I believe the title says it all about this weekend. Besides there being "no bite", on the bottom really. Saturday we searched high and low for some BIG Black Drum, Redbass, and sow Sheepshead along the channel edges in deep water, bottom fishing with fillet mignon as bait; fat Chowder Clams, Blue Crabs, and Shrimp. And couldn't give away a bait! Not from a lack of trying either. I worked hard. Add in the drag boat packs, and just so many wake makers in the river that it made for a challenging day. Weekends lately, have been more like fighting to find a spot to fish comfortably and not as productive as they should be. This time of year.
Did I really fish through "sub zero" weather all winter, for this??
(did last weeks 5 days of East and N. East winds have such a damaging effect on the river and blow out the big Drum, Reds and "deep channel Sheepshead?" Along with the flood tides being super weak??)
Sunday was the same thing. Instead of three guys, I had two gals and a 8 year old boy. So I kept it simple. Wanting at least to get into a Whiting bite or something on the bottom, we ended up getting no bites, or just stingrays at the jetties. The boats around us all had stingrays too. So it was a "here's yer sign....." kinda day. When you can sit on hard bottom areas in the river, fishing three live shrimp, and they do not even get touched......it's a ,"here's yer sign."
This weekend alone, we had a big ugly ghetto cruiser drive down the side of my boat on anchor at the jetties, then cut across my bow so close that I thought it would grab my anchor line. Then, the same idiot went over and almost drove into the jetty rocks bow first. Then, drifted back into another boat on a trolling motor, so close that he had to run off the bow and start his engine and back up. Then, the idiot repeated that a few more times. All the while alone except for what looked like a 3 year old little girl sitting in the passenger seat.
IF YOU'RE HAVING ENGINE, OR STEERAGE PROBLEMS......YELL OUT, "I'M HAVING PROBLEMS!" So we all know to do some Self Preservation, because of you. This dude didn't say a thing, which led us to believe he was just another mental case.
The ICW was un-fishable. The wakes from big boats at high speed, poker run type Fountain race boats, and just plain "me, me, me'ers". Had the banks muddy and the water all chopped up.
For this reason, is why I'm almost considering that all weekend trips need to be "night fishing trips" or at least evening types, from here on out.
On a stranger note:
Yesterday, while I had the two gals and the young boy aboard. We were at the jetties, anchored up. And the usual Dolphin swims by.
There's where the usual, ENDED.
We all know that around here, that the local Dolphin population really has no interest in us as boaters/fisherman. They swim on by and do their own thing. Inter-action is very minimal, if any. I even tell people that they don't pay much attention to us. And I believe compared to other parts of the state, it may have to do with water claritiy. Their sonar, not their eyes are their way around the St. Johns river.
So as we sat anchored inside the north jetty, a single Dolphin swam by the boat. Then made a B-line straight at us. Ellen, and Mary Beth and young Jack, and I stood there in amazement! The Dolphin came over and stuck it whole head out of the water and looked at us. If it could have talked it would have said, "Hey ya'll have any spare fish ya wanna give me??"
This wasn't like some freak, brief encounter. The animal went under water and came back up and did it again a few times. RIGHT, on the side of the boat! It's head and mouth were so close I could have just leaned over and pet it on top of the head. It moved it's mouth, opening and closing without making a sound. It was absolutely amazing.
All the years I have spent inshore, in the river, behind shrimp boats, and offshore. No matter what the Dolphins are doing, they don't seem to care about the "people" inside a boat. I've had them mating on the side of my boat, jumping across my bow make, and even chase me around in a creek, thinking I'm the daily crabber, changing baits in the crab traps. And not a one has come out of the water, and looked me in the eye. And looked as if it was wanting to have a conversation!
But it gets even better...
Later in the day, I mean several hours later. I was heading down the ICW behind the Lil' Jetties. It was PACKED with ever concievable boat heading north and south. Even the Coasties with a guy and his canoe straddled across the coastie boat, packed with stuff and flying a Canadian flag off the back. Which was strange. A hard core international canoe'ing adventurer?
So we were just iding along southward. I look over and see a Dolphin. It had the same exact cut in it's dorsal fin as the one at the jetties....I said, "Hey look, is that the same Dolphin?" to my crew. And before they could even say "I think so", the Dolphin came over to us in all that boat traffic and I dropped out of gear and it did the same thing. Swam up to the side of the boat, stuck it's head out of the water within a foot of the boat, and smiled at us. At least that's how they look. It moved it's mouth and swam down the side of the boat, turned around and came up and smiled again. We figured it remembered us??
Does it like aluminum boats?
Then, after a minute. It swam off heading towards the river. Ellen got several photos, and said, "that was the highlight of this trip." It had to be. We fished live shrimp on floats, and on the bottom with not a single bite, other than a Whiting, a Seabass, and a few clear-noses Rays.
I gave her my card with my email address on it. And she may send me the photos, as proof. It was an amazing experience, after all these years. This Dolphin, maybe one that grew up in Marine Land or something and was released, is all we could figure. It knew people, was freindly and seemed to pick us out of the crowd, somehow. Of course, like a dog it was begging for a treat, I'm sure. And I know for a fact it's illegal to feed them. All I had aboard was one Whiting and lots of live shrimp. But we were so freaked out, we all stood in amazment talking to it.
Wonder if it can hear us?
It was like I-95 on the ICW. And all I could think about was how nice it'll be out there with no one around, at night.
Hopefully Ellen will send me some pictures of the Dolphin. My camera of course messed up, because I was asking it to work too fast. It locked up on me. Right when I needed it the most.