Pleased to have aboard again, Ed Blue and his two sons, Seth and Conner. I started out thinking S-H-A-R-K fishin'. Only because we'd have some nice falling tide right off the git-go this morning. And I wanted to see how the guys fared on a monster spinner or blacktip.
So I wasted no time at all. We anchored up and I handed each one of them a rod baited with just dead shrimp pieces. "FOR SHARK FISHING?", you may ask. Yep, because first we had to catch us some mini-Croakers for live bait.
Sure we could have ran around looking for Pogies, while wasting absolutely precious falling tide. So why not anchor up, get some fishing under our belts, catch some Croakers, maybe luck into something else while were at it, and drop out a shark rig.
All makes very good sense to me.
B-U-T, and there's always a but. The Croakers were difficult to catch. Yeah they were down there. But the guys weren't "slayin' them" by any means. After awhile, we had enough to commence to laying out a Shark line on the bottom. And as the tide started to slow quickly, the big Shark rod bowed over.
I could tell right away, it wasn't our "TARGETED SPECIES". But rather the slower, but very powerful Nurse Shark, that ate one of our Croaker baits. Seth was standing right there, so he got on the rod and landed the Nurse.
Here he is bowing the monster fish rod.......
The Nurse Shark was about a 30 pounder. What I was hoping for was one of those 100 pound Blacktips that was eating the Croakers like fun size Snickers bars, off our hooks last week.
We continued without any of the big boys hooking up. And come later in the day I found out that the VHF radio was buzzing with "Where are all the sharks??" As other boats did the run and gun behind the Shrimp boats. So far for even myself. The shrimp boat fishing has been mostly a big ZERO this year, on the Sharks. With a low tide at the jetties being "where the action is at." But at the same time. This also comes and goes like the wind.
Plus, I heard that the incoming tide has cooled off and was around 74 degrees, today. THERMOCLINE, of cool water? Yep, that's the buzz.
I say, "of course...this is bazzaro world in the summer around here, plus the Kingfish tournament is coming up. The water has to go cold, and then all the Pogies disappear too. It's a July Ritual, isn't it?"
Of course, I'm being highly sarcastic. Only to ease the wackiness of what goes on here in the summer.
Okay, well nothing was happening where we were, after the Nurse Shark. So I decided to "run the tide". By chasing the ebbing flow of the river. All the way down to the Dames Point area. But first we stopped off at the Lil' jetties. Caught a few more Croakers, Seabass and such as I layed out a few lines baited up with mini-croak's for a big Redbass.
No Reds, and not much else. So we ended up at the Dames Point area. The Croakers were chewing pretty good, not great but okay with Ed boating the years FIRST "keep'able" Croaker worth filleting. Dang, I'd love to run into a heavy school of fat Yellowmouth Trout down that way.
Ever since they made the limit 100 pounds per person per day. Catching more than 5 pounds of Yellowmouth's for me has been a struggle. And with NO JACKS or Ladyfish in the river from the jetties to at least the Dames Point area. I'd like to find a school of yellowmouths at least, to add to the Croaker catchin'. Right now, the Croakers are just free and plentiful live baits for really big Redbass.
Seth baited up with a small piece of dead shrimp dropped his baited hook over the side and then set the hook on something that he thought was a Croaker larger than his dad's....."at first". But as I watched, "this wasn't no Croaker!!"
Up pop's a big fat Black Drum.
At nine pounds, this is what we came here for.
And I wish these were allot thicker. I believe the next time I head that way. I'll bring some fiddlers or blue crabs, so to stay away from the shrimp eating Croakers, and hopefully target more Black Drum, like these.
The HEAT eventually poured on heavy. There was not a breath of breeze down that way. As you can see the water was slick calm.
We tried another spot on the rising tide, with out much luck. So we packed it in and headed back to Mayport.......where it was breezy and cooler.
As we neared the ICW, is where we ran into the wind, like a wall.
Ed always likes some take home fillets. So I cleaned up his large Croaker and Seth's Black Drum. I guess the guys were heading to the Waffle House, since Seth got on the boat hungry this morning. That's okay, he's a growing 16 year old with the largest fish of the day.....times two!
HERE'S THE LAST TIME THE BLUE CRUE WAS ON THE JETTYWOLF, LAST WINTER....doin' some sheep herding in the cold weather. ( I LOVE IT!!)