Had Don and Eric aboard the Jettywolf today. Both have fished with me many times inshore wackin' Trout, Reds, and the rest of the river species. But today I had a plan. Since neither one has done it before. It was time for these guys to join the Hundred Pounder Club. So we went out to the shrimp boat dragging outside the inlet.
The swell was long and soft, so getting there was no big deal. I had some dead mullet left from yesterday so I cut one in half and pinned it on the monster circle hook. "Stand back fella's....Cappy Dave is gonna show ya'll how this is done."
I made the first cast up behind the dragging shrimp boat as they were pushing by-catch off the stern, perfect timing.......or was it? I reared back and made a long bomb cast with my no so castable 870 Accurate twin drag. And I hit a bird! Knocked that SOB right into the water and now it was tangled in the 200 pound mono leader.
"Oh S--t!" I reeled in the Tern, that was just going about it's business swooping down to pick up freebies. I untangled the bird, ran back up behind the shrimp boat and let off another long cast just behind the cables of the net. The shark float goes down, the line comes tight and I lift to help set that big circle hook.
P-O-P goes the line! "Okay, that's not supposed to happen."
I re-rig and we run up to the shrimp again. I cast, the shark float goes down, the obvious shark eats the mullet the lines comes tight as a banjo string, and P-O-P....goes the line again!
So, is three times gonna be a charm?????
I re-rig, and we run up behind the shrimper and I set off another cast right into the prop wash and hand the rod to Eric, to let it drift. The shark float goes down, Eric runs the lever drag to the strike position and he's now hooked up to a brown coastal Marlin. The big Blacktip, splashes on the surface a few times, but never goes completely airborne, or maybe it did but we couldn't see it through all the whitewater, and then goes to dumping the spool of the reel against 15 pounds of good ole Accurate twin drag pressure. And keeps going, and going and going.......so fast and so far the I had to give chase as Eric reeled like a Black & Decker drill.
Big heavy beads of sweat were pouring from Eric's brow. "Sorry Eric, this isn't a Jetty Redbass..."
One thing you have to do is remember to battle the shark, not the tackle. Put as much "bow" in the rod as you can. That's what is going to wear that "brown Marlin" (Blacktip shark) out. Reeling is just a way to hold line, because the shark or whatever big fish you may catch is just going to take it out all over again. But to lessen that add lots of "bow" to the rod. It's like the fish is pulling against a bungee cord.
Eric is sweating profusely, arms are getting jello'ish. So Don takes over. And eventually Mr. Blacktip is boat side.
I thought we'd spend the rest of the morning trashing terminal tackle on these rough skinned, highly toothy critters, but Don and Eric were ready to go back in the river and do some of that "normal" Light Tackle fishing. So we headed to the beach to catch some live Pogies with my cast net. Upon arrival, the baitfish were everywhere, two pitches with the castnet and we had enough for my livewell.
So we ran into the river and the tide was just barely pouring in the river. It wasn't long before we found more toothy critters to eat our pogies. Big Bluefish.....5 pounders! Or at least big for July in the 93 degree heat, and 82 degree water.
Then came a nice Jack Crevalle, for Eric. A real good pole bender.
Then it was back to the jetties to fish for a few Redbass with live Pogies, and cut Mullet on the bottom.
The action was okay out there, not like a winter float-rig fishing day, but okay till the largest Red hooked-up was lost due to a break-off. And Don had to sit down after that and collect his thoughts. I can't blame him. But we had two for the fish box, not big ones, but hell big ones ya can't keep. So small ones are all that much better then.
So afterwards we went and got more fresh live Pogies and then went back up in the river. The wind was HOWLING by now. And it was a real pain getting where I wanted to fish. But we eventually got in there.
Then, Don got some redemption. His Pogie got sucked up, and his rod was bowed over really good. But he had to keep the fish away from the rocks we were anchored up next too. That's the evil of it all. The rocks are structure, I constantly fish next to boulders (hence the name Jettywolf. Jetty = Rocks, Wolf = BITE.)
The fish made an error and stayed away from the jagged boulders. And Don brought boat side a big fat multi-spotted Redbass.
As I netted his fish, I could see some line hanging out of the fishes mouth. Soon as I touched the line, I knew it was mine! I've hooked this fish before!! I looked in the fishes mouth and there it was. The Proof. The line was Mason hard-type Nylon leader. The line I use for bottom fishing with heavier tackle, and the circle hook that was in the Reds mouth was my Mustad 11/0 EZ baiter. I know, no one around here uses Mason leader, and snells on a 11/0 Mustad EZ baiter circle like I do. Holy crap.....this is a fish a customer lost. And it probably was just in the last month or two. Because in this same area one day I had 3 guys from Idaho loose something like a dozen Reds to break-off's. Don't ask me what the deal was that day. But out of 15 hook-ups, they boated only 2 Reds and one stingray.
And this was one of the reds that handed them their azz! Turned the corner around the rocks and said, "BYE, BYE." Wow, and a month later Don catches the same exact fish. But I am not surprised. This past Spring, a customer of mine caught a tagged Redbass in this location. Upon inquiry about the tag number, I was told the fish was caught at the Little Jetties in the St. Johns River. Wow, that's exactly where we caught the tagged fish. So it just goes to show you that the same Reds frequent the exact same areas over and over again.
Too include the Red that Don just caught, also. Like I said, "If only a video camera was going today on my boat, it would have been like a blopper, the agony of defeat, and the amazement of how Redfish travel, video. All in one. Probably great reality TV, for the die hard Angler.
I'm never surprised at what happens out there on charters. But just when I think I have seen it all something like today happens. I guess you could say it's what keeps me going. There's never one single day that's like another. Not one single charter crew that's like another. Each day is as diverse as the people that get on my boat in the morning.
One more day till a break. Saturday: I have grandpa' Charlie and his two grandsons. Then Sunday, I have to cut the lawn, do laundry and sleep in late, till 6am.
I can't believe I even get these reports done the same day, after dealing with this summer time heat. But I do.
1200 words a day, to keep YOU informed.