Friday, September 30, 2011

9/29 - Wow, did September go fast.

Cannot believe the months about over already........"which means I'm that much closer to NOVEMBER, my favorite month!"

Had some guys out today, for a half day trip. They called me at the last minute. I said, "okay, let's meet at the dock at 7am. The tide's gonna be super high,  6.7 feet, so we'll fish the rising tide in the morning." 

They said, "oh no, we can't go in the morning. Can we leave in the afternoon? And then, we're heading home Friday morning."

So looking at my tide book, I took a guess-tamite and said, "Okay, let's try 1:30 to 5:30pm" Knowing all the while that the tide was going to scream hard. But how hard?

Doing well, just bottom fishing for some big Reds on my last trip on Sunday. I figured we'd just do that. I get to the boat ramp at noon, and I get a call.....It's my guys and they're right behind me, and like myself an hour and a half EARLY! I was early, because I'm always that way.

So, this puts us leaving, and the tide is MEGA-HIGH, and slack as hell! As I passed over the Wonderwood Bridge near my house and looked down. The I.C.W. was flooded. There was water, where water hasn't been in a long time. Higher then what any storm has put the water at lately.

"Oh, this is gonna be a killer!"  I thought.

So, here we are out near the Little Jetties, after milling around for awhile. I anchor up. The falling tide starts pretty quickly here.

I pitch out two lines baited with cut Boston Mackerel. The only smelly bait I had. The bait stealers have a Hay-day on it, shaking the rod tips pulling on a free meal in the slack'ish current. How did I know it was gonna be this way?

One of the rods really shakes, and one of the guys reels in a 14 inch deep water, river Seabass!  That's a nice one, for in the river, for sure.

We sat through plenty of bait peckers, as the current started to flow. But I eventually made a move, to an inside bend in the river where we caught the big Reds on Sunday.

"Jus' before the tide became "LUDICRIS", this week."   

We sat and sat and sat, while I tried keeping 10 ounce bank sinkers on the bottom......Which wouldn't hold, in the current! Even on a inside bend in the river, while anchored up in just 26' of water!

Our half day was clicking away......No bites. The tide was way too strong.

Then came a Stingray. The same fella who caught the Seabass takes the rod. Heaving, hauling, breathing hard, sweating, he battles the alien hovercraft, as it rises 100 yards from the boat on the surface. My "little rods and reels, that can" which is what I call my 6' Ugly Stiks matched up with my mini-Accurate twin drag reels, are straining but still have some power left work the stinger to the boat. But the last 20 feet, I have to literally "hand-line", the garbage can lid to the boat.

We continue to sit in current that a small water skier could probably stand up in, behind my anchored boat!

Then, about 5:30pm, two ships pass right next to us....... the tide now lets 10 ounces stay on the bottom. And one of the rods doubles over.


John's turn. He's an experienced fisherman, and he picks up my short rod and works the fish to the boat. as the ships pass right behind us.
Compared to a 40 pound Stingray, the Redbass actually comes to the boat with relative ease. It's a pretty 26 pounder.  Wow, we finally got one. Only because the 10 ounce sinkers would finally rest on the bottom. Eight's would have rested on the bottom too, which is the "sign" that the tide was slowing. But I kept the 10's on, jus' in case.

The guys drank alot of beer while waiting. It was getting late. So they said let's pack it in and go eat. I felt the same way.

I had a feeling I'd have to fight the tide this week. And even today, fought with myself between just grabbing a bucket of dead shrimp and taking the guys Croaker fishing, versus trying to fish for the big Reds, in this excessive NEW MOON river current.

So, we took a shot at it. But, I know we could have went to shallower water, with lighter weights and lighter tackle and caught the hell out of Croakers, also.  But, I went for the BIG FISH, instead.

Which was a tough call for a four hour afternoon trip. But we did get one. So I guess it was a success. It's never good to beat yourself up second guessing, anyhow.

Now, as of Sunday October 2nd the tide will finally drop below 6 feet, with the rest of the first week of October going back to normal tide heigths.  Which is around 4 feet, between low and high tide.

I'll be out on October 4th, with one angler that day.

Let it be known; 
the 25th thru 30th of October will again be the same way as this week. And I'm sure that's when everyone will want to go. The tides will again be over 6 foot, from mid morning working it's way to the middle of the afternoon again, by the 29th of October.


Monday, September 26, 2011

9/23-9/25 THREE DAYS:

After three days in a row, as the New Moon Tides build. That St. Johns River, never ceases to amaze me. Between the tidal current, the commercial traffic, and all the BS rules. There couldn't be anywhere in the state of Florida more challenging, then fishing here. At least that's my perspective after 28 years, of which half is, guiding.

Probably the most interesting, or frustrating thing depending on who you are is how hard it was to get a livewell full of small finger mullet for bait on Friday and Saturday. Wanting to have them, under the assumption that this is the best way to stay away from all the bait stealing little fish, and/ or hungry Croakers. It took hours to get enough finger mullet Friday and Saturday morning.

Had James C. out solo with me on Friday. Which out of the last three days, was the most normal tide wise. I guess the theme of the day could have been labeled........"Yes, practice makes perfect."  James had one heck of a day. And after a while of finding our Mojo, both he and I worked hard under dark skies, with bands of  black with water spout funnels poking toward the ground. Who knows what the barometer was reading, as the clouds threatened rain all day, but held out till I got home.

James had some big fish on. And James had some big fish come off.

To make a long story short........James had the largest Flounder hooked up, and on the surface from 32 feet of water, that has been hooked on my boat in the last ten years.

It was "CONSERVATIVELY" 8 pounds! If not more. Larger than my net, and as big around as my livewells in my boat. It was a true DOORMAT! And near the net three times, before it broke the line and took off back to the depths.  At least we got to see it. Or maybe it would have been better if neither of us got to see it.

A few big Reds handed James his butt, as we were into "double-headers", as the tide finally slacked off.

Here's what made it to the boat......all the Reds ate those live Mullet, and all were too big to keep.
James did get this nice Flounder, which yielded some nice fillets, along with some other fish.
The last time James fished, was almost 5 years ago.  On his first Capt Dave charter. Back when the Jettywolf was still "shiney". I hope James doesn't wait 5 more years. We had fun together, even though it was frustrating at times.

Then came Saturday........the most frustrating day I have had in a L-O-N-G time. I had Bill and his daughter Margaret on board. Again, we spent the morning hunting finger Mullet. Finally getting enough as the tide fell from various locales. I started south of the Dames Point on a small obscure rock pile. With plans of using just the small mullet, for Reds and Flounder fishing. No BS'in around with Croakers. Jus' dabbing around with the live mullet.........."How could ya go wrong, doing that?"

Well, it can go REALLY WRONG!

When, fishing the hard earned Mullet, produces NO BITES!

The first spot, Bill catches a small Gag Grouper on his mullet. Margaret sits bite-less. Bill get's a few more bites, but no connections with anything worth a damn. This spot, in the past has produced some nice trout for me. But today, I was thinking possible Flounder and Redbass. I give it all the time I can stand...and we move on. Three places later, we're still "dabbing" Mullet around structure, and no Reds, or Flounder.  

The last spot of the day. The same exact spot that we had double-headers of Redbass on yesterday, and lost a "door-mat" Flounder.  
Hardly a bite. But Bill does pull out two decent Flounder for dinner.
Frustated, but not totally surprised.......we pack it in and head back to the dock.

Sunday, I have a group of four aboard the Jettywolf.  Oh, that falling tide was a screamer!!!!!!  We didn't even depart till 9am. Because the last thing I wanted to do is head out with 4 guys and have to wait on falling tide for hours. After the water started to move, we tried along the river channel for the big Redbass in 40 something foot of water. In no time at all I was up to an 8 ounce sinker and it would barely hold bottom, with a small finger mullet as bait.

But of course we were instantly hooked up! Everyone was excited, BUT ME!  Hoping for a giant Redbass, but I knew it was a giant "polish Flounder". A alien hover-craft. A Steve Erwin, killer fish. A STINGRAY! 

More than once I thought the rod was going to explode in someones face. And there's only one thing I hate more than replacing a lost anchor........and that's replacing a broke rod!!

So, after everyone aboard taking my word for it, we finally got the Stingray to the boat and broke it off. Remember, 8 ounces of lead wouldn't stay on the bottom. And 8 ounces is my "give" point. I will not fish current any stronger......and yes, it was gonna get stronger even.

So I pulled anchor and we went and jus' plain fished. Tossing mullet out the back of the boat as everyone baited up with some shrimp and caught one Croaker after another. In a some what calmer current. The mullet got chomped by one Bluefish after another, and the guys caught Croakers that were so thick, that all ya practically had to do is drop your bait down hit the bottom and set the hook.

We had to do something......and let this screaming falling tide do it's thing and as the tide got lower, it would eventually slow down enough so we could fish for the big reds. Which is what the guys wanted to do.

I kept some Croakers, Yellowmouth Trout, and Whiting. I'LL EAT 'EM! I like small thin frying pan fillets.

The tide soon gave out on where we were, and so did the Croaker bites and 4 pounds of shrimp. So we headed back towards Mayport. Stopped on a spot, where NO one was anchored up.

Boats attract boats. It's a simple rule of river fishing. I'd just as soon fish far away from the crowds, and get on my own spot.
And that's just what we did.

The current allowed us to fish 8 held. With big steaks of fresh cut Mullet on a 7/0 circle hook. The first bait out got hit in about 5 minutes!

The current, against a rookie fisherman, up against a giant fish. And a 7' Ugly Stik "catfish series" Medium heavy rod. HOLY CRAP. Will it all stay together????    

Chris works what we think is a good sized Brutus T. Redbass to the boat. His arms are wearing out, he's being coached by 3 guys and one 8 eight year old. It was mayhem!
NOTICE, the bow in the rod?  It got worse than that!!
Ties, Erica Jenning's 46 pounder back in June. Being the (2) largest Redbass of 2011.

(yes, weighed on a calibrated 100 pound scale)

Okay, they're here!
Next fish, a "teen-ager".......about 16 pounds, comes off at boatside.
(touched leader. So it was a caught fish, just not a photographed fish.....)

Next bite....
A 33 pounder.... 

Then, it was our Jr. Anglers turn. The tide is slowing finally, we catch another stingray, but it was a micro-version.
Then, another teen-ager. A Redbass in the teen weight size.
Dad's assisting...but the 40 pound mono leader pops at the knot!! So we don't get to see the fish.
(and you can bet I ain't using 40# mono any more.)

The tide falls off completely. We just fished the entire tide, today. So we headed back to the dock.
I bid the guys farewell and then I clean 10 Croakers a yellowmouth trout, and a Whiting. Feed my bird buddies, and head home totally wore out from these three days. With each day TOTALLY different from the next.

I only wish to someday fish an area where I can count on at least one day being similar to the day before.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The other flats boat:

Your sparkley gel-coated plastic flats boat can go how shallow?
hahahahahahaha.....this swamp thang go's shallow.
"I tink I saw a tree shaka', Choot'em Lizbeth!"

Damn, I'd love to run one of these thru Hannah Mills Creeks on a 1.5' negative low tide, and spray mud at the mosquito fleet of Carolina Skiff barges, back yonder.

9/19 - BIG RAIN...!!

Holy smokes was that some big rain on Friday night, or what?  I hope everyone in the J-ville area got it, because my area sure did. It was flooding around here, because the ground was so damn dry it took forever to soak in.

Now that's the kinda thing we need more often. HOURS OF RAIN!!!! 
Not only good for the ground, but also good for the river, too. The river that's more like a skinny saltwater bay, where I fish.

Either way, the rain ushered in the seasons 1st Nor-easter! Yep, cool N.E. air. Gotta love it. But the Nor-easter wasn't one that would be all that dang fishable, with the winds this past weekend pushing 25 KNOTS.

But I'm sure there was some crazy weekenders out there. I stayed around the house and did some work.

Which leads me to my next topic........
I inherited this. Anyone needing it?
I can even deliver, around the corner (for a fee) if ya have no truck.
It's all about "OBO"

This has absolutely nothing to do with fishing. But, I'm trying to get rid of this:
If you're in the need....shoot me an email.

Still have (3) $20 each 6'6" Ugly Stik intra-coastal boat rods left, that have been for sale for months. If you're in need a of good Redbass bottom rod....CHEAP, these are exactly the ticket. Add a reel, and you're ready.

My next charter days are Tuesday, Friday, and then Sunday with four.

So stand by for reports.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/14 - How hard should ya have to work?

Had a two guy charter today and Gene and Mike. Kinda last minute thing. But it easily worked out.

We left out at 7am, with a rising full moon tide......"Not really optimum." And Mother Nature, really let us know that, too.
We needed some live bait fish, and they be Finger Mullet. Because, shrimp wasn't going to cut it all day. There's still to many bait-stealers around. For hours, I tried to catch the right sized Mullet. Every where that I go and usually catch them was void of any thick enough to cast the net on. It was a major thorn in the butt. Because as time passed by, the tide was of course changing.
I finally caught some, most two large to use as a Trout or Redfish bait, but we could always cut them up for "cut-bait".

We tried fishing the deep water for big Reds, using cut Ladyfish, but the Croakers ate us out of house and home, while 8 OUNCES wouldn't hold our baits on the bottom, in the screaming incoming tide.

8 OUNCES!!!!!!!
That's where I leave well enough alone. More than that the current is just too strong.

So as the tide started to fall a few hours later we got into a nice Flounder on a Mullet, some bigger Croakers (12") and some Yellowmouth Trout.

The only speck we had was one 14 incher. And not a single Redbass all day. And I worked my butt off. Anchored all over, too. Ended up working the shipyard, and that's where we had the yellowmouth Trout.

Wheww.....what a day.

My guys left me all the fish, so I cleaned them up after they left. And one heck of a nice pile. No limit anymore on Yellowmouth Trout, and that's a good thing. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9/13 - "SMOKEY"....again!

Wow, the smoke is bad again. The ole Okefenokee Swamp supposedly is on fire again. And when the west winds blow, here comes the smoke. It's so thick, I couldn't see over the Intra-coastal waterway.


I was out yesterday, and talk about challenging. It was the "day" of the full moon, which for me is always challenging. The tide ripped hard and since I wasn't in the mood to do alot of anchoring. I just tied off to a few spots. And even finger mullet were hard to come by. But we (myself and a friend) finally got them along a grassy bank. And as the Mullet swam by.....guess who was trailing right behind them? A nice 25" Redbass up in 12" of water. I shoulld have thrown my cast-net over that Red, because we never even caught one all day long. But I was on more of a Trout hunt, so maybe that's why.

Another observation worth passing along was the shrimp and big ones I saw on the surface, flipping around. The first one we saw was at the boat ramp. Just swimming along on the surface without a care. Then later I saw some more. Is that a good thing, hell yes! Would a blast of "big" rain, help out even more, hell yes! (and for the fires too!)

Is our next best bet for big rain T.S. Maria??

Either way, the large easterly swells offshore is having alot of boaters out carrying surf boards rather than fishing rods.

Just the other day I saw 4 boats in the parking lot of the boat ramp, loading or unloading surf boards.

Got some new Ugly Stiks some "in-between'ers". Not too heavy, not too light. Which what I was lacking. I have my float-rigging Ugly's which are super failry wands, so hooks aren't pulled out Trout mouths and my utility bottom Ugly's with the best overall St. Johns River reels ever. The Shimano TRN-100G's, but I was missing some tackle for everyday in between fishing.

Jus' for FYI, here's a list of what I have found to work the absolute best for me over the years. Which can take the abuse of numerous hands on them, and what will hold up. But won't break the bank:

Shakespeare Ugly Stik "Catfish" rods. 7' and can fish easily one ounce to upwards of 6 ounces...but is stretching it.  All around great rod for bottom fishing, availible at Academy Sports. And cost a whopping $30!!!!!  These rods have caught redbass up to 46 pounds!!!!!

Shakespeare Ugly Stik "Striper" rods.  7'6" medium Lights for Float-rig Trout/Redbass fishing....again $30 availible at BassPro Shops.

Next, is my favorite of all. If you watch my video's you'll see me tangling with the largest of fish with it, and it's the "Striper rod", in Medium Light, but 7'.  AKA: The Fairy Wand. I absolutely love a rod that bends and bends on a big fish the entire length of the rod. NOT just the tip, which is what the world of high priced Graphite rod builders want you to believe is the better rod. When using small hooks, and braided line. A Fairy Wand rod like this takes up the surges, the pulls of a big fish. Wearing it out, against the bungy cord like rod action. Again, just $30 and availible at BPS. These are way to light for most charter customers, who are not used to the fishing around here.

Then, there's the "in-between'ers" The Ugly Stik "Striper" 7' Meduim Heavy's. The ones I just got. Matched up with some late model Shimano Citica low profile bait casting reels. These can fit right in the middle, so my customers can have a blast pole bending a big or small fish, but at the same time be doing it when not alot of weight to reach the bottom is needed. But has just enough "azz" to make up for the possible lack oflight tackle, angling prowness.

You maybe asking yourself, why do you like the "Striper" rods versus regular Ugly Stiks?  And the answer is; one piece rods the right action, and handle length.  If you open up a BPS catalog and actually study the rods and handle lengths, you see why. And for sure these rods jus' ain't for Stripers......they're just called that.

And remember, I BAITCAST!  I'm not a spinner reel guy. Although I do have some Ugly Stik inshore "lites" matched up with some spinner reels. But only use them for "popping cork" fishing the shallows, when with spinner style clients.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 - Historic day, and another nail in America's coffin:

Have you seen this?


RECREATIONAL FISHING ALLIENCE, Says Walton Family Foundation Supports MPA & Catch Share Efforts

August 17, 2011 - Wal-Mart announced this week its efforts to help fund the demise of both the recreational and commercial fishing industry while also working to ensure that the next generation of sportsmen will have less access to coastal fish stocks than at any point in U.S. history.

In August 16th news release from Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation announced investments totaling more than $71.8 million awarded to various environmental initiatives in 2010, with over $36 million alone handed over to Marine Conservation grantees including Ocean Conservancy, Conservation International Foundation, Marine Stewardship Council, World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

It's all about $$$$$$$$$$$.........jus like the US Goverment!

According to the release, the Walton Family Foundation "focuses on globally important marine areas and works with grantees and other partners to create networks of effectively managed protected areas that conserve key biological features, and ensure the sustainable utilization of marine resources - especially fisheries - in a way that benefits both nature and people."

Scott Burns, former director of marine conservation at World Wildlife Fund and now director of Walton Family Foundation's environmental efforts, said money will go to "protect and conserve natural resources while also recognizing the roles these waters play in the livelihoods of those who live nearby." The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) countered that these specially managed areas of coastal waters are also referred to as marine protected areas or marine reserves, and the end result is denied angler access, of no benefit to the very people whom Wal-Mart claims to benefit.

"A quick visit to the Ocean Conservancy website should be telling enough for anglers interested in learning where Wal-Mart's profits are being spent," said RFA executive director Jim Donofrio. "These folks are pushing hard to complete California's network of exclusionary zones throughout the entire length of coastline, and they've made it very clear that they would like to see the West Coast version of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) extended into other coastal U.S. waters," he said.

The release said that targeted marine areas moving forward include Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico.

"Here's an organization which has publicly opposed creation of artificial reefs used by Wal-Mart's tackle buyers, in some cases openly advocating for their removal, yet the Walton family is handing over tons of money for support," Donofrio said of Ocean Conservancy in particular.

"Shopping for fishing equipment at Wal-Mart is contributing directly to the demise of our sport, it's supporting lost fishing opportunities and decreased coastal access for all Americans," Donofrio said, adding "I hope all RFA members across the country will remember that when it's time to gear up, but I would also wonder if perhaps our industry can help spread the message and support our local tackle shops by also pulling product off Wal-Mart's shelves."

In April, RFA announced its support of a national boycott of the Safeway Supermarket chain (which also includes Genuardi's in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware) because of that corporation's support for California's MLPA initiative. "Apparently Safeway has gotten some bad advice from the people in the ocean protection racket, a community to which the California-based mega-corporation is now donating profits," said Jim Martin, West Coast Regional Director of the RFA. "Safeway says it is supporting groups that make a difference like the Food Marketing Institute's Sustainable Seafood Working Group, the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and the World Wildlife Fund's Aquaculture Dialogues, but it's little more than corporate greenwashing."

RFA believes it's time that Wal-Mart was added to the angler boycott list as well.

"The Walton family created this huge corporate entity which has threatened the vibrancy of our local retail outlets, and now they're essentially doing the same thing with our fishing communities," Donofrio said. "Much like Safeway has done with their financial investment in the environmental business community, Wal-Mart apparently prefers customers buy farm-raised fish and seafood caught by foreign countries outside of U.S. waters, while denying individual anglers the ability to head down to the ocean to score a few fish for their own table."

According to the official release, the Walton Family Foundation is also working "to create economic incentives for ocean conservation," while candidly pledging their support for "projects that reverse the incentives to fish unsustainably that exist in 'open access fisheries' by creating catch share programs."

"Our local outfitters and tackle shops along the coast have had to face an immense challenge by going up against Wal-Mart's purchasing power during the last decade, but now that the Walton family is so up front about their opposition to open access fisheries, it's hard for me to believe that any sportsmen would ever be interested in shopping there again," Donofrio said.

"California anglers have been outraged to learn that money they spend at a Safeway grocery store might end up in the hands of extremist, anti-fishing groups like the EDF and the Ocean Conservancy, I hope more anglers will join the national boycott by sending a message to Wal-Mart as well as Safeway," Martin added.

According to the Walton Family Foundation website, Sam and Helen Walton launched their "modest retail business in 1962" with guiding principle of helping "increase opportunity and improve the lives of others along the way." It is that principle the foundation says, that makes them "more focused than ever on sustaining the Walton's timeless small-town values and deep commitment to making life better for individuals and communities alike."

RFA said grassroots efforts to combat the anti-fishing agenda are more than just an uphill climb. "The EDF catch share coffers are already filled to the top, while Pew Charitable Trusts (another name to watch out for, who wants you to stop fishing!) has billions in reserve," Donofrio said. "When you add another $36 million annual commitment from the Walton family each year, I can't see how our local efforts can get anywhere unless the national manufacturers step up and openly denounce this corporate takeover once and for all."

"The individual anglers and local business owners are being denied opportunity, and I hope the federal trade representatives are willing to get onboard with their support of real small-town values," Donofrio said, adding that Ocean Conservancy and EDF combined received more than $10 million in Walton Family Foundation grants in 2010.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

9/9 - Birthday fishing trip

Had Richard W. and his wife aboard today. I took Richard and his daughter fishing and we wacked the Trout and Jacks pretty darn good one spring, SIX YEARS AGO.

So, when Richard wanted to come down from Georgia to do some fishing and vacationing with the wife over his birthday, who did he call......The Jettywolf!

Six years ago, on our last trip, I was still fishing my old boat. The For Reelin II.

But, when Richard called me, I immediately remembered him and his daughter. Because she reeled in a 5 pound Speckled Trout, in the first 15 minutes on the first spot I dropped anchor.

And I distinctly remember we fished some serious HOT spring Trout spots, that today due to J-ville being over run with military law zones, we can't fish any more. Which is such a shame. And only hurts us as a visitors destination.

But that's all in the distant past now.

So we left out this morning at 8am at high tide and I was on the epic search for 3" Finger Mullet. I got a few at the boat ramp, but the Mayport ramp is more of a low tide Mullet spot. So we headed to a high tide Mullet catching spot, and while catching them I tossed my net and hung a $100 "glass-minnow" net on a rock and ripped that baby to shreds!

Like jetty anchors, they're made to be lost, and broken. And so are castnets, during Mullet season. That net served me well for 4 years. So now it's time for a new one, oh well.

We had about 25 Mullet so it was time to head out and capture some fishez. The bite has been slow for me and was on Wednesday when Nick and I went. Especially slow on "keeper size Redbass".  Compared to last Sunday, that's for sure. I'm blaming the nearing Full Moon.

Most of the time, here's how it works:

-3 to 4 days before the moon they'll chew good.
-and 3 to 4 days after the moon, the chew will resume.

At least, that's how it is for me. It's all about the tide, which of course is synonymous with the new and full moons.

At high water, is when the good fish bit.

Of course this Redbass was 29 inches!

We hadn't even used a live Mullet yet, we were still just surveying the area with "cut" Mullet and dead shrimp, when this 22" Trout slammed Richards, cut piece of Mullet on the bottom is 33 feet. Yep, when they're hungry Trout will eat "cut bait" too.

Let me see if I can list all the species that we caught today......

Redbass, Trout, Flounder, Bluefish, Croaker, Sailor's Choice, Toadfish, StingRay, Whiting, Seabass, Bank Bass....There maybe a few I missed. But we caught allot of fish. Just not that keeper Redbass we wanted.

It was again a cool, light wind, beautiful day. And Richard's wife who said she definately is not a fisherman, caught a ton of fish today, and learned how to use a baitcasting reel too. It was great having Richard aboard again. And I'm sure he enjoyed his Birthday, today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9/7 - "RKA" Nick & Capt Dave on the St. Johns River


One long day, broke rod, short run, not good camera handling, the fish had Lock-Jaw, I caught enough to barely feed the childrenz, absolutely gorgeous day, no wind, nice and cool relatively speaking, only one Toadfish.....


Monday, September 5, 2011

9/3-4 - Labor day weekend

Started out on Saturday with Thomas B. and three friends. River fished and tried our best to catch big Reds. But ended up doing a lot of bottom fishing and poppin corkin' with out much to show for all our efforts. Caught some Trout, on the bottom in a screaming tide, on Mullet and 7/0 circle hooks meant for mega-Redfish. And burned through 5 pounds of dead shrimp laying the wood to no less than 75 Croakers of all sizes, with 13 inchers being the very best.

Screen Shot, of area fished:

Despite all the trying for Reds, the group left out with a big bag of fillets, thanks to the trout we caught and the largest of the Croakers, and keeper Seabass. It was a busy day on the water, as we stayed up in the river. Don't know why we couldn't score any Redbass, I tried a proven spot that morning.

But on Sunday I decided to keep it close. And try something else.

On Sunday morning I had the Lewis family. Keith, Angela, and Alec. Keith was a superior fisherman. And right off the bat started the day with a 5 pound Jack, in tight quarters.

The action was pretty good, as the three fished the falling tide. The live Mullet attracted only good quality bites.

Screen Shot of area fished:


Angela, even had a slam-dunk rod bender that she couldn't stop. I even tried to help her. And it wasn't like any fish I've felt on a line, in a long time. Super Heavy, and did nothing but "dig" for the bottom. I believe, I could have been a Grouper. It wasn't like we weren't fishing huge structure. But eventually, the fish "rocked" her up on the bottom and I had to just break the line.

Two or three reds were too big, but not much over 27 inches.

"Industrial fishing at it's finest." Don't even have to anchor, which is nice!

Yep, even Trout were caught while they snacked on our frisky live Mullet baits.

Only fish we were really lacking was a Flounder, to have an inshore SLAM.

It's certainly no secret, were we spent the entire day. Out of the breeze, but yes in "wake central" as boats headed, north to Ft. George for the Holiday partying.

Then, finally Keith nails a good 18 inch Flounder. Our "SLAM" is had!
Followed by another Trout, to round out the day. The box was looking nice with Trout and Reds, and the one Flounder. And as the tide creeped higher and higher the bite slowed. Signaling it's "time to go make the donuts", which is what I call fish cleaning time.

It was a great day. And Keith was a great angler. Angela, also did really well and was a highly competitive fisher-woman herself.  Twelve year old Alec, learned how to cast a baitcasting reel, caught his first Redfish, Trout, and Grouper. And I loved it, because we didn't have to move around hardly at all. We jus' kept baits in the water! And that's how ya' catch fish.  

I attempted to make a short video of a few Big Red catches, but for some reason they didn't turn out. The camera was on when it wasn't needed, and off when it was. Operator Error.....I'm sure. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

9/1 - L-o-n-g haul

Had Colin M. aboard today. Been along time since I had one person. And in my mind a "true guided charter". Usually, all summer I feel more like a "inshore party boat".

So, feeling free like a seagull, we blasted off westward out of the shoot. And headed down river. To do some shallow water trout searches, and allot of casting.

The forecast was not perfect, by any means. ENE winds 15 knots, with morning rain possible. But the wind was next to nothing all morning.

First spot, casting live shrimp on popping corks in shallow water, equalled ATE alive by Needlefish.

Second spot,  casting live shrimp on popping corks in shallow water, equalled ATE alive by Needlefish. this it?

All that was caught besides a few pinners, was a small pup Redbass. And the dead shrimp pile was getting pretty big on the cutting board. All the shrimp that the Needlefish just killed, in a pile.

So we tried some bottom fishing, the current was about over though, and Colin must have fed the same bait stealer a pound of dead shrimp on the bottom, without a hook-up. As I caught one small yellowmouth Trout.  Time to move on........

Next spot, it has to be Speckled Trout, has to be!!

Colin nailed the first one. A nice keeper. And no sooner here came the rain. Then after the rain here came the 20 knot winds. NOT 10-15, but hienous 20 knots.

Then came another...

Then finally....a fat 20 incher.

Quickly that slick calm water you see went away. And we struggled to get a bite, as the sun got bright and the humidity kicked in.

Making a few more moves, as I searched for any kind of pattern in this area.

But still fighting the needlefish, every other cast.
Made a move and picked up the float-rigs, and caught one 14 inch trout, which was just a luck fish. As we couldn't pull another from the area.

The tide was pouring in strong now, we got some trout in the box. So we went back up river and tried bottom fishing once again, the same area we tried earlier.

Yellowmouth Trout, a few small Croakers, and Stingrays, and a visit from the FWC is all that happened as we sat in the blowing wind, and smoking current. But we were having fun any how and as the hours passed we boxed another 7 filletable Yellowmouths, packed it up and headed in.

Back at the dock I filleted all the trout and bid Colin good luck as he heads to Alberta, Canada to work for an oil company up there pumping out the oil sands.


I got home and got a call from a buddy. He said the Jax Beach Pier today was on fire. When the tide turned, the Trout lit off like crazy. And saw 5-7 pound "surf" Trout  come over the rail along with Flounder and Black Drum.  And it's so funny, because that's where they are, and that's it. You can fish all you want at the jetties and those Trout aren't there. But each summer, the Trout hover around that Pier as they patrol the surf. And catching them from a boat is nearly impossible. And there's NO other structure arond our beaches to hold them, other than the Pier.

"It's called being, S.O.L"