Tuesday, May 31, 2011

5/31 - Early morning GHOST town:

Wow, everyone must have "partied like it was 1999" on Sunday. Because the boat ramp was a Ghost town at 7am this morning.
I liked that! As I told my customer Ken W. "There were more people out here on Mother's Day!"

Having a vacant boat ramp and river doesn't bother me one bit. More room for me. I had two adults and two teenage boys today, as we headed out towards the jetties. AGAIN, thank goodness the marine forecast was wrong. Originally, I had my doubts. The N.E. winds 10-15 or better, wasn't part of the equation. Although there was plenty of close swell in the ocean. Being out there early had us NOT finding any Pogies for Redbass bait, at first. Low level sun, and some clouds had spotting the dark spots in the water mighty tough. So, instead of bouncing around I went and anchored up till the sun came up a little better. And gave us a chance to watch the Pelicans, to see if they could find them for us.

In the mean time, the guys caught a few Whiting and a true "scalloped" Hammerhead Shark. It was just a baby, 20" long. But still a cool catch.  It didn't take long, for the tide to start to ebb, and when it did I pulled anchor and headed over the jetty rocks and spotted several pods of Pogies. Made a few casts with the net and got the bait we needed, for our Redbass fishing.

The boat bounced around like it was in a washing machine......"and I guess it's still rough out there right now. Because as I write this report it's 7am on Tuesday and my phone is ringing with people bumped off, offshore charter trips already!"

I went on the inside of the rocks and tried to get this party started ASAP. I had rigged a few 3/8ths oz. jigheads. I pinned a Pogie on and made some casts up into the shallow rocks at the tip of the jetty. I had to cast, the boys couldn't pitch the light baits on a Shimano Citica baitcaster. And after a few survey pitches, I got bit. And handed it to one of the boys. PARTY STARTED!
It was a 27-1/2" (over sized) Redbass. But a good catch....with a litl' help for Cappy Dave.

I got Ken into the casting also, since he's a baitcasting Bass Fisherman. But we only had the one taker, as we power drifted the jetty.

We went an anchored up where I was yesterday. In hopes of the Whiting chewing like they did on Sunday.

So with two Pogies out the stern, and two rods out with the boys fishing with shrimp. We were ready for whatever.

Some decent sized Whiting were coming over the rails, when a Pogie rod doubled over.

And we had another "RB" hooked up.
I was down to "TWO" anglers, and had TWO on the bow seasick.

This next RB was larger......

It was 32" and a good catch for our teen-age angler.

Then, from out of now where, the boat swung and we weren't laying along the rocks any longer. "We were caught up in the vortex of hell....." 
I kept live baits on and out behind the boat, butthe further away from the rocks meant, alien hover-craft hook-ups. AKA: Stingrays!!
Ken, got slam dunked by one that had his way with him, the entire battle was under the boat and around the outboard. But as an experienced angler he held his own and eventually got the garbage can lid sized Stinger up to the boat. Then, another one. A massive one took our Jr. Anglers line and dumped the spool. No stopping this one, so I had to bust it off before I'd loose $50 worth of 30# Braided line!

Yep, ya gotta love summer time at the jetties! You can ALWAYS count on the Stingers to ruin allot of tackle. As the tide/current straighted out, we got back in line along the rocks finally. And boxed a few more Whiting, and hooked up another Pogie eating Redbass. That was a KEEPER at 26-1/2".

It wasn't long after, that Ken's son-in-law said, "Let's Go." He had a case of the hee-bee-gee-bee's, and was just down for the count. So we kinda made it an early day. And headed back to clean our catch.

They guys ended up with a dozen or so Whiting and one Redbass for frying pan. As we left the breeze seemed to start swinging around towards the NE a little bit. And if it did, I can bet today is again a washing machine out there.

It's summer. But it's summer in Jax. Which doesn't always mean slick calm waters, at the jetties or off the beach or offshore. So, always be prepared for the water to be moving, either up or down, or side ways. When we're out there. It's your responsibility to come prepared.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

5/29 - Holiday's almost over...

I still after 15 years find it really incredible that people do not plan. Since Thursday, I recieved call after call for Sunday and Monday.
And yesterday was really the bomb......no less than 25 calls for either Sunday or Monday. Sometimes, twice by the same people!

Let me just say this, as I've said before.......30 days minimum for all Holidays please! Two weeks is what I like for any charter day. But the world has really changed. Back when I got started in this, Cell Phones weren't even all that popular. But of course I soon needed one, and my first was a present from my dad for my birthday. I used to book days from 3 to 6 months in advance at times. Now, I'm lucky if I get 6 days. It's a gimme-gimme, world now. And if I had 14 boats and 14 captains I could trust, I could possibly be driving a new Ford truck. But I don't. I'm one guy with 40 rods and reels, and only one boat!

Today, I had John K. his son John-John, and Kenny aboard. Great Guys!!! Fun to be with. We started the day as I usually do, scanning the water for the "FLIP & SPLAT" of a Pogie, outside the north rocks. We chansed them around a bit, right at the tip of the north. But the real schools were about a 1/4 mile over towards Ft. George Inlet. One toss of the net and it swam away.

Back to the rocks. Anchored up and it wasn't long before John was hooked up.

A pretty 32 incher in the net. One down, more to go? Not really.....John-john hooked into something absolutely monsterous. But it turned out to be a Dumpster lid sized StingRay that sucked itself to the bottom after John-john already broke a big sweat. I had to bust it off.
These guys are like me. The big reds are okay. But I like to E-A-T! and I love a fried fish sandwich. So we made a move. Not far at all, but it's where we stayed the entire rest of the day. WHY, once ya find fish, don't lkeave fish to find fish else where.

And we found them. THE NEST OF WHITING, willing and able to find their way into our fish box! And I ain't talking just small "dink" Whiting either. We had "bulls", the size of keeper Speckled Trout! Filling the box with close to 50, which equates into 100 fillets. Prime eating fillets, when tossed in Zaterains Country Fish fry mix and peanut oil.


Using four, yes four pounds, of shrimp. They were chewing really good. As the guys waylayed the Whiting, I kept pitrching a Pogie out, and even though the rocks adjacent us didn't seem to be holding any Reds, I eventually hooked one and as it took line off the reel I handed it to John-john. It was a 26-1/2 inch keeper.

We never left this Whiting hot spot. Until the tide slowed and we started to swing on the anchor line.

It was a great day. I always like people who are like me. And I love a big fish-fry. And I love Whiting, too. So we fished the entire tide. So we packed it in and headed back to the dock.

Monday: 4 passengers, and then this Holiday is OVER.

Now, do ya think I can get people thinking ahead for around 4th of July?  I know of one group, the Tanner clan. Greg Tanner will book his day early. Because I've been taking him and his kids for years. He knows the deal....

Thanks John. It was a good time, today. Hope to see ya'll again.

Friday, May 27, 2011

5/27 - Back in the river...& a Reel review.

Had Chris W. and his wife Leila, for a day of river/inlet fishing. Departing at 7am we headed to the jetties. Yep, the swell was still lingering from yesterday's hard SE winds. Pogies? Couldn't get any easier. I find it so funny, because I can easily remember years when a livewell of Pogies for bait was a luxury. Because if you had the money and time to spend hours looking for them, you might of ended your search finally all the way past Ponte Vedre beach.

Now, all we have to do is turn the north jetty, and there they are. Oh, how each year is a spin of the "wheel of fortune".

We started anchored inside the north rocks as the swell picked us up and down. My usual one Black Drum per day spot, now that it's summer. But instead of using shrimp we dropped over live Pogies. The falling tide had just started pushing.

It was not super uncomfortable, I knew we wouldn't be here all that long. Eventually, the cloud of queasiness hung over Chris' head. So we picked up and headed down river toward the Little Jetties area.

The tide there was just starting, so we tried Pogies. But after I caught a yellowmouth Trout on a dead shrimp. We switched over to all Shrimp. Sitting along the channel edge, fish number one was the lowly Toadfish. Then came one Seabass after another. As I hoped for more Yellowmouths, maybe Croakers, or even a Drum.

Those rule making fisheries people who have closed Seabass in NE Florida should come with me. The St. Johns River is carpeted with juvenile Seabass, and during this time of year there's probably 1000 small Seabass for ever single jetty rock out at the inlet.
I find them a nuisance, many times.

We did catch a few Whiting. But that was it. Only a few. I wanted to NOT run around, I wanted to keep lines wet. So we stayed put. And it finally worked, with one of my standard river rods bowing over as it sat in the rod holder. Something sucked up a live Pogie, and was haulin' butt......ripping line off the spool!
It was a long hard battle in the strong current on the light tackle.
A multi-spotted monster was now in the boat!
Weighing in at 27 pounds!
We tried for another, and the the small fish stopped completely biting. And right as the current slowed my crew was ready to pack it in.
We "may" have had another chance at a monster Redbass, as the tide slacked. But, we ended on a high note. And I was finally home for dinner time, too. Later, the skies darkened, and the breeze picked up as I cleaned the boat up after the last two days. So it was a good thing to not linger to late today.

I'm keeping a close eye on the winds for Sunday & Monday. With a full boat each day.


Shimano TRN100G - I've had these reels since this past winter. I wanted to match up my Ugly Stik white catfish series rods with a really tough (hopefully) reel that I could use as a utility bottom fishing reel. I've had similar Shimano's before, such as the "charter specials" that are lever drag, levelwinds. But those were just a bit too involved for basic bottom fishing. I already have "twin drag ACCURATES" that are lever drag reels. And nothing made can compare to them. So, I got a 6 pack of the Shimano TRN 100G's for everyday use.

These reels come in two sizes. the 100's and 200's.
For my purposes, there's no need for a 200. They already hold so much 30# braided line it's ridicules.

Here's the stats:
Power Pro,  braided Line Capacity (# Test/Yards) 40/410,50/405,65/390.......and I'm using 30#

Max Drag is 14 pounds which has proved itself more than adequate.

The gear ratio is 4.3:1, which is slow. Especially when you're used too 6.2:1 Shimano Curado 300's.
But my customers need power, not speed.

 So now it's been almost 6 months, and these reels have been used and abused. And I can say, "THESE ARE SOME SERIOUS WORK HORSES." Kinda like a Abu Garcia 6500 Ambassador, which used to be the fishing reel equivalent of a Timex watch. The TRN100's are a tad larger. But when it comes to the DRAG, not many reels beat the Shimano's. And being a GRAPHITE reel, you don't get the corrosion problems you get with an Ambassador, either. (been there, done that, didn't get the T-shirt!!)

I actually chose these reels because they were graphite. Because of their daily use, the last thing I wanted was corrosion issues.

I can tell you that I'm still very happy with their performance. And if any of you really know me. I will buy, use and get rid of tackle in a heart beat, if it's not working out for me. I buy sometimes just to try it out. Some make the grade, most don't.

These reels have worked through all those winter Drum, and now monster Redbass. But at the same time, they are also my Kingfish, Cobia and small Shark reels this summer. I gave up a long time ago on having designated special Kingfish rods and reels, because Kings don't really put up all that much of a battle to start off with. Certainly, not compared to a really big Redbass on a falling tide in the river. BUT...you do want the smoothest drag you can get when it comes to small hooks and live bait, when King Mackerel fishing.

Yesterday's battle, against the 26 pound Redbass had me thinking about these reels as I cleaned them after the charter. I wiped them off with a damp towel, inspected them and said to myself. "These were a great investment, for my charters." They're not fancy, they're not super high speed, or Gold anodized aluminum. But I sure have got my money's worth out of them in the last 6 months. And without a hitch, either.  And to me, that makes the Shimano TRN100's a good durable reel, I'd recommend and buy again.

Best Prices, with FAST free shipping, and you can also earn REBATE POINTS, in case you're wondering:  http://www.edgeangling.com/Shimano-TR-TRN100G.html

I may even get a couple more, for a few more Ugly Stiks I have.

Tight Lines.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

5/26 - First real "Chum & Drift trip"

Yep, first genuine chum and drift trip, "it was so dang rough, it's about all we could do." So I'm glad I came prepared. Had regular clients Jeff and his dad Harry aboard. They've done just about everything with me, before. Trout fished, float-rigged the rocks, bottom fished the river. Light tackle fished the shallows. But because of the jetties being so slow the last few trips, I had to change gears.  Jeff and Harry were up to it.

Come to find out the seas would be 4 feet back to back, with small craft exersize caution. Well, my 26 foot craft just slow peddled around in it, as the spray from the wind drenched us at times as we moved from area to area.

POGIES? Good gawd, this is definately the year of the Pogie. We no sooner broke out the jetties and turned north and there was an 1/2 acre right on the north side of the jetties. One toss of my 8 foot bait buster net and it went swimming away, full. Some go into the livewell and some into my chum chopper.

But first, it was time to try a few shrimp boats. Two were out a ways....probably to stay away from all the Pogie schools. We dropped in behind the smaller boat and it didn't look good. The water was clear, there was a few Dolphins, and we saw no Blacktips. I looked at the man in the back of the shrimp boat as I cast a few lines baited with a bunch of dead Pogies over the nets and he just shrugged in return. When the sharks were thick as fleas, I've had who ever was standing at the back of the shrimp boat, usually point straight over the transom.

We tried a few more times. There was nothing on the shrimp boats. So we made our way back towards the Pogie pods. All I hear is "POGIE PODS...that's where the Cobia are!" Well, there was thousands of pods of bait everywhere ya looked. As the wind blew the water into white caps. Personally,  I've never seen a Cobia on a Pogie pod. Just Cuda's. I've seen Cuda's circling them as if to keep them in line, like Kindergarteners walking to the cafeteria for lunch.  We looked and saw so many Pogie Pods and saw not a single fish swimming around them, at least not on the surface.

My plans were to just drift with live ones out behind the boat and use the chum chopper to keep a slick out as we drifted. That's why I had my chopper built into my boat. No need for endless slow trolling, this summer.

We worked the chum hole area, making mile long drifts only to have a Pogie chomped by small Bluefish. Our slick never even drew a single shark, let alone a Cobia, a Spanish Mackerel, or a King Mackeral. As we were hoping.

We made a zip code change and ran south against the 4 foot folding seas, heading for the SE hole area. Again, the Pogie pods were everywhere. The seas had me stop short of the genuine depth of the SE Hole. We saw plenty of Turtles, and small Rays along the way.

Again, we started a drift and started a good slick behind the boat. Drifting straight back to the south Jetty. The seas really had us alone. We saw maybe 4 boats all day long, and not many out where we were.

Harry had a rod bow over and had a fish on. It jumped and I caught a glipse of it. It was long and silvery. He got a good run out of it, but it somehow broke the mono top shot I had tied between the braid and the wire kingfish rig. We drifted a bit more and then Jeff's rod bowed over and he was hooked up with something decent. As he reeled it in we could barely see it. It was shaped like a Cobia, with a wide tail. Then I saw it's head.....I yelled "It's a damn Bluefish!!" No one wanted to believe me. Or was I seeing things. No, maybe it's a small Cobia. But I didn't  see the Cobia's distinctive white line on it's side.

No, it is a Bluefish!!!

HOLY SMOKES...this one is a "Oil Tanker".
It was huge. We're not used to seeing Nantucket sized Bluefish around here. Years and years ago, there would be monster blues show up at the end of the jetties. But that's been a thing of the past. My Mom on her Mother's Day Trip years ago caught a Nine pounder while trolling for Kingfish offshore. But this one was even larger.

We put it on the Boga-Grip scale and it was 12 pounds. I couldn't believe it was so skinny looking with all this bait out here. But then again, look at the recent bite on it's tail. Probably a Dolphin. Can't figure any fish out here would tangle with this dude, let alone be able to catch it.

It's head and jaws were huge.

We continued our drift. And as we discussed Harry's hook-up, it too was obviously a monster Bluefish. It's not like we see Blues this large everyday. So while hoping for a Mackerel or a Cobia. To see a Bluefish crash the surface way behind the boat, then loose it. Has one pondering, "what was that?"

The next hook-up was a small Blacktip Shark. That ate Harry's Pogie. It was a stocky little dude around 10 pounds.

We came up on the south rip, and inside the dark water it was nastier as all hell. Didn't want to drift through that. So we picked up and headed back north again. We had a few small bluefish chomped baits. But it was very apparent, "It was not in the cards to chum up anything decent like a Cobia today, at least not with my Cobia luck. I usually do just that, "luck into them." Either while trolling for Kingfish, or as the last one I caught. Sitting frustrated eating crackers, drinking a bottle of water when two swim up to the side of the boat.

Back to the jetties we slowly go. The north side of the rocks were out of the wind. But there wasn't a stitch of current. I like me lots of current. Without it, I believe nothing bites. So after a short break anchored up in smooth water, it was time to go back and fish up inside the river.

Hell, I had to do something...I was scraping and scratching for anything! So, even though I wanted nothing to do with river or jetty fishing today. Here we are now, anchored up at the little jetties!!

I talked to a friend, that was anchored up and he said he'd had one break off and that was it. So we anchored away from him and dropped out two Pogies. Sliding on the anchor, between the wind and the haulin butt current of the rising tide. Harry hooked up!
And then it was gone. "Oh, that ledge down there, takes no prisoners!"  Yep, we slid back just far enough on the anchor, that we were no fishing "CUT-OFF LEDGE", at the Little Jetties. I've lost so many big  Reds to that ledge of lime rock down there, it's unbelievable.

Next, it was Jeff's turn. His rod thumped several times and now the fish is off and running.

Between the current and wind blown water, the fish handed Jeff a silver platter, whoopin' on him really good.

After a lengthy battle he got the big Red to the boat on relative light tackle, in adverse conditions.

It was a nice 16 pound Redbass and had a hook and someone elses leader hanging out of it's mouth. Probably someone else, sitting on "cut off ledge".

We tried for another. But it was getting late, the wind was relentless and Harry and Jeff had their fill. Boy, it was an adventerous day. And the rest of the Holoiday weekend isn't going to be very windless, that's for sure.





I'll be out with a full boat, and kids on Sunday and Monday......OMG!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

5/22 - Time to shift gears?

Had John K. and his buddy aboard to do for a jetty trip. It was a beautiful day, just like yesterday. Sun, slick seas, and light winds.
We departed 7am and headed straight to the rocks. Wanted to catch that extra 50 minutes of falling tide we got today. I had visions of more Drum in my head, since they seem to be there at least. All ya need is some dead shrimp.....good smell some current equals Mr. Black Drum.

And John caught a decent one.

But the ONE, is all that bit. Let's see, two hard earned falling tide Drum yesterday, and only one today? Hmmm...that's not cutting it.

But, the Whiting were chewin'. Not huge ones, but just enough to keep it interesting and keep some action going on as we hoped for another Drum. Boxing at least 20 real fast. They seem to be the only fish really chewin'. But as the tide slacked, so did the Whiting bites and we still only had one Drum in the fish box.  "Okay, time to make the donuts."  Head over to the massive pogie pods and get some live baits for Redbass and the rising tide.

Catching BAIT couldn't be any easier. Only wish catching fish for the box was as easy. We fished, fished, and fished, for a big Redbass. And don't think we feed a Pogie to anything other than a Seabass, with eyes bigger than it's stomach.

So as it grew hotter and hotter and the tide got high. We packed it in and headed to the dock. I cleaned up the Drum and all the Whiting which made for some good fish fry material.

Here's where I believe I need to start changing gears. It's a "here's yer sign" kinda thing.

I have to get out there on the rip-line on these falling tides.....Cobia and Kingfish, is what I'm thinking. The shrimp boats, I usually don't have to hit them till June, and June is right around the corner. Blacktip Sharks, Spinner Sharks - aka: "Brown Marlin", are what's in store if you are looking to  really break a sweat! Loading up on Pogies, and getting the chum chopper spewwing some fish attracting gew and oil, as we drift live baits out behind the boat in the S.E. Hole, and even the Redtops off Ponte Vedra beach. And as soon as I hear a good word, Tarpon chumming.....at my favorite place, Nassua Sound.

It's time of year again for hunting.....
We can still hit the river / jetties if that's the kind of close, no running trip you want to book. But, if you're wanting to get adventurous. What I'm talking about is my Tarpon/Shark trips on my rates page. Costs a bit more, but ya never know. It's that time of year to check out other opportunities.

Here's video of a Shark'n trip:


Saturday, May 21, 2011

5/21 - Loads of fishing....

Had Tim and his Dad Troy aboard today. Troy's a "pan-fisherman" from Georgia. So today's objective was for him to catch something bigger than a bluegill.

With the tide still ebbing this morning we shoved off early, at 7am. And headed directly to the jetties, so we could catch that last two hours of eastward moving tide. I didn't fuss with Pogies right off. Why waste valuable tide and time, with baits that only a Redbass is gonna eat. Tim has a huge family, he needs fish for the box! So we used dead shrimp on the bottom.

We had "I.G" - instantaneous gratification, not long after the anchor line came tight. And Tim set the hook on "targeted species" , a real nice Black Drum.

This is a great eater size, so into the box it went. With hopes for more, more and more!

But the next good bite was Troy's turn. He set the hook and reeled in a "pup" Drum. And he told me it was the largest fish he's ever caught.
Also a nice eater size, it hit the box with it's bigger brother.

I saw that the Redbass were chewin' a little bit on the other side of the jetty. But figured I'd hit them as the tide changed and started to flood. At least that's when I caught them a week ago. But who knows what they'll be doing on the rising tide. I'm almost tired of playing the guessing game. So we stuck it out, as the tide petered out and the boat swung close to the rocks. We should be able to hook another Black Drum. But as soon as the tide died, so did all the bites.

Time to "make the donuts", I mean, "get some Pogies". Which wasn't hard. As soon as I rounded the jetty, they were right in front of the boat. Two casts with the net, (I botched the first one with a tangled net) But the second throw had the net swimming away with mega amounts of the "lil' greasers". Into the pogie tank they went, and we drove 100 feet and anchored up along the rocks. All set for the rising tide, right? Sitting perfectly, on the spot that on the last day just like this...."we wore them out". Or more like, they wore out my clients!

We waited, waited, and waited.... Clean, green water, full of bait. Schools of mullet swam past the boat. Pogies just off the port side. Greenies jumping behind us, as the tide poured over the end of the jetties. And NO bites.

And my problem is "patience". I have none!  Especially, when I think the fish should be stacked up behind the boat, but are not, for a reason I just don't understand.

So after all that, we bagged it. And went and float-rigged another Redbass spot. Rising tide, green water......aah, it looked great! Even had a huge Manatee swim right by us. Tim and Troy took to the float-rig fishing with live shrimp easily. But only came back with shrimp chewed off, or bit in half.

Again, the direct opposite of what I'd expect.

So we bag the Float-rig fishing. Which pains me to say, is about as dead as it comes lately.  So Cappy Dave, has to think outa the box. It was a Saturday, so of course every where I'd want to anchor up and just bottom fish again, had a boat on it. So, it was time to go find "our own water".

And that's what we did. I made a bee-line for the JAM. The jam is where the beach and jetty meet. Or as damn close as we could get.

We tried the float-rigs and had a sweet drift down the rocks, and only bait stealers and a few Ladyfish jump-offs. I said to Tim, "I'll pitch out a Pogie, on the bottom as ya'll drift the floats." And on my second cast up to the rocks, as I was watching all the damn Cuda's swimming around, yeah CUDA'S! They were everywhere in 10 feet of water! So as I was watching the Cuda's the rod about got snatched outa my hand. And I yelled to Troy, "TAKE THIS!"

He gladly did, and had a good Redbass swim him around the boat. I believe, he was a bit taken by the strength of the fish. But kept his line tight and up popped a really nice "KEEPER" Red.

It was almost a double-header, as Tim bowed back on something that ate his live shrimp on the float-rig, but it ended up being a Ladyfish that did a double gainer back flip and came off the hook any way.

So, did I find the secret to success on this spot? I guess so. The float-rigs weren't catching any fish, that's for sure. So we all grabbed a bottom rigged rod and pitched Pogies up to the shallow rocks.

Barracuda's....they were up in the rocks, swimming in three's by the boat, single swimmers, they looked like logs. Not a one was under 10-15 pounds. I told Tim and Troy, that I don't know anyone who has ever targeted these cuda's at the jetties, but ME!
Years ago, I saw so many of them hanging tight to the rocks that I just had to spend the day trying to catch one. But the challenge was...."on a Top water Plug". I cast and cast all day, just to have jetty cuda's follow my lure half way to the boat and then  turn away.

So as the day wore on, I figured that no bait fish swims "AWAY" from the rocks, that's un-natural. Baitfish swim along the rocks, and that's what the cuda's expected. So I got up current of the pack and made casts over them. And popped a Storm Chug Bug down the rocks laterally. On my 10th cast, I had a serious follower. Then, it attacked. It was a great fight on really light tackle, and I even got a few jumps out of the cuda, also. It was a 15 pounder on my Boga-grip scale. I was alone, and didn't have a camera either. But I was doing Nextel direct connect back and forth with my buddy Pelican while he was at home. He did hear the drag Zing......as I held the button down on my Nextel direct connect phone, and screamed "I FINALLY GOT ONE!!!!"

Yes, if YOU can accurately cast and work a lure really good. THIS IS A JETTY SPORT...Inshore Cuda's on Top water lures!
Who's up for it?

Okay, back to today. We really needed at least one more fish. Because this is WAY too much fishing, and not enough catching, in my book. Then, Troy yelled FISH-ON, as he reeled in a 18-1/4" Redbass. Another one for the box!

It was getting really hot, so at 1:00 we started to pack it in and head back to the dock.

Yes, allot of fishing. For what we got. But each hook up yielded a fish for the box at least.

With all that bait at the jetties, fishing shouldn't dominate the day, catching should. So, you have to stay flexible as all hell and fish your own water, I guess.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

5/17 - Tides & weather...."butt kickers"

Had a few trips lately that couldn't have been more challenging. I know after 15+ years as a full-time guide, nothing is really all that new. But, when it comes to trying to match a great day on the water, just two days ago. The "ole" saying is right when you think you know it all, is when Mother Nature let's you know you "don't"!

Had a real time of it on Saturday, with Keith and Ross trying to get on the bite of Redbass that """were""" chewin on the high water at the jetties. Unfortunately, the ones hooked, got off. And there was no room for a second chance.

The pre-full moon tide played with us like a cat and a mouse, in the river. The fish knew something was up! Because later in the day we got chased back to the dock by a wicked storm from the west, that came down river with a 20 degree air temp change, driving rain, and 50 mph winds.

Luckily, I had a spot......not out of the rain, but out of the river and winds. We took cover tied to a dock up in a creek with high banks, and lots of trees to get out of the wind.

It was the first storm for me in 2011. The first storm on the water, that caught up to us. We ended up catching some Whiting, and a yellowmouth, after loosing the few Red bites we had at the jetties. But the fish knew something was coming. And the lock-jaw was seriously apparent.

The storm did claim a few victims. A boat that was 14 miles offshore was taking on water and sinking. The skipper did everything right. Sending off his EPIRB signal and in a few hours the USCG was there to rescue. Don't know if the boat sunk or not.

Then, yesterday.......I had my regular customer Eric J. and her friend Lara from Bismark N. Dakota, it was the day before the full moon. Seriously strong tides, and add in 15 kt. plus sustained winds, from the west.

Oh, any due west or due east winds make life at the jetties a real trial of patience. Because on a west wind and a falling tide it's all pushing against the boat, when on anchor, the same direction. The boat whips from one side to the other, as the wind gusts.

But we tried those high tide Redbass, "again". And Laura had some kind of drag burner. But it got off. And that was Laura's chance at a big "RB" on a pogie.

BAIT.....it's everywhere. But where were the fish? One school after another of Pogies and Mullet passed right by the boat as were were anchored up in the morning. Bait swam under the boat, religiously minute after minute. So far,  this has been a great early summer for Pogies, and Mullet. I don't even see any fish busting the pods. A pogie can feel really secure at the jetties, because they seem to go completely unmolested.

The air temp at 0930 hrs yesterday morning was like a March morning. It was over-cast windy and kinda cold! The very "thin" Laura from Bismark, was cold for sure. She didn't come to FLORIDA to be cold. She said when she left Bismark that morning it was freezing. And now she needed a jacket and a hood in Jacksonville!

The reds bit at low tide rather than the high tide. But we couldn't get to them, due to other boats, and the extreme winds. We went into the Intra-coastal for a while and the water was chocolate brown. Some of the nastiest ICW water I've seen in a long while. And we only caught an eel and a toad.

We fished the day fishing "backwards". Yeah, that's what I call it when we're anchored but constantly slipping backwards with the tide and wind pushing on us. I about gave up......but then again, the Whiting were chewing. So we caught a mess of them, along with a small Flounder, from earlier

Thank goodness Erica is all about the "experience". But she knows I'm all about the fish! And I worked my butt-off. My "man-maker" anchor had me stiff and hurting by the time I got home and in my lazy-boy recliner, to re-coup from the days challenges.

Makes me want to go back to anchoring up in shallow water and flip a float-rig behind the boat......

Sunday, May 15, 2011

5/15 - She's really sweet and she's ALUMINUM

Aluminum boat education

AMF BOATS, New Zealand.

Yes, it's 100% welded aluminum!

Friday, May 13, 2011

5/13 - Friday the 13th ain't so bad

Had Eric Rea, and his two buddies from Texas aboard today. In town to go to the T.P.C. Golf Tournament. So on Friday the 13th we headed out out. Spooky, cause I'm superstious. Especially when fishing.

So we head out the jetties and go look for some Pogies. I find them right away, get my net ready and make a great big circle cast right on top of them. And the hand-line comes flying off my hand. The net's sinking, the water's 30' deep and I have seconds to slam the boat in reverse grab a rod to dip the hand-line out of the water before the net takes it down.

Achieved!! Ut Oh....was that a Friday the 13th sign, already?? Nope, just stupid me, letting the hand-line come flying off my hand! That's all.

With Pogies easily on the next go'round, we head 100 yards over to the north jetty. I show the guys what we're gonna do. I bait up a nice lil' greaser, and pitch it out to the prescribed spot. Before I can hand someone the rod, a Redbass is on it and get's off. Second bait, same deal. And this time one of the guys grabs it, doesn't realize these ain't largemouth bass and gets his butt handed to him. The fish swims from out and away from the boat, to the boat! Run's under the boat is probably out the other side of the boat and POP....goes the line.

Yes, Eric's buddies are fresh water fisherman. And this is was new to them. So now, they know these fish mean business!!

And without going into massive detail, (because I'm hot, tired and hungy I'll keep it short.) The guys hooked over 10 Reds, lost some and got some. It was I.G. - instantaneous gratification, for the next few hours.

I took as many pics as I could, but it was mayhem! GOOD MAYHEM!

After all the Redbass action, we needed more Pogies. So I went and got some more. Then we drifted the Pogie pods, thinking "how the hell could there not be more Reds in all these pods. Well there was none. Then we anchored and let the pods of bait swim right under us. Still nothing!  So the tide was falling about this time, so I tried outside the north tip. No bites. So then, we went inside the north jetty. "There's got to be some big ones cruising on the inside right?"  No bites. So I said hell with the Pogies and we put on some dead shrimp.

And not long after, BAM. A rod bows over. And it's a sweet pup Black Drum. Hmm....."Targeted Species" in my book.
The southeast breeze started up and as the tide slowed, the boat started to swing with the wind. So I drug up the anchor and dropped us out in deep water.

A few Whiting later, we started to get at least some "take home" fish. Or rather for these guys, more seafood for dinner at Singletons. Boxing a good handful of Whiting, as the incoming tide starting. We were all hot, tired and Eric had a hankering for a cold beer. So we headed in so I could clean their catch.

It was a great day. NO LONG BOAT RIDES. We hung along the north rocks all day and had super action as long as the tide was high. And had to work and be patient on the falling tide.

No more Friday the 13th mishaps, either.

Thanks Fellas, it was GREAT!

Next up:
2 guys on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tackle D-E-A-L-S:

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5/9 - Liking Monday's

Had Charlie W. and son in law George aboard the Jettywolf today. After this weekend, it sure was nice to be out on a Monday. Although any more, it really doesn't matter. The boat ramp was full, for even a Monday by days end. But no one was around earlier this morning, which was nice.

Tried to really schedule our trip per the tide. Wanted to fish the rising water, but have some wiggle room this morning to get plenty of bait. Those pogies can take minutes or hours, it seems. But lucky for us. Today, it was only minutes.

I'm really happy with my new livewells, especially the one I turned into a "pogie tank". It maybe only a 14 gallon Keepalive tank. But, it holds enough pogies for me. Today, they were much larger baits than I've had swimming in it, on past trips. And it still worked good. Besides utilizing the keepalive out-flow and in-flow fittings on the tank, I also have the pump that recirculates the water hooked up to a timer. On for one minute, and off for either 1, 3, 5, or 7 minutes. Saving on pump wear and tear, and battery power. After flushing the tank good with a steady flow, the pogies happily lived swimming around with the tank re-circulating water every 3 minutes, than as we used a few. I dropped it down to recirculating every five minutes. http://www.keepalive.net/ is where the really nice tanks, tanks with aerator-ventury pumps, and livewell fitting can be found.

We anchored up along the jetty and I pitched out the big pogies on a standard bottom rig. Wanting some good pushing incoming tide, the Reds would arrive as soon as the current started. Charlie was first-up.

"ALL" these Redbass will and were over-sized.




So, getting a keeper wasn't really in the game plan. Although it sure would have been nice. I didn't bother bring the float-rigs. Just because it's been so damn slow lately. I was hoping to keep action going today. Rather than working every crevise of the rocks with out many bites.

Charlie was on a roll.... the next Red was a locomotive! It ran so hard and fast I almost thought it might be a Stingray. The only difference is Stingers don't buck the rod tip. But wow this was one powerful fish. And Charlie being a very experienced angler handled the fish with no problem. Playing it out, till it came to the side of the boat and gave up completely.

At 22 pounds it was the "Brutus T. Redbass" that Charlie was looking for. George had a few swing and misses. But next it was his turn. And again it was a 30 plus incher. What most of these fish will always be.

You can see, it was a slick calm light breeze day with lots of sun. But was never scourching hot at all. We started to get short on Pogies, so we tried a few Pogie pieces, and they got ate by either Bluefish or StingRays. George had a stinger hand him his butt. And it wrapped in the anchor line, sat on the bottom and then it was all hands on deck as I pulled the anchor released the ray and unravelled it from the anchor line. NEVER a dull moment at the jetties. Somethings always gonna happen, and there's always some kind of sea monster that's gonna mess with ya.

Bowed over Ugly Stik's....I love it!
Another "over slot" sized Redbass. These fish had no problems eating the large Pogies.
I chucked out a Mullet head on the bottom and who else would come along...A Nurse shark of course. But no matter what, they will give you weak arms and a pain in the back because they may not run but they sure are strong! Charlie got his arms worked out on this one.

All our Pogies were gone. So I had a real easy plan. Drift down the south-side of the south jetty and cast net some of the Mullet that have been pouring down the rocks for a few weeks. Again, that didn't take long at all, either. Charlie and George were the spotters up on the bow, and as the boat slowly drifted just off the rocks. I stood ready to toss the net. In two throws I had more Mullet than we needed. So we then went and achored up on a spot that's always been a good "spring Redbass, with live bait spot, on the last of the rising tide."

Oh, but it was slow as all get-out. We had a few Mullet molested. But no takers. Yes, how things can change. Maybe it's because we're really not "in spring" any longer. Spring lasted about a week this year. With Tarpon rolling at the rocks, I believe we're in the summer season!

The tide started to slow. And that's when they should bite. And one did. And Charlie took care of that one.

It was about time to pack it in. We had a few more "sniffs" and as one bait was still out on the bottom as we were about to call it a day. The rod doubled over. Charlie fought it, and the fish got down around some structure and the leader popped!  That's structure fishing for ya. And we were fishing just off a deep wreck with plenty of that!

So we headed in, back to the dock.

I really enjoyed having Charlie and George aboard today. Two guys, that could fish and were out to enjoy themselves. It would have been nice to target some "keeper sized" fish. But at the same time, the action may not have been as good. It's going with the flow of the seasons. And since it's now 100% summer. And I can see how this summer is shaping up for my Trout fishing.....not very good. I'll stick to getting ACTION.