Sunday, May 30, 2010

5/30 - Whack a Red in a washing machine!

Had Dean B. and his two buddies aboard today. Dean was visiting them from Minnesota. Got to the boat ramp super early figuring I'd have to secure a parking spot at the crack o' dawn, because of the Holiday weekend. I sat in the water and watched friend and after friend head on out for a day of offshore fishing. And while I was talking to one of them on the VHF radio as he and his wife broke outside the jetties, they said, "It's a washing machine out here, I think we'll bag it and try again tomarrow....."

Hmmm, it was nice and calm at the boat ramp, hidden nicely behind the slight bluff from the S.E. wind blowing, obviously. Then, another buddy comes back, then another. Then the chit-chat of the 70' Party boats, talking about how choppy and white cappin it was. Oh well, thank goodness I'm an inshore guide is all I could think. But as my boys came down to the dock, I gave them the news. "It's gonna be a bit sporty fella's. But we'll head on out there and see for ourselves." 

I went straight to where I wanted to fish. It was a culdron of white water, folding over. As I took the boat out of gear and drifted in the slop, waves would hit the side of the boat and fold on in. I constantly hear, "Geez, your boat has high sides..." as if having a safe gunnel heigth is like having herpes or something. As with many inshore boats out there today that are "shin knockers". I say to myself....."I just couldn't fish out of that, let alone do charters." Been there done that....actually. And now know better.

It was bad, but I had a suspicion that as the tide rose it would lay down some. So we went to a spot that's the perfect comfy cozy fishin' hole. Not much goes on here, but it's easy anchoring, easy fishing, easy standing, and would be great if the fish knew how comfortable of a spot it was for "US", so we could catch'em. But it doesn't work that way. Not in my world.  We weren't there long when we had two back to back hook-ups with swings and a miss. Almost caught fish. Okay, maybe I was wrong. Maybe there's a few here. But after an!  Till I was ready to say, "LETS GO". And that's when a float goes down, a hook is set and a drag is peeling line.

We see it, but we also saw one small turtle after another. Some one yells, "it's a a turtle!!"  Only problem with that is the small sea turtles around here, don't peel line off the spool, don't bow over a rod like that and certainly don't put up a gamefish type fight. It's a BIG Redbass! And it came to kick some ass, too.

At 29 something inches it was what we came fishing for. So the game was back on again. Re-bait and get out out there. But that was it. No other bites. So it was time to go check the washing machine one more time.

I won't get into a lot of details, because I just ate dinner, and am feeling kinda sleepy. Plus had a big day out there in the sun, and in the swells. But I can tell ya this......"If every Redbass that was hooked up, made it to the boat, the guys would have easily caught over 25 of them, easy."  But many popped the leader, bent the hook, or just plain got off the small "live shrimp hooks", I use. But then again, light tackle gets BIT!

The guys dropped two Redbass into the fish box, out of alot caught and alot lost, up to 32-1/2". But that's the nature of fishing the BIG ROCKS. And they even caught a small Speckled Trout, a handful of Jack Crevalle and Ladyfish in between the Reds.

We fished till all but two shrimp out of 10 dozen were gone. Now that's a fine day. Like that yellow mustard in the Chinese resturants, that ya dip your egg roll in. It's not hot, it's exciting. That's what the jetties were today aboard the JETTYWOLF boat. "It wasn't rough out was exciting!"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

5/29 - Looks like it's time to get serious!

And good for them! 

Recreational fisherman deserve a voice.

I have not be able to get there. But it's where I'd like to be someday. But that day dream may be over.

Monday, May 24, 2010

5/24 - where Trout are not.....

Yep, I can certainly tell ya where the Trout are not!  Had one of my favorite customers Don B. aboard today with his neighbor, Billy.

Ahhhhhhhh, just two guys and a Monday with no one around. It's been too long. Plan was since the N.E. wind was supposed to blow and it did, to go way up river and fish our way back to Mayport. First stop, almost 12 miles from the dock, one way. And hit all the spring time / summer Speck spots. Hit & run, I guess you could say. 10-15 drifts of the float, max. And unless we hit the mother-load. Keep moving.

First spot, last of the incoming tide. Calm, water was like glass. Not one bite. Time to move on. Second spot, first of the falling tide. Billy drifts his float back and it disappears on his first drift.....drag pulls, rod tip bucks good. Fish runs back and forth.'s a big Trout.

A 24", 4 pound fat bellied sow Speck.
I'm stoked and now it's Don's turn. But no bites. I make a drift and my float goes down and it's a head thumper. I'm thinking TROUT. But it's a 2 pound Jack Cravalle, instead. And we proceed to not get another single bite. HOW DISAPPOINTING.
Water salinity a nice 20 parts per thousand, but muddy as all hell and nasty looking.


But let's stop here for a minute. One Jack?? Not a single Ladyfish?? Not a single bait stealer bite?? So I take a tight line rig, a extra long leader, small hook, light sinker and pin on a big live shrimp. I pitch it out and bump it along the bottom in the current, keeping my line tight. Usually a recipe for a multitude of bait-stealers to snatch the bait as it bumps along the bottom in the current. I did this for two or three live shrimp and not a taker.

I believe, they refer to this as a, "HERE'S YER SIGN".

So off we head to the next spot. No bites. Next close spot. Every things really perfect. The winds starting to blow, but it's not that bad. Don and Billy are making perfect drifts. I grab a rod and make a pitch doing the opposite of what they're doing and I get a "sand bagger" bite on my float. Then, I go again. Another "sand bagger". Third times a charm, I come up with a 15-1/4" Speck. Don and Billy work the area hard for no bites. Time to move.

After a little USCG harassment, we get on the next spot, the winds blowing us good here. So we make a adjustment. A few bait stealers bites. But still not even a Ladyfish or even a Jack! Let alone a Speckled Sea Trout. I try the bottom rig one more time. No good bites.

Now the inlet is full of Ladies. Saw schools of them at slack tide yesterday inside the north Jetty. And saw one get blasted by a Cuda. That was cool. And each spot we've fished today so far would have been covered up with 6" Mangrove Snappers. But this winter's cold water put the kibosh on those bait stealing rats. And I'm having the feeling it also put the kibosh on the Trout too. I haven't heard a single thing about an all out Trout slaughter yet this year. I'm talking a 50-75 Trout day, in the river from someone I would believe, and history.


We tried a few more spots. Same deal everywhere we went. So that's my take on the Trout fishing. And that's my findings so far. As much as I loved cleaning the two we had today and slicing that big long fat fillet off Billy's fish. It brought back memories. Because it's been so long (December) since I got into the Specks and put on a super clinic. Yeah December....1/4 mile from the boat ramp. Fifty fish plus days, two anglers!
DOA Rob and myself, or Dr. Dick M. and myself.

People may not realize what that winter did at first. But I believe we're paying for it now. But, I have to remain optimistic. Because I still haven't done any midnight Trout trips after the heat of the day, yet.

Guess I should save fuel and stick to the BIG ROCKS, huh?


I read that forecast to my 4 passenger Tuesday charter. And after today's winds? We cancelled.


Got this from Don this morning;

"I logged on and read your report about our fishing trip, you, Billie and I.
Once again I would like to thank you for a good day and you should get a triple A for trying.
I never seen a guy try so hard to get us on some fish.
I know that you made Billie's day with him catching that 24", 4lb trout and I am thankful for that, maybe next time it will be my turn.

I read your report and said to myself. "Self", If Dave decides to give up the charter fishing business he could always become a writer.

It's amazing how you could write so much about nothing happening.
Very descriptive but true.

Take care of yourself and stay well. I wish you smooth sailing."

-Don B.

-What Don doesn't know is, a lot "happened" in my mind. Doing best to track those big Trout!
May 25, 2010 11:21 AM

5/23 - Best shot.

Gave it my best shot with a late notice trip on Sunday, with 4 passengers. Figured I mimic what I've been doing. So that meant a late departure, around noon. The boat ramp traffic goes in "waves". I never really realized that. First wave at crack o' dawn, then another around noon. Go figure. There was no parking spots, and there may have been if it wasn't for the single cars parked in the trailer parking spots. So I arrived early, and figured I'd hang out and wait for a early leaver to pull out and grab that parking spot. With boat in the water for over and hour, truck in a transitional spot (not a super legal spot) I waited. A fellow fishing guide came in and I went to grab his spot as he pulled out. And some guy decides he's going to stand in the parking spot as his buddy puts in the ole pontoon boat. I pull in toward the spot, and he just stands there......

I said, "you can't stand there guarding a parking spot!" He gets all mad looking and yells "we're parking that (pointing) truck here." I said, "I don't think so....."  Yep, just another wonderful day at the Mayport boat ramp.  Too much city, too many people, too small a parking lot, not enough water for everyone. That's definitely what weekends have become.

That's why myself and especially my buddy DOA Rob love winter so much...."thins out the crowds."
(Just not winter's like this past one. Normal winter's.)  

My folks finally arrive and we try last of the falling tide bottom fishing on the inside tip of the north. Yesterday, we had a stinger, a nurse shark and a 32" Redbass there. But today, the EAST breeze was blowing.
There's no EAST that's a good thing around here. The swell was present. But do-able. And we hung a dumpster-lid sized stinger.

I had 3 young Marines, and ones dad aboard. Brandon gallantly fought the stinger as it smoked drag off my mini-Accurate twin drag reel, bowing over my light bottom fishing 6'6" Intracoastal Ugly Stik. He tried, but there was no getting this "lid" to the boat after it went down and stuck to the bottom in 40 foot. I gave it a try and couldn't budge it. So I had to break it off.

So we moved on to float-rig fish for the Reds. The water was sloppy, brown, and the EAST wind was a royal pain in the butt. Couldn't stick on the spot, the swell was snatching on the anchor. But after 5 tries, I got us somewhere near where we needed to be. The tide was getting right, but not there yet. But with other boats around, I had to stake out the area. On weekends, it's others that are the problem. Not usually the fish. I have to be extra vigilant and work in some defensive maneuvers. We had to cast far to the spot and let the floats drift. We tried and tried, fishing only two lines. Hooking only Ladyfish. And they were almost enough for my crew. Can't imagine what a 32" Redbass up against the jetty rocks would have done to them.

After what seemed like a few hours trying for the Reds, without success. I saw nothing that made me want to continue on this spot that's been so good to me, since last Tuesday. I usually can't get a 3 day run out of a spot like this. The weather's never good, that long.

We moved into the river. Every place I wanted to try had either a boat on it or a line of humans standing on the bank casting. So we jumped quickly from spot to spot, that seemed somewhat fish-able. It was now high tide and the wind was due EAST and blowing a steady 15 knots.....kinda a K.O.D. situation as the moon rose in the horizon.

The last three spots didn't even produce a Jack or Ladyfish. So we ended the day, and headed back to the dock.

-looking so forward to weekdays again. It's been a hell of a weekend. The tides now all wrong for the Reds at the jetties on the float-rig. So I'm heading up river in search of the illusive Speckled Sea Trout on Monday with just two people.

-Then on Tuesday, I'm back with another 4 passenger group that just booked the trip today! Guess we'll bottom fish? I keep looking for live bait IE: Pogies, Greenies, close so not to waste time looking all day for them. And I'm finding, none.

Of course, now that I could use a well of Pogies. They're not around. 3 weeks ago, they were everywhere and I didn't need them. That's the way it always goes.    

Saturday, May 22, 2010

5/22 - Back Howlin at the rocks, again.

Boy, did I have a couple stressful days between my last trip and today. I've been experiencing a squeal every once in awhile in my Honda outboard. But never effected the performance. So like the human body with a pain, motors with a noise is obviously a sign that somethings a miss and needs attention. So, with zero time and not many mechanic skills, I started hunting for the culprit. Until, I ended up thinking I found not only the source, but a possible secondary source. I missed one charter, giving it to a buddy to take. And then making a call to the best Honda man in NE Florida.....because he'll make a house call, and knows his stuff, inside and out. He's the only person in the area who could get me back in the water, fast.

But the saga didn't end there. The diagnosis was made while on the phone. So I quickly ordered the parts. Barely got them on time, and then like any job, it's the unknown that makes a simple job take hours. Even for an absolute expert. But persistence paid off. And Friday evening at 7:30pm I was ready for the water at 7:30am on!  My phone is ringing off the hook, so of course this is when down time happens, right?

But I was ready, even though my doctor wouldn't have liked to see what my blood pressure was the last few days. Because he would have said, "double the dosage of the BP pills!!!!"

So it's another Saturday morning at the Mayport boat ramp. The river is a mess of people. And I have 4 guys, booked by Andrew M. for he and his buddies. My plan was to get some live wigglers, either Pogies, or Greenies at the jetties. Drop to the bottom and hopefully hang on.......during the falling tide.

No Pogies close. No Greenies, at the jetties. We try float-rig fishing a bit and the tides running way too hard.
So I make a call. And get a box of Boston Mackerel delivered to the boat ramp dock, as the guys use the rest room. I head to the Little! Across from the Little! So we head back to the big jetties. I set up and get where I wanted too. And we finally get into something.

First rod bend was a Stingray. Of course, it's summer now. Like a day without sun shine, what's dropping to a bait to the bottom without a garbage can lid on a hot summer day? Next fish, a 32" Redbass. Finally, it's what we were there for. Targeted species.

The falling tide started to fade, with no other bites. So we moved on. Was it time to break back out the "LT" (light tackle) ?  It was time to get the float-rigs back in the water. I made a move, and explained that we'll just fish two rods first to "just see", and make them right. And we weren't in position 10 minutes when a float goes down. And hooked up was a nice keeper Redbass.

I think it's time to start the party!
Now, we had all 4 guys throwing floats. Thank goodness they could cast. Usually, I never fish four float rigs. Because, it can be a nightmare of tangles. But I just tried to stay outa the way.....And more reds were hooked up, lost, broke off, and landed.

We had a triple hook up at one time. But the third fish popped off. And most were keepers, while only one was too big for the box, I think.

The guys ended the day hot, sunburnt, and with plenty of reds in the box. They were thinking, "what was up", earlier in the day. But, this is the St. Johns river and no matter what you think you know about fishing, it's all about fishing the tides and being on the right spot, when the fish are there.

So, next up for me is Sunday, again with 4 passengers. And we're not making a marathon out of it! We're leaving at noon. Then on Monday, I'm back to two guys. And that'll be a kick backed trip with a favorite regular customer that I've had aboard many times.

I hope to not have "expensive stress" like a had the last few days again, any time soon. But that's how this biz is. You'd think I'd be used to it all by now. But I'm  not.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5/18 - PERFECTLY......Red

Had Dave and Mike C. and Craig aboard the Jettywolf today.

It was P-E-R-F-E-C-T. Ya don't get days as perfect as this all the time. But, tide wise..."we had to wait it out". Wind wise...."light SW, to zero". Sun wise...."Blazing, and hardly a cloud." Angler wise....."two of these guys have done this before on the Jettywolf, and the third was a very quick study!!"  

Besides my baitwell pump crapping out and almost all the shrimp died on me and having to go back and get 9 dozen more. The day was flawless.

Over 30 Redbass, from 16 to 32 inches. Loads of perfect keepers. One Yellowmouth Trout, and one big BEAUTIFUL Pompano. Not one Ladyfish, Not one Jack Crevalle. ""Multiple 3 red"" hookups at one time, meant controlled mayhem on deck. Yeah, that's what I like!

I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

Ugly Stik 7'6" Striper Rods, Shimano Citica bait casting reels, Float-rigs, small hooks, light leaders, plenty of live shrimp, 26' plate alloy jetty fishing machine, low wind, perfect tide, and good anglers. Meant loads of FUN, sun burn and fish slime. Afterwards all that was needed was some blackening seasoning, melted butter, a white hot cast iron skillet, a cold beer, and look out......"it's eating time."   

Monday, May 17, 2010

5/ 16 - Mid-May:

BIG WIND with East in the direction, had put a damper on my last fishing trip. It was one of those days that no matter what I did, and where I went, Mother Nature seemed to be against us. Throw in a bit of seasickness rolling swells and ya have a tough day.  So, on Sunday, I was relieved to have a nice "cruise charter" with 5 folks. A few from England, a few from Melbourne Fla. and one from Jax. Any time I don't have to fish on a busy weekend, during the middle of the day, I'm liking it.

Plans were to head out the jetties, run up the ocean and into Nassau Sound. Round the sound, go down the ICW to Ft. George, then south in Sisters Creek to the St. Johns, head west, round Blount Island to the Dames Point, and back to Mayport. But the wind was up a bit from the S.E. again, and it was low tide in the morning. So I figured running in Nassau Sound at low water may not be the best idea. So I had to change our route.

Angler's wanted: For a near-coastal, and offshore trolling trips. I'm looking forward to catching some Kings, and even Cuda's. And maybe even a Cobia. It's time to move away from the river on weekends. I'm all rigged up. I believe between my bag of spoons, a box of cigar minnows, a livewell with pogies or greenies. From the South East hole to the near-shore reefs, we'll  be able to have some fun away from the crowds.

It's also getting hot enough, to do some 6pm-midnight fishing on weekends. When everyone else has gone home. It's cooler and the river is ours.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

5/9 - Time to a King.

Besides the Cobia showing BIG TIME on the beach and tide rip earlier this week. And some King Mackerel showing up on the beach too. I usually say, "when the first Kingfish is caught off the Jax beach pier, it's GO TIME for beach fishing."

Haven't heard or read any caught off the pier yet. There may have been one caught already (?). But I saw some caught south of the Mayport jetties, with my own two eyes as I plundered into the vast parking lot that made up Saturday's boat festival. I said it before, I'll say it again, "I don't see $3.00 fuel prices slowing anyone down one bit. Except for maybe charter boats."

When Cuda's are stacked up like cord wood on the St. Johns River's tidal rip line. I think it's fair to say, you could go to a close in reef now, and have good A-C-T-I-O-N.

It seems like yesterday, that I was out still feeling cold. Yeah that's right, it was the night Nick and myself went night fishing to see how my lights worked. We had to quit, we were shivvvvvering, so bad.

So what's in the pressure cooker for the Jettywolf?

Near-coastal and reef trolling trips for Kingfish Mackeralous?

Yeah. Certainly not new, just different.

And those 6pm to midnight Trout - float-rig fishing trips. Can' ya imagine being along the jetty rocks after dark and what might lurk about behind the boat, being drawn by a glowing green light, that's attracting all kinds of bait? Oh I can! All we need is a windless, calm evening.

Like this, right here.

Just thinking about it has me feeling like, howling from the Jetties.

Friday, May 7, 2010

5/6 - Jus' The Jetties & Jeff

I had Jeff A. aboard today. This is a man that works so much it took him being layed off, and waiting for his next job to have a moment for me to take him fishing. We've talked about it since I've gotten my new boat, and that was 3-1/2 years ago! As an experienced "float-rigger", I didn't have to tell Jeff much at all. And that's a good thing. Because as we fished together, he whooped azz on me. So bad, that I thought I was using some other kind of bait. I ended up with two tiny seabass and a Jack Crevalle all day.

There was NO tide today. (after the full moon last week, we're now in the waning crescent moon) and as the ole rule of thumb goes. Anything less that 4 foot or better of water movement, you will struggle all day to find good tide to fish in. Especially as a "float-rigger".  So we fished just the Jetties, (aka: Inlet) all day long, staying in close to the current source. We needed an all day trip. Because half the time you're waiting on some kind of water movement.

That's why this time of year ALL CHARTERS, unless you really can't, or don't want too. Need to be 6-8 hour days. Summer is our weakest tide season.

Right off the "git-go" Jeff was into bites. Mostly nothing to rave about. Some Ladyfish, Seabass, and then all of a sudden he hooked into a drag smoker! A big fish on the light tackle that pulled and pulled hard. Moved fast and had Jeff dancing around the back of the boat. I thought Redbass, then a big Jack Crevalle. Never did a Spanish Mackerel enter my mind. But that's what it was. A MONSTER SPANISH. For these parts.
Especially up inside the inlet while fishing 10 feet of water!

Yeah, I've caught Spanish Macs this big before. But usually offshore while King Mackerel fishing, or off the beach in bait schools in 50' of water. But on the light tackle "float-rig", this Spaniard gave Jeff a run for his money. So much that afterwards, we wished we could catch about 10 more of these. But Jax isn't the Florida keys. And we weren't anchored on a "patch reef" chumming either. So as hard as we fished. This was the only one.......or was it???

We got loads of swing and a miss type bites. Typical of a Spanish ripping by and just taking a live shrimp off the hook. But that's all we did......swing & miss.

The tide was like nothing. The boat swung east, then west, then spun in a circle. Easy to deal with, while only having one experienced angler on board. But, this would have been hellish if I had 3-4 people, that were serious newbies to the game.

I continued to play catch up. While Jeff slam dunks the FIRST 2010 genuine Speckled Sea Trout, of the year along the jetty rocks. Yes, this winter put the kibosh on the BIG Specks at the jetties. For some reason, once the freezing temps arrived in January. It seemed to alter the entire pattern we go by and I know so well along those big rocks. So as Jeff worked a good sized GATOR to the boat. I was freaking out!

Jeff was on fire! And I was hoping we found the "nest" of Trout. But this was the only one. Just like the Spanish Mack. We ended up going around the rocks, checking for current as the tide slowly changed, like "Molasses in January in Jacksonville" this winter.
We were better off along where we started. So we went back there and anchored up again.

We weren't there long. I was still struggling to even catch a F-I-S-H, and Jeff has his float go lazily under the surface. He comes tight, and then the fish feels the pressure. Right up against the ten ton granite boulders, Jeff now hooks a Redbass that just realized it was hooked. The fish goes for the rocks, comes out, goes for the rocks again. Comes out. Jeff's rod is in the shape of a horse shoe! I'm about coming outa my skin, holding the landing net. It's an all out gray colored battle. Nothings black or white, no one knows who's gonna win this.
The jetty rocks are RIGHT THERE! Like a good fisherman, Jeff stays calm (calmer than I) and hangs on and the fish turns, comes toward the boat and I scoop it in the net. Oh what a classic light tackle next to the rocks float-rig fishing scenario. All the more important, because it was a 25 inch keeper!

Not long after this fish, Jeff hooks up another azz-hander! And that fight was short. Right into the rocks, and POP goes the leader. Oh....that was a big'un!

The tide started to move on in, and the bites quit. So we picked up, tried a few other non productive spots and went back to where we started once again. But bait was getting real scarce. I called the bait shop to see if they got that new batch of live shrimp in yet. And headed for the boat ramp. Jeff was gonna jump in his truck and go get more live shrimp. We took all that was left in the tanks this morning, which was 7 dozen. And we went through those pretty fast. The day was still young. So after baiting up with 4 dozen more. We headed out to the jetties again. But only after checking a "winter Trout hot spot".

I needed to see, since this year is like no other year I've experienced lately. If the big Trout were on a winter spot still, on the flooding tide. It too had to be a literal high tide, before there was any really pushing current. And the spot didn't have any Trout on it. And I finally caught a fish that fought. A 3 pound Jack. So we left and headed again, back to the jetties. This time we were on a mission. Find more Trout like species. Be it Yellowmouth Trout or Specks. 

The water was now deep green ocean water everywhere. We anchored up. And the place was dead. No Specks, no yellowmouths, no any mouths! But since it took us 4 tries just to get anchored right, because of the wind and little bit of current we had. We weren't leaving, just yet. We had two other boats near us, that kept jockeying for position. And hardly giving any room for me to maneuver. I knew where I wanted to be, and I was gonna get there! One guy just left after a few tries. And another ended up behind us somehow.

So once I was where I wanted to be. Jeff put the sticks to me again....He hooks up with a big Redbass. It does the same deal. In the lack of current, they go straight for the structure. Which means straight for the nasty jetty rocks. This obvious over sized hulk, made the right moves, and Jeff looses it.  We keep fishing. I  was catching litl' bait snatching rock blennies, and a small Jack.  So was Jeff, but it didn't take long for him to get bit again. Another big Redbass.......was he gonna be able to stop this one? The fish made a few mistakes, Jeff took advantage. Right there is the difference. Knowing when to take advantage. I see so many fisherman on my boat that think all ya do is just reel. Nope! You have to play the fishes weakness'. Take advantage of when you get a chance to move the fish away from the structure. This isn't bass fishing in a lake where you can just reel and skip that little largemouth across the water, after a jaw breaking hook set.

Jeff plays the fish perfectly and has himself a 32" Redbass, out of the cloud of bait stealer's we were in.

This spot really started to not be very good. So we moved back to our original spot where the Trout, Spanish Mack and other Redbass came out of. We had just a few shrimp left out of the 4 dozen. We didn't get much. But while I went basically without a bite, Jeff at least was getting bit. Nothing to write home about. It was now past 5 pm. Jeff's wife called to find out where he was. So we packed it in, all sun burnt and happy.

On another note, from what we were told, way down the beach. Probably the Redtops and beyond. There was a Cobia bite from hell and back. I didn't know it was such in full swing. Jeff and I had no plans other than to float-rig fish all day. Plus I didn't have the fuel in the boat to make a 30-40 mile round trip, that could have been needed to go chase the Cob's. But just like last year, when that water got super clean and green on the beach. The Cobia showed up. I even saw who said he caught one in his J-14 Carolina Skiff. And he came by us at the jetties and told me he had to put the fish on another boat. Because he didn't have the ice for it.

But, I'm sure like last year. The first drop of dirty water, or high winds will have those fish laying up on the reefs offshore in a heart beat. Our "sight casting" Cobia season many times last a mere few days, anymore.

A Few days????
Here's why:

The Pogies are also right down the beach from the south Jetty. Even though I saw all you'd want back in early March at the Jetties. Now is the time to go get in the bait pods, and see if there's any big Reds in them, along with the usual small sharks, and maybe even a Cobia. Or just go get some close by and drop them down deep along the jetties for some big over sized Redbass.

Today while at the jetties. Believe it or not.......IT'S THAT TIME, TOO. I saw a pack of Cuda's swim by the boat. And one even came by real fast to check out Jeff's last big Red, while he was fighting it. It seems that every year, more and more Cuda's come to the jetties. Before long, ya maybe catching them up in the river??

The Tripletails are still on the rip lines at the low tide. We looked for a short while this morning. Didn't see any. But I heard they're still being found. The limits on Tripletail is 2 at 15" and above, per person. Last week Chris M. and I saw many 12 inchers. That looked like freshwater Crappies. Obvious not legal fish. But fun to get to bite, anyhow.  If that's all ya find. 

Next up for me; Taking Mom out on Sunday. She likes catching Ladyfish. She calls them, "those dancing fish". Jeff caught several of them today. And man, were they big. Usually, this time of year they're a pound or so. Jeff caught a few that were 4 pounds at least. I'd rather go hook-up a 50 pound Cobia, and then hand the rod to mom and say....."Here ya go, and ya gotta cook it too!" (I'm nothing more than a fry guy.) So Mom can make a big piece of Cobia better than I could.


Last week I talked to a fella, who said  "In S. Florida, I just walk the docks and can get on a charter boat as a extra person."

Number one, there's no docks to walk around here. This isn't "touristo" south Florida! Here you make plans, call and pre-book your day with a deposit. I can, if you give me enough time, do "late notice" charters. But a day is better than an hours notice.

Less than 36 hrs notice is a 1/2 up front non-refundable, if there's a no show deposit.
Policies page:

This is N.E. Florida. It's done differently here. If I'm not fishing, I'm doing what you do at home. I'm cutting the grass, trimming the bushes etc. I will not hook up the boat to the truck, fill with fuel, buy the bait and ice without a $100 deposit minimum.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

5/1- S.E.Sea Breeze & Sun burn.

May 1, the date says, "summer in Jax" to me. Doesn't matter when the calender says Summer is. May first has always been the break out time. Then, why the heck was I kinda cold this morning in a T-shirt, as Steve H. and his father Warren loaded up and we headed towards the jetties? Cause it was an iffy morning. The clouds were thick, and the wind was blowing hard as I baited up at 6am at B&M bait and tackle. Good thing that I knew it was just that clump of clouds on the radar that would pass in a few hours. And when it did. Here came the sun shine, and warm air, finally.

The conditions had it where I felt our "best bet" was to just keep it simple. So again, the Jettywolf went Sheepshead fishing. Yes, that's twice in a row. I can't believe it either. Steve's dad needed my big plushy deck chair. So we got him up along the gunnel of the boat so he could just drop over the side. But the first several stops produced nothing but a, Jack Crevalle. Still in a bit of the full moon influence, it seemed to take forever for the incoming current to make a steady push in the river. And I could tell the jetties were a bit windy and nasty by the ammount of the boats stacked up along the carrier basin point. It was a "boats attracting boats" situation. Because no one was tearing them up, that's for sure.

So we moved around. And that still didn't work. I told Steve, "Ya know, I have a good feeling if we could get to the jetties, there's a spot during the flooding tide where we could get yellowmouths, and Reds. But it's gonna be rough as a C-O-B!"  At this point, Steve was all about trying anything. It was probably 9am already, and we hadn't caught any Sheepshead.. So we picked up the anchor and headed that way. I knew, all I had to do is get the right tide and get settled on a spot, and all would be good. That's the situation sometimes. Not everyday is it going to be instantaneous gratification.

The end of the jetty was a USDA Grade washing machine.  I pointed to where I caught them last Saturday, and again on Thursday evening. It was pure white water! Steve didn't feel his dad could be in that kind of water, even if he had the big deck chair under him.

So I tried a spot along the inside of the N. Jetty. And there is where we had all our action. No sooner we dropped lines over and Steve had the first Sheepshead. Second drop, BAM.....another.

And there we sat, with some decent action catching a few Sheeps, a pup Black Drum, and even a few throwback Sheepshead that were too small. Even tried a float-rig down the rocks. And a "azz hander" 12 Lb. Redbass, burned drag doing all it could, to break off in the structure.

I don't claim to be a super Sheepshead master. But even this "float freak" can find some, which is good. My usual Sheepshead fishing, is fishing deep, especially this time of year. Because during the spawn many of the all out big sow's will be out in the mud, sand, or on channel ledges. I fish slower current, heavier tackle, and use clam and crabs. That's how I usually target them. So today's "rock dabbing" worked for me. Although we did have a fair share of snags in the rocks. I fotgot all about that. Which is maybe why I don't do the "dabbing" all that much.

When the tide started to fall, we made a move to see if we could get, just one more. And that's when the wind started to howl......aka: Mother Nature saying, "go home" is what the wind was really saying. So after a few rock blennies, snags and mini seabass. That's what we did. Headed back to the dock to clean what we kept.

  It was a good day, for a Saturday afternoon. Ya know, I'm more ""keen"" on Monday mornings. But ya have to do what ya have to do. Hope to have Steve and his pop's back again. Maybe next time we'll go Trout chasin.

THINK, RIGHT NOW IF YOU HAVE PLANS ON FISHING ANY DAY NEAR THE MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY.  Do not wait till the last minute!! (holidays should be booked 30 days in advance)