Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3/21 - Bugs vs. Big Seas, the whole story.

Had the "Rogers Three" aboard the Jettywolf today. After seeing that "Small Craft Exercise Caution" for Sunday's forecast, which was our originally reserved day. No more fishing (4) passengers in high wind conditions. Because on Sunday it would have been four guys rather than three. So, Monday's forecast was SE 10 knots......"oh yeah?"

Well, as we departed the dock, the river was slick as glass. But the plan was Jetty Fishing! That's where the slick as glass ended.
As we approached the end of the rocks, it was evident as all hell that the"back door front" that came thru on Sunday afternoon packed quite a wallop, in conjunction with the remaining "super moon" conditions.

I hit the end of the rocks and if the swells weren't folding over 8 footers....."I don't like Trout fishing!!!!!"  It was a free Disney World ride thru the cauldron of hell. The  Mayport Jetties newest attraction! And when we made it around the corner, the slop on the ocean side was one of those, "I'M SURE GLAD I'M IN A ROUGH WATER PACIFIC NORTHWEST ALLOY BOAT, WITH HIGH SIDES AND A CLOSED TRANSOM!" 

I anchored up, but didn't end up in the right spot. My gut, and the current was telling me that I'd have to get perfectly parallel to the jetty rocks. And it was way to sporty to attempt that. If so, there would have been NO room for error. So we headed back into the rocks. And that even had me heading south, then east and away, way around the buoy to get back in between the jetties.

I guess that's why the Mayport Forecast even though the wind had died, still said, "Small Craft conditions still apply".

But the next spot I looked at had not enough current to float-rig fish three guys, and the seas were busting thru the jetties and would just push our floats out to the channel. So, after what seemed an endless amount of time looking around. I headed over to the Navy Base.

We no sooner anchored up and some "wanna-be" up on the bank is yelling at us. "YOU HAVE TO STAY 380 FEET OFF THE BANK!!!!!"  Holy Crap, the Navy is playing these games again. Really....380 feet? I forgot my range finder today, and 380 feet puts me in the channel, I believe. Not a great place to float-rig fish for Reds and Trout, and make a LIVING! I wanted to give that ass-wipe the finger, but then 3 more showed up in cars. I must be a threat from hell.

That's really funny. Because on Friday I sat on the same spot for 3 hours. Guess, I wasn't considered a terrorist, then.

When you think about it.  Isn't it funny how they come up with 380 feet? And doesn't that river belong to all citizens of this town, let alone this country? What burns my ass more than anything is I didn't go into business for myself, to be told what to do every single day. If I wanted to be told what to do by others constantly, I could have stayed at my old job. So, no matter what ya do. There is zero freedom.......EVER!  And if the Navy thinks we're a threat while fishing along the bank. It just tells me, how badly they are lacking in true security.

I carry a mandated TWICS card. A Transportation workers Identification Card. Which means, I've been finger printed about 4 times and background screened at least as many. And I'm mandated to "pay" for this out of my pocket as part of a Homeland Security Tax. And what's the purpose?? What is this buying me?? All brewed up by some fat cat politician. And I'm still a potential threat to the United States Navy???  Give me a damn break. There's people working and walking on that base that are more potential threats everyday, than us local tax paying fisherman, trying to make a living, I'm sure.

In Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, you can go over to a well-head pumping explosive natural gas out of the ground, tie off to it and fish all day long. And no one cares! And it's an everyday ritual by many. But because we over run with military here. Every year we loose more and more places along "OUR" river to fish, and for myself to make a honest living. If you fish the river I'm sure you've seen the banks of Blount Island become a security zone. And been run off, one day to watch the rules change the next. I've had M-16's pointed at us and I and even had the Coasties run up on us with .50 cal's while fishing private docks, over the years. And told to get out. With no explanations, just "do as I say", by another "pee-on".

Wonder if city hall knows how good this is for tourism? The state of Florida cried like babies about the oils spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as if it happened right off it's beaches. And about how state's tourism (aka: Tax dollars) were being effected. Well, this could be considered J-ville's own little oil spill...In my opinion.

So the guys and I ended up in a creek, with the rising tide pouring in so hard we could have run a water ski'er out the back of the boat, while getting chewed up by the bugs so bad we couldn't stand still. So I said, "we need to get the hell outa here!"
And I told them about all the people who constantly tell me, how they want my job. "Really...they think this is some kind of glory ride", I told them.

So back to the jetties we headed. I'll take, hold on with one hand and fish with the other in these seas, over the frenzy of flying teeth any day. And as the tide rose, the water calmed down.  But then, I had another problem. It was rough enough I couldn't anchor when we got to the jetties, where I wanted. And before I could say ""boo"", a guy I took last year on a charter shows up and gets right into the spot I was heading too next.

A big lesson I learned last year. Do not ever take some local, with their own boat. Because when you do, it just comes back to bite you. All they'll ever do is fish the spots you took them too, over and over and over. While I'm out there trying to make a living!

But, the move to sit thru the seas versus the bugs and the screaming tide was worth it. The guys caught some specks, loads of small pup reds, and some throwback smaller trout. The action was pretty good. But then again the conditions weren't all that perfect for first timers out there, either. But my crew didn't do anything but fish thier butts off, and stayed with it. As they bobbed from one side of the deck to the other. With not a single complaint. I was impressed.

I would have done some video of the seas, or pictures at least of what it looked like while driving thru it. But, I obviously had my hands full.

The day ended with at least ten Reds from puppers at 16" that were the most, up to 28 inches. And ten Speckled Trout. No super-duper sized Trout, though. It was very warm and sunny. And I'm glad we went on Monday.


I talked to a fella at the boat ramp yesterday, who had a barge sitting up on dry land with a crane on it. Figuring, I'd come back to the boat ramp on Wednesday and see them tearing the docks apart or something like that, without notice. I asked him, "What  ya doing?" And to my astonishment, he said the City is going to "EXPAND" the Mayport Boat Ramp docks, and "L" off  the old ramp towards Morningstar Marina, and over at the New Ramps, they're going to "L" off the docks towards to the Pilot Dock.

Because the city has the $$ to spend, so use it or loose it next year. He said they came to the realization, that this ramp is really busy on weekends. And compared to Sisters Creek Boat ramp, there's not enough dock space to pull up too.

So he told me, "Look for this to be done in the next 4 months." He said he was just doing core samples for the pile driving folks. 

I was blown away!!

Mayport, getting an improvement??  I thought the new parking lot lights were just a security measure. Must be all the attention the place gets during the ever growing JOSFC El Cheapo Sheepshead Tournament in February, huh? Getting to be larger or as large of participation as the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament. (So I was told by the Tournament Director)

Can  ya believe it????