Since my last report, I've had a few trips. I had Mike and Phil aboard the Jettywolf for an offshore King Mackerel trip. And when we got offshore about 10 miles, and I was idling along readying the lines that dreaded sound we all hate to hear went off within the workings of my big bad Honda 225.......
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Yep, an alarm. An over heat alarm. So, I shut her down and then tried again.
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Okay, that's it, we're done! I called Sea-Tow and we sat anchored up and caught two small sharks while waiting for our tow boat to take us back to the dock.
This was last Thursday, and I had another charter booked for Saturday morning. So I worked fast. All new water pump, that looked perfect. Checked brand new 2 week old T-stats. Checked and cleaned temp sensors. While there, changed the oil, even. Took boat back to the water and she ran just fine.
I GUESS I FIXED THE PROBLEM? Or was it one of those freak alarms going off for the hell of it?
Saturday came. 8am, I had John B. and his 8 year old daughter aboard. (not all trips this time of year are hard core manly adults) We were supposed to do a short day, a cruise mixed with a "tad" of fishing. So we left the dock and I headed for the shrimp boats to show her the packs of Dolphins behind each one. She thought that was pretty cool, and it is. Dad was amazed too. Then we hit the jetties. I anchored up and tossed out a few baited rods. And then we hear, "I don't feel good, I wanna go."
Our short day just got alot shorter. I headed back to the dock. Total trip, one hour 20 minutes.
Then came Thursday evening and I had Ray R. and his son for a evening/night Trout fishing trip, 6/24-25.
We left the dock at 6pm. The wind was HOWLING and a full blown Southeast sea breeze was in effect.
Wanted to start at the jetties, hunt up a Redbass then move in and up river before dark thirty. But of course plans changed after looking at the water crashing over the rocks.
Headed up river, tried a good acclimation spot. A few bait stealer bites. Moved on. Went to one of my favorite go-to trout spots......at least it has been other years. Nothing going on, but after the sun fell, I hit 3 small trout with a hook in the mouth while Ray and his son were working on their first good bite. Hours went by, I moved around the spot that was lit up from massive lights on a dock. My crew finally connected with a few small sand trout.
But as usual this year, NOT ONE SINGLE TATTLE-TALE FISH. Jacks, Ladyfish....if you are catching them, you know you are at least in the right area for TROUT. The lack of these two species has been the topic of my discussions lately. I'm not out to catch alot of them. But I know for a fact that if I am catching those two species....Trout are usually also around. I remember years when I fished the heat of the day down river, and caught Trout after Trout, in between the Jacks and Ladyfish and the ever present Mangrove Snapper bait stealing monsters. This year, I have not caught a single Mangrove Snapper. Like the Trout, I believe they took a swift kick in the shorts, from this winters frigid temps. That's my theory. And have not had a single person prove me wrong, yet.
So, it's now 11:45pm and I'm sort of heading back to the Mayport boat ramp dock. When I pass a spot I have not fished in a few years. I anchor up and my crew starts getting bit. We have a few short Trout, then 2 or 3 fall off the hook at the side of the boat. Then, land 5 keepers from 15 to 18 inches. The area is really small. We're backed up to some big structure, space is limited and the guys are drifting the float-rigs with live shrimp under a dock.
Trout are busting the water, but under the dock and way over in a corner. The current is about as goofy as it can get, and I'm hanging by a finger nail on my anchor. We get a gust of wind, a ship wake and the anchor slips back. Ray is using the last shrimp out of 10 dozen, with a die off of probably a dozen, so the last one of 9 dozen shrimp. I start the engine, Ray checks his shrimp it's about d-e-a-d, barely kickin. As I pull away from the dock and go slack on the anchor, his float goes down and he brings the 6th Trout to the back of the boat. These fish REALLY don't care about outboard noise, that's for sure!
We soft peddle back to the boat ramp and I get a photo of them.
My piece of crap water proof digital camera takes this blurry photo, because it's supposed to be "shock proof, water proof ", and now isn't working right. Dammit! The screen is so small on the camera, it was hard to tell last night (at now) 2am that the photos was all blurry. But I guess you can tell they're holding 6 Speckled Trout. (getting new camera, T-O-D-A-Y!)
So this was the official first evening/night trout fishing trip of the summer. Catching, loosing and releasing about 12 trout . And I'm not super impressed with the Trout action. I haven't been since December, and only hope it will eventually get back to it's old self.
Next up: Saturday with one adult and two small boys. Heading to Nassua Sound at high tide. And then more "pre-4 of July" in the heat trips. Heading out for Kingfish again, too.
P.S. - I have come up with the easiest way to pull dead cigar minnows that I have ever seen. I love a box 'O cigars....always have. And this year put some real effort into EZ rigging of them. I may do a post here later of the why's & how's of my Cigar Minnow EZ King Mac rig. So stay tuned!