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......

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