Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11/24 - Learning new tactics

Had blog reader Richard C. aboard today. Richard decided it was time to learn about what Cappy Dave is always talking about here on these pages. And my goodness did we have a beautiful day. If you weren't off, and out on the water or sitting along the banks of your favorite stretch of the big St. Johns. You missed, one hell of a glorious day.

I though yesterday was nice. But I believe today was even nicer. The forecast wasn't actually projected to be "Light & Variable" winds. But as Richard asked me as we sat anchored up along the big ole rocks that line the inlet. "Dave, what would say this wind speed is right now...2-3 mph?" I replied, "Richard, it's my two favorite meteorological words...Light and Variable." Which means Richard was right. The wind couldn't have even been 5 mph.

Richards trip was all about learning some new stuff. He has his own boat. But learned:
- Float-rig fishing
- why Bait casting tackle is for Jetty fishing
- Tides
- how to anchor correctly around the rocks
- how to rig a jetty anchor correctly
- how just plain shrimp catches big fish this time of year
- the in's and out's of fall bottom fishing

Besides a bit of story telling, and just plain having a good time in the sun, aboard the Jettywolf. Step on, step off. No fuss, no muss. With a bag of your filleted catch. And all the while being exposed to a whole lot of new stuff.

We started off float-rigging for Trout. But like yesterday, the small chomper Bluefish were ravenous. I stuck one Speck about 17 inches. But bites were far and few between. As I say many times, I knew that going in. But we tried anyhow, because Richard needed to know the float-rigging for Trout basics.

So as the tide continued to rise very high because of the full moon. We went bottom fishing. The catching wasn't on fire by now means. So it gave us time to just talk about different fishing ideas. We caught more Bluefish, Seabass, and a few small yellowmouth trout.

I made another move. And because of my chart plotter, I got an idea. I saw a line of X'd spots on my electronic chart and it reminded me of what could be, at exactly this tide. And believe it or not, that's one of the reasons to have a GPS charter plotter and electronic chart of the whole St. Johns river. When I see X'd spots that litter my entire chart plotter, of places I have caught particular species before. I look at the spot, and then judge it against the present tide conditions.

Needless to say. We anchored up. Richard and I pinned on some big fat jumbo dead shrimp, and pitched them out on only 3 oz. banks sinkers into an area 60 plus feet deep. I've caught big Reds, Drum, and monster sized Sheepshead on this spot, at exactly this tide. So I was very hopeful. It wasn't fiver minutes later Richard sets the hook on a big fish. The Shimano Cruxis lowpro reel was peeling line as Richards 7' Ugly Stik Catfish rod bowed over into a horseshoe shape. I set my identical rod into the rod holder and grabbed the net.

Richard was having a ball battling what was obviously a big Redbass......Brutus T. Redbass! I no sooner netted his fish and the other rod bowed over with the drag peeling. INSTANT DOUBLE HEADER!
It just doesn't get any better!

I held the first Redbass in the water, inside the net. Grabbed my second net, and waited for Richard to whoop his second Redbass.  The second Red came popping to the surface, and I netted that one. Wow, that was exciting! I love double-headers!

Now, this was "LT" jetty bottom fishing! Some 60 feet below the boat. The reds were way to big to be keepers at over 30 inches a piece. And right after releasing them. The boat started to swing, as the tide changed. We made a move and fished the start of the falling tide. Catching not much again. But, it wasn't us. It was the location. The same location I "have been" catching some nice Black Drum, on the early falling tide. Of course, we caught Bluefish. A few small Yellowmouths. But all we really did was watch a boat behind us catch Reds, Yellowmouth and Drum. Allot of people would have tried to park on top of that boat. I know they do it to me. But, I don't do that. So we made another move.

I tried a spot that produces Drum. But it also produces more Toadfish that anywhere I've ever fished at the jetties. Toadfish...the bottom of the barrel, the worst. And what did we instanly catch???  Toadfish, and BIG ones. "OH GAWD....I KNEW IT!" But I wasn't going to give up on the spot too soon. It has potential, I know that too.

So we continued fishing jumbo fresh dead shrimp on the bottom, when Richard gets a good bite. He was reeling, but whatever it was, wasn't pulling drag at all. It was sort of just sliding in the water and tugging a bit. I could tell it wasn't another toad, but something else. It wasn't  a red, or a drum either.

But when it came up to the surface from 45 feet below, Richard and I were ellated. It was a BIG Flounder! I scooped it up with the net and showed Richard, how a big flattie like this was a top predator. Opening it's mouth, showing Richard that a fish like this can eat whatever it wants. And it wanted a jumbo dead shrimp, way down deep!

We had a few swing and misses, while we continued to fish the toad hole. And then came another big Redbass. Way to big to keep, again. But a great fight, for Richard. And then, we swung really close to the rocks, and Richard said, it was time to go. So we headed back.

Saw my single passenger charter for Thursday at the boat ramp, "Traveller Bob" from N.C. Told him we'd have to vacate the jetties if we wanted to trout hunt on his trip. So as of right now, I'm beat. And need to think about my Turkey Day game plan.

Momma said, "we'll keep a plate hot for ya when your done."  But ya know catching some fattie Trout is always more important than eatin' for Cappy Dave.....

So stay tuned.

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