To my happiness, I had a phone call from Erik on Wednesday.....(phone calls are a rarity anymore) So being he and his friend Alisa wanted to go on either Friday, Saturday, or even next Saturday. The nice thing was we didn't have to play 'back and forth with e-mails. He told me what he wanted and I looked at the weather report while on the phone with him and decided......5-10kts from the S.W. and FOG, on Friday was a day not to be missed.
Alisa, did her home work. I had noticed her name when she signed up for my reports page. And she later told me "I was chosen", because my reports were up to date, my Youtube videos were informative, and my website was right on the mark.
"I liked this gal, right away!"
Since the little Bluefish have invaded the jetties, making "float-rig fishing" not as productive. I opted to try bottom fishing, with Black Drum in mind. So we headed to the inside of the south rocks and anchored up along some massive structure on the bottom. Starting out with just fresh dead shrimp, we sat and sat and not much was happening.
I picked up, and headed to the inside of the north rocks...."Not much Current". We were hours into the falling tide, so all I could figure was that the 4.0-4.3' tide just wasn't going to all that strong. Still not much happening.
So, it seemed the current was running pretty good out closer to the channel. So I drug up the anchor and plopped us right into tthe middle of the inside HOLE, just south of the north tip of the rocks. The anchor came tight and was holding, and we were in, 72 feet of water!!
Erik, pitched his bottom rig out, baited with dead shrimp, the bait hit the bottom down deeper than it is 10 miles offshore and instantly got slammed!
He bowed the rod up as the reel's drag pulled, and hung on for dear life!
There wasn't much he could do but keep the rod up and bent. The fish bucked and ran, he pulled and it ran some more. Unfortunately, the fish was heading "out" and "north" straight at the jetty rocks. I was freaking out, because the bait just hit the bottom and it was an instant bite from a giant........A GIANT REDBASS, no doubt.
After what seemed like a few minutes, the line finally parted against the jetty rocks some 70' feet below and all three of us felt the pain. The anchor, started to slip a bit and I didn't want to get any closer to those rocks, so I pulled up and drug and dropped the anchor to a 60' spot, and we tossed three rods rigged with fresh blue Crabs back into that 70' hole, dropped the rods in the holders and waited.
Eating sandwiches and chips, we waited, and waited....."What? Fresh Blue Crabs, out mega deep, in current, and NOTHING??"
Yep, this jus' wasn't cutting the mustard. Something is wrong. Maybe the water on the bottom was really cold, after the last cold front and high winds. If there's no bite now, it'll only come at dead low I'm sure. But there's NO WAY, we're sittting out here all that time "starring" at these rod tips. Even though it couldn't have been more of a beautiful winter day.
(If you're dabbling in the thoughts of going on a days fishing charter......"what the heck are ya waiting on?" Last year at this exact same time it was well below freezing each morning. And now, it's perfection! Now is the time to go!)
By now Jackets were off, I was outa my foul weather pants and in shorts and a long sleeve T-shirt. It just doesn't get much better this time of year.
So, with a back up plan. A live well full of frisky shrimp, I pulled anchor and bid that "bazzaro" bottom fishing at the jetties farewell. I blasted my way up river at 5,000 RPM's and headed to a Trout spot. The sun was bright, the temp was perfect, I had a great crew, and my mind was full of dancing fat Speckled Trout, on the end of my light tackle float-rig rods.
And, still we had to wait till the trout decided that the tide was right, "for them" to start biting. But it didn't take tooo long. I had a time-line in mind, and had it planned out. But we still had to fish about 45 minutes to an hour, before the first BIG FATTIE T-rout, took down a float........and Erik slamm dunked the first one.
It was a beautiful (as you can see) 22 incher. Not bad at all for the first trout bite.
I knew that all we had to do is "hang loose" and they would come.
-Always have a plan.....plan A-B-C, at least.
-Get to know your spots, and show up prior to when they are gonna bite.
-Don't second guess what you know and what your "gut" tells ya.
-And don't ever leave fish to go find fish.
That's a few of the general rules I live by out on that river. And from my experience, I knew like a light switch thrown on, that when the current got to where the trout like it....."They'd show up."
I just didn't know, they all were gonna be OVER 20 INCHES!!!!! What a problem to have, huh??
Well it actually is a HUGE problem. With the wacko "tree hugger" rules we have in this state. I've been out fishing by myself before and had my 5 trout all on one spot, and each one is well over 20", and I went home with only one fish in the box for my efforts and expense.
Trout rules: (5) per person, 15-20", with one of your (5) being able to be over 20"
So you can see, if all the fish are over 20"....you're in the position to try and catch smaller fish. WHO FISHES FOR SMALL ONES???
EDITORIAL, COMMENTARY: Personally, all Trout fishing rules and fishing rules in general in this state ought to be regionalized into small sections, because of the wide differences from one area to another. Trout for example; should be NO over 20" all summer, because that's when they are spawning. But come November 1st, through May 1st. Trout limit's should be more open and the rule of only one over 20" trout should be dropped. Other states do not have such stupid rules. To be really fair, this area is not like East Central Florida, or South Florida. Because of the St. Johns River and it's tributaries, we have our own "regional-enviroment" going on here with our saltwater species, inshore.
Okay, back to the report.
The bites weren't thick, but a saying I live by is...."If you can't catch one after another, then they need to be really big."
And today, that saying really fit the way things were going. The action wasn't a barn burner. But let me tell ya, when you have to release Trout over 20 inches, because the first three caught were big fatties, and ended up in the fish box. "then they need to be big", is what ya want!
Alisa, with here 23 incher.
A "double" whammy!
"yeah, this beats sitting starring at the rod tips while bottom fishing.....Any day!!"
"Yes, sir...may I catch another, FATTIE!"
Even toss in one of these "exotic" species.
This was also a double header, with Erik catching a pup Redbass, that never got his picture taken.
Finally, we added a few more under 20" to the fish box, but just barely. A couple 19 inchers. It was getting late, the tide was slowing, so we headed back to the dock so "I could make the donuts", aka: clean the fish.
So as the title of this report reads, "Float-riggging saves the day again." Not feeling all that keen on bottom fishing much, after a day like today. Especially, when the Trout are big, fat and full of spunk.
So if you'd like to try what you see here. Then call me. So I can get you out there.
BEST QUALITY TRIPS: 2- passengers, maybe 3. This is highly active fishing. Not just sitting and waiting, but up and moving and paying attention.
And I love it! You will too.