Was it 70 degrees over on the west side in a Walmart parking lot??
Amazingly, the weather was in a warming trend. But you really couldn't tell that from out where we were the last two days. Cuz, it was still cold. But with the winds down, it did make give me a chance to go to the jetties and do some jig fishing / bottom fishing.
I had too.
Keeping with the "go light tackle and keep it simple" theme, on Thursday I had Sue and Joe from Kentucky aboard. There was no live shrimp to be had, because of the cold water temps. So we used my stores of dead shrimp I have collected. Certainly not as good as live, the freshest shrimp made, but it had to do. Never even bothered with float-rigging.
We pulled up to the jetties on a particular spot. Had the light N.E. wind to our backs, with the big boulders right behind the boat. Bottom, or jigging, bites were slow to say the least. But as the tide fell a few fish hung on the hooks. Every single bite was nothing more than just a "sand bagging" feeling on the line.
But here's Sue, getting yanked while sitting on my livewell. Between her and Joe, the boat was still bobbing enough that they were feeling "wobbly" on their feet.
I told them that in the winter, this was "Mill Pond" conditions for me. But she did great and fought a somewhat lathargic Redbass up from the deep water, along the rocks. Water temps at this locale was still 48 degrees on the surface. And the Redbass turned out to be way too big to keep at 30 inches.
Sue looks like a "snow bunny", in this photo. But she was tough, and 100 % Lady Angler. I had her casting a bait casting reel with no problem, after just a few pointers......even with, "gloved fingers"!!! I wished the Redbass was a keeper, because I had a feeling bites from quality fish maybe, far and few between.
Besides a few small Black Seabass, that were sucking the shrimp off the hooks the other fish I wanted to target on this spot was Black Drum, and we got one of them too. Just not enough of them, of course.
And they could have been a bit larger, too. But we stayed in the same spot and just worked it as long as we could. If it was a 70 degree day, with 60 degree water at the inlet I may have opted to move around a lot more. But the name of the game here was to just keep lines wet as long as we could. I believe that was the best tactic. After the tide got low, we moved on and hit the boat ramp restrooms then went up in the river to another rock pile.
The current was running really strong at the next spot, and normally we don't get bit by Sheepshead or Yellowmouth Trout till the tide dies, on the spot. So, we were early. And we just stuck it out. There wasn't any Yellowmouths there today. But they did get a few Sheephead bites, and Joe landed this one.
I told Sue I sure would like to have them aboard again, on a warm spring day sometime. But Joe said this is the first time he's really went anywhere in the last 26 years. But they have a new grandbaby here in Jax now. So you never know. I'd love to get Sue on the float-rig when the Trout are chewing. She would have loved that.
Now today has been in the planning stages since before we had this cold weather. At first when Chris M. called and reserved his trip, we were actually banging some good Reds at the jetties on jigs, and Trout on the float-rigs.
Well, isn't it amazing how things change so quickly. Some times ya just have to make the leap of faith, and go for it anyhow. It's all FUN. And it's all just FISHIN'.
I met Chris and his brother Patrick at the dock around 9am. Since yesterday, we didn't leave till 10am. So I figured we try a bit more of the incoming tide. Same spot. Same conditions. Same, no live shrimp avalible.
Chris wanted a "jetty trip" all along. So this had to do, for today.
But as we fished, it seemed like the New Moon rising tide wasn't where it was actually at. We went a long time, with only a few bait stealers, a Seabass or two, a lost hook-up on something good, and lots of jigs and sinkers lost to the jetty rocks. Way more than yesterday!!
Again, every bite was nothing more than the fish "sand bagging" on the hook. Which I have to say is kind of tough for someone who is "all knowing" about jig and shrimp fishing at the jetties. Let alone someone who doesn't do it all the time. So right off the bat, my anglers had the cards kinda stacked against them, in my "jetty fishing for decades" opinion.
First fish was of course caught by Patrick, and it was a Seabass. I had Patrick on the egg sinker rig, as Chris and myself worked some jigs and dead shrimp down the rocks. Again, I was looking for Reds and Drum, throw in a Sheepshead?? But if we were out here on this exact same spot the same week Chris called me, back on December 6th, there was decent sized Yellowmouth Trout, and Reds big and small stacked up, right where we were, today.
The Black Drum were larger than yesterday. Here's Patrick with the first one.
Here's Chris with another the same size. Perfect eaters, that's for sure. I like them just this size for blackening.
Then, came a Redfish. Probably the hardest biting fish of the last two days. It really ate the bait and moved off. Rather than, just giving a bit of "hang" on the bait. It was a 21 incher. Depending on who you are, I was glad to see a keeper size fish. Instead of a big, no keeper.
We ended up staying at the Jetties alot longer than we did yesterday. And made a move to a different spot also. But nothing really made a difference. And after my Danforth anchor getting stuck in something "out in the sand" and bring it it up for the hundredth time with a "pretzelized shank". (just another $40 thrown away.....) It was time to move on. I think I'm over these oh so bendable steel anchors. It's not like I'm pulling 15 foot of chain, and a 13 pound anchor up by hand......I mean, with my, back!!
I told the guys to just go over to Singletons and have their fish cooked up. Some fried, some blackened, and warm up with a nice meal of the catch........"it's how I'd like to end my day, if I were them."
Heck, I went home, cleaned up the tackle, the boat, and ate a half of Publix sub sandwich from the day before, in front of the heater! Then nodded off, till 10pm.