Saturday, August 27, 2011

8/24 - Pre-Irene, ""Trout Hunt""

Doing alittle R&D, and going to one of my favorite areas, where I don't get waked, see a single other boat. No Navy, No Coasties, No Tugs, No Ships, No Helicopters, No Jetski's, just peace and quiet all day long in a prestine area. I can take you there too..."Fall is best."

"Jing" screen shot of area fished:

As it turns out, Irene was a total "DUD" for us here, and just another storm that did us no good at all. I'm looking for BIG RAIN, to flush Trout my way. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8/23 - Here she comes.....

Here comes Irene.



I remember when we used to get storms. I also remember when people booked their trips months in advance too. I guess I'm getting old.

Today, Tuesday the 23rd, is the last day that would be decent if you were to go fishing this week. Because from here on out till Irene passes the winds are going to build.

I suppose we'll get allot of rain, and high winds as the storm passes by us(?) So what's that mean for fishing?

Usually, it's a good thing. But it all depends of how much rain. Because if the central part of the state goes dry, them no water goes into the St. Johns River, rain water I mean. But if it does and it's allot, you can expect that some of the bait, shrimp and fish that are stuffed up river will start to come "MY" way, as in toward the coastline.

I'd love to see lots of rain, over central Florida. Then, I'd love to see salinaty levels plummet in the river. During August of 2009. Customer Kirk M. and I found that perfect water after a mid-August passing storm.

And we caught over 100 Speckled Trout in one day! Along with Reds, Sheepshead and Flounder. We did the day in two parts.

Using 12 dozen shrimp in the morning, then coming back to the boat ramp off loading our fish, then Kirk running back to the bait shop, getting 13 dozen more, and then we ran straight back and caught even more. "IT WAS INSANE!"

I don't have many times that makes me feel as if I'm fishing in Lake Pontchatrain, Louisiana. But out of the maybe a few times a year. This was one of them. The Trout were stacked up in water that measured 6 parts per thousand of salinaty, versus the normal high 20's or low 30's, that's keeping summer trout away from the upper parts of the river all summer long.

Yes, Lake Pontachatrain is usually less than 6 parts per thousand of saltwater. And is why the place is a Trout Mecca!

But for us. It's a rare opportunity to actually fish in almost fresh water, which again.....The Trout Love!

Screen-shot of area fished this day two years ago after a big storm with loads of rain:  Salinaty 6Parts Per Thousand, meant Trout Bonanza!!!

So...what the morale of this story?

The morale is, you may want to get with me, talk dates and tides and book your charter!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

8/20 - Sharkin'

Oh how I have to be a "jack of all trades" in the summer. One day I'm in the river with a boat load of kids, and then with a  regular customer hunting the ever illusive giant Redbass on a full moon tide. Then, not having set foot in the Ocean in 10 days, I'm out chum fishing for instant shark action.

Had three guys out on Saturday, and that's what they wanted "Sharks and Tarpon". Well, the Tarpon should be reserved for the next trip to the Florida Keys. But, I thought the sharks would be do-able. Hell, I caught them last time and the water temp in the ocean was a balmy 76 degrees. So, you'd think the moons would be aligned with Venus, since the water's back to 82 degrees.

Well, if you thought that YOU'RE WRONG.  It's bazzaro world!

The swells were close out of the SE. And first I had to locate was at least 30 pounds of Pogies. I accomplished that out in 38 feet of water.  Hmmmm....What ever happened to Pogies up behind the surf?? Remember when they used to be always south and behind the surf? I do. But so far this year the actual shallowest I've caught a Pogie was at least 20+feet.

Again, Bazzaro world??

You're only as good as your last movie in Hollywood, and for fishing guides the fishing is only as good as the last place ya caught them.  So I headed to the SE Hole, slam-bamming our way against the tight seas. Pulled up to exactly where we caught a half dozen sharks, and did it without any pogies to even churn in my chum chopper.

After at least an hour and several scoops of pogies into the chum chopper. Not a single sniff of LIFE, not a fin, not a look, nothing but a school of small little jacks of some kind following the stern of my boat eating all that came out of my chum chopper.

I spied on the way to go get some pogies for chum, at least 5 shrimp boats. Not a one was dragging. They all were sitting on anchor. Well, this isn't the Gulf of Mexico where jus the shear presences of a shrimp boat seems to draw pelagics. So I gave them no mind.

Without a bite, we packed it up and headed north to the chum hole. Same deal. Chum like crazy, and not even the ghost of summer's past, showed up to play. Then, I spotted one out of the 5 shrimp boats was actually dragging, a boat much closer to the beach off Ft. George then normal. So as I was about to give up and go soak dead pogies on the bottom in the river I ran over to it.

No chum needed, we instaly had a double header of 4 footers. And as long as we were behind this boat in some fashion, with baits floating, the guys sweated and sweated and sweated and caught a dozen of the exact same shark species, basically the same size. Not one Blacktip, nothing except these smaller unknown, I'd have to take a wild guess, Atlantic Sharp nose sharks??

All we know, is they are lightning fast and can bolt from one direction to another turning in less length then their own. And they ranged maybe from 20-40+ pounds. Not the 150 pounders of years past. The ones I remember taking damn near all the line off my twin drag Accurate reels, have not been caught yet this year. And, probably won't be behind the shrimp boats. Because if they do show up, I'll be on to something else by then.

I was constantly busy, either re-rigging or just plain running the boat so I didn't get any photos. But my crew did and took lots of video. They said they'd send me some, so I could post it here.

I'm really ready for that "something else" by the time late summer gets here. And I'm probably conceding to the fact that my motto, "no long boat rides" is gonna have to be only a winter time motto. So I'll be heading north for all light tackle Trout, Redfish etc. trips, for awhile.

It's not a new area that I want to explore, just a different one. And maybe well worth it.

8/21 - We have it soooo good!

The Jettywolf would be the "stay inside wolfie" if this was our inlet.
Never realized Boynton inlet, Florida was like this...or is that really just a "land gap"?

We have it good, I guess.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jus a reminder, for Sharkin'

And it's always FRESH.

8/18 - "do you remember, when?"

I do, because I keep log book entries......"jus like entries about catches."  Because my whole world seems to revolve around gas prices.

I remember it....."I was back to being so happy, it was unbelieveable!"  It was December of 2008, and I actually survived yet another catatastrophy, the $4.00 plus a gallon fuel of  spring of  '08. Where I actually saw $4.20 in J-ville. I was about to loose it all.

But, it had to be only because Bush #2 opened up the Federal Gas reserves, which sent prices "back to when I was in my hay day, in Jacksonville".

Survival of the fittest. Just like the fish that swim in the water.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8/15 - Full Moon Rising...

Had Don M. and his buddy aboard the Jettywolf, for a day of river fishing. We fished deep for big Redbass, mixed with fishing shrimp on the bottom, looking for some good eaters. But the Seabass wore us out. Many were "just short" of legal. They seem to have taken the place of the Mangrove Snappers "we used to have", before the winter of 2010, that either killed all of them or sent them packin'.

The full moon loomed in the sky all morning, creating some screaming currents. Here's Don with a 13 pound Redbass first thing in the morning. The breeze kept us cooler, but the wind in the camera wasn't a good thing. So I added some up beat tempo music.

It was one seriously tough day of fishing. Although the three of us worked hard for either big fish, or some good "eaters", for take home.

But no fear, here's some footage of fishing in the screaming flood tide:

The full moon tides will get increasingly strong as we approach fall. Seeming to "peak out" in October, during the harvest moon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

8/10 - Hangin' in the river

Picked up the Baker clan today at Sisters Creek boat ramp.  I had Curtis, the father and 3 kids. It's been awhile since I had three kids on board. And yep, I'll admit.

They worked me hard.

We started out with just barely enough rising tide to hit a spot that may produce a big Redbass. It would be a great way to start the day.

And it was. It didn't take all that long soaking a half of a 12" Mullet on the bottom, before we GOT BIT.

The battle insued......

With a helping hand from Dad an 11 year old will have his hands full.

Not hardly able to hold the fish, with wore out arms I got a "white belly" shot, after it hit the deck.

The 23 pound Redbass, was a true trophy. And a great fish to have been caught and we weren't away from the dock for an hour, yet.


Once the tide turned and the boat started swinging, I had to make casts out toward the channel edge. No more big Redbass bites, but one taker of a half Mullet was this 14" river bottom, Black Seabass.

As the tide started to fall it was time for the kids to get on the rods all by themselves.

So we hit a few spots, while they all fished just dead shrimp on the bottom catching Croakers, Whiting, Yellowmouth Trout.
They kept me so busy baiting them up, that I didn't take any more photos. We ran through over two pounds of shrimp, as they started from absolute scratch. I had to teach them how to work the reel, how to feel the bottom, and how to set the hook.

An education it was....and we were done and back at the dock by 12:35. I don't know who was more wore out, me or them.

ALWAYS CALL, (8am-8pm) to consult me about the best days, tides etc.
It's always good to have wiggle room. And reserve well in advance.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

8/9 - Sharkin'

Since my last report, I've done a  2 hr. Kids Trip, where we go out to the Shrimp boats and see all the Dolphins, and then stop and fish the jetties for a little while. I had Mom, Grandpa and two youngsters aboard.

The tide had switched as I dropped them off, and it was just 10am, so I hit the lil jetties and caught 4 Reds on the rising tide.
No big ones, but up to 15 pounds. None were small enough to keep last Thursday.

I went all weekend with "tire kicker" calls and people who thought I was a party boat, and would depart at 10am. I find all that kinda funny......

Today, I had John K. and his son aboard. His son Hayden wanted to try shark fishing. We departed right at 7am and headed out to the chum hole and behind some shrimp boats. I told John on the phone, we're working with cool water temps right now. Rather than a 83 degree ocean temp, it's been 76 on the beach.

The good thing in our favor was that I was too the boat ramp extra early. And I saw Mullet jumping right off the end of the dock this morning. So I quickly grabbed my net and easily caught at least 30 large mullet for bait.

No having to chase around looking for Pogies.

So with the chum hole shrimp boats not producing, we headed to the S.E. Hole, and fished 50 feet plus. Just drifting behind a few shrimpers, with live mullet out on corks.

We weren't there long and two takers right off the bat.  The neat thing about using the live mullet is the blow up you get when the sharks strike.

We ended up with a 1/2 dozen sharks eating the live Mullet. Mostly smaller Blacktips, they asked fore sharks and I delivered.
I just can't fish for sizes, though. We gotta take what we get.
A few did super streaking runs, and a few did some jumps, which was really cool.

I think the largest was a 50 pounder. And while out there we did see Tarpon rolling, and a giant Manta Ray paid us a visit, swiming around the back of the boat. Small Bonita schools were busting glass minnows on the surface. And as we drifted, there's no lack of schools of unknown bait all over the bottom.

The wind eventually started blowing hard off the beach chopping up the water, and our shark bite shut off, even though I had a great chum slick out behind the boat. Utilizing my "CHUM CHOPPER" built into my stern platform of the boat, I chopped up a bunch of old bait from the freezer. And it worked, because 5 minutes after chumming we caught the largest Blacktip of the day.

Since they shut down on us. We ran back to the river and anchored up at the Lil' Jetties and tried for a "FALLING TIDE" Redbass out in 35 feet of water. And only came up with TOO MANY Bluefish bites, and one stingray.

All which is a "Here's yer sign" that NO reds were around on a falling tide at this spot. Nothing ventured nothing gained?
Yeah, but they bite on this spot on a rising tide. But we didn't have that luxury at the end of our day.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

8/2 - HOT day, BIG "RB's"

Had Danielle and crew from NY city passing through Jax, and doing some fishing. Beautiful morning, but the fishing for targeted species was s-l-o-w. As we skipped from spot to spot on the rising tide. Fishing just shrimp on the bottom, while putting a big bait out behind the boat, for a larger fish.

Whiting, Stingrays, Croakers, Pinfish, Pigfish, Crab, Sharks, were caught. But I was wanting BIG, or a real good eater. One spot we couldn't keep a shrimp on the bottom for two seconds because of the bait stealers. So we left.

Danielle said, "I'll need to use a rest room....soon".  Guess the bucket wouldn't do today. So we went by a public boat ramp and the girls used the restroom and we headed back out. Since Danielle planned her trip well in advance, I was able to plan ahead. I had a plan laid out for the day, so let's see if the last spot, would work out for us. 

The rising tide was screaming. Cool, green water was ripping under the boat. Fresh Blue Crab, Cut fresh Mullet and Croaker, with 8 ounces of sinker. Put the rod in the holders, sit back in the heat and wait.......and the wait didn't last long at all.

The first rod bent over like a horse shoe, and that's all she wrote.......

F-I-S-H  O-N!!!!!!!! 

From 15 to 30+ pounds, it was a great way to end our day. It was truely a steam bath. But so much FUN. I just don't get enough girls out there. I have to say, they're always a good time.

Here's the Video:

Monday, August 1, 2011

8/1- Reviewing the Mr. Funnel

Here ya go. My continuation of the quest to have good clean and less ethanol fuel in my boat. Huge investments keep me wanting to keep up with all my equipment.