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.