Told you in yesterday's report DOA Rob and I were heading out in the Jettywolf today. Looking for a bit of redemption, after yesterday's absence of all fish species, big or small in Rob's land of "plenty" , while being a foot from the water in kayaks.
So I backed the Jettywolf down the ramp around 9am today. And since I always need to have some kind of plan, no matter what fishing I'm doing. My plan was to head North. And Rob agreed.
Yeah the air was still below freezing, probably. But the only actual temperature Rob and I were interested in was the 43.5 degree water temp!! My Raymarine C-120 transducer temp gauge has never read so low in the three years I've owned it.......hell NO temp gauge on any machine I've ever owned has ever read a water temp as low.
But that wasn't stopping the Trout Trackers. We were on a fishin' mission. So we kinda figured if the Trout weren't in the creek we fished yesterday in the kayaks, maybe they're outside the creek we fished yesterday.
First stop, good falling tide, comotose shrimp, sun shining, slick calm water, bone chilling cold. Not one single bite. Keeping with the theme of today's "artic in Florida" fishing adventure phase two. We moved on to the next spot, on our path. First, we just drifted and pitched some jig and dead shrimp combo meals. And I butt hooked a really nasty looking stingray that had three tails, and all three were just "stubs". "Do we count that, Rob? If so, I caught the first fish in two days." Rob replies....."if it isn't a Trout, it doesn't count!"
The spot looked good, and would have looked better in t-shirts, shorts with Crocs. Instead we were triple layered, with gloved hands and teeth chattering. Feeling the burn of the cold with each passing minute. But we anchored up on the spot. I kept with the best survey system, that seemed to work good with the ugly stingray capture, a 3/8ths oz. jig and a comotose shrimp. Second cast, and I had the first Speckled Trout. Its as if I could feel the fish sniff my shrimp and then lick it to see if it was frozen or not, right before I set the hook. In laymens terms, "the bite was barely, a bite".
It may be small, but it has gills, specks, scales and is of the "Cynoscion nebulosus" family of fishes!!
Rob grabbed his float-rig and I put down the jigging rod and we went to town, seeing if these Speckled Trout were a reality or not on this spot.
And they were....We started catching them. Most were 14 to 14-1/2 inches. I have to admit, we were excited! You would have been too, after yesterdays communing with Mother Nature trip.
Rob was keeping tight track of how many Trout were actually caught, as I had friends, customers, and solicitor phone calls back to back. And let him reel in one of my fish.
The amazing thing was that our shrimp died two seconds after being pinned on the hook. They were of course stressed, cold and not really up to living to see another day, or another bait well. So 99% of every Trout caught was on a dead shrimp and a float-rig. What do I always say.....especially if you're on my boat and float-rig fishing, "If your shrimp isn't kickin' replace it. Dead shrimp don't catch T-Rex sized Trout."
That may not be entirely true, there is no absolutes in the fishing world. But all I know is that every single big fat gator Trout I have ever seen caught on a float-rig, by myself or by a customer or a friend. The shrimp was lively, and kicking. Why not have the best presentation ALWAYS. To insure catching the best fish.
Well, today these Trout were so hungry. It didn't matter if the shrimp was alive or not, let alone "sprightly" or not. Rob even took a 100% D-E-A-D, falling apart shrimp and hooked it on and sent it out. And it was ate by a small Trout.
We ended up catching 20 Specks, according to Rob's precise Trout tracking. And we "boxed" three keepers up to 17 inches before the tide gave out on the spot, and the bite stopped. We hunted around a bit more, learned more about the topography of the area. Then, the afternoon winds that were forecasted started to blow. And our brief warm up, as we were catching quickly faded. It got down right cold as all hell so we headed back to Mayport.
Man, this is nothing short of "serious". The water's so damn cold, the Govenor should declare this area in a state of "emergency warm-up". Because this kind of cold weather is like nothing I've ever seen before. I don't know how long this will take to go away. But seeing that we still have to go through February and March still. It won't be better overnight, that's for sure.
All I can do is keep up with it, trying different areas, and different techniques and hope to never see cold like this in N.E. Florida, ever again.
It's supposed to get warmer by this weekend.