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!