater bank with a 10 foot hole, right next to the bank. Within 10' of the bank, the drop off was so interesting I just had to work it with a jig first, no matter what.

I started casting and letting my 3/8's oz. jig sink to the bottom. At first, it was bait stealers galore, because there wasn't much current. But within 30 minutes, the current started pouring over the spot and I was hooked up with one 20" Trout after another! It was wild, they would grab the Jig/shrimp on the fall. And swim toward the boat. These Trout were larger than the last spot. I released them of course and kept at it.

Then, came a nice Sheepie. And right after that came my perfect, 27" Redbass.

So I got what I came for, and I was happy as any angler could be. Angler = target a species = catch the species. So I pulled anchor and headed back to the boat ramp and cleaned my catch and was home eating my catch for supper, by 4pm.

Where were you?  Who knows....but I'm going with or without ya. Because, I live for days like this, weather like this, and FOG like this.

I talked to one fella who said, "I thought it was gonna get nice, and maybe warm....."

I said, "Ya kiddin me? This is perfect weather! This was a perfect so called winter day in J-ville. I love it!"    

Don't believe me, that you should be booking your fishing charter with me. RIGHT NOW?
Then check out last November's reports here:
If you follow me on Twitter....I'm going to start submitting best tides and weather situations.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11/17 - They're back....BIG time.

It always bothers me, when it's November and I'm not finding my Trout friends stacked up like cord wood, East of the boat ramp. Because this is "the time". And for numerous reasons to include gale force winds, high seas, winds from the East, lack of a decent tide. Are just some of the reasons why they seem to vacate the area. With the majority of the frustration, due to not having prime tides and or low winds.
So this morning it was supposed to beautiful, with a high tide in the 9:30-10am range. Which would be perfect for some R&D (research & development) all by my lonesome. It's been enough days after the big blow. And things should be getting back to normal.....Normal for around here!

So I got up early, loaded the boat and took off towards the bait shop. I got 5 dozen live shrimp, and a five gallon bucket of ice. I had the rods rigged, and even brought the heavier tackle, just in case I had to bottom fish for some Black Drum. If I didn't find my Trout friends.

Right as I was about to depart the bait shop, I run into friend, Dr. Dick M. He's a float freak too, and he was coming by to get some shrimp and go hit the river also, in his own boat that he keeps at his dock. In a brief conversation, we decided that he should grab some rods and go on the JETTYWOLF, with me.

So I went to the boat ramp, and he followed after a quick run to get his tackle. This was gonna be great. Two Float-Freaks out doing the R&D stuff.

As we took off, I had a definite plan. A game plan. Which included fishing the rest of the incoming tide in one area, then on the first of the falling on another. Then, if all else fails a few more areas that were ALL East of the boat ramp ONLY!

Well, we weren't on the first spot more than a few minutes, when my first drift of my float had me hooked up with a decent fish.....that I lost! Dick was on his second drift of his float and nailed a BIG fish. I looked at his rod thumping and the run it made on his float rig and we both seemed to be in agreement it was Brutus T. Redbass...."not a Trout".

But what do we know (as serious Trout Trackers!!!) The fish came to the surface and it was a monster Trout!

It was a real Stud......with it's tail bit clean off! We quickly put the fish on the scale and it was around 5 pounds. (I believe, it was possibly heavier) but in the excitement. We just wanted to get lines back in the water, fast!!!

We found them. As Dick caught more Specks, and I was into the Yellowmouths. But the tide was fading fast. So diligently we worked as much out of it as we could. Boxing more Specks up to 18" and Yellowmouth's to 17".

When the tide slowed, the bite slowed too. So I had plans to toss some jig-n-shrimp combo meals over on the north Jetty, in hopes for a Redbass, or Black Drum. Like on Sunday.
Over on the north, it was dead slow. My first hook-up was on a "pup" Red about 16 inches. A few 3" Seabass, and that was it. Dick and I went back to the float-rig...."it is a more relaxing way to fish, no doubt." No hanging up, just set the float's depth and let the shrimp, "do it's thang".

And that's when I was started to play catch-up. While looking over at Dick talking to him, my float went down, I felt the run of line under my thumb as I fed out line. And I set the hook on the most perfect 27 inch Redbass. Which of course was great because it was my target fish....but initially only on a jig. Catching it on the float (in my book) makes it that much more gratifying, of course.

After the nice Red. It was just dead, so we looked around a bit. And decided to try another area.

But before we left, D.O.A. Rob who was sitting next to us hooked up a nice Red on his float rig, too. He was in an all out pursuit to upgrade a Redbass that he needed for one of those "on-line" fishing tournaments. D.O.A. Rob, is pretty addicted to those tournaments. So he was happy he stuck it out and got his fish.

We stopped to talk to a few friends of mine to see what they were doing. And then pulled up to a spot that was usually pretty good, if they Trout are there. Easy to fish, and shallow water.

Well, here is where we ended our day after several hours of pure way-lay. The Trout were stacked up in one spot. And gave us several hours of setting hooks and rod bending action.

As it turned out, I thought the Mangrove Snappers had almost vanished since the big winds of last week. But like my Trout friends, showed back up eating our shrimp, again. And we got a good box of nice keepers. Along with one pesky Sheepshead, that I kept for Mom.

We headed back to the dock to clean our fish, in the day light. But it wasn't long after that the sun went down on one hell of a beautiful, and mighty productive day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

11/15 - On deck, class room.

Had Chris M. on board today, of course another reschedule from last Friday. Because of the heinous winds, that took my whole week and jumbled it up. Saturday, I went out to try a new anchor I'm playing with. Since it was also pretty damn nice....finally. And all I can say is after this weekend......"where the hell are all the big Trout?"

Because on Saturday, all I did was go east of the boat ramp and fished for awhile. Didn't even leave till noon. So I could catch some falling tide and incoming as well. And all I came up with was 2- 14 inchers. Is the inconsistency monster out of the cave again???

So I told Chris, let's not leave till 10am. The new moon tide had the water so high it was up in the parking lot of the boat ramp. And I wanted nothing to do with that!

Even at 10am on Sunday. The water was still very high. But we took off and headed east.

Today it was a class room on the boat. Chris did his charter to learn a few things, like #1, how to float-rig fish. But honestly, I figured we just needed to start with the real basics first. And catch a few fish. So since there's no sense in float-rigging for Trout, eastward. We started out pitching jig and shrimp combo meals at the jetties. Jiggin' and Shrimpin'.....oh how it's been awhile since I've done that, myself. But it's getting to be that time of year, for it. And of course this weekend was finally calm enough to head over to the North jetty and give it a try.

Chris got the hang of it right away. And was up on me by four hook-ups, before I could say boo. But they were fish to the boat. Then, he caught a small pup Black Drum, about 13 inches. Last year, on November 14th, Nick W. and I sat way-laying 25 Black Drum from pups, to 9 pounders, on jigs and shrimp at this exact location. So maybe some bigger ones would come down the rocks, like that again.

Out deep, the bottom fisherman, were catching Black Drum. But as usual, I like it light & active, not deep and heavy . So we pitched some 3/8 oz. jigs. I then connected to a pup Drum. A 14 incher..... Guess nothing this fall is going to be even remotely like last fall?? Because for starters, I wouldn't have to be even doing this. I'd be float-rigging instead.

This fall so far has been mighty inconsistent. One day I'm on them (way back on Nov. 1st: and like all week, the Trout toward the East, just seemed to be far and few between on the falling tide.

Chris did catch a 14" Speck on the jig. But it's not like I ever catch a box load of good sized Trout where we were anchored.

Then, we finally got two Redbass, at 27 inches each.

So the tide was down now, so we moved on and took the class room elsewhere. Chris needed to see tackle, couldn't wait to see the float-rig, but it certainly didn't hurt him to know about a jetty standard, such as jig fishing, the rocks.

When all else fails, and you don't want to hang 4-12 ounces on you line. Tie on a jig, pin on a live shrimp, and work the rocks for their inhabitants.

We moved our way down river. Talking about areas to fish, looking at a few spots. Got ate alive by gnats on one area, while I caught a 14" Trout. But the bugs ran us off. So we pulled up on another area, and as the sun went down, we each caught a few Yellowmouths on the float-rig. Packed it in and headed back to the dock in the dark.

Again, on the last spot. The incoming tide was just starting to push in. My timing was perfect. But like it's been lately, there was no specks to be had. Last time I fished this exact spot on the first of the incoming tide. We had no less than 25 Specks and 10 Yellowmouth up to 5 pounds, boxing our 10 limit and catching more for the fun of it. Today? Not a Speck in sight. Yep, bit again by the inconsistency monster?

If Chris learned one thing and one thing only. It's that whatever you did last week, or even yesterday, doesn't mean anything. Because it all changes, in as little as over night sometimes.
I feel sorry for the guy who fishes once or twice a month.....sometimes.

But I believe, his day of learning a few things, which was the objective was worth him booking his day. And he went home with plenty of meat, too. He went home with two Yellowmouths, a pup Drum, and two 27 inch Redbass, to clean. Too bad we fished till dark, because he may have benefited from a fish cleaning class also.

My fellow Trout freak friend, D.O.A. Rob, went kayak fishing on Sunday too. He called me and said he only caught one Trout all day. But it was a 5 pounder! But he's like me, I think. He'd take 20, two pounders over one 5 pounder, any day.'s Nov. 14th last year. Float-rigging the Jetties and pitchin jigs at the jetties, that's all, not one single sinker on the bottom, with Nick W. This is only what were were allowed to keep:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

11/11 & 12 - Grey...Gray go away!

Had Archie H. from Texas on the boat Wednesday. Archie's a Texas Trout wade fisherman. Something I'd love to do someday. They basically use boats as just transportation, and then get out of the boat and wade for Trout and Reds. And not many serious big Trout trackers use "bait". But rather Top water plugs, or just soft plastics.

That's the Gulf of Mexico for ya....way easier to fish than the Atlantic. That's for sure.

We departed about 7:30am and headed due east of the dock. It wasn't windy at all, but it sure was dark and gloomy.

First spot, second spot, third spot, forth spot.......ZIP!

No, Trout and no anything. Archie and I could just feel it in our bones. That the pressure was dropping and it was going to be a real hunt for anything decent. We tight-lined and float-rigged all the way to the Dames Point bridge area. And had a small yellowmouth or two, to show for the amount of times I dropped and pulled anchor. (12 pound anchor and 15' of heavy chain!!)

Then, finally on the last of the falling tide I tried a spot that's a pretty good producer....."IF" I can get anchored up on it. The wind had now picked up, from the west. Heck, I was just happy to have the breeze and current going the same way. We both caught small Specks, about 10 of them. With one 15 incher. A few pinners, and other various bait snatchers.

I left out with about 8 dozen live shrimp. And now about half had died. Archie wasn't keeping any fish, so whatever we'd catch I'd save it for my own dinner. So I made a call and got 3 more dozen. Our time was now up.....but "I" certainly didn't want to believe, that this was it? This was the day?

So as the tide turned we continued to fish, some more. We worked our way east again and back. The jetties were a mess.....especially the south-side of the south rocks. Mountainous swells could be seen from over on the inside. I wasn't about to make my day even more difficult, by trying to anchor over there. Because the breeze had become very steady.

We fished 3-4 spots and never lost a live shrimp. But we had a fun time talking about the differences between the Texas coast Trout and the Trout fishing here. Like night and day, really. And it all has to do with TIDE. Archie mentioned they don't catch that many Ladyfish, Jacks, or Bluefish up in the bays, like we do here. Because we caught a handful of pesky Blues in with the small Trout. I told him, they're the snow birds, probably. The last remnants of the ones heading south. And we're the SOUTH, here.

We finally quit after float-rigging a great spot, that had the incoming tide flowing good behind the boat, loads of structure, that was also out of the wind. And again, we never lost a bait.

It was actually "the calm before the big winds" for Thursday. While up river near the Dames Point, we actually sat in some sun for awhile, too. But that quickly ended.

Then came this forecast:

So on Thursday I had long-time customers, Mike and his dad Gary. I called him and said, "let me call ya in the morning. I live real close to the river and I'll be able to tell what's going on with the winds from my own yard."

Mike's trip was a reschedule from last year! His last visit to see his folks was during a Tropical storm, when we had 40 knot winds and driving rain. So I held his deposit then he contacted me back in September that he was coming in November, I was really glad. Mike plans his trips well in advance, always keeps communication lines open letting me know of any changes. I guess you could say. He's got his stuff together. He just needs a break. Because bad weather's following him to Florida, somehow.

Well, this morning at 5:00am I was standing in my back yard. Feeling for the wind. I didn't need to "feel" anything. I could hear it. The tops of the big oaks were making that whooshing sound. So I walked down the street to where it's more open. Same thing. So I called Mike and said, "we should we try this again, next year? On your next visit to Jacksonville." I jumped, in my truck and headed toward Mayport, stopped to get a cup of joe on the way, and was going to end up double checking the weather at the boat ramp. But ended up at the bait shop. And as it got light outside, there was no need to go to the boat ramp and double check. It was gusting pretty bad!

I made the right call, for sure. As I headed home, I could see from the Wonderwood bridge that there was white caps in the ICW, it was nasty and cold, too. (don't mind the temp, I like it when it's not in the 80's or 90's).

Friday's forecast:

Not all that good. And I'm booked on Friday too. Have people looking at Monday and originally had Tuesday through Friday booked this whole week. It "WAS" a very popular week for some reason(?).

Man, things really change quick for me. I don't know if I'm comin' or goin' half the time! But ya have to be good a juggling. So much that maybe I could start a new act.

It's the nature of the beast. I'm used to it, after 13 years.

So, I e-mailed my Friday crew member and now we're going on Sunday instead of Friday, he's a local.

As of now Sunday looks to be the day:

I'm having this picture of November 'days gone by' dance in my head....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

11/10 - Ewww.....storm scare?

My goodness. Did any one watch the late News on Channel 4, "your local station"? Damn I can't stand that news station. The weather guy John he's not the one that irritates me. It's the News Readers. I tell my parents, that they are the old folks local yokal news people. Because "if" my parents do watch the local yokal News....they seem to have that station on.

They had someone over in Pensacola, it was windy and raining....Barely! And those News Readers were really hammin' it up. Especially the woman.

I was at the Mayport Boat Ramp at 7am this morning getting some fresh water for my left-over live shrimp. And it was the BEST weather I have seen since the weekend of the 1st of November!

South, South East wind.......light and pretty nice. If it's anything resembling this morning I'll be oh so happy on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, during my charters.

I started out with Tuesday thru Friday reserved, then had a cancellation, then a move of one day, then a few calls for the days I had open, then.......Ewwwww, the storm scare!!!

Any one remotely remember T.S. Fay?

Now that was rain! Big Rain!

Dumped flooding level rain everywhere in the neighborhood of 20 inches in a day or two.

I guess with all the shootings, and traffic reports and another poor Jaguars game blacked out, the hint of some rain and wind anywhere in the state gets the talking heads all excited, to almost the point of "over acting".

Local News should just be, News. They're not entertainers, the news isn't fun entertainment, but you'd never know it the way they all act, fight for your attention, and believe they are big celebrities.

Its so damn funny.


Mayport Marine weather:

And that's just my opinion. Real world coming up next after Wednesday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

11/9 - SAY IT AIN'T SO...your 2nd installment for the month.

Sorry, but remember if you come here to my daily reports to see where I'm fishing, get some pointers, to read about how windy it's my friends have exposed YOURSELF to an Alloy eduction, at the same time.

The last installment was lame. A US Navy battleship. Who cares about that, right? I know I couldn't care less what new boat the Navy over paid for. But it was all Alloy, so I posted it.

Now let's talk FISHIN'.

I guess if I fished out of St Pete, Florida I wouldn't hear the comments like, "that's the biggest aluminum boat I eva' seen!!!" (which is so un-true. Around here you see the Pilot boats all the time.)

But back to fishing in ALLOY.

Here's a all aluminum 35' Armstrong fish/dive charter boat. Yes, in St. Pete, Fla.

Armstrong is a very well respected builder of custom alloy boats for all purposes.

Now this is the kind of boat I would go Grouper/Snapper fishing in.

It's for sale for the messily price of $289,000.00, with A/C in the cabin.

And what do I see in the background of this very that another Aluminum plate alloy welded boat?

Hmmmm, so I do have brethren in the Sunshine state! Beside little thin green jon-boats, hahahahahaha.

11/8 - Mo' WIND....and I mean Mo'.

Holy crap...Now that was some seriously aggravating wind on Sunday. Got a email from Kelly W. from California on Saturday morning, he was wanting to do some fishing on Sunday, with his wife and daughter.

I knew what we'd be in store for, there was no doubt. Basically, an incoming tide all day, 20 knot sustained (feeling) winds from the N.E. and yep....some serious K.O.D. But man. what "troopers" they were.

Dressed properly and ready and on time. I had so many live shrimp in the bait well I could get into anything and not run out.......unlike earlier in the week and last weekend.

We tried float-rig fishing, we tried bumping the bottom, we tried heading to the jetties, whoa that was was heinous outside the rocks. We tried fishing down the river. And went HOURS without a single fish. We had loads of bait stealer bites, and not a single connection with a hook into a decent fishes lips.

Yes, my friends. A serious K.O.D. situation is what I had on my hands here. Light tackle pitchin' and flipping just wasn't cutting it. Kelly was the real fisherman. And I wanted to so badly get him hooked up on something after all that we tried. So I said, I guess we're gonna have to do some bait-n-wait fishing, deep and with the heavier tackle. Sort of Tiger Lite custom rods and Curado 300 DSV low profile reels. As light as I could go and still chunk 6 ounces.

Really, big Reds don't need giant reels and telephone pole rods. It's way more fun to tangle with them on adequate tackle....that's light to the feel and on the fish, just a tad. And this is what we used.

So we went and anchored up barely, on a spot that has consistently produced big Reds for me at the high tide. But we were still a few hours away from actual high. So we waited it out. Monster 8" whole dead shrimp works great here normally. It's all ya need. But when the game fish are sort of off the feed bag, the bait stealers are on the feed bag. And the jumbo shrimp was just getting chewed, as it sat down on the patch of hard bottom, 33 feet below.

We tried to hook them, but it took forever to catch one. And when we did, it was a small Whiting.

I said, "this will work!" So I cut the Whiting's head off, pinned it on and cast it out. It wasn't long before the rod doubled over and Kelly was FINALLY on a decent fish. But we had a scare.

As he was working the Red to the boat it ran down deep and got hung up in something. The fish just stopped. The line was hung up. So Kelly handed me the rod and I threw slack to it and the Red quickly became "un-stuck". To the boat it came, and on the light tackle it sure put up a hell of a battle.

A nice one at 16 pounds for the first real bite.

We re-baited and used more cut Whiting and had more action.

Marla on her largest fish ever, let alone ever held.

Her Redfish was the largest at 26 pounds, I believe.

I thought I was over having to do the ole "bait-n-wait" fishing. Because last week and weekend it was all about working the real light tackle for them Specks and Mangrove Snappers, Sheephead and big Yellowmouth Trout. Which is way more my forte.

I'm not all that happy when I have to sit watching pole tips. But ya have to do what ya have to do, sometimes.

No one had to kick me in the ass too hard to figure out that we really had to conform to something that was more wind friendly fishing, today.

I had to fight the images of a cooler full of beautiful specks that was in my head,, all morning....ahhhh how I love that. But we made the day with some Brutus T. Redbass in the boat. So after the last one, the tide completely went slack and the last fish was a Toadfish......Whoops, time to go. "Here's your sign" as they say. Toad's are a definite sign, time to go home.

Now, I have a few days till Wednesday that I won't be out in the wind. I sure hope we can float-rig and find some eaters Wednesday through Friday.

I'm not counting on it with the forecast. But ya never know.

I may hit it "solo" on Tuesday, seeing I have a livewell full of shrimp, still. Just to try my more expert hand at it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

11/7 - Same Wind?

I did a Burial at Sea, with some folks from Texas at 4:00 today. I was early, and sat at the boat ramp dock waiting on them. And was not shocked, but amazed how the wind can blow from the same direction for days on end.

One of my passengers was a 90 year old man, that when I'm 90 years old, I hope I'm as sprightly as he is.

As the damn Air show winded down, loads of large boats came in from the Ocean, I guess. Wakes in the river at the boat ramp made it a real mess. As the N.E. wind blew against the falling late day tide.

Needless to say as I approached the tip of the north Jetty, the swell kept growing. And one of my passengers said, "we're good right here Dave". So I turned around and held position at way above idle speed, so they could say a prayer and scatter the ashes, and drop a few flowers.

I try to get out no less to the second set of buoys, normally. Or on days like this make my way across the river and hide up behind the south Jetty.

But they had enough, and saw enough I suppose. Which it was a shame because of the seas and winds, that I couldn't make it out with them further into the "sea".

Looks like all next week is going to be N.E. or due East winds. Not making the "JETTYWOLF" boat very happy.....she wants to head east of the boat ramp.

I'll know a whole lot more. Because I have a K.O.D. charter on Sunday, (aka: incoming tide all day long with a stiff N.E. wind equals, Kiss of Death; hence the K.O.D. ) The nick name for these conditions came to me one day as I had bunch of faces looking at me, speaking without saying a word...."where's the fish, Capt Dave?"

So, it'll be a challenge for me, I'm sure. And I have no clue to the fishing abilities of the 3 crew members aboard.

So, how many of ya'll still want my job?

Yeah I thought so...I'll swap ya, in July at 9am when it's already 98 degrees. And we haven't even seen a Pogie flip the surface yet, and we're already 12 miles down the beach. While your office A/C kicks into high gear.

Damn, I love this time of year, though....even if the wind blows 20 knots from the East or Northeast every single day. Only thing I do miss, is all the tiny bikini's, everywhere

The talking heads on the local news say,"its gonna be a Beautiful Weekend!"

I guess they're just talking to people watching Football on the tube, that the wind doesn't effect.

Except the wind these couch potato's are passing.

Friday, November 6, 2009

11/6 - BIG ain't kidding!

As soon as I dropped the boat in the water and backed off the trailer I could tell, this wasn't like the parking lot at B&M bait and tackle!!

Here's a photo of the Pilot station next to the boat ramp. I always look at their flag, and say "oh it's gonna be a toughie, or Oh, it's gonna be a easy day".

Take a wild guess what I said to myself, today?

I got the call early this morning before our 9am departure that Travis was bringing his 6 yr. old son. Right then, I said to myself...."don't think I'll attempt a jetty trip, today!" Because if I just had two rough and tumble adults ya know I'd do it, but not when I have a kid that young on board. I got enough on my mind when anchoring out there in a 20 knot North East wind, let alone having to keep one eye on a 6 year old, too.

Of course, I had planned on it. I got two calls from friends that sat at the Jetties yesterday and did quite well, float-riggin the rocks. One was in a 17' jon-boat!! And no Jon-boat was going out there this morning. Not where I wanted to fish.

We departed with several hours of the incoming tide still ahead of us. And with the wind and tide all going essentially the same was near heinous in the river. And about non-Float rig fishable, where I wanted to go. Hell, we went and looked twice even, and I didn't want to anchor there even. So we took some time and just fished the bottom. So Trevor the 6 year old could catch some fish. Since I knew it would be awhile before we could go do the "adult fishing" that I wanted to do, on a certain spot.

So I went to an area that's usually covered up with Yellowmouth Trout. And it wasn't completely balls to the wall today, but they were there. Just way too small. But we let the boy reel in some fish and he had fun. It was just that 90% of the yellowmouths were 12-13 inches, instead of 14-18 inches.

Needless, to say as you'll see this is about where my normal shutter-bug self, stopped. I was just too busy, it was just so windy and I just wanted fish in the box. So, I too fished along with Travis and Darren.

When the going gets tough, Dave needs to know what's going on, too. So after we caught a bunch of small yellowmouths for the boy, we moved on and the tide was now falling. The wind backed off a bit and all was better.

I'm not the only one that knows this. But I'll say it anyway, in case you don't know. Basically, the river tide carries an atmosphere with it. When the tide changes, many times the winds change too. It's the air mass that gets carried along with the moving cooler or warmer river water. Same thing happens out in the Gulf Stream.

So, now that all was better.....but still windy as all hell. We ended up where I wanted to go in the first place. And usually "I am your ringer". I can find the bite fast. But today, Darren was Johnny rod bender. He was the fella who works on the Marlin Oil Rig in the Gulf of Mexico 150 miles offshore of Louisiana. We no sooner got anchored and he started bailing the Speckled Trout over the side of the boat.

We weren't float-rig fishing but rather tight-lining again with a light weight egg sinker and a real long leader and live shrimp. Between the 14-18 inchers and Mangrove Snapper he was waylaying them, as Travis and I tried to keep up.

The current was perfect. But as the tide got down, all the good current went away. The tide dropped and the wind speed, took over. But that was okay, I made a few adjustments. And he still whacked them, picking off a few nice ones on each re-anchor. And even had two small Flounder. One in the boat and one "palm beach release" at boat side.

I brought 10 dozen live shrimp and again, and we barely made it. I tried one more spot and we had 4 shrimp left.

The bite was really good, for awhile there. That's now two trips in a row that ten dozen shrimp just don't last because of bites, fish, and released small Trout. We caught no less than 20 Speckled Trout and 10 Mangrove Snappers while the getting was good. Plus, all the small yellowmouths you could stand to have a kid reel in, earlier.

So not a bad day, for a 20 knot N.E. blower.

The Specks weren't huge. But between 15 and maybe 18 inches were the ones that hit the ice.
It was too bad it was just too windy to float-rig properly. Because we did loose a bunch of hooks and rigs to the bottom as we tight-lined them live river crickets to the Trout. But hey, ya can't just do one thing, I know that. But of course I wanted to keep it....really light tackle fishing.

It was once said, that if you fish the St. Johns, you'll learn that you have to be rigidly flexible. And on days when the tides a smokin' and the winds a honkin', and you get tossed a 6 year old on board. Being rigidly flexible is what I become, really fast!

Pre-booked fishing: next up because of a rescheduled day, not till Wednesday.

So I have Tuesday open. A half day Monday, and all weekend.

Kite fishin' anyone?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Your BIG ALLOY, for the month.....

US Navy shows the littoral combat ship Independence (LCS 2) underway during builder's trials on July 12, 2009.
The second of the Navy's new generation of speedy warships designed to operate close to shore topped 50 miles per hour in builder trials completed this month. Officials say the Independence, a 418-foot ship built in Alabama, traveled in excess of 45 knots, which equates to nearly 52 mph, and sustained 44 knots during a four-hour, full-speed sprint.
BIG ALLOY.....good enough for the Navy. Good enough for me!
Can imagine building a battleship like this out of Fiberglass.....hahahahah?
More info on builder:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November reservations: It's Holiday Time!!

Reservations This & Next Week: (think ahead...holidays are coming)

6th, 7th evening , 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th...But I had a cancellation for the 12th. So that day is now open, unless something changes with the crew I had, that day.

Monday the 9th I'm open, till noon. So a 1/2 day is availible. Sun-up departure on the 9th.

It's time to REALLY start thinking about Thanksgiving week. Right now, a past customer has grabbed the day before Turkey day. The day after Turkey Day is usually very popular. So plan ahead....calls at 8pm for the next morning, isn't the best way to do it. You do want a Happy Captain don't ya?

All Holiday week scheduled Charter's should be reserved in advance as possible.

Fishing Forecast:

I believe, it's really "GO-TIME", when the jetties are fishable (calm). From limits of Reds to Trout, and many more. They're all chewin'. Just 2.5 miles from the dock, makes for a day when lines are in the water the longest. So we really just do a 3/4 day - 6 hours.

I'm even carrying on the boat now a nice florescent hand held 12 volt light, so if it gets dark on us quick, I can still clean your catch for you. Unlike cleaning fish in the dark, like I did on Nov. 1st.

THINK F-I-S-H, when it comes to Thankgiving dinner.

Wouldn't you think fish were a whole lot easier to catch/kill than a Turkey or Hog (Ham), if you were struggling for something to eat in this "new land". My perfect Thanksgiving dinner would be, fish a couple ways, and Oysters a couple ways. Steamed, Fried, and baked. Now that's a real Pilgrim feast, in my book.

From what I have learned.....White Englishman sure screwed over the Wapanaw Indians! I guess if it wasn't them, it would eventually been the Spanish. If history happened a different way.

I bring up the fish idea to the Family each Holiday season. (not dried fish jerky, either) But, every one's so set in their ways. Maybe they all know, left overs would be slim afterwards.

Did you know Thanksgiving didn't become an official Holiday till around the Civil War?

If you are not a Tweeter person, you should sign up and follow my "tweets". I send out info about what's going on via Tweeter......although I'm not as into it all as some people. My tweeter posts are available on the right side bar of this blog, also.

-Hope to have you aboard this fall/winter season. Remember, this time of year is the best inshore fishing N.E. Florida has to offer. Oct. thru May is my favorite time of year. Not mid July and August.....It's just so hot, then.

Monday, November 2, 2009

11/2 - Give the gift of fishing, to a youngster.

Make the Pledge. Join many others through ANGLER'S LEGACY by down loading this simple coupon that you can give a young angler.

Pledging to take a youngster fishing, it's not that hard. It'll mean he or she can count on you, to spend a quality day together sharing a wonderful past time....FISHING.

Things like XBOX, and PlayStations are a real problem with today's youth, and adults too. Believe me, I see it all the time. Kids that won't even touch a fish, are afraid of a shrimp. Kids that get bored way too easily, and have no patience.

I didn't have all that plug-in entertainment, when I was growing up. And am so much better for it, I believe. My playstation was the outdoors.

Real world, real activities, real challenges. Easily done with Mom, Dad, brother's or sister's, Aunt's Uncles, Grandpa's or Grandma's. In the outdoors, enjoying the planet we all live on!

Making Memories.....