Monday, February 28, 2011

2/27 - Soup, but not many fish and chips

Finally, had two experienced anglers aboard, Bob and Dan. Down here working from Pa. where they did what seemed to be plenty of freshwater fishing.

I eventually ended up where we can comfortably bottom fish, all day long with a falling tide.....eventually, because we slowly made our way through the thickest fog of the year, to get there.

The forecast was: LIGHT & VARIABLE WINDS. My favorite two words in  the winter months.

The Drum bite was almost non-existent where I like to fish, which is also where I can "KEEP" my expensive anchors. Catching one 7 pounder.

We caught some small Redbass, loads of small Seabass, too many "winter" Stingrays. And actually had about 10 keeper Whiting to add to the fish box. And a few of these "brown shrimp boat" Whiting  were really huge, considering what time of year it is.

We had a good time, while fishing hard as hell. Keeping baits on the bottom versus running around in  the "soup" trying to find something else somewhere.

Can't wait for  those Jetties to turn around and get HOT, once again.

Friday, February 25, 2011

2/24 - One L-O-N-G day.

Started the day off  really getting a clue that if Mayport ever gets a giant Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. I'm really in trouble! The public has a short memory. So, I'll fill you fisherman in.

I left B&M bait and tackle. I pulled out onto A1A north, and the Navy traffic was so thick that 30 minutes later I hadn't even got to the light at A1A  & Wonderwood rd. When I did get to the light I sat through 5 green lights because I couldn't cross Wonderwood. The traffic on the otherside was NOT moving. And the cross traffic coming down off the Wonderwood bridge, heading to Mayport rd to go into the bases Main Gate was about at a dead stop.

I called my customer Joan and told her, "Be aware, your adventure is just starting!" She said, that traffic was at a stand still at Mayport rd. and the turn at A1A north. On the otherside of B&M.

It was around, 6:30am.

I finally arrived at the Mayport Boat Ramp at 7:30am. The "commercial gate, gate 5" to the back of the base moved one vehicle length every couple minutes.

THIS IS WHAT IT WAS LIKE  MANY MORNINGS WHEN WE HAD A CARRIER IN MAYPORT. For all of you that don't go to Mayport on a weekday.

This area cannot handle the traffic of a nuclear carrier and support personel, or whatever the hell was going on today! The entire length of A1A north from at least Wonderwood rd. to "gate 5", would actually need two more lanes! Two more lanes built atop the marsh?

I'm not holding my breath! Other's have said to me, "They'll make the Navy their own road." Really?
I don't think so. The city doesn't care about Mayport.

What I'd have to do is "just MOVE."  There's no way for me to conduct my business and sit in over an hours worth of traffic each morning, to go a couple miles.  I just won't do that.

I dropped the boat in the water. And Joan and her 10 year old son showed up about 30 minutes later.
We were now over an hour behind schedule.

We got out in the river, and there wasn't a ripple of current. The tide was slack and was eventually going to start rising.......someday. I need current, not with just everyone. But especially with kids.
It just makes fishing easier.

The boy got seasick at the jetties. So we ran back up into the river.  Then, back to the jetties. We were catching nothing but stingrays and small seabass. The boy didn't even want to reel in any of our bites. He was d-o-n-e!

We finally got on a spot in deep water, that was calm and all he wanted to do is go back. So, after a few hours, our day was done. Some kids, just aren't going to be fisherman. Patience, especially in the month of February is mandatory. And we all know most 10 year olds and under don't have patience.

So I dropped my crew off back at the dock. And went back out myself. The target species was Black Drum, with or without a crew. I was already wore out from moving around, pulling anchor sp many times, and dealing with trying to catch something,  or sit anchored where there's no chance of any bites with a 10 year old whining.

The jetties were sloppy on the outside, and only calm about 3/4's the way inside. And by now there was some rising tide.

And even I had to use patience, and move around as the tide moved, till I found them. While salvaging the day. The  difference is with me it doesn't have to be calm.  The Jettywolf was designed to anchor in the roughest water. And I don't mind anchoring in it.

She loves the slop.

Here's the video (it's long...get your sea-legs on)

Looking forward to when the big, big Black Drum show up. I'll put down the float-rigs when the super studs show up at the jetties. My largest ever weighed in at 90 pounds. (the two pics below)

If you have "the salt" in ya' to patiently fish for a really big Black Drum, like the ones above ya better get on the phone right now and give me a call, and book the right day.

I prefer certain "tides" for these fish and it's jetty fishing only. And it should start sometime late March thru April. It's not "party boat fishing", because not everyone on board is going to get a chance at a monster. So bring one friend, and either one of you may battle one of these.

If not, I'll be on the hunt for the Speckled Trout.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2/22 - Cabin Fever in Florida?

Wheww...just finished a 3 day run. Starting on Saturday the 19th at 10:30am. Then finishing up on Monday the 21st at 3pm. 

And it of course had to be warm and sunny too boot. Floridians with cabin fever? Yep, the river was a parking lot.

It's funny, because I actually enjoy cold days with some wind because no one will be around. And especially weekdays....Monday thru Thursday's.

Coupled with a crowded river, sunny days, and warm temps, we had the FULL MOON. Which was going to do no one any favors.

To quote Jerry, one of the four Sailor's I picked up off of the number 5 ship right after it pulled into Mayport; "I thought the St. Johns River was going to be this slow, lazy, water, with easy fishing." 

Well, Jerry and the crew got to see the river at it's finest. Current galore, boats on every single spot, and because of the full moon. Not many bites!

This continued all the way through Monday afternoon. But by Monday I gave up on the bottom fishing for Sheepshead and Drum and we went float-rig fishing.We caught a few Trout, and I mean "A FEW".  By Monday afternoon the wind was honking. So we gave some fiddler crabs a try here and there. But my GUT was telling me, it was all wrong.

I want to thank my crew members the last three days for having patience and perseverance.  Believe me, it's not usually this tough.

Next up: Thursday with a Mom and a ten year old, then Sunday. And then a few 4 passenger trips in March pre-booked.

No...ya won't see me out next Saturday during the El Cheapo Sheepshead Tournament. I just switched a charter from that Saturday the 26th to the Sunday afterwards.

There's no way to conduct a charter with all that going on at the boat ramp and jetties. I may go down and help slicing those armor clad critters up, for the fish fry.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2/17 - Winter casualty

Really....It's bad folks!

"If you fished offshore from North Carolina to the Florida Keys this past week and caught any black sea bass, you were fortunate. But don't plan on doing it again. The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (SAFMC) has done it again - this time closing, effective February 12, the black sea bass season until June 1 of this year. This applies to Federal waters from 3 to 200 miles offshore."

Read the rest here:

I only wish we caught them this size. So maybe with all this "management" we'll catch them this size.
(this guys hawkin his lures, of course. But if you want Seabass this size.....GO NORTH!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2/15 - Couldn't stand it any longer.....

After this weekend, I just couldn't stand it any longer. "I had to go run a float-rig behind the boat, and catch a TROUT!"

So, I grabbed fellow Float-Freak, Doc Miller and we took off around 8:30am. Today was the first day of some actual  T-I-D-E! Then, by Friday LOOK OUT. The full moon really kicks in.

Although the forecast was heinous by the afternoon with 20 knot ENE winds. Doc was up for it and so was I. We tried a creek at first. Just to prove to ourselves that "we ain't creek fisherman." Actually it was a creek that buddy DOA Rob frequents and has loads of Trout catches from his Hobie Kayak. But for some reason I can go in there and never get a single bite on a live shrimp....go figure. I don't stay where I'm not welcome very long. So after we tried one more spot before we hit the river. Again, not a sniff.

So we hit the "HUB"...already covered up with at least six boats. Believe it or not, there was room for us. Two float-riggers amongst six Sheepsheaders.  Yep, we were no threat to cleaning out the last of the snaggle-tooths. We wanted to catch a Trout. And I caught one decent Yellowmouth Trout. And that was it.

It's so funny, that in the last ten times to the HUB, when I do catch a yellowmouth it's ONE yellowmouth and that's it. Not two, just one! So today was no different, and much acceptable. Although unbelieveable!

So we worked our way up river. Since the lift on yellowmouth at 4 per person to 100 pounds per person! Yeah...a bit rediculas, but I'll take it. The fish have been quite illusive. They need to be. Because once I find the nest, they're gonna take a beatin'. So we hit a Yellowmouth Trout spot.

Instead we caught 3 Specks. Not whoppers, but a few could have been keepers. And even lost a few hook-ups.

Eventually the tide died, so it was time to head on. The wind now was gusting, it was really cold and the white caps in the river were made for the Jettywolf.  She loves the S-L-O-P!

We hit a bunch of pilings that any other month of the year are a Sheepshead, Flounder, Trout, and Redbass magnet. So we tried it. Possibly a few stolen baits by the Sheeps, and then we caught a few Specks. The wind was whipping so bad the spot was almost impossible to anchor on, let alone fish. But heck we boated a few more.  We moved on to the last spot.

There wasn't allot of Trout, but they sure were nice fatties. We caught three total on the last spot of the day, I got two - 18 inchers and Doc banged a nice 20 incher.

Here's the ones worth photographing:

Yes, it's been awhile. Yes, we couldn't keep any till 3/1. Yes, it was a crappy windy day to attempt a Trout "R&D Day" but I was almost afraid I had lost it.

Ya know, lost the where and how to catch some fattie Troutz. And that tell-tale throb, throb on the end of my long Trout rod. I love that feeling.

Can't wait till March 1st!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

While the rest of us, go broke...

While the rest of us go broke, shoving our pay checks into our fuel tanks to just get to work each day.
Unveiled at the MIAMI BOAT SHOW this year is the largest, horse power outboard motor ever developed.

557 Horse power!

-wouldn't be surprised to see the goverment put these fuel suckers on the back of Navy and Coastie boats!

Friday, February 11, 2011

2/11- Sheepshead 1st timers

Had  Ed Blue and sons Seth & Conner aboard today. It was cold and a bit breezy again. And the sun came out as we finished up. So back at the dock it was sunny and warm!  I don't care how cold it is, I just like to see bright sun. Just makes ya feel better inside.

Ed had a big day back on November 27th with 3 of his buddies out at the jetties. They caught the hell out of them "during the best month of the year".  Link to Ed's last report -  11/27/2010

And before that with the boys, they float fished for Reds and Trout and even hooked a late summer Tarpon that day along the Jetty rocks.

Now it's February. A whole different note. Time to slow it down and Sheepshead fish. Didn't go to the Jetties today because of the breeze. So we never caught any Black Drum. First time Sheepsheadin' can be a challenge, for sure.  But give it a month or two more. I like the spring bite, myself. During the spawn.

Last April, was a big Sheepshead month for me, with several successful trips at the jetties. I'm sure it'll be like that again. The fish are so bunched up now, and so are the boats. We were alone for about 2 hrs. Then, here they came.... No wiggle room in a 26' boat. I'd like100 feet around me to fish, not 5 feet!!!!

It would be nice to be able to fish an area, with no intruders. Believe me,  it's not an attitude. It's  Heredity: "the passing of traits to offspring" (from its parent or ancestors).  My Grandfather wouldn't surf fish if he saw another human on the beach north of south of his chosen spot. But that was also back in 1950. I guess I'm like him since his name was Dave too.

I just need to hold my breath till it's time to get back on the float-rigs again. Huh?

Here's a short video from today I did:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2/9 - The illusive jetty Drum

Had Mike M. aboard today. Mike is a regular customer, and took advantage of the offer  I made way back months ago.  Single person, weekday only, and get 2 for 1, with up front deposits. (expires March 31st)

So we headed out and I had visions of Black Drum dancing in my head. 24 to 26 inchers, at least.....

Lots of  surveying going on at the Little Jetties, and even today there was some big boat that looked like it was "core sampling" the bottom behind the Little Jetties. Ya' know, they are supposedly taking all those rocks out of there and making that the ICW/River channel.

Today was one tough day. Mike and I worked way to hard for what we caught. I told Mike, the funny thing is you can't catch a fish without getting bit first. And actually getting "bit" was the problem. From the rocks along Whiteshell to the end of the jetties. We worked it all. In pursuit of the same Black Drum I've been wackin and stackin. (IE: 2/5 - 1/30 etc.)

The only thing I could see was that the incoming tide was just 3.2 feet, and the falling tide in the afternoon was a 3.5 foot, according to my tide planner book.  And the trend goes right thru this weekend also. Anything less than 4 feet or better is a really weak tide. And is most noticable at the jetties.

Or it just might be that, Mike's second "weekday trip" later on, will have to be much better.
"HARD EARNED...." was the motto of the day. Here's a video clip:

Monday, February 7, 2011

2/6 - Cooper's Birthday

Had the McGee family aboard today....well, come to find out only part of this huge family. To include just the youngest members still at home. Dad Mark, Mom  Tammy. Cooper  turning nine today. Along with sister Tara.

I knew that just because it was Super Bowl Sunday didn't mean that the river would be empty. Which Tammy reminded me of on the phone the day before. I hadn't a clue. If it's a "ball" related sport I couldn't care less. Except for Golf. I enjoy that. Because it's Man versus Nature.

We got a early start. Because it was a "weekend". I was a bit hyped-up after yesterday's solo Black Drum catch. And the weather today, couldn't be any worse. Actually it was allot better. No 20 kt winds, fog, or rain. But it was overcast 99% of the day.

Don't know what the deal was. But there wasn't any current. And that was a problem, all day long.  When I have Jr. anglers aboard. I want to keep things as absolutely simple as possible. I want flowing current preferably behind the boat. Rods in the rod holders, and bait sitting out behind the boat. Get a bite? Pick up rod and feel, then set hook.

Didn't get much of that! Out of a 6 hours, I had about an hour and a half of it all day. And to prove my point. That was the ONLY time we caught a fish.  I don't care what other people do, or how well the kids can sling a bobber in the local pond. But current, behind the boat,  rods in the rod holders is how I like it when little busy hands, are on board.

With the lack of current, having to cast allot, a majorly bird-nested reel, and no bites. In the exact area where I caught 6 Black Drum yesterday, had me pulling my hair out.

And if I pick up the "man-maker" 22 pound anchor with the 25 pounds of chain more than let's say 5 times in one day. Right there, it's a "HERE'S YER SIGN", kind of day.

No sooner did I move and get into some steady current when 1/2 of Jacksonville arrived on the 1/8th mile strip of the river I call the "hub".  While small jigs, and a fiddler pitched up along the submerged rocks was catching some Sheepshead. It's nothing my two kids onboard could do.  So once in some  current, the first bait down caught the first Sheeps, for our Birthday boy.

But the "master plan?" To get a large Drum. Hopefully in the 10 pound category. And hopefully more than just one. Cooper had a time reeling in the 3-4 pound Sheepshead. And I wanted him to really get some angling experience, with a good large fish.

I could see, our planned 1/2 day charter just wasn't going to make that happen. We sat on a decent spot till the little current we had stopped with only the one Sheepshead in the box. Yeah, we had a few dinky Seabass and even a Toadfish. And again, "what are toadfish?" They're your tattle-tale fish that says, "I'm on the bottom of the food chain...go fish somewhere else!" So after a restroom break, I tried more clam baits on a spot or two hoping for just one more Sheepshead, as we eat a few sandwiches.

Clams. My experience has told me that clams, although a messy and delicate bait, that they are great Sheepshead baits, for the kids. The fish just suck them up! No feeling a bite. When the rod tip bobs, pick up the rod, feel the Sheeps move off, and set the hook. Usually, the fish will swallow the hook, they suck the Clam in so fast.  But you need a spot where the current is steady, and the fish are willing. We obviously had neither!

I was fed up. Our 1/2 day was here and gone and had just one Sheepshead in the box. Many guides I'm sure would have said, "Oh well....guess that's it?" and head to the dock. Collected the days pay check and went home to watch the Superbowl.

But, look at Cooper's face. How can ya say, "that's it,  to a kid like that?" We were all nine years old at one time. So, I made a run away from the 40 boats that were stacked up at the HUB since our arrival. Which is just too much pressure, too much noise, and too many fiddler crabs in the water.

We headed to the Jetties. 

It was SLICK DEAD CALM out at the inlet. I anchored up and instantly had good flowing current behind the boat. There was another boat a good distance away catching Drum atop the rocks. So, this was our redemption spot, I hoped.

The anchor line came tight, I baited up with my usual Drum bait of just dead shrimp and lobbed out to lines off the stern. We had CURRENT!! Running behind the boat!!

Oh my goodness, we may have a good chance at catching "targeted species".

One of the rods bobbed. I picked it up and felt the sand-bagging bite of a Black Drum. Set the hook and headed the rod to Cooper. It was a good battle for him. 

Most people not in the "know" think Drum are like a Redbass. They hit and run, bending the rod over and pulling the drag from the reel spool. Not usually. The bite is light. And they'll just hang on the hook. It's the difference between being a "grazer" type fish and a all out "predator" type fish. Drum, and especially Sheepshead are "grazers".

Cooper lead the fish to the net and we finally had a targeted species in the boat!

But not long after the current completely died, and the boat swung right out of the zone. The fish were biting. And now they weren't. So I tried to reposition, but that didn't work. I was willing to do whatever, except for loosing a $150 worth of anchor, chain and rode. I could easily see, that if we wanted current again where we sat, we'd have to sit out here till at least 5 or 6pm....but it was only 2:30.

Everyone was getting tired, especially Tara. Who was snug as a bug in a rug, up on the bow in her blanket.

All the last ditch efforts were made, while Dad Mark got a bite and it was a StingRay. Holy Moses, I haven't seen one of them since late October. Oh, the voodoo of the river is chasing us. So with our hard earned fish, we headed back to the dock.

A tough day is nothing but amplified for me, when I have Jr. Anglers aboard. I know they need constant action, and like adults want big fish. And I work as hard as I can trying to put together a  plan with the limited angling skills.

I was hoping for a nice 1/2 day like last Sunday with the "two Hubers". But it surely was different. And we even had a 4.0' tide both ways today.

Another four passenger trip coming up again, on Friday.
(crossed fingers)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

2/5 - Solo Drummin'

I go solo. And guess what happens...?

Every Black Drum is at or over 24".

(limit: One per your limit of five, can be over 24 inches)

So that means I go home with my one Drum.

It's happened allot when Trout fishing too. Mainly in the spring. Where all the Trout are 20 inches plus. And out of your five that you can keep. Only one can be over 20 inches.

So I guess...

-If you want to catch more fish
-If you want to catch big fish
-If you want to catch smaller fish

You have to just go fishing more often.

Yep, that's what I do.

Fog - Wind - Drizzling Rain - Zero sun today was "Chamber of Commerce for sure." Hahahahah.....NOT!

But it can be that way in the winter. It's pay back for those beautiful windless, warm, and sunburn winter days.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why not on the Redbass Tourney circuit?

Been exploring these particular boats for a few months now. And since long ago when I posted a video of a Alloy boat running a Idaho river full of rocks and Beaver dams. I actually received more requests to show that footage. Everyone loved it.

So I figured I'd post this particular "could be serious" inshore fishing boat. The engine is a Merc 200HP powerhead, hooked up to a jet.

Let's see...who could really get to all the SKINNY WATER REDS, during a NE Florida Redbass tournament?

If I could have it all, you may not just see the "Jettywolf" at the jetties, but the "Mudwolf" flying thru the creeks, to sight cast those oh so "wiley" Redbass.

Wonder how this thang would handle oysterbeds?  Do you get ticketed for running over marsh grass by the Florida water-nazi's?

Gotta love ALLOY.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FINALLY....Video of Jan 28th with "BOAT CAM"


This is what YOU can be doing this winter. This video is a great example of what still can be had on a breezy cold winter day in Jax. Fla.

C'C'mon down! Get some snow relief.

NO ONE ELSE will provide you with the information I do, to select your personal fishing guide. NO ONE!!!!

Enjoy, all my hours of editing labor: