As I said, I was going out again to double check on the absence of the jetty trout situation. It was a super nice day, and everyone else thought so too. Compared to practically no one being around, yesterday.
So Doc Miller a fellow "Trout Tracker" and I headed out to the big rocks around 10am. No sense going till the tide was right. We hit numerous places where we should have caught Speckled Trout. And Doc came up with only one 14 incher. They vacated the premises, I guess. Not even a good ole "yellermouth", could we find at my usual Speck spots at the jetties.
We certainly weren't going to spend a bunch of time running around looking up river, the ICW or creeks. Not on a rising tide.
So I said to Doc, a float-rig only kinda guy...."let's go over to the North Jetty and make a few drifts with the float-rig and see what's up with the Reds."
So that's where we headed. And we stuck to our guns and stayed with the float-rigs. I could have easily picked up a casting rod with a jig on it and tried that way. BUT THAT JUST WOULDN'T BE SPORTY ENOUGH.
Remember, I have not yet caught a fish or even lost a bait to fish lips so far today. So why would I want to make things any easier on myself????
We figured out the way the float's would drift, and sent them out. And it didn't take long for me to get bit. "BIT"....how 'bout more like a real ass handing!!
I drifted my float probably close to 75 feet away from the boat, set at a depth of 20 feet along the jetty. Which meant in the 42 feet of water my float drifted probably half way up the rocks from the bottom, heading for the very tip of the jetty. When amongst the froth of the crashing swells, I barely could make out my float bouncing along in the seas. Then, my float was gone!
I reeled against the 6.2-1 gear ratio of my Shimano Citica, like my hand was a Black and Decker drill, and came tight on a big fish. Where would it go? I didn't have time to find out. I had to keep my 7'6" rod up high and keep it bent...."like horse shoe!"
Not many people could have kept a big Red hooked up in this situation. On a little #8 hook, and 15 pound mono leader. It was a precarious area to hook a big Red on the ole float-rig, let me tell ya'.
I only wish I could have had a pro video camera operator getting the whole thing. The runs the fish made due east, were great. My arm ached from having to keep the rod up high and the fish from going for the rocks. But I got it...a 14 pound Redbass, that made the mistake of running out deep.
To a tackle nut like myself, it's almost unimaginable how much one can love the "parabolic action" I get from these 7' 6" Ugly Stik Striper Rods. It's a sickness I have, I know. But when using really small hooks and light leaders with no stretch braided line, something has to "give", and that's what these rods do. They give.
I can remember not long ago having lots of pulled hooks by charter customers. Not anymore, not with these rods. Usually only a real tackle enthusiest, even knows the difference when I say "parabolic" action. But I have one past customer Chris M. that emailed me not long ago and said, "Dave, I got the complete Sipler Special, now." Which meant rod, reel, line, float and Trout weight. Chris may be new to float-rigging, but that didn't keep him from picking up on what he saw on our day out together, and how well it all works.
And I'm talking about a rod that retails for $29.99 at Bass Pro Shops!! You can't beat that? More money left for a really good reel and spooled with braided line.
Okay, big Red in the boat, took the photo, now it's time to get back in there.
And guess what? The same thing happened all over again. I was slam-dunked in the same spot, and had another great fight on my hands, and landed one more 14 pound, BrutusT. Redbass!
After the second Red, that's about all we had. Dick had a birds nest which I helped him get out of "his own" reel. And if we really wanted to get back into the mix of things I probably would have needed to make a move so to have a better angle of attack on the spot. But the tide was waning, anyhow.
So as Dick tried his hand at getting down to the spot with his, now de-bird nested reel. I picked up my jigging rod and tried my best to get something going. But the "HERE'S YER SIGN" that the current was over and down with, being just small Seabass and junker fish is all I could catch. So we headed in, with no fish in the box. And no limits of big fat Trout either.
Every time the Trout disappear from the regular jetty haunts, it usually means they're back up in the river or the creeks. And I was right. DOA Rob was out in his kayak late this afternoon and was up in the creeks and called me, "I found them Dave...I've had about 15, and have several on my stringer. They're coming off one oyster bank and all on the DOA shrimp."
Heck, that's what I figured. They have to be somewhere, if they aren't stacked up at the jetties.
I was told a crazy story by friend Capt Jeff "the Magic" Wansor, this evening when he called me. He was out today looking around for someTrout too at the jetties. But after we talked, decided to head back towards the ICW this afternoon. He said, he was near the little Jetties, when he caught what he thought was a pound and a half Speckled Trout. Some dudes in a boat were staring him down, so he stopped reeling in his trout, so they didn't think he had a fish on (yeah...ya have to resort to these tactics sometimes, around here) and while he waited for them to "step off and move along", something enormous came in and ate the Trout he had on the line and took the hell off.
Jeff said he was shocked. He had "whatever" on, for just a few seconds before it broke his light leader. He said, "damn I thought it was a Dolphin at first it was so powerful, but never saw any Dolphins around or at the surface."
I told him that the Jacks are not all together gone from around here. And that I caught a 4 pounder the other day in the fog. Then had a DOA shrimp hit by a monster fish that run me down the jetty rocks, before breaking me off, also. Probably a really big Jack! He might just of had a big hungry Jack come in and eat that Trout, or even a big Red, who knows.
One year it was January 19th, and me and my charter clients were sitting along the Navy base around snag ally and I saw two small Tarpon roll right next to the boat. I thought I was seeing things. But I wasn't!
Because 30 seconds later my customer Dave Hare from California was yelling TARPON!!!! As he was hanging on for dear life to his float rig rod and had a small Tarpon leaping around behind the boat. It was a cold morning like we've had the last few days. And the last thing I thought we'd ever see is a Tarpon and a float-rig flying through the air in mid January. Of course the Tarpon broke off, as usual.
So ya never know. That's what makes saltwater fishing, the BEST!
I guess if the weather turns windy I won't be out till the 28th.