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:
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING TODAY. NORTHWEST WINDS 20 KNOTS. GUSTS TO 30 KNOTS POSSIBLE.SEAS 3 TO 5 FEET. INLAND WATERS CHOPPY. ISOLATED SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.

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:
NORTHWEST WINDS 20 KNOTS. WINDS DECREASING TO 15 TO 20 KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 3 TO 5 FEET. INLAND WATERS CHOPPY.

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:
NORTHWEST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS. SEAS 2 TO 4 FEET. INLAND WATERS MOSTLY SMOOTH.


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























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