Sunday, October 31, 2010

10/31 - Goodbye to another warm, October

If I was a betting man, (I am only with fishing) I'd be fishing on November 1st.


Thanks to my trusty Florida Sportsman Fishing Tide Planner, Nov. 1 is the only day for the next seven, that the tide will be "manageable".

Meaning; under 5, and then 5.5, and then 6.0, and then 6.2 FEET, by Saturday the 6th.

That's at least 2.2 feet over normal....and normal is around 4.0 between high tide and low tide.

I'm not a fan of radical tides. I'm not a fan of the St. Johns River current they produce. I'm not a fan of how hard it is to fish productively, during those periods. This time of year.

And if there's SE, NE, or East winds. It's like putting a hat on a cat, then.

There's those who live for the flooding of the Intra-Coastal waterway in October. Sight-casting to "tailing Redfish", while wade fishing the flooded marsh. Sounds all well and good, but the one time I tried to take a client to do that, and he showed up in leather shoes. After telling him to bring or wear old sneakers. So, getting out of the boat and wading around isn't one of those things that my customers seem to yearn for.

Supposedly, the perfect wading for tailing reds in the marsh grass is a high tide of 5.3 feet. That's the perfect water height, and has the Redfish tails sticking out of the water, while rooting for fiddler crabs and such. The Fly flingers go nuts over this, stuff.

Personally, it's okay. But I don't have to, stalk them, cast to them, have them eat, and set the hook while seeing the whole deal to enjoy catching a fish.

Now, I would love to wade fish in Laguna Madre, Texas. For 10 pound Speckled Trout with my trusty bait casting rod and a Corky Fatboy! Not that I'll ever see the fish, but yeah, when the stealth produces trophy's like that.
I'm your huckleberry! 

The 5.3 to 5.5 high tide puts the water depth where you want to start looking. About below your knee caps. Here's my buddy and ole fishing partner Skipper B. With a sight casted red, from a pool of water flooded over the banks of the ICW.

That's the ICW in the background, and see how the water's pushed over the bank and flooded the marsh. And there's Mr. Red. Poking around like a wild hog in the hard bottom and low scrub grass.

POLARIZED GLASSES......yeah that's another thing I could never get any customer to wear either. There's two thing I DO NOT fish without. First, is Polarized sun glasses, and second, is my Jus' Grab It Glove.

Well, here it is. That same fish. I followed it around, stalked it, cast to it, watched it eat my shrimp. And then had to make the long walk over to Skipper, so he could take the photo.

So, that's one thing you can do when the entire river and ICW is flooded with these super high tides. But I guess I'll just stay in my boat and see how I do this week, if I go with or without YOU.

Always wade with a buddy just in case you go straight up to your waist in muck. You'll need someone to rescue you. And wear crappy ole sneakers, and polarized sun glasses. Will ya'.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

10/30 - Reminiscing of Fla./Ga. games gone by, & some video introduction:

I remember the days when the Fla./Georgia football weekend used to be a big time for me. Meaning, I was  busy taking people fishing before and after the big game. Well, like many things these days, that has seemed to go by the way side. Having the Super Bowl in Jax Feb. of 2005 was a bust, so I shouldn't be all that surprised, huh?
I also remember the days when it was actually cold!

For several years, I fished with Wayne Smith and his son and brother-in-law before the game. On Oct. 27th of 2000, it was damn near gale force winds and 40 degrees, in the morning.  I was heading for Ft. George. It was a seriously high and rising tide because the water was being pushed by the wind.

That was a huge mistake. But, I quickly re-grouped and we ended up in the far back side of Mill Cove during the high water. Fishing in my 22' Bay boat at the time, we anchored over a submerged shell bank near a creek mouth. Using popping corks and 1/8th ounce jigs with live shrimp, the guys "popped" their way close to 100 fish in 6 hrs. Releasing more than they kept. From Sheepshead, to Flounder, Trout, Reds, Drum. The spot was on fire!

Another cold pre-Fla./ Ga. game with the same crew we caught so many Flounder it was ridicules. I brought 5 dozen live mullet, and half way through our day we had to run and pick up 4 more dozen that I had conveniently delivered to the dock. We arrived back on the spot, and finished putting a limit for the boat in the fish box.

That's "Traveling through the last decade", but you have to remember our last decade was pretty damn good. The world has changed completely since then. For me, those were the "good ole days". And I scared I will never see them again. No matter what some blow-hard politician, will promise you on TV. I'm sick and tired of politicians. And isn't funny how they just piss you off before asking for your vote? Not a single one of them is going to change this country. But each one thinks he or she is the answer.

On a good note, I found some Bob McNally video's. And he happens to be talking "my kind of game". And that's the Float Game. I've never been a ball sports watcher. And if I do watch ball sports, it's usually Golf. One person, against Mother Nature, and the course designer.

Bob years ago used to be the Jacksonville newspaper "outdoors editor". Then, came Joe Julavits and now Jim Sutton. I guess he still lives around here. But he's off doing other things now. As a successful outdoor writer. Looks like a dock in NE Florida up river to me in the video's. And "float-rig" fishing is on his mind, because see how he's dressed? Yep, the coolest and coldest weather is the best inshore fishing of the year in Jacksonville....(always look at the details!)

Here he is talking "Float-rig fishing":

More DIY videos at

More DIY videos at

Now, of course this entire rig can be "taken up a notch". There's some small tricks that can make it work even better. That's the tricks, I will show you, if you book a fishing charter.

I look at Float-rig fishing, like fly fishing a Trout stream. Or fly fishing for us die hard, "bait users". It's not a hard way to fish, especially when everything is perfect. But that's not always the case. It's a visual game, a pay attention game.

And on the Jettywolf, you'll always have the best seats.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I had an idea when Chris and I talked about heading out for a, "weekday solo angler" adventure. "Let's do nothing but float-rig, and let's go no where but the jetties, period!" I said.
So today, the Jettywolf was backing away from the dock at sun-up, turning eastward, going 2.5 miles, anchoring up and floating live river crickets behind the boat, along the massive structure, all in a matter of minutes.

That's the way the Jettywolf and I like it. And so does Chris. He especially liked the fact that we were targeting Trout. And that was it. Any thing else would be nothing but gravy over the biscuit, as far as we were concerned.

And targeted species didn't take long at all.......surprisingly. Being that I had about gave up on my beloved float-rig rods. Mostly because I don't get to pick the days that I go. Lately, I've sat pulling my hair out over smoking full moon 6+foot tides, while fishing a 20 knot east wind. So today was one of those weekdays that I was watching on the marine forecast sites and as fore casted. It proved to be a real winner of a day.

Oh, back to that targeted species, TROUT. It didn't take long as I was saying. Chris nailed a 16 incher pretty much right away.

In between his favorite fish species "the 4 inch Seabass" that infest the jetties right now, he pulled a fast one on me. And being that I caught only one mini-Seabass, compared to his six.  I was rewarded with a termite Trout of 14 inches.

We kept trying, but it seemed like the two Trout that swam by us, is the only two that were there to catch, so we moved on. The next spot is a great spot, although challenging as all hell to fish, for the new comer. Even if the tide and wind are perfect. But Chris did great. He has the float-rigging down pat. "He's had the best teacher.....that's why!"

No sooner are we on the spot and he nails a Redbass. Not a stud. But the "pup sizers", are still fun to catch.

Pushing my patience, then he lands a small Flounder two seconds after the Redbass. I know, I'm a super giving individual, and fishing for me isn't a "me, me, me" kinda thing. So I happily net his litl' flattie for him.

He's got himself an "inshore slam" already, and we haven't been out here all that long. That's when you as a fishing guide know, "today's gonna be a good day." Me, being able to pick the day has it's benefits for people who go on my boat. I watch the weather trends. I check the forecast as many as 3-4 times a day.  And so far, today was perfection.

Well, this is a hot little spot, so we hang there for awhile longer. No Trout, though. But instead we have a different kind of excitement. In the way of a good ole barn yard ass kicking contest. Chris' float disappears, he sets the hook, and out from the rocks blasts a really big fish. Not down along the rocks, but away from the rocks....under the boat.....down deep.....taking Chris' rod and horseshoeing it over like he hasn't felt in a while. I'm thinking Jack Crevalle and a big one. The fish goes down and stays down in 30 plus feet of water, on the other side of the boat of which Chris is fighting it.

Finally, after a deep water tug of war, here it comes.... "is it a big Jack?"  Nope, it's a big Redbass full of so much spit and vinegar. Chris' wrist was aching after the fight.

A 30 inch, 11 pound Red in 30 foot of water, and this fish used every inch of it. That's why a long, slow action rod in float-rig fishing is so important. The small wire hook was solidly in the roof of the Reds mouth, and came out perfect, not bent, twisted or anything.

The tide got low and the current slowed down to a crawl, so we moved on trying a few not so common spots, that have produced in the past one time or another. And we got nothing. So we hung out and just waited a bit. Then, it was time to hit some good proven spots all over again as the tide poured in the river.

Now remember, at this point not that it's a competition or anything. But I've caught one 14" Trout, and one 12" Ladyfish so far. I guess I was doing too much coaching, and not enough concentrating. Because usually the shoe is on the other foot for people that want to go toe to toe with me. I catch my fair share. But again, it wasn't all about me.

So we go to our spot, anchor up and start working the rising tide. My float goes down and I'm hooked up to a drag pulling, head shaker..... "yep, it's a BIG Trout!"

It's what we were looking for all day. A big fish. Not a monster, but at 4 pounds nothing to sneeze at this year, so far. So...I think I'm back in the saddle again. But not so fast. Because Chris sets the hook, his Ugly Stik bends and throbs. Ut Oh..."does he have a bigger Trout, than mine?"

Nope! I had him by 3 inches. But his Trout was also a sweet heart. Are we in "the meat?"  Is it too much to ask for a 10 fish limit today? Seeing that we've had no rain to speak of, not a single tropical storm, one hell of a cold winter, then a cooker of a summer. Are these Trout schooling around the rocks now?

Well, the bite on Trout at this spot was short lived. We pulled two fatties Trout out of there and nothing else was on the horizon. So we moved on, once again.

The answers to those questions are as follows, in my mind. Today is near weather perfect, except for being way too hot. Water temp on my machine was 76 degrees. My prediction still is Thanksgiving, or around there before the Speckled Trout will be the way I like them..... "THICK" at the Mayport Jetties. But as far as I'm concerned, I'll take whatever Trout she'll give me.  Till all hell breaks loose when we get some COLD, not cool, but COLD weather, and maybe some actual rain.

We head to our last stop, we're getting low on live shrimp. Too low. But probably perfectly low considering Chris has a college class he has to be at by 5:30pm. If we had endless shrimp in the livewell we probably would have been out there till dark.

Last spot and the last 10 shrimp. I hook a decent fish....yeah, I'm up to three now! A decent keeper, heading straight into the fish box, for sure.

Now we're down to almost no shrimp left, and Oh no, Dave hooks another fattie.....but it gets off on the side of the boat. Damn!! Oh well, there was no catching up to Chris today. So we pack it in and go back and clean our catch.

Just another fine solo angler fishing trip, where we fish like ole buds. Quality through the whole day. And not one single hitch......other than we could have used another 4 dozen or so live shrimp. But then again, Chris would have missed his class. And what would the world be like with another non college educated Trout fisherman, out there at the Jetties? It would be okay. Because he got a fishing education instead aboard the Jettywolf, with me.
And I'm more fun!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10/26 - Info, laughs, and it's time to get your new planner.


Sorry about the changes for this blog page. I got plenty of emails, "Hey Dave, your web site doesn't work!"

Well, this is just a page. Not my entire web site. It's the reports page. I know plenty of folks visit here. Which is great. But the signing up to go to this page is nothing more than a campaign I'm doing. Building a list.

I saw the usual smart asses, who signed up and used a email address that was obviously a bogus made up one. Great, ya want to visit here or you don't.

The laughs:

Have you ever watched the Jacksonville City Council meetings on Public Broadcasting? The part when they take citizen comments is really funny. There's a good number of wacko's doing their "schtic". There's the Bee guy, and the poet, and the folks that complain about the "white people".

The Florida Sportsman tide planner is out:

Got a call from Carmen, owner of Arlington Bait and Tackle 904-743-3200 (ABT) Such a sweet gal, she said, "Dave I know you love your FS Tide planners, and I wanted to tell you I have them!"  I said, "Wow Carmen, it's early to have them isn't it, usually they aren't availible till mid- November."   So, I went over there and got mine.

The tides around here are crutial infomation. And you can never not know enough when it comes time to attempt to master them.


9 or 10 of you were all interested in a half price trip for a single individual on weekdays only. But I guess it was that "commitment" that was out of your norm. But everyone was really interested in the smell of the bait huh? Well, how many 1/2 price charters do you know of?  None, thats right.Well, time is ticking away. I decided that March 30th is when it had to end. So, if it's not out of your budget to save hundreds of dollars. Send me and email and I'll send you the details.

Still have them at 1/2 price:

Several styles of Ugly Stik casting rods, LIKE NEW. Tiger Lites, Intracoastal Boat rods, and the newest series of saltwater Ugly Stik's, the Inshore Selects casting models - "which 2  that I have are....Brand New".

Another, can't believe no one needs to save allot of $$.

Talkin' Tackle:

Academy Sports at Atlantic & Kernan blvd's is opening November 12th. "we're finally a real sporting city" Dicks, Gander Mountain, Strike Zone, and now Academy Sports? "Tell me it ain't so"  What's next? A Cabelas or Bass Pro shops?

REDFISH limit work shop, reminder:

It's on the right side bar. I've posted some info on what is proposed by the FWC. You complained I'm sure about the one per person Redfish limit....we all have.

Here's some info;
Public Hearings on FWC Redfish Management Proposals
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is proposing a bag limit change for North Florida Redfish to a two fish per person and create four management areas which would be the same as those used for Spotted Sea Trout.
Tuesday, Nov. 23 - Jacksonville Public Library
Deerwood Park Blvd Jacksonville

10/25 - What a day....

The day started out like any other day when the winds gonna rip, and so is the tide on a full moon. And wanting to fish some kind of falling tide, we departed at 10am. I had Lyle and Lale F. aboard today from Little Rock. Fishing folks through and through.

Figured we start at the Jetties. The conditions were far from perfect, but workable. So we anchored up on the inside of the north rocks, and just plain bottom fished the green ocean water pouring in. The Sea Bass were a pain, but even though while my crew was getting the swing of things Lale got a few serious bites. But didn't get the fish.

It was a busy day out there, as the 15 knot winds blew from the SSE. and the swell rode in between the rocks. Seemed to us there was the same damn Navy ship going back and forth coming in, then going out. Sea Tractor tugs, 1000 foot freighters, a few mega-yachts, and of course the always Pilot boat wakes. So, it was time to be very vigilant. I had to several times start the engine, and pull up, ride the wakes, so as my anchor wouldn't get yanked by the enormous swells created by the constant traffic. (that inlet is getting very tiring these days...)

We were just talking about how many boats get in trouble out here during the year, when we heard a some noise coming from across the inlet. At first, it was hard to tell what it was, we were a bit preoccupied, I know I was. I was keeping my crew baited up and watching if my anchor was holding. But the commotion got louder, as we heard a air horn and saw a boat with guys waving their arms.

I didn't even pull my anchor. I drove over to them on the south side of the channel and just drug my anchor up off the bottom. As I speed dialed SeaTow on my cell phone, letting them know where I was and I may need help. I just wasn't sure at this point what the deal was. The closer we got, we could hear them yelling, "were sinking!!!". As I got to them, I hardly even remember pulling up my anchor line, but I did. And quickly pulled along side the rolled edge 17' center console. It was four guys standing in the boat knee deep in water! The engine cover was half way under. So I just told them, "Jump ON!!!!" Three had life jackets on, and Lale told the 4th guy to put his on.

Four guys safely now on my boat, I grabbed their anchor line as everything was floating in the 17 footer and drug the boat behind mine swiftly, hoping the water would pour out the stern. Elated, and telling us what happened I steered towards Mayport. And as I was cutting across the Navy channel, what was right behind us? The same damn Navy ship that probably was one of the causes of the whole thing.

The guys told us, the engine died sometime during the ordeal.  I thought the boat may have had a hole in it or something, but they said the WAKES, just poured over the boat as they had no power. And they just kept coming. I'm sure they got stern to the wakes, and if you saw how constant the traffic was, it would be an easy thing to get swamped by all of the 4 footers coming at you.

Am I wrong for thinking, that  I don't care who you are. That you are responsible for your wake? Isn't that one of the first things you learn in boating safety classes? Obviously, Navy ship, the Pilot boat, and especially those Sea Tractor orange and yellow Navy tugs don't care. 

Years ago, a guy I know who fishes a 17' Boston Whaler was anchored on the south tip of the jetties and pulling his anchor when a Sea Tractor Tug or the Pilot boat went right on by the inside of the south rocks throwing a monster wake. His boat got tossed by the wake, the engine got caught in his anchor line and flipped the boat and him into the water. He was rescued by another boater, as his whaler sat upside down stuck anchored by the outboard. There was no "righting it". So help came and it was towed to Mayport Marine upside down. The boat was a loss, and he had to rebuild the whole thing.  And from what he told me, it was all because of the big orange boat. And he never reported the incident to the Coast Guard or sued them because of  their wake. 

Another boat,  friend Skinny C made it over to us as I had the 17 footer in tow, he came from over on the north side of the north Jetty, seeing all what was happening. But all was okay. SeaTow never made it. But at the same time on the VHF channel 16 the Coasties were looking for a reported over turned boat with two passengers in the water, either at the Little Jetties or the big Jetties.

Wow, another boat? So as we were heading to Mayport, the Coasties pulled up and said, "Is this them?" I said, "I didn't see any other boat out there." But that's where the real mess started. Someone called the Sheriffs office reporting an over turned boat. So as we pulled in, I had a Sheriff's department Helicopter flying around me. Then, there goes more Coasties heading out the jetties along with Fire boats, then the FWC.

We finally get back to the dock, and there's a Fire dept supervisor there asking me, "is this the over turned boat?" Then pulls up another fire rescue boat. I tell them again, "I never saw another boat out there." I think these are the guys. Then, the Coasties are calling me on the VHF. SeaTow passed on to the Coasties that I was helping a boat in distress.

The four guys got the boat to the dock and got the bilge pump working, and drained the boat. And we headed back out to the jetties. Where we caught a nice Speckled Trout on the bottom, a few Ladyfish, and Whiting. And then came the "SUPER" current. The tide started to fall, and with it was current that was UNFISHABLE.

While out there, I'm barely listening to the VHF channel 16. But there's another boat in trouble up off Amelia Island, along the beach. I didn't pay much mind to it all. I had my own problems. So we went back into the river, and stopped for a restroom break back at the boat ramp. The four guys with the boat full of water are gone?

So afterwards we head towards White Shell area. And we see the four guys in the boat idling along in the middle of the river. Then, as I pass them, they blow by me like it was yesterdays fishing trip. Heading towards Blount Island. I guess all is well?

As I pull up to White Shell rocks, my phone rings. It's some guy from Channel 12 news! "Hey Capt Dave, you're the hero of the day, huh?"  I told him, "not really." I just helped out and all is fine. The four guys just blew by me heading somewhere. He asked if I could come to the boat ramp so they could do a quick story on what happened, and I told him we just left the ramp 5 minutes ago and I was on a charter and we won't be back for awhile. As I wondered, "how the heck did he fine out about all this."

And at the same time, I still hear some chit-chat on channel 16 up at Amelia Island. So we continue fishing and White Shell just wasn't panning out. When I got there the tide was perfect for a bit of float-rig fishing. But that ended real soon as the falling tide came pouring through. And the easy current, quickly became a gusher.

Then, we went over to the bluff. And the tide there was perfection. I anchored in 40 foot and we sat out some big dead shrimp pieces, I was slammed instantly, and lost whatever I had bite. Then, Lyle was slammed and it turned out to be the fish were were looking for all day. ( in between our rescue)

But no sooner we got this fish to the boat, here came the rippin current of the falling tide on this spot! And my anchor was dragging backwards. So I pulled up and re-anchored in shallower water and in current that took 6 ounce sinkers to feel the bottom, the Pinfish were wild. A shrimp lasted 2 seconds on the bottom. In current like this??  That just blew me away. Pinners, oldest known scourge of the river.

So we packed it in and headed for the dock. Hidden from the blowing wind up at the bluff. We now were on our way back through the intersetion of the river and the Intracoastal waterway. It was a "culdron of hell." White water folding over, waves coming from all directions. It was "wet and wild" let me tell ya. The kind of water the Jettywolf was built for.

I wasn't wanting Lale to get soaked. But she got wet anyhow. There was no avoiding the "Bo and Luke Duke and cousin Daisy in the ole General Lee" scene, as we made it through the area.

My crew wasn't keeping fish as they were staying down in Ponte Verda. So after bidding farewell, I cleaned up the Redbass, Trout, Whiting, I had in the box.

I put the boat on the trailer and Rusty from B&M bait and tackle called me. He said, "An exciting day out there today huh?" I said "Yep, the wind and the tide was a killer......let alone all the rest of what went on."

Then, he told me about a Shrimper up off Amelia Island who sunk or was sinking. "Hmmm, that must have been all the chatter on channel 16, I heard."

Rusty said, "Yeah, it was  a boat off Amelia Island and they lost a crew member today!" 
 - TU article here:

It's the October Full Moon!  The one to watch out for.

Now, I sit and contemplate my day:

Where is a place, I can fish on these new and full moons with 6 foot tides, and not be pulling my hair out all day long??  After so many years of fishing out there, I think that place doesn't exsist.

But, I'm still looking. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

10/24 - Full Moon/Jetties

Had some nice folks the, Knolla Family aboard today. Tricky timing of our departure being at 9am. Because I of course wanted to sometime during the day fish the falling tide. Because that's where it's been at for me.

But of course the full moon time was still screaming in the river when we got started. The trip was basically for 10 year old Daniel. So we started out trying to get him on the last of the incoming tide a whopper Redbass. By fishing some cut Ladyfish on the bottom with 8 ounce leads. The longer we tried on this spot along the Little Jetties, the more it seemed like we'd be "bait-n-waitin'" for way too long.

So I headed for the big rocks. Went all the way to the south tip, and the easterly swell was pushing in hard out there. So I went on in to the inside of the north Jetty and anchored up. Mentally pushing, for the falling water. The S.E breeze had us sitting on anchor a bit goofy. But once I got all that straight. Things were good.

Croakers, Whiting, a enormous Ladyfish, and a few small pup Black Drum were the instant hook-ups.
The Ladyfish played major havoc. As usual, catching Ellisa of guard with it's tactics. Bowed over rod, line under the boat with the fish jumping on the other side, wrapped around another line, and that line wrapped in the lower unit.

Two thirds of the crew wasn't doing that well. They were quickly getting "green". And then the greeness completely took over. Dad? He was just fine....

It wasn't rough. There was just some up and down to the water out there, where we were. As with all fishing, other than on a Bill Dance Pond somewhere, the water's gonna be moving. Which way? Only fishing there is how we'll tell.

I could have easily gone up into the river, again. But they were done.  I felt bad for going out there. But that's been a good place to find all kinds fish lately. Falling tide, inside of the jetties....."Ya can't beat it."
We were there just a few minutes and as soon as that water started to move easterly. Here came the bites.

So we didn't get to fish the part of the tide I was hoping for. But we gave it our best try.

Here's Daniel with his first fish of the day.

Heading out again with two people on Monday.......trying a 10am departure because of the moon.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10/21 - Do you have weekdays availible?

You may not have noticed the "new" addition to the right side bar. But it's an idea I'm going to try. I know I'm going out on the limb, and will try another idea of mine, in hopes of generating "Local" fishing interest, again.
If you've been around here for awhile. You know I toss specials out there from time to time. But this time I believe, is better!

If you are willing to commit. I am too. That's the deal. 

If you have days during the month that are weekdays and you're open for fun / learning those days.
I have an offer for you.

-Single fisherman only. No groups.
-Can commit to weekdays.
-Have the desire to learn.
-Have the desire to fish "one on one" with a professional guide and die hard....."ME".

-Have the desire to save $$, as prices for everything "fishing" sky rocket.
-Build a relationship, while catching and learning.
-Get in on those "EPIC" weekday bites, when no one is around!

Then, my new program may interest you!

No long term commitments. But there still is a commitment, as with any fishing charter taken.

-Recieve you daily report here after each day, as usual.
-Recieve down-loadable photos as usual.
-Recieve inside knowledge of the best deals.
-Truely learn about N.E. Florida Tides!
-Your fish for dinner.
-Cheaper than "ever" buying a boat. 
-Cheaper than those "boat clubs", and then you still don't have a fishing clue!
-Step-on...then...step-off, the 26' Jettywolf at days end.

Because this is the most prime time of the year in Jacksonville, Florida.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10/18 - Another Great Fall Day....(you're missing it)

Had Don B. on aboard again along with his brother Tim from Tennessee. Just had Don and his parents aboard a few weeks ago on a crisp cool fish filled day. Well, it was another day that couldn't have been any finer.

I'll reiterate again....Now, is the best time to fish N.E. Florida. Not, when it's 100 degrees in the shade.

We left out just as the high tide started to turn and fall. Near perfection. We went straight to the Jetties, anchored up on the inside. And there we sat. No need to run around. The longer you can keep baits in the water the better chance you have at catching good fish.

As the tide really started to move, the bite got better and better. I knew it would. But my impatience always gets the best of me. We three fished plain ole dead shrimp on the bottom.

My plan was, to get fish in the box first. And afterwards go get Tim a big fish later. And man, do I love it when a plan comes together!

The first fish were just a bunch of small Seabass, which was typical. Then, Tim and Don caught some a few  decent fall inlet species;   Spadefish, Bluefish, and Black Drum.

A few of the Black Drum were just under-sized so they went back. But we now needed some Redbass. And each time I thought about making a move, the fish would bite again. So I went with the ole saying, "Don't leave fish to go find fish."  

Don was the first one to nail a small "pup" Redbass. I believe they were just under 18 inches. So back they went. Then Don nailed a perfect "keeper" (18-27 inches is the slot size that can be kept.)

Any decent size Black Drum, or Rebass is allot of fun on the light tackle. Seeing you have to get them up off the bottom, keep them aways from the massive Jetty rocks, and at the same time fight them in the current.

I believe I have the best all around rods for this, now. My tackle is so perfect. Each rod and reel combination is perfectly suited for the application I use it for. Not always an easy thing to put together. But I'm super happy with what I'm using these days.

At one point, these guys were doing all the catching even though I was dropping a line over with them. Being they are experienced fisherman, it gave me the opportunity to do so. Many times we'll fair better if I can fish and feel what's going on also. But it's a rarity, that I get to do that.  Most of the time, I do not fish. I'm there to help you, every minute.

But, I dropped down a bait, and finally hooked up a Drum or Redbass. I was fighting it on the jetty side of the anchored boat. When all of a sudden, the fish ran out towards the river channel. Well, I didn't just start fishing out there at those rocks last week. I knew exactly what was going on. My Redbass or Drum, had just got bit by a Blacktip Shark. I didn't even have to see it. There's no way a 20" Drum or Redbass is gonna take off at a high rate of speed straight for the channel. Line was peeling off the reel so fast, and there was no stopping it. So I handed my rod to Tim and said, "Just in case ya don't get a monster today, here's what one feels like..."   

Tim stood there watching the 200 yards of 30 pound Suffix super braid evaporate off the spool. When 3/4 of the spool was empty, I said, "well ya better straight line it and break that big bastard off....." So that's what he did. There's no way we're gonna catch a 100 pound Blacktip with a Redfish in it's mouth on these rods and reels out here.

That's about the extent of my fish catching. I never really caught anything worth a damn all day. But Don and Tim sure did.

Look at this "photo-op", it couldn't have been timed any better, just goes to show you, I fish the big water. Tim with a nice Redbass, just as a Navy ship passed through the channel heading, offshore.

We quickly had our allowed three Redbass in the fish box, turned a few smaller ones loose, and had a few small Black Drum, loads of pesky Seabass. A Bluefish, Spades, a few "swing -n-misses", had a Shark eat my only decent fish. So it was time to go get Tim a big Red.

But, the F-U-N had to stop some time. And as I went to pull the anchor it was seriously stuck in the rocks below. And as I tried to get it up, quickly figured out it wasn't the anchor, but instead it was the chain that was stuck. The current was still pushing hard. And each time I pulled forward on the anchor line, it was evident I wasn't seeing my beloved "light weight" grapnel anchor ever again.  But I don't quit that easy. So I continued trying to retrieve it.

No dice, when I didn't even feel the chain weight as I pulled on it, I had but one option. I had to cut it and suck up my losses. Each time this happens, and it happens frequently enough, believe me. I loose anywhere from $60 to $150 in ground tackle. So being in the charter business isn't a very profitable occupation in reality. Not with what I can charge here in J-ville.....

So I cut the anchor line and figured that's probably the 150th anchor I've lost out there over the years. If it wasn't for the constant traffic of ship's, and enormous wakes we were hit by from the Navy tug boats, I wouldn't have drug on the anchor so much. Each time the anchor drags, it means possible trouble.

Afterwards, we went over to the south Jetty. I saw a friend over there and he said, "Look at all those Mullet schools, over there. We've been sitting here watching the Tarpon busting them."   

So we went over to investigate. There was literally millions of big Mullet on the surface just milling around in the green, slick calm water. I figured that if I could get some with my cast net, we'd have either possible Tarpon bait, or some fresh big Redbass, cut baits. But all I had on board the boat was my small 1/4" mesh shrimp and minnow type cast net. So I tried it. We pulled up near the schools of Mullet that went 12 to 20 inches, I turned off the engine and we'd glide right up to them. They were skittish, for sure. But in three tosses, I got at least 10 of the monster Mullet.

We opted to go back up in the river and catch a big Redbass, instead of wishing to hook a Tarpon out there. So we took off and went not far down river from the Mayport boat ramp. We didn't have allot of time left on the falling tide, but just enough current to get the job done.

I took one of those big Mullet and cut a few fat 2 inch wide steaks out of it, pinned them 7/0 circle hooks on the heavier rods. Matched up with my Accurate twin drag reels on 6' Ugly Stik charter rods, pitched them out with 6 oz. sinkers and there we were, BIG Redbass fishing.

And it didn't take long at all when the port rod bumped, then bounced and then, doubled over. Tim was on it, and he now had a big fish dumping line off the Accurate reel with at least 10 pounds of strike drag pressure, like it was nothing, at all.



At 27 pounds and full of fight, Tim got himself a "whopper". Kinda worth the travelling from Tennessee for. He had to show the rest of his family, that it's no fun messing with the "Tim-Man".  Because while we were out there this morning, his Mom who was just on my boat two weeks ago, called from NY and said to Don, "let me speak to Capt Dave."  She said to me, "now you make sure to give them only light sinkers, don't help them beat my fish, I caught...."

This is a competitive fishing family! To say the least.

It was Don's turn next. But the tide speed started to slow down really quick and we were loosing current. So we packed it in and headed back to the dock. The guys had a Jags game and some tail-gating to do tonight. It was Monday Night Football, but I can tell ya', it was also one hell of a great Monday Fishing Day.

(ole saying of mine...."ya can't beat a Monday at 7am, versus every other day of the week.")

The wind was light to non-existent. The water was slick calm, the air temp was cool, and the sun was shining. It just doesn't get any better.

NOW, is the best time to go fishing in my book.  If you want to see more proof of that, go to the upper right hand corner of my blog/reports pages where it says "Lights, Camera, Action" an open up what will be hundreds of photos in an Album. Take notice, that most of the really good catches are where the customers are either in sweatshirts, jackets or long include me.  That's your hint, right there to when inshore fishing in Florida is the best.

It's always nice to have Don and his fishing family aboard the Jettywolf.....we always have a great time!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seriously "cool" feature:

I get many people who have moved to good ole J-ville, and want to experience the fishing on the coast. They immediately think "Ocean". Which is all well and good. But they only know what they see about the St. Johns River, as they cross the many bridges around here.

Our River?
The St. Johns was formed approximately 100,000 years ago after land rose along the coast and trapped a portion of the sea inland. However, the river did not take on its current form until only about 5,000-7,500 years ago, after the sea began to rise at the end of the last ice age. The hydrological cycle of the arid peninsula was transformed, resulting in rains that fed the surface flow of the St. Johns and its underground springs. (taken from:

I've heard the stories repeated by the ancient Timicuan Indians that the river is, "the river of lakes". The ancient Indians passed on knowledge for eons, verbal archives. And when their ancestors walked the banks the river, it was slow and shallow. And more like a connection of many large lakes, than a flowing river. (as per local historian, Capt. Randall)

Today, in Duval County not a single remnants of what the Timicuan Indians saw, is left of the river. We've made it what it is now.

But here's a really great web site. I've put up this URL of the site that has the map feature. You are able to scroll up and down the river and where you see an "eye" that says 360, you can take a virtual 360 degree tour of the area......Super cool! I thought.

Of course, I went straight to the top of the river and did the 360 degree tour. Which is at the Dames Point Bridge. Not the most "scenic" part of the river with the terminals of Blount Island and all. But the very same industrial area from the water, is the structure that makes up many of my favorite Speckled Trout & Redfish haunts. And if you've never seen "the river" via the water. And you're really not a fisherman. That's why I do river cruises, park to park water transportation (Ft. Caroline to Kingsley Plantation), Sight seeing, Dolphin & bird watching.

The colored circles on this link are "click'able" and info appears on the left side bar. Some really interesting facts, such as one of the river's claim to fame:

"The St. Johns flows 310 miles from it's headwaters to the Atlantic Ocean, making it the longest river in Florida, and the longest river in the U.S. to flow north......."  (taken from:

But as an Angler. I'm well aware of this fact, also:
"when the St. Johns meets the Atlantic Ocean, it dumps nearly 5-1/2 BILLION GALLONS into the Ocean each day. At a rate of 8,300 cubic feet per SECOND. Despite these astronomical numbers, often the TIDAL FLOW of the Atlantic is stronger of that of the St. Johns, causing a back wash of  river and Ocean water....."  (taken from:

Keep in mind, that not all the facts shown along the left sidebar of this page are "Chamber of Commerce" material. This site is part of the St. Johns River keeper. And facts come with the good and the bad.
But, education is what this site is all about. And I thought new and old residents of J-ville could benefit from some of the material included on it.

It's kinda weird that I have lived in two places in the country where the river flows north. Thanks to the USAF, I spent way too much time in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Where the Red River...."of the North", travels between North Dakota and Minnesota, northward to Winnipeg, Manitoba. And into Lake Winnipeg. 

By the way....."Why are you not fishing?"
With the BEST weather of the ENTIRE year in Jacksonville. Don't you wanna smell the salt air and catch some dinner?

This is what I live for all year open, A/C off, and not sweating fishing. Call Capt Dave and get yourself on the Jettywolf, soon.

This doesn't last forever, as we well know!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10/16 - Redfish rules.....

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants input from sportsmen on a proposed rule that would allow possession of two redfish rather than the current limit of one — in Northeast Florida.

A workshop will be held from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 23 at the Jacksonville Public Library, southeast branch, at 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd.

Go to, then click on "Marine Advisory Boards, Public Workshops etc."

Here's some of the "over-view".

Personally, after giving this much thought. If there was to be a change, I'm opting for a "decrease in size" if two were able to be kept in N.E. Florida.

I kind of like Georgia's take on size limits:
14 inches to 23 inches and a whopping (5) per day per angler.

I'd like to see something like 16 inches to 24 inches, if we had a (2) fish per person, per day limit.

I certainly do not "take" my fair share of Redfish through out the year. Seeing that a good 90% of the fish we catch on my boat are too big. IE: Over 27 inch slot size limit.

Here's some of the Reds that have been caught in the last few weeks....and they all are too big to keep!  And we were even trying to target a keeper fish, under 27". 

And with that said I believe a good porttion of my customers would be happier if we could keep a Red or two. Instead of almost every single fish having to be released.

Plus personally, when I do keep a Redfish, I presently prefer a smaller one 18-21 inches. I don't want or like cleaning the 26-7/8ths inchers! Small Reds, like Trout are easier to clean, and the smaller fish fillets are just a whole lot nicer in my book.

The last Red I kept was a mere 18-1/2 inches long, and it hit the frying pan at the same time some big Croaker fillets did.

I'm a thin and crispy fried fish kinda guy.

I'm gonna try and make that "workshop" as stated at the top of this post. Nov. 23rd.
I'd hope to see others I know there as well.

- comments are welcome on this subject, and can be posted by clicking on this posts title, which will take you to it's own URL, where at the bottom of the page you can sign in to make a comment. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10/14 - Lettin' the fish outa the bag....

If the new Academy Sports store in Orange Park is gonna be anything like the Academy Sports that's proposed to open November 1st at Atlantic & Kernan Blvd. LOOK OUT!

Most people have no clue who Academy Sports neighbor Tom didn't. I do because I read La. Sportsman Magazine...Go figure. And Academy Sports advertises in La. Sportsman magazine. And has for along time been west of us, as in "I don't believe they were ever in Florida?"

And if you've ever watched fishing shows on Direct TV (satellite TV) some of the good ones are based in La. and Texas. Well, to make a long story short, Academy always seems to advertise on the Gulf coast fishing shows.

I was at the Academy Sports store in the dreaded O.P. yesterday. My dad had to go pick up a motorcycle engine from a friend that lives over that way. So as a treat for helping navigate with the GPS to find his buddies house through a maze of streets. He awarded me 25 minutes in the new Academy Sports store.  He's scared, because one time he spent 8 hrs in a Bass Pro Shops.

As far as Fishing stuff in Academy Sports...."I think you'll like what you see, I did".

They have lot's of stuff that has always been on my mind, Gulf Coast tackle. Lot's of products from H&H tackle, Castaway Rods, etc. All the little tackle items you just don't see here, that much.

And on that topic....I'll let the fish outa the bag.

(watch those dorsals!!!)

Here's a place I've been shopping for years. I'm on the mailing list. And ya wanna talk about some sweet deals. (Especially Reels.)

Actually, I don't know why I'm so nice! (maybe cuz I have more than I need??) Because FFO has been a double whammy secret shopping site of mine for along time.

Check it out:

Special Offer for Subscribers

Stock Up and Save on purchases over $40 @ Fisherman's Factory Outlet.

From now until 10/25/2010, you can save an additional 20% off our already discount prices when you purchase more than $40 in tackle.

To receive your additional 20% off, you need to place an order from that is over $40 and enter fishfall2 in the promotional code box during checkout.

This offer is for a limited time and cannot be used in combination with any other offer. FFO is not responsible for any disruptions in internet access that might inhibit a shopper's ability to order.

Sorry, we are unable to include the "Hard To Find Items" in this promotion.

This Offer Expires On October 25th, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10/12 - OCTOBER.....the start of the BEST!

This October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays, all in one month.  It happens once in 823 years.

And along with cooling water & air temps. Isn't it time for you to go fishing?

I say it every single year. Yeah, I know July is vacation time. But it's also sweating to the oldies time. Especially this past July. Dang, I remember it like yesterday. Sitting along the lil' Jetties in the river with a dad and two sons at 8am bottom waiting for a big Redbass to eat our bait. There was not a single "puff" of breeze, the river water was dead flat. And as we breathed, we all were soaking wet with sweat. The humidity must have been 100%.

I couldn't take this but maybe 30 minutes, and when I said, "Hey, let's go run & gun some Shrimp boats and see what the Blacktip Sharks are up too. So we get some air movement"  The two boys on board couldn't reel in the lines we had out fast enough!

That's why Vacation Time, should be NOW!!!!!

It's so funny, because even though my crew may have their sight set on a big Redfish and instead we went Sharkin'. They always ask..... "Capt. Dave, so when is the best time to catch Reds?" At the end of the day.

And my standard reply is FALL & SPRING. Which of course does not corelate to when it's stereo typical vacation time of course. Kids out of school, and all that jazz. But, it's hot as all get-out in Indiana. And even hotter here....But it's vacation time, you know! And for some reason people think summer is the best time of year in Jax for fishing. It maybe in Indiana. But not the best, here.

Sure we sat out alot of sweaty days and did catch big Reds in that heat. I posted the photos all summer of Jr. Anglers and their fish.

But, when the days shorten, the water isn't 87 degrees any longer,  is the TIME of year I look forward too all year long.


Local river temp on average now: 76-78 degrees.....only to get better / cooler.

The best way to break a good sweat now:  Ask George

George M. last October with big "light tackle" Redbass.

C'C'mon...Let's go.

Also, River Cruises / Tours / Dolphins / Birds and "park to park rides", via boat. (Ft. Caroline to Kingsley Plantation) availible. Link:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10/11 - How important is the right Tide?

The right tide. Who knows, day to day what the best tide will be in the St. Johns River. But here's a story that may make you believe me when I say, not all tides are created equal.

I went to do some R&D (research and development) I was float-rig fishing for Trout. I was in the water and heading for the jetties before the sun was up. And so was a buddie (also a float-rigging/Trout catching mentor of mine.) We were in our own boats, and fished different spots, looking to see if there was any substantial Trout along the rocks.

The tide was pushing in as the sun rose.

It was slick calm, and beautiful. The water was clear and green (what Trout love). I worked a stretch of rocks up and down that was about 100 yards long. Not a single bite other than a bait stealer or two. My buddy, he tried the last spot where he caught a couple a week or two ago. After a few hours, he came driving up to me. "I haven't lost a single shrimp, how bout you??" He was also on the hunt for Trout.  I yelled over to him, "Me either, just some little rock blennies. I can't believe this. The conditions are perfection. Low light, clean clear water......."

The writing was on the wall. He said he was gonna go into the ICW. And I went back up into the river.
For the next three hours, I worked a float-rig on some stereo typical Trout haunts. Places I have caught not only Trout on a rising tide, but places I have caught Gators to 7 pounds in October, years past.

With nothing but a Bluefish and Croaker's to show for my efforts. I was heading back towards Mayport when the phone rang. It was him, "Dave I went all the way down towards the Atlantic blvd bridge and caught a couple Trout and one Flounder, on the float-rig. This is terrible...I'm going home. Are ya still at the jetties?"  I told him, I was up in the river and had no trout, still. But maybe I should head back to the jetties again.

So that's what I did. The tide was maximum high, now! I mean, the rocks were almost under water in some spots. So I tried to find a Trout again. No luck. And then the tide started the slow turn-around. I made a move to the inside of the north jetty. And gave up on the Trout search and my float-rig rods.

I anchored up on a safe spot, seeing I was alone. Didn't want any trials and tribulations, like wakes or current pushing me into the rocks, as I bottom fished.

The current on the bottom was just starting to ease eastward. I took my lightest rod, pinned on a 1/2 ounce bank sinker to my rig, horn hooked a nice live shrimp and pitched it out to the base of the jetty rocks.
It hit the bottom, and I felt.....BUMP, BUMP. I reeled in the slack and that's all she wrote....Fish on!
A big fish. As it turned out, it was a great fight on my light rod. I was wanting some fillets for dinner, but this wasn't it, as I netted a big Redbass.

A 29 inch "Super Spotter"! And it's opposite side looked the same. After such a long fight I didn't bother to take time to try and count all the spots it had, but it was alot. Released to fight again another day. I thought to myself........5 hrs of fishing the rising tide, and as soon as the tide started to fall (on the bottom) here comes a decent bite??  

N.E. Florida tides, strike again! 

As the boat started to swing on the anchor, but the current wasn't really moving all that good the bites came one after another. I thought to myself, "this is always that perfect time." The time of the day right between tides. Actually fishable current. A 1/2 oz. sinker and no wild ride in the river's current. This must be the way it is in the Gulf of Mexico? No wonder they can catch fish all day long over there.....

Knowing the blasting tide was on it's way, with the earlier super high water.  I had to fish fast. I caught 6 - Redbass, 3- Black Drum, and had about half dozen large Seabass and lost 3 big fish to the rocks. I was having a ball on my light rod. Bowing over the rod and getting my butt handed to me, was great fun. But of course it didn't last forever. The tide line came. I could see it. And then came the blasting current that ruined all "super light tackle and sinker fishing".  Afterwards, 4 ounces was needed. And the bites slowed down because of it.  

Oh, how I'd love to experience less tide! I'd like to be a Gulf Coast fisherman some day!

But the moral of this entire story is, "THEY BIT LIKE NUTS ON THE FALLING TIDE!"
Right as the current wasn't all that strong.

So my nice little R&D day that was to see how the Trout bite really was, turned out to be a 9 hour day to catch fish for the table. I guess I'll reinterate. I'm hanging up the float-rig rods for awhile longer, I guess.
No Trout, but Drum, Croakers, and Reds will be the targeted species. Even for me.

Picking the right tide is what I try to do when someone calls for a charter day. I try my best to instill in them the importance of planning around the tides.

P-L-A-N your trip in advance.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

10/9 - Weakfish aka: Yellowmouth Trout, new regs.

The Speckled Sea Trouts "ugly cousin".......the weakfish. Also know just as a "weakie" in the northeast part of the Atlantic coast. Yep, as a kid visiting and fishing Barnagate Bay, NJ  I saw 12 pound Weakies on a fish cleaning table once. My cousin and I would say to each other, "Wow, I'd love to catch one of those someday!"

Well, I never did catch a 12 pounder. But here in good ole J-ville, I did catch a 7 pounder one time on a MirrOlure 52MR on the south Jetty in the spring time. And even though it wasn't the sought after "SPECKLED TROUT", it was one hell of a fight, and one hell of a fish.

For awhile there it seemed that the wonderful folks at the F.W.C were gonna take this fish away from us here in Duval County. Ya' know, they've taken so much away from the offshore fisherman, you just had to know that it was soon to be the inshore fisherman's turn.

But, it went the other way......HOLY MACKEREL!

As it turned out. Not good for the Nassau County/ Fernandina anglers.......but then again I never have caught many Weakfish there in the first place.

Here's the NEWEST REGS:

But for us here in Duval County we don't have to worry about the 4 per person @ 12" rule any longer.
(even though it's been a bit confusing, and the dock talk has been "can we, or can we not?")
YOU BE THE JUDGE....I'm making NO claims here. Just publishing the findings.

I'm reading this just like you. WEAKFISH TYPE SPECIES 100 POUNDS PER PERSON, OUTSIDE NASSAU COUNTY AREA LINED IN RED (on the link page).

I love what they say at the top of the page....."difficulty distinguishing between weakfish, sand seatrout, and weakfish-sand seatrout hybrids."  I have no problem distinguishing what is a tried & true Weakfish!

The one on the LEFT is a bigger "Weakfish." Take notice compared to it's Speckled Trout relative (right), the Weakfish isn't as "stocky", but has a bit of a broader head.

This one is a "stud" Weakfish!

Here's another "GATOR", Weakfish.

So you can see, I have no problems knowing that these fish are not some "hybrid SandTrout".....Illusive to only some FWC researcher.

Yes, I love me those "Yellermouths" as they are called locally. These fish school tight. They eat everything from cut bait to live mullet to big lures, and are a blast to catch on the ever faithful float-rig. When the "Specks" aren't all that willing or are a bit shut mouthed. I've found us some Yellowmouths and customers and I have put on a fishing clinic. They fight good, and I think they're quite sporty. Although many local fisherman seem to look down at them.

Heck, I believe we need all the species of fish we can get! I wish the Striped Bass in the river would come toward my stomping grounds, I wish we had Snook all the time. And I'm already feeling the effects of no Mangrove Snappers this year, so far. The last thing N.E. Florida needs is, "less species of fish!"

Soft fleshed with thin skin as with all Trout like species. They don't take kindly to extended freezing then thawing. So what I do is keep them just above the freezing point and will fry them up fresh along with some other fillets.

In the river past down-town, I've caught them in the dead of winter. And they will not look all that healthy. Some fish will look really thin, while others may have a sore or red spots on them. I believe, that in the very cold water they don't move around much and are very susceptible to parasites, and possibly disease of some sort. But, in the spring and the fall, closer to the ocean. These fish are healthy and full of spunk.

You ready to go hunt up some??
I am.....

Call Capt. Dave - the "float-freak" at 904-642-9546 8am-8pm eastern time for your personal / private fishing charter aboard the 26' plate alloy, Jettywolf.

-click on this blog entries title to take you to the URL of this post, where you post a comment if you'd like on this subject.