Remember me saying that this year must be the "year of the pogie"?
But as a Jacksonville Angler, I had the feeling that it wouldn't be a guarantee, that each day would be as easy as it has been, "turn the north jetty and throw the net". Because that's where they've been, and how easy it was to get my dozen and a half needed for each day. I guess the saying that sums it all up is, "this ain't my first rodeo."
Had Paul G. two teenagers, and his neighbor aboard today. We got started at the very last of the falling tide. Searched and searched the northside looking for my measily needed 18 pogies. There was none!
Went back dropped the 55 pounds of anchor and chain to the bottom on the inside of the jetties. There was barely any current, so we'd just bide our time and let the tide change, catching a few mini-Croakers, which I kept in the livewell. Some Whiting and of course, and for the closest to the rocks, little Seabass.
For the two young guys, this was their first time. First time out in Lake Atlantic, or close to it, on a boat. Then, I pulled anchor and went and hunted again.......still no live baits for Redbass fishing. Back to the rocks again....same deal all over. This time we sat in a vortex of current going one way, then switching and going the other. All wrong. Time to get outa here!
This time, it was the search for Mullet. Another bait I haven't even pressed into service. Because I haven't had too. But they too, were damn near LONG GONE......
Not to change the story here, but to give relavence....Friday myself and friend went down river in search of Trout. I knew going in it would be a snipe hunt, because the word on the water hasn't been promising. So we began Trout fishing near the Dames Point area, worked our way on the rising tide to damn near Trout River. Hitting all the places, that I've always caught them. I had one trout hook-up and lost the fish behind the boat. Other than that, we never lost a bait. Never had even a bite. The water down that way is about as grimey as it can get. B-U-T......the bait??????? It's everywhere!!!!!!! Mullet of every size. Pogies large and small. But then again. Not a Jack, a Ladyfish catch, not even a Pinfish!!!!
But boy there's allot of bait down that way!!!
We ended up leaving. That area of the river has nothing to offer me, other than knowing that's where all the bait is.
Back at the jetties we float-rigged up Two Flounder along the jetty rocks, then put away the not so trusty float-rigs and bottom fished for 20 Whiting and Two Sheepshead on live shrimp. So Friday, we saved the day but sure used some fuel.
So back to today...
We went to the southside of the south jetty. ONE school of Mullet came down the rocks as I pushed them into the jetty with the boat and pitched the net. Had about 10 Mullet, now.
An itch I have to scratch is the beach Kingfish.....someday I'll catch some. So we blew out to the S.E. Hole to pitch out a few Mullet and make a nice long drift. The water out there looks like Sailfish water. Dark blue and clear as a bell. Glass minnow schools everywhere. There was hardly a puff of wind, the water was slick glass calm, so making that long drift was out of the question. So I had to do the "bump in gear, bump outa gear" slow troll to keep those big Mullet from swimming circles around the boat.
Patience with my crew wasn't all that long, and after maybe an hour they were either laying on the deck, or bored. But this ""is"" slow bump and roll, live baiting.....(memo: I really want to scratch that itch STILL, guess I'll try another day.) So I ran all the way back to the jetties, up river and stopped at the little Jetties.
WE STILL HAD CURRENT. The tide was still rising and even though the weekender traffic was too thick for my liking, I anchored up perfectly where I needed to be.
I told the two boys, "THIS IS IT. TIDES DON'T GIVE US A SECOND CHANCE!" So out went a big mullet, and one of the mini-Croakers I'd saved. The current wasn't too bad, 5-6 oz leads held the baits good along the brake, I call "Cut-Off Ledge" behind where we were anchored.
The structure brings in the fish, and the structure can also be your enemy.
It didn't take long......
First rod doubles over and my twin drag Accurate reels were smokin'. 10 pounds of drag or more, and these Monster Redbass don't even slow down. They were big Reds, because the rod tips were bucking and thumping, and the fish would turn. Turn right into the structure down below and POP, goes the leader. Well...that was it.
Re-rigged, re-baited and not long after there goes another rod. Doubled over and bucking. Big Redbass #2, claims another victim. POP, goes the leader.
Re-rig, re-bait, and Pauls neighbor hooks up off the bow on a lighter rod. POP, victim #3 claims his "fish-gone" certificate.
Three in a row, three fish educating fisherman, in the ways of the river in the summer heat!
The flooding tide quit. The boat swung, so we headed in.
All I can say is........what a day.
I hope to have an easier time catching free and live bait on my next trip, and next trip, and my next trip.
And next up for me is Tuesday.