A float-rigging Trout fisherman's worst nightmare.
All because the ridicules tides (aka: current) in the St. Johns River goes from "every day ridicules", to all out "heinous" with the full moon.
It was my fault. We started at 7am and that was from pure habit. When in all reality, we never even had to depart the dock till 11am. Because it took till then, to actually get what we came for.
First spot though in the morning was good for acclimation. Bob and Sam never float-rig fished before. And Bob was all out truthful. "Dave, we don't know much about any of this, and won't claim too. So jus' show us what we need to do", Bob said. And I was fine with that. At least he was honest.
First spot, and first two minutes. The guys git bit by large Bluefish....."large for around here." So, right off, they caught fish and got the whole float-rig fishing idea.
But the tide was troublesome. So we made our way out to the jetties. And even tried fishing "spinners" and jigs-n-Shrimp on the north jetty. Only bite, a small cold water shark. One of those "HERE'S YER SIGN" Sharks! Telling me, if these things are in here, then that's probably about it.
Many times fish species tells the well rounded angler what the deal is: small cold water sharks at the Jetties, Bluefish on a Trout spot, as prime examples.
So we moved on. We tried a few other areas, catching one small Trout. And I just new as soon as the tide got low we'd get into some good fish. But the wait was agonizing for me. But for Bob and Sam. It was just fishing and good experience.
When things are going like this it's a pure, "IT'S NOT HOW YOU START, BUT HOW YOU FINISH" kind of day.
So when things got right, I made sure we were where we needed to be. And it paid off handsomely!!
OH YEAH......BIG TROUT were finding their way to the net and into the fish box! It started of slowly. But my crew was now in the thick of it and floats were going down nice and steady. And as the current slowed. We had to fish fast. Because when that current slowed, it went from flowing to all out STOPPED in a heart beat.
But Trout from 18 to 21-1/2 inches were now in the box.
Then, as the current completely died and no floats would move, we stayed at it. And Bob was surprised by this 25 incher, when his float went down and this big Trout gave him a real thrill of close quarters combat.
This was Bob's largest ever fish. Let alone largest Trout. Between Bob and Sam, they had I believe 8 beautiful Trout in the box. And git to see first hand how much the tide/current speed matters, when float-rig fishing. And tracking down quality Trout.
I like to pitch a jig when everyone is float-rig fishing. And I made a few casts inbetween netting their fish. I pitched a 1/4 ounce jig head and an Avacado Green Matrix Shad soft plastic, and thought I had caught a clump of oysters or a piece of anchor line. My jigging rod is a super-duper "fairy wand". So light of an action that a Pinfish will double it over. So now the rod was in the shape of a horse shoe as I pulled "WHATEVER" off the bottom. Then that piece of debris turned into a drag pulling, head shaking, Fish!
As it rose off the bottom I was astounded. It was a huge Flounder! Sam, was eager to play net man. And as he scooped it up, he could barely pull it out of the water, without assistance.
Yep, I guess some BIG flatties are still out there!!!
It was a frustrating day, for me. But a good one, because I had such a quality and up beat crew during this Full Moon tide fishing trip. And now Bob and Sam are hooked. And they are welcome to come back again, hopefully on a day when it doesn't take till noon to start catching decent fish.