I had Big Al and his brother Dick visiting from Wyoming on board. We departed at 7:30am.
The night before the wind was so strong it was rattling the screens in my bedroom windows as I pulled the covers up and thought "what the hell am I gonna do Saturday". After talking to Al earlier in the evening, and we agreed to talk again at 6:30am the next morning.
I tried, believe me. Yes, I suggested Sunday, instead. But Al and his brother had Jaguar tickets for Sunday.
As the screens rattled me to sleep with the whistling wind, I just hoped for anything but what the forecast said.
Early, I popped out of bed at 3am, and then again at 5am. Each time I stumbled to the back door and stepped outside.....why? I guess I was hoping to see sunshine, 72 degrees and no wind coming off the river into my back yard. Which is only about a 3/4's of a mile from the river itself. Or was I just sleep walking? Or was that a dream? All I know is by 5:30am when the alarm went off. The coffee pot was on and full of fresh brewed java. So I guess it wasn't a dream, but was a sleep walking "weather check".
I got dressed in a hurry, went outside and listened.....to what the trees could tell me. If I hear tree leaves shaking it's an Oh No reaction for sure. But I didn't hear any tree noise. It was rather quiet. Misty kind of rain was falling, or it was just moist air here in my neighborshoods micro-climate created by all the massive oaks.
So I looked at the weather forecast again on the NWS Marine Forecast website. And it read like;
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY: EAST WINDS 20 KNOTS. SEAS 4 TO 6 FEET. INLAND WATERS CHOPPY. CHANCE OF RAIN 90%
Then, I turned on the weather radio as I sipped my hot coffee. Then again, went back outside and noticed how much warmer it felt compared to last night. I walked around my 1/8th of an acre. Which took about 3 minutes and then it was 6:30am so I called Al.
When it was all said and done, Al said "let's try it!" enthusiastically. He said he was and optomist. But it was hard for me to be one, knowing all well what Small Craft Advisory means first hand. So I loaded up the rods and pulled the Jettywolf out of her shed and headed to B&M bait and tackle to load up on live shrimp and ice.
Still dark, man how I hate it being so dark in the morning. Judging weather in the dark is a real guessing game. At the bait shop there was no wind, and no misty rain at all. Then, I headed to the boat ramp.
Yeah, it was blowing. But not all that bad. It wasn't all that warm like at home amongst the tall trees. So I talked to a FWC guy, and then my buddy Raymond a crabber, for awhile while waiting for Al and Dick. Shortly Al and Dick pulled up. and donned all their foul weather attire.
As I backed away from the dock I almost turned EAST. But felt, "why make this even tougher".
So we went south on the ICW and hit a winter Red and Trout spot. Key word: WINTER. Meaning, that this spot gets hit the most on nasty N.E. blowing days. Because it's got a built in E.N.E. wind break. Plus, I need a decent spot to show Al and Dick the ABC's of Float-rig fishing. And what did I do? I hooked a Speck on my first drift, while showing them where to drift. And that was the first and last Trout caught on this spot. So we moved on. And when the tide got to the perfect depth.......here came Trout after Trout. One after another. But most were termite size, just like the one I caught. 12-14 inches..... all ya wanted! Till Dick finally pulled a decent 16 incher from the school. On the float or on the bottom with a live shrimp it didn't matter. They were just chewin'. But, each one will be fair game next year. So again, we moved on.
I looked at a few other spots avoiding the east wind coming down the river...that by the way wasn't much like 20 knots, but rather maybe gusting to 20 every once in awhile. But rain, it remained a steady drizzle.
Hitting some out of the wind spots that had no current, or one that had nothing but ferocious Pinfish. I settled to try a spot where we'd break out the new super fairy wand Ugly Stik "inshore select" rods rigged up with a 1 oz. egg sinker and a long light leader and small hooks and we'd just do some casting and "tight-lining". But keeping the line tight was out of the question. It was slack tide. And on anchor the boat just whipped side to side.
But by now the rain was just pouring. And all three of us caught lots of yellowmouths, not big ones, but fun size considering. A few Mangrove Snappers, and one Sheepshead. I was hoping for the 2-4 pound Black Drum I've caught here before. Before long we decided to pack it in, because Al's rain jacket was leaking so bad that his sleeves were filling up with water as he fished. It was really raining hard at this point. I believe we all were cold, wet and ready.
Mission successful!!!! We caught a decent amount of fish. Not a bunch of whoppers. But we had action, on the float-rig and by casting.
By no means was it perfect. You had to be a die hard to be out there as long as we were. When I came back to the boat ramp, no one was around, that's for sure. But being prepared and dressed right made for a bearable day on the river.
Would any of my usual regular customers have went today? Probably not. But Al looked at it as....Plans are Plans.
NOW......MONDAY 12/14, IS SUPPOSED TO BE A GOOD WEATHER DAY:
WEST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS BECOMING SOUTHEAST 5 TO 10 KNOTS IN THE LATE MORNING AND AFTERNOON. SEAS 2 TO 4 FEET. INLAND WATERS MOSTLY SMOOTH. AREAS OF DENSE FOG WITH VISIBILITY 1 NM OR LESS IN THE MORNING.
(what do I say about foggy mornings? I love 'em!)
I HAD A CALL FOR MONDAY, TOO. AND NEVER HEARD BACK FROM THEM. WOULDN'T YOU THINK THIS IS THE KIND OF DAY YOU'D WANT TO FISH ON?
I GUESS, IT'S NOT GOING TO BE NASTY ENOUGH.....HUH? TRULY, IT SEEMS THAT MANY CHARTERS IN THE WINTER ARE ON LESS THAN PERFECT DAYS.
REMEMBER, I'LL TELL YA WHEN IT'S GO-TIME...WHEN I SAY "IT'S GO TIME" IN THESE REPORTS, IT MEANS LETS GO..... NOW! (this week, on these tides, etc.)
ANYONE UP FOR MONDAY NEEDS TO CALL ME ASAP!!!!! BECAUSE I THINK I'M GOING WITH OR WITHOUT YA'.