One thing that's certain is that saltwater fisherman have the ability to know what a day's going to be like, because we have predictable...TIDES. And any saltwater angler worth his/her SALT will check the tides before heading out.
This week was the week of the NEW moon. "The dark-side of the moon" ya might say. Yeah, dark side alright! Meaning, you know what you're in for. But at the same time, how bad will it really be?
Mayport Tides 10/7:
High - 8:42am 6.2'
Low - 2:36pm -0.2'
-total approx water movement = 6.4'
Average tidal range for the Mayport area - 4.0' So today's whoopin tide was 2.4' over the norm. And it played hell on us. I had 4 guys from the Malnove Co. and they were really great guys. Not all were from around here. So allot of this was new to them.
My plan was to just bottom fish around different parts of the river, and toss out a few big baits off the stern of the boat for a possible BIG Redbass. Probably live and cut Croakers. I had the guys all fishing my lighter rigs with just shrimp. Yeah, we were like a river party boat...."ding, ding....send them over fellas!"
But each spot we tried had it's own trials and tribulations, for sure. First we started out with 3 oz. sinkers just to hit the bottom in 28' of water. And then other spots it was a 6 oz. sinker that wouldn't even stay anywhere near the bottom! Parts of the river were about un-fishable because of the screaming current. And it didn't matter if it was a rising tide or a falling tide.
Since Monday with the Brandts was so successful. It's all I could think about. I wanted the same thing, all over again. BUT, THIS WASN'T MONDAY, IT WAS THURSDAY!
The weather was beautiful, again. Just like Monday. Those crisp fall, cool mornings sure are a relief. If I'm a bit chilly all I have to do is think about mid July in the dead still hot air. And all of a sudden the chill goes away.
We caught fish, actually the guys caught lots of fish. Just not allot of big fish. They had Croakers of course, a fair amount of Spots. Whiting, Seabass, the ever present Toads and Skates. But Bruce, probably the groups most experienced fisherman had the shocker of the day.
We were up tight to the Little Jetties. Fishing one of the washout spots. Dabbing down with 3-4oz leads and a dead shrimp. When he received the "ass-handing" of the day! Whatever it was that ate his bait over the rocks below, pumped his rod like a big Grouper. The fight was straight up and down for a minute or so. My Ugly Stik rod was doubled over, and Bruce was brought tight to the side of the boat. Digging for cover the fish almost had him back in the rocks a time or two. Bruce did great, he kept the pressure on with the bowed rod while reeling down and lifting up. Then, whatever this was moved into the current and down the side of the boat, then slipped out into the deeper water and made a run for it. I swear this fish took classes straight out of the book Grouper digging 101. And when the fish slipped out past the stern, Bruce's line snapped!
Not the 30# leader, but the 30# Suffix braided line.
I only wish I had a photo of Bruce and that Ugly Stik bowed over with him brought to the rail like he was. It was awesome. The rest of the guys were, w-i-d-e e-y-e-d.
We tried other spots, with me looking for a place that a 3-4 ounce sinker would actually hold bottom in the river. We tried along the inside of the North Jetty, and the anchor wouldn't even hold. This was getting really tough. It is what it is....and I knew that going in. But once out there it was frustrating to say the least.
We boxed a few monster Croakers, a 2 pound Spot, some small yellowmouths, and then Bruce caught this nice 20" Yellowmouth, that we thought was a Redbass it pulled so hard.
But the big fish eluded us. The stern line that I kept out all day with either a small live Croaker, or a piece of cut-bait on never got any interest other than, chomping Bluefish.
We fished all day long. And only packed it in when all the bait I had aboard was gone. And as I pulled anchor in the late afternoon the tide was still screaming. The guys left, fished out. I'm sure. And I cleaned up the fish we had in the box, and will have me a fish fry with what we kept.
Wheww...can't wait till the tide slows after this week. I got an itch to get the float-rig rods out and work the Jetties. There's some Trout out there, if I can get to where they are. Told to me by an past customer, today.