Wednesday, March 31, 2010

3/30 - "Solo" Marathon Day

There's that ole saying......"3-4 days before the full moon, and three or four days after the full moon, is when ya want to fish around a full moon."

Well, if ya went through what I went through on Monday, you wouldn't have cared. I just had to go. So without thinking about it...I just went.

Because when ever I'm "stressed", I go fishing. And Monday was stressful. I had to go all the way to Gainesville, Fla. to the VA Hospital for a Prostrate Biopsy. Yeah, it was about 8 minutes of torture, but my day started at 7am and I didn't get home till 4:00pm. More stress could be in store for me. I'll find out in a few weeks what the out come will be.

So I had plans of Black Drum fishing. So I went to where it's been a Black Drum haven and since they don't bite till the tide slacks ( I wonder why they do that?) I had a bit of waiting around to do. I was early of course. Wanted to be on the spot, and ready for when that current slacked and have four fresh clam baits out. AGAIN, it was quite cold on the water. A stiff NW wind was blowing, against the morning incoming tide. But I was ready, for the moment when that full moon incoming tide took a breath and would fade.

Four lines out, and utilizing my TGT Rod-Riggers to hold two lines with my new'ish addition to my Ugly Stik collection, my 6'6" Charter Boat series, meat mover rods. Stiff as all hell, but that's okay. I'm using these for any weight needed to just hold bottom right below the boat. And I'm not considering this kind of fishing "sportfishing" anyhow. Just meat fishing, "fish get in the damn boat" fishing. Off the stern, was two lighter 6'6" Uglies, with lighter sinkers, for the fun of it fishing.  Can't wait to hook up this years first Shark on my new meat movers. Wondering who they'll beat-up, the angler or fish/shark more?

It took quite awhile for the tide to slack. I was on location around 8:30am and the tide didn't slow till at least after 10:00am. And like clock work, as soon as it did. I got bit. First fish ever on my new meat mover, a decent eater sized Black Drum. Sucked up a fresh clam bait. And since these rods have my Accurate Twin Drag reels on them, Mr. Drum was no match, at all. I just reeled the fish straight up to the boat from 43 feet below. Like I said, "there's NO sport fishing involved here....."

10 ounces holding right under the boat. My plan worked like a charm! Of course I could really use one of those VW sized Black Drum, also. But the lack of any being caught, keeps me in reality. I'll be happy with "eaters".

So as the tide slowed then sped up, slowed and sped up several times. I pinned on a blue crab and sent it down on one of the heavy rods. It got pounded after soaking for around 15 mintes. But what ever took it, took the crab, and missed the hook. It felt as if I had the fish at first. But the rod throbbing for a minute or so had me thinking what ever it was, had a problem eating the whole crab. I sometimes fish the entire crab. I just break-off the points on the shell and poke a few holes through the top and hook it on. A big Redbass usually has zero problems taking a whole crab. But I fish them whole if the Crab is dead and would wash out really fast if I popped it's top.

That's about the extent of the action I had. Except for a few tiny Croakers I caught the minute I tried dead shrimp. Time to go Trout Fishing!

The full moon tides took no time to turn and start blasting along. Helped by the 15 knot NW wind. So I went to a close spot and on my first cast with a Devil-eye flapping tail on a 3/8ths oz jig head I had my first 15 inch Trout. Then, that was it. So I switched to my float-rig. Nothing, else. So I moved on.....

I ended up fishing one area the rest of the day. Everywhere else I looked at the tide was terrible, the water totally wind whipped. And so muddy, too.

For a few hours I was into the 13-14 inch Trout, as if I found the NURSERY! Naw, not as if......"I did!" It was rediculas. Trout after Trout, little dinkers. I eventually pulled a whopper of a 16 incher out the nursery of lil' Specks. I moved around, I had too. The tide would rock and roll, then quit and then rock and roll again. So, bites would come and go with each move I made. After what seemed like 25 small Trout to one keeper. I thought about high-tailing it and heading home.
But I stayed in the area and just keep working at it. And the tide became calmer as it started to actually come in on the bottom. Which completely changed the whole bite. Now I was catching a few good Trout, boxing 2-19 inchers. But as time wore on, I still only had 4 keepers. That 5th Trout was gonna elude me. Isn't that something? 4 good keepers out of what now had to be 25-30 Trout? If I was in Louisiana (25 Trout per person with a 12" size limit) I would have had my 25 keepers and been back at the dock cleaning them and actually EATING Trout for supper!! But, nope. I'm here in FLA. Hungry, and frustrated.

Between the Trout bites, I pitched some lines on the bottom with dead shrimp. And caught Whiting. Keeping 6, out of about 15, I caught. When the tide slacked and started coming in on the bottom, is when they quit biting. Unlike the Trout.

Plain and simple folks.....Trout don't like hauling azz current! (which we have too much of... so let's keep dredging it, till the river's 90 feet deep??)

I keep trying for that 5th Trout, but never got it. So I headed home, after a marathon of a day. It was 8pm when I finished unloading the boat and went into the house. Planning on another marathon again, if I need any other medical treatment, of any kind. Believe me, a 12 hr day on the river will have you forgetting all about the day before, especially on the day of the full moon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jacksonville Offshore Sport Fishing Club working for YOU.


I know ya'll may not ever fish offshore and care about the artificial reef system that's our counties aquatic park off our beaches. But it can benefit all anglers.

Especially, since we're all going to be taking it on the chin from this day on, when it comes to the fight for the right to fish!

Jacksonville Anglers and the Jacksonville Offshore Sport Fishing club's roots were building the first artifical reefs off the First Coast.

So with that said, while you're sitting around behind the keyboard. Take just a second to help make that bruise on the chin a bit less painful.

Send a simple email to the Jaxport Board of directors. And tell them, you support making the BlackBeard Ferry Boat a new reef, offshore.


Here's more info from the Jacksonville Offshore Sport Fishing Club "pioneers in artificial reef building" email:

We have a chance to get the old Ferry, the Blackbeard to dunk as a reef off Jacksonville. It wouldn’t hurt to E-mail the Jax Port Board of Directors to express an interest in making a reef out of it. Below is a link to the Board. Express the 50 years of reef building that the JOSFC has done, and the over $600 Million in revenue that sport fishing brings into the Greater Jax. Area EVERY YEAR, and ask that they consider donating it for a reef.



More crap outa the good ole Jaxport:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

3/27 - What a the wind!

Had three great guys aboard today. John, Bill and Will.  It was one hell of a blustery, overcast day with incessant winds coming from the E.N.E. at a sustained 20 knots all day long with a single break.

Of course I had a livewell full of the sweetest "spring" time live shrimp you'd ever see. In S. Florida they'd call these live river crickets SNOOK & TARPON baits. And they'd probably cost $2.00 a piece, or at least more than I'd ever want to pay, without a guarantee! The tide was super high with the approaching full moon and the wind pushing the water up into the river. But I still made plans to go see if we could catch some Trout.

First spot was "perfection". Out of the wind, and the tide was lazy...but that changed in a moments notice to an all out belly washer! With one 15" Trout in the box, and shrimp skiing back to the boat on the float-rig on the retieval. We had to move on.

But where now? The wind was so strong I had to switch over to my big 18 lb. grapnel anchor the first 15 minutes of the day, because my usual anchor wouldn't even hold us in the current and wind. I opted to head to an area I haven't been to in a while. A good clip away, but it maybe out of the wind a bit. Upon arrival, it wasn't. And thank goodness there's a great tie-off spot there, so no anchoring needed. But the tide was still high as all hell. And as we tried it the water level never fell at all....."the water was still up in the grass on the bank for over an hour or more!"  The guys sent beautiful live shrimp down the bank in 8-10 foot of water over a solid line of oyster bar, under water. And to my utter surprise never even had a 12" Trout bite. Just a few pinnerfish bites.

Unbelievable, the water was clean, the current wasn't too bad and besides the wind playing hell with keeping the belly slack out of the lines. There should have been a take down or two....I was surprised they didn't have at least a pupper Red?

We moved about, and tried 2 other spots in the area. But back to that wind was striding the fence of totally heinous levels. The boat was whipping back and forth on anchor so badly that the boats motion was yanking the big 18 pound granel anchor loose.

So, I guess catching Trout and float-rigging was not in our cards today. I did have some crabs, clams, and bottom rods with me. So when the going gets tough, the tough go where? To the bottom!

Again, I had tie off spots in mind for this, too. Just easier to get lines in the water and concentrate on fishing rather than staying anchored correctly. But of course there was someone parked right on top of one of my favorite tie-off's. So I had to go to a fall-back spot, and try it. The current was in the "ludacris" catagory.
But we were staying put now, and got 4 lines out, finally. Trying for a big Red, some Sheepshead, or Drum on this spot would mean the tide would need to slow a bit. But I've caught all three species here before in March, years past. But of course that doesn't mean "squat" this year, or on a day like today.

Same exact spot.....A March Black Drum bite:

It was another day, where we were fighting a weather front. It was exactly like this last Monday, when I was out with Tim and his son Mitchell. So I guess, I should be used to it, but I'm not.

It was quite chilly again too. I was again in full fleece attire. And my crew was looking as if they were fishing in NY, rather than fishing in Florida!

Remember what I always say about "hoods" on jackets or sweat shirts? "A sweat shirt is just a sweat shirt, but one with a hood is a fisherman's friend!"  Well, we got good use out of those hoods today, that's for sure. I had my hood up and on ALL day long! 
Bottom fishing we caught a few Sheepshead, had a big Red hooked-up and lost and caught a Whiting. Even after dropping back to the better tie off spot after the boat that was there left. Heck, everyone around left! We were the only ones that sat it out.

The Red doubled over the rod in my "TGT rod-rigger" out off the port side of the boat, that had a whole crab on it. Took off and I thought, " we go!"  But the hook never set. When Will reeled in the line, the top of the crab was gone, it was a little crushed and the bottom of the crab remained on the hook. So we just continued on. More crab stayed out, but we never got another pull like that again. Just a few bumps, here and there. 
We stayed with it though. Keeping lines out till the current slacked completely, the boat whipped around with the wind, and it was late in the day. Keeping lines in the water and baits fishing was my number one concern.
Instead of having to keep anchoring and wasting time looking for a place to actually get 4 lines out.
I can't speak for the rest of the guys, but when I got home my face was beet red. And the boat was a mess, with clam juice and shells and crab parts. So I gave her a good cleaning with actual soap and a brush. Maintenance that usually only happens every so often, because there isn't usually the need when ya own "alloy". But she deserved it.
I sure wish it was a nicer day, that's for sure. I'm almost thinking I'll never see a sunny warm day again anytime soon that layers of fleece won't be mandatory.  But before ya know it it will be hot as all get out and hopefully I'll be whackin some fattie Trout along the big rocks, or running and gunning behind shrimp boats chasing big Blacktips and posting photos of anglers in anguish is they try and stop them.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

3/24 - W-O-W - D-A-Y!

Now today, is a beautiful day! Light winds, warm, and sunny......And in the middle of the week!  Why can't I ever get someone who wants to fish on a day like today? (I say that every year)

That's why you'll see on my home page: a note at the bottom "learn how to fish multiple days for $500."

This is for the local self-made man or woman, or the retired individual. The weekend worker who has weekdays off. Who can benefit by booking multiple days. Weekdays!

A floating schedule is best. So we can fish days like today, this spring.

Guess I'll head out myself.....I need to add some fish to the fridge.


I went and NO fish for the fridge either. Spent 99% of my time at the jetties. There was no incoming tide push at all. Worked hard to see if the trout are out there yet.......ZIP.

That's what bothers me most about fishing these days on a very personal level. Catching fish, and having no dinner afterwards!

Lost a Red and caught a Red on the float rig at the N. Jetty.

Both were too big of course....damn when are they gonna change THAT???????????? Then pitched on the bottom and wasted time and caught 8 Whiting too small to keep really, and came home. How the first Red came unbuttoned at the side of the boat I don't know. But I guess it was barely hooked. I almost never loose a fish once hooked when fishing the ole float-rig.

Water temp was 60-62 on the last of the falling tide. But back to a solid 58 on the incoming tide. Saw pogies flippin on the surface at high tide. Then marked them coming down the jetties on the bottom, later.

There's big bull Reds on the beach now, out in the 30-35 foot mark according to my Whiting fisherman sources. That's the usual deal. Coming back from after the harsh winter from the offshore wintering grounds, these big bull Reds usually show on the beach hard bottom areas first and near the bait, if any. By April, if the pogie pods are out there, they be in and around the pods of bait right behind the surf. And filtering into the river.

Ye Ole Days, Big Red Technique:
-Troll King Mackerel #3.5 Drone spoons on heavy trolling sinkers just up off the bottom along the beach and around the outsides of the jetties on a flood tide, when ya see scattered pogies around. The spoons just off the bottom mimic a wounded baitfish IE: Pogie fluttering along. Don't go fast. big Reds are lazy feeders.
-Told to me by a guy who's now 94 years old. Mr. John Beckman...aka: "Ole Beckman".  He said, "back in the day that's all ya had to do when the big Reds were out wondering the sand.

By April and May it's the second round of BIG Reds in the river and at the jetties. Usually coincides with the crappy lil' Bluefish also arriving. But that means FREE BAIT! Catch the Blues and chop them basterds in half and send them down to the bottom. Brutus T. Redbass will eat them up. Kinda like bait on demand, because the lil blue basterds will be everywhere you want to catch a Trout, by April/May usually.

With each full moon, things happen this time of year. And all without YOU even realizing it. Flooding tides up to 5 plus feet magically wash species inshore. Along with changing currents in the Atlantic. This is what changes our local water temp quickly, once it gets going. Not just a sunny day here and there.

Think on the broad scale. OCEAN-CURRENTS-LENGTH OF DAYS. I know it's hard, when we live in our little bubble. But the marine ecology is way too vast for us to figure it all out.

Except. Unless you're a researcher working for the Atlantic Marine Fisheries and you've come to the conclusion N.E. Florida has no substainable Red Snapper, and Yellowmouth Trout are so overly harvested by weekenders.

Yeah right.....I look at it as. You can research your ass off all you want. But you can't be sure of anything out there. Has anyone ever thought that cities crowded with people who don't even fish, cars, ships, power plants and the rest may have something to do with why a fish species is dwindling?? It's called water quality.

But it's easier to blame fisherman, about fish populations. And take away your right to fish.

I'm not a gun fanatic. But sort of understand as I get older now, why the NRA is such a big deal too so many. "The right to bear arms." Yeah I get's in the constutution. But fishing doesn't kill innocent people. I believe, we should have "the right to fish and feed ourselves, healthier food."

Damn, I love a fresh crispy fried Speckled Trout.....or a big piece of broiled Red Snapper!

Additional Entertainment value:

Day dreaming from back when I was a surf fishing nut. But was catching Whiting 99% of the time.......

-Nick from Breakawaytackle USA (long distance casting tackle) had this article on his web site. And since I'm totally amazed by all Gulf of Mexico fishing....yep, that Gulf is a inshore fisherman's dream. Can ya just imagine doing this with your surf fishing rod off our jetties, here?
Check it out:

And just more FYI from the Gulf sands:

-We want to celebrate the amazing casting that Will Nash and Carlos Osuna achieved using Breakaway rods at the Shore Fishing & Casting Club (SFCCI) 
-March 12th 2010 event. Will Nash cast the longest cast ever in the USA with a cast of 858.12 feet! Carlos Osuna came in second with 806 feet! These are amazing distances and we are very proud to have them on our Breakaway Pro Team.

-and I thought I was doing something at 400 feet after years of video tape watching and practicing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

3/22 - "what can ya do?"

Had Tim S. and his son Mitchell aboard Monday. Tim was gonna fish with me last year. But the weather did not preclude that. So, we tried it again, today.

The weather forecast wasn't all that aweful, on Sunday. But then again, the weather guessers weren't fishing the St. Johns.

At 8am the boat ramp was vacant. I LIKED THAT!  And that's what Tim had planned for. Monday mornings.... "There just isn't any day of the week that's as wonderful, in this town."

The river was slick calm, the skies were dark, with complete cloud cover and it was cold as all hell!!!!!!!!!!!
(comparatively speaking to the first day of spring on Saturday)

Tim And Mitchell may have needed a few more "layers" on. But were ready for a full day of fishing none the less. I was of course, back into full fleece fishing attire. I believe, I'll log in the date when I can put it all up for good, IE: the Grudens wind stopper fleece pants and jacket(s) for this year, so I can do comparisons next year.

Because, the first spot we went too, went without a single Trout/Redfish bite, I let "slide". Maybe it was just the weak tide? But after fishing no less than 5 more spots, with hardly a bite. Something beyond my control was going on, and it wasn't a good thing.

With three passengers aboard I usually do not fish, or even try too. I'm too busy helping. But when I have two passengers aboard, "I'm your ringer."  And every so often, I'll pick up a rod and make some drifts. Just to survey what's going on. And usually when on the first spot of the day while showing everyone what to do, I'll hook-up. Not today.

No matter what I did, or where we went. We just couldn't get bit. Eventually, we did have three 14 inch Specks, and one 14" yellowmouth Trout. And of course no matter what kind of day it is, the bait-snatching Pinfish are chewing.

I even marked 59.9 degree balmy water temps.

At the jetties, we tried a spot I've been wanting to fish on the incoming high tide. It was a bit sloppy, with a swell coming in from the S.E. But no big deal. And not one take down of the float. Then, for a few minutes we tried bottom fishing on the incoming tide. And had "cold water" Sharks and that was it. I told Tim and Mitchell, that those lil' toothless sharks are a HERE'S YER SIGN, fish. If they're chewin. It's usually not a good thing. I just know that, from experience.

Mitchell was feeling a bit queezy, out on the big water. So we ran all the way back to the ICW.  Because by now the wind was HOWLING. Yep, here's the 15-20 knot SW winds that was predicted!

My dad, who's not a fisherman. But has fished a decent amount as a kid and with me over the years, has a saying everytime we're out. "If you're not catching, how am I supposed too?"

Pop is analytical kinda guy. And he's right. I know the spots, I know what to look for, I'm the experienced one. And today, I couldn't get bit, either.

That's why I like smaller group charters. Because I get the chance to make a few passes through an area. Because if I catch'em, I know they are there.

The skies stayed dark. We could see passing lines of clouds. And I even got a call from a buddy in Texas, who always tells me what weather's heading our way. Because they get it first. And he had snow yesterday north of Dallas. And we did feel a few rain drops.

By the time I got home, I had the mother of all headaches. A sinus headache? Or a "frustration in Jacksonville headache?" And the sun was finally peaking out, too.

But what can ya do?

I like Tim and Mitchell. And since today was cold, windy and fish-less. I told Tim, I want him to call me this summer when it's hot as all hell, a direct opposite day. And I want to take Mitchell out for some running and gunning shrimp boat style. And get the boy on a hundred pound Blacktip shark. I want him to experience the direct opposite of today's bazarro world on the St. Johns river. Where inconsistancy rules.

Let's hope we have, hot as hell, and sharks behind the shrimp boats in the chum hole this summer. I've seen years when that's alot to ask for too.

As I sit here doing this report I'm being blinded by the bright sun, with cloudless sky coming in my office window. A bit breezy, but don't think this weather would have given me the headache of the century. But rather SUN BURN.

I'll take sunburn, anyday!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Had Keith R. and two co-workers aboard today. Of course the forecast was for gorgeous weather. And light winds. The boat ramp parking lot has not seen this amount of traffic since last fall. I being the boy scout I am, picked up 9 dozen live shrimp and a basket of ice for the coolers last night. There's was no way I was going to the bait shop at 7am this morning. For a 8am departure time.

First spot, as I was showing the guys the how-to's of float-rigging. I of course get bit 20 feet off the back of the boat.......I.G. - "instantaneous gratification." Yep, again on the same spot, in the last two trips. A nice 18 inch Speckled Trout.

Then, for some reason it took way too long for another fish to be caught. Large concentration of stacked up fish that are 18-20 inches? Still hard to find within the confines of  a quick boat ride.  But it didn't seem that way last Tuesday.

The guys eventually picked off two more Trout. And that's where it ended. I had no idea of the sight I would see as we pulled anchor and headed eastward.

The Jetties looked like a parking lot. And of course all the places I'd normally fish had at least two boats on them a piece. We butted in on the south jetty but the tide was super weak. The "popping cork drifters" in 25 feet of water were out there. And I saw no one catching or doing a thing, near us. Because of no current.

I tried to get in another spot, but couldn't. It was if the spacing of boats was predetermined. So I pulled up and we kept looking. One thing I'm not good with is people in other boats. I can't fish that way. Maybe it's the float-rigger in me. I need wiggle room....and 100 feet behind my boat wide open. It's heridity. My grandpa was the same way and he was just a surf caster. If he walked on the beach and could see another human. He wouldn't fish there. Back to the station wagon, and off to some where else.

I wish he could have been on the boat with me today. Because if he acted like that back in 1953. I can't imagine what he'd say about today's river.

I looked at two more areas and said hell with this. We stopped in one spot and the guys caught a few dink yellowmouths, with one keeper. Hit another spot afterwards with no bites. Then moved back to where we caught the Trout in the morning. Thinking it maybe a bit less traveled. Oh it was travelled.....

We fished and fished and got one more Trout that was 19 inches caught by Keith. And then soon after the flood gates opened and here came boat after boat.  Every 10 minutes someone drove by us.

I had fun with the guys and enjoyed having Keith on board again. Last year, when he fished aboard the Jettywolf, it was with a much better bite. Less looking around, and more variety of species.

I didn't bother trying to do any bottom fishing. Just stayed on the float-rig all day.

Next up is Monday:

Hmmmmm....... MONDAY

Friday, March 19, 2010

3/18 - Third attempt.

Had aboard today Mike H. and his dad Gary which are regulars, I always enjoy having aboard. And today they brought a "newbie". John, the fella that's marrying Mike's sister. (do I see a new yearly crew member in the making?)

I say yearly. But sometimes I take Mike and crew twice a year. Mike lives in Wisc. And travels back to the First Coast with family to see his folks. The funny thing about today's trip was that it was the 3rd attempt, in 2 years!

We've had sort of a bad streak of weather between us. I believe one time he had planned to go fishing aboard the Jettywolf, it was 40 knot winds. Then another it was raining with 25 knot ya get the drift.

Been taking Mike and his dad for years, now. So Mike and I converse. And he's the "MODEL" customer when it comes to reserving a day to fish. He sends me an email months in advance. We pick the day, he books his trip. We chit chat prior.  And he's raring to go, when he arrives in Jax.

So all was set. 8:00am on the 18th. We depart. I have loads of frisky "free range" live shrimp, and the float-rig rods ready. The sky is dark in the morning, by no means is it warm and Florida like...."it was probably as cold in Appleton Wisc.??"

TROUT.  I'm thinking, let's whack some limits. First spot. As I'm going over the how's and why's basically for Johns benefit, the float goes down. And there we go......I.G. -instantaneous gratification! I hand the rod over to Mike. And we have the first decent "boxer". 2 minutes into our day.

Mike, Gary, and John, start fishing and catch another decent boxer. But it's kinda slow going. Then, from out of no where we could see a long slick of fuel, come pouring around the boat and envelopes the entire area we were fishing. Yes, FUEL. The bites instantly, S-T-O-P!

Ya wanna talk embarrassment?  Holy smokes! Yeah, this is all we needed! We couldn't see where it was actually coming from. Maybe a ship pumped it's bilges? Don't know, but I was a hair away from calling the coasties. But my number one concern was to catch fish.  So we made a move.

I just attended a river fishing seminar last night, after fishing all day. And not to fault the speaker, maybe some live in a different world.  But it was said, that the river is, "so clean". That maybe, comparitively. But we have construction along it's banks continuosly, ship yards, a Navy base, and plenty of foreign ships going in and out. I'll tell ya. This wasn't the first time I have seen something like this.

The sun never really shined on us. And obviously a "front" was coming through. It was freezin cold out in the middle of the river. So the majority of the day I tried to fish comfortable waters.

We tried a bit of bottom fishing. Nothing happened, so we went back to float-rigging. Catching, Specks and a Yellowmouth Trout. But it was a slow bite. And what fish we found, were caught. But it certainly wasn't a "rally" of fish, by no means. It was the weather, I'm sure.

Now the forecast for this weekend is gonna be warmer, sunnier, and "spring like"??  Saturday is the first day of spring. And the bright spot is that it's gonna feel like it, thank goodness. I'm sure I can speak for all my charter customers since late December......"IT'S ABOUT TIME!".

April is starting to book up. And this maybe the month  we've all been waiting for, here in N.E. Florida.
But do not come down to the boat un-prepared. Today, I was in two fleece jackets, and fleece pants all day long. The water temp was up at 57 degrees. We didn't hit the Jetties, because of the wind and cold.

And out of the fish we caught only one Trout was a throw back. Which is a good sign.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3/16 - It's so!

Headed out today with D.O.A. Rob H. aboard the Jettywolf.  The TV weather guessers said..."If you're gonna be outside, Tuesday is your day!"  Yeah, it was nice.......NICE AND COLD!

Damn, I almost figured I could keep all the fleece in my truck this morning. But not really. Rob, even had to run back to his house and get his long johns on this morning, and grab a heavier jacket. That was okay. The New Moon tide was still flooding in, and we weren't in any big hurry. "We can fish till 6pm and it'll still be sunny, now.

The live shrimp today at the bait shop came in two flavors. West Coast and Free Range. I opted for the free range shrimp and man they were super fine. Big, sassy and ready to go.....go, get eaten!

I decided on trying a spot neither of us have been too in a while. And as it turned out. It was time for us to put on a whackin' & stackin hats!  It was I.G. heaven......"when's the last time you read me saying INSTANTANEOUS GRATIFICATION?"

Trout, lots of Trout and all keepers (boxers) except for one 14 incher. Rob has his sneaky creek that he fishes and refers to it as his "wonderland". And this spot is mine. Only difference is, mine has been so on and off, for so long. I almost forgot about it. But the area was turned on today, that's for sure.

The day wore colder as we fished. And that 10 knots out of the North/Northeast forecasted. WASN'T. As the day got closer to noon, the windy it got and that meant even colder. For the last few hours of the day I was wearing a fisherman's best friend.....The hood on my Grundens Fishermans Jacket!

After boxing our limit of ten Speckled Trout up to 4 pounds. We moved on, and ran back to the "hub", and worked around the lil' jetties for no bites at all. I brought four, heavy duty meat mover Ugly Stik rods, and wanted to bottom fish the river or jetties at low tide. But the wind and the bone chilling temp. had us thinking....."let's just go back and just catch more TROUT, for fun."  So we beat a path back to the original spot, the tide was dead low. No current at all. But that's okay, we sat through it and I still caught another 16 inch Trout. Then, as the tide turned and started to flood again, I adjusted and got back into another limit of Trout.....still only one short 14" Trout all day. Wow, that was unbeliveable.

It's been a long wait, for these fish. I was in Speck fishing heaven! Trout from 16 to 22 inches, throw in a few more 20 inchers, and I almost felt as if I was in some kind of Trout fishing dream land, compared to the last few months, on the St. Johns River. We tried for some Redbass on a "almost gimme spot"  in the ICW. But no gimme's today.  But we did get a few Sheephead bites, with several 'swing and misses' on hooking them on the float-rig. So variety wasn't the spice of life today. All we caught was TROUT!

That "throb-throb" of a head shaking speck on the good ole Ugly Stik 7'6" float-rig rods sure felt great! Rob, is one of the few people I know who enjoys just reeling fat Specks to the boat, like I do. No need for waiting around for that long knock down drag out battle of a monster fish, just lots of bites, reeling in fish, high fives, and do it all over again. Easy cleaning, with no bones, and great fried crispy. That's what makes those Trout so enjoyable to us, 12 months a year.

I'm so ate up with Trout fishing. I'd sell my house and move far away, just to get closer to even better Trout fishing, in a heart beat! Alot of people just don't understand that, but I call it passion. For some people it's Grouper to Marlin. Other's it's just Redfish and only Redfish. For Rob and I, it's BIG SPECKS.


OH YES......IT'S SO!

Next up: Thursday with the Hurt Group and possibly Saturday with the Roberts Group.

Friday, March 12, 2010

3/12 - Monthly installment of WHY ALLOY?

Your monthly installment of  "alloy'ness".
The good the bad and the ugly, of course......

Pacific boat...same as mine. Photo from the Pacific Northwest. Real Rock/Log Country. Driver missed the first rock/log in the water, and even the second rock/log in the water, but not the third rock/log in the water.

I'm not sure I wanna see what the transom of a glass boat would have looked like.

And we have P-L-E-N-T-Y of rocks around here too, for being the state of FLORIDA!

Brand new 300 HP Suzuki. But the boat.....??  Not a scratch, crack or dent. Just the need to bolt on another 20K engine. Thank goodness for Alloy. (I heard this was the third outboard on this boat since 2001) Obviously gets rode hard and put up wet and bloody.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

3/9 - Calm with the King Crew

Headed out today at 8am with overcast skies and dead calm conditions with Chris, his 11 year old son Austin, and Chris' dad, Dave. Packed a livewell with lots and lots of live shrimp. Since they aren't very spunky and aren't living all that long on a hook. I figured I better bring plenty since I probably have "new" to the float-rigging folks aboard today. And it's absolutely essential to keep a lively shrimp on the hook at all times. And we may go through alot doing what I had planned.......and that was to float-rig, as many spots as I could.

The first spot proved to be the best spot, the higher water was just perfect. As I did my 15 minute crash course on "this is how ya do it." Boxing 3 keepers. With some throw back Specks and yellowmouths. Chris was into the action at first, despite his dad and son's floats a mere 5-6 feet away from his on each drift.

Taking from what reports I have recieved from Sunday, the trip yesterday with DOA Rob, and today. Each day has been a bit less active. Yesterday we only had 3 keeper Trout. But twice as many bites as today. And Rob said yesterday was half the bites he had on Sunday. 

Fished no less than 5 spots all in conjunction with good current, only one was a bad choice really. Because we got hardly a drift. The weak incoming was very evident at the jetties, where we ended up at the end of the day. The green water trying to push in, we sat completely backwards as the boat laid with the wind and the current went the opposite way. In search for a rogue Redbass patrolling the rocks.

It sure was nice and calm, though. Having just one less thing to worry about made for an easier day for me, that's for sure. I love "light and variable".

The King's were great folks to have aboard. And I know I probably bored them with stories of what I have caught on each spot. But, my mind is like a filing cabinet. I pull up to an area that I've fished for so long and the history files of each spot, just comes out. I can't help it. But do have the photos to prove it. Winter of 2010 won't be forgotten for a long, long time.

Eleven days till the first day of SPRING.
Five days away from Day Light Savings time.

Monday, March 8, 2010

3/7 & 3/8 - Bottom Blues & Trout for a change.

Sunday, did some R&D. Tried out my new anchor I've been waiting on for 5 weeks..... "getting one of these is not an easy task." 

But I have a 12 pounder and wanted an 18 pounder for my long heavy chain I use for anchoring deep along hard bottom.

And I wanted to try out some new rods I got for "big fish meat movers."
50-80# class serious non-sport fishing rods. Just get'em to the boat, rods. I'll most likey use for those jetty Black-tip and Bull Shark attacks, where it's just all out war. Big Reds, Drum and of course stopping the summer time 200 pound alien hover craft stingrays. No playing around sized, Ugly Stiks.

Fished two good areas on the falling, and two good areas on the incoming. With just Jumbo dead shrimp and a piece of Fishbites for added smell. And the couple of bites I did have were just Whiting. Yep, from 28-63 feet of water in the river and all I had was two Whiting......thank goodness it was just R&D.

Was booked today, Monday. But since B&M didn't have live shrimp yesterday, and wasn't exactly sure when they'd be in the livewells at the shop. We decided to move today's trip till Tuesday.

So I though I was going "lure fishing" with DOA Rob today, instead. And another good R&D for Tuesday's trip. I was prepared mentally to not have my beloved river crickets and float-rig in hand. But when we arrived at the bait shop, the shrimp were on their way....and way....and way. But they arrived at 8:30am so we got some.

DOA Rob has been doing great, on DOA shrimp of course in the creeks, the creeks where I can't get to. But yesterday as I sat doing my R&D bottom fishing for anything BIG, he worked a few areas and found some Trout to 4 pounds. And when I said, "ya need to take me on Monday." He said. "Okay, are ya prepared?"  I replied, "Heck yeah. I have me some Shiney Hiney's, the new Edura Shrimp and some new Browns Flappin Devils to try!";jsessionid=EB93DC67C67FAF4C1A6CA9C2704AB27E.qscstrfrnt03?productId=208

Yeah, but in the back of my mind I knew a sprightly live cricket would be the ticket for me. It's not a fish fest out there yet by no means. Might as well "GET" fish in the box, first. And since we had shrimp now. I was in heaven. I had my float-rig in my hands and even had a boat/trolling motor operator.

First stop, Rob caught a beautiful Trout, a 20 incher. On the DOA shrimp of course. And I worked a Brown's Flappin' Devil on a 3/8ths oz. jig at first....till I got it hung in the bottom and lost it.

Rob's buddy Mike was out there too. He caught Trout on a MirrOlure 52MR. And to me that means... "spring is on it's way". Because I'm a MirrOlure chucker too, since I'm usually fishing deeper waters. And it's been for years and years my #1 Big Trout in Spring lure. So much that years past I'd whack the hell out Trout and yellowmouths up to 7 pounds on them, at the jetties.

I put on a live shrimp and as "trolling motor Rob" worked the area back and forth. I sat in the back of the boat just floatin' my shrimp around. Then, I started catching. Putting two in the box to 18 inches. Loosing a few and catching throw backs, also.

Mike was moving all around and he even caught some pup reds on a popping cork and mud minnow. All the while in the river....Not in some 2 foot deep creek. But Mike was all disgruntled. I yelled to him, "You're not up in some shallow creek Mike, your in the river. Be happy your catching something......."

We moved on to the next spot. Rob had 3 keepers here yesterday from his total of 20 plus Trout. We continued catching but they were all small specks, and small yellowmouths.

Only had the 3 keepers in the fish box. But between those 3 fat Trout ( Rob gave me his one fish) and my 2 Whiting from my "bottom only experiment" yesterday. I sure had enough to make the kitchen smell the way it used to smell after a fishing trip.....LIKE A FISH FRY!

Yep, just got done with 2 big fried Speck sandwiches doused in Zaterains, on a toated bun with a slab of cheeze. Too good!

Our day sort of ended on a bad note. Rob's outboard on the way to the third spot conked out on us. Sounded like a fuel problem. It would start, run rough. Then, it wouldn't start at all. So I called for a towand Mike from SeaTow Mayport ran and got us. Till Rob's motor is fixed, he'll just go back to the Hobie Yak.

Next up: Tuesday 3/9 with three generations of the King Family.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

3/4 -The difference a year can make.

I've been going back and reading my own reports.....Because it's so damn cold outside. And that wind lately, whoa! what a killer., huh? So I'm day dreaming of day gone by.

I ran across this day;
in Feb last year.

Just a few days before the re-opening of Specks. I remember it clearly. The three guys that I had aboard were a real hoot. And we all sure had fun! Even though the catch and release of Speck after Speck, on the float-rigs was a bit painful for me. The shallow water area we were in was FISHY! Water temp I said was 55. Yep, that's the norm for deep February...problem today, is that 50 and below is not the NORM for January 1st!! Like it was in the beggining of 2010.

While scanning my old reports, I read that last year there was some Trout at the jetties too. I've basically given up on Float-rig fishing the "big stones" for any Specks, right now. But then again, it's hard to keep a spunky shrimp on a hook, worthy of attracting a bite. The live shrimp seem lively in the bait well, but as soon as you hook them and toss them into the chilliness. They're done!

I came up with a theory.....although a simple one. "When the shrimp stay alive on the hook and are "sprightly", is when the Trout will eat them. Along the granite Highway."

Last year, on March 12th I was out chasing these!

Till then, I have made a few minor adjustments in the boat, and in my tackle room. We're gonna be some bottom bumping river rovers, on my boat. Yeah, it maybe nothing but a mind-set really, with a tweak here and there. But as long as I feel committed. I'm okay with that. I'm so not the "consummate" bottom fisherman, that yes, I have to prep myself.

The less than a month old, Jax Trout Trackers forum has 28 members already. But of course the reports and activity is quite sparce. We'll see if that'll change. And who's a giver, and who's just a lurker in the shadows. It's all what YOU make of it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

3/3 No sale....went on Ebay

Have had 1/2 price reels, lures and multitudes of tackle here for sale or best offer, via the link on the side bar. And no action. People would rather pay full retail I guess, at local tackle shops. Not me. Not in this world.

So I'm putting the items on Ebay, now.

NEW in box, Okuma Alumina 200 Low Pro high capacity/high speed reel-

NEW in box - Shimano Tekota 500 levelwinds coventional reel (I have two left) -

Not yet on Ebay:
NEW- Matching 7'  one piece, EVA grips/ Fugi reelseats & guides, Ugly Stik Tiger Lites "Customs" rods also availible (2) at $60 each, retail $90. ADD SHIMANO TEKOTA'S ABOVE FOR A SUPER OUTFIT FOR KINGFISH TO GIANT REDS!

NEW - Custom built 8' one piece fiberglass, EVA grips, Fugi Guides and reelseats, "Retro blue on white blank"  heavy duty designed, medium/pure parabolic action designed Float-rigging rods by Biscayne custom rods (2) at: $100 each ADD OKUMA REEL ABOVE FOR A SUPER OUTFIT!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tagged Redfish.....from 2/20

Finally, heard back from the tagging program guy. About the tagged Red we caught on Feb 20th. After making a second call this morning. He said he was under the weather...the address on the tag was Miami, but the guy said he was in New Orleans. Hmmmm??

On Sept. 25th 2009, it was tagged at the Little Jetties in the St. Johns River. Guess where we caught it?
At the little Jetties in the St. Johns River. The fish was reported to have "lots of spots". The fish had 35. It was reported that the fish was 31 inches. I measured the fish and it was 31 inches.

I've always heard Redfish don't go far. Well, this one didn't. So in the balmy 53 degree water that day. Where were the rest of the river reds? It was tagged basically in the height of the big Red, fishing time of year. By ......"the Redfish Guru", who only fishes for reds in the fall.

Maybe, since my love is good size Trout. I'll tag some whenever they start biting again. And we'll see where they go, huh? Any one who's a Jax Trout Tracker member, that catches that same Trout wins a _________. (I don't know yet) Now that's an idea.

Wonder if there's a Trout tagging program, we'll see.