Had "regular" Tom O. on board today. But before I even got to the boat ramp plans had changed.
At the bait shop this morning I walk in drinking my coffee and eating my BearClaw danish. And Rusty asks what I'm doing today. I said, "Float-rig fishing with one guy." He says, "with what?" I say, "shrimp of course". Rusty says, "well we were cleaned out yesterday. I might have some by 9-9:30am"
Well that isn't gonna cut it. So I ran home, dropped off the float-rig rods and grabbed the light "fairy wands" (light Ugly Stik Striper rods with Shimano Curados) and go back to the bait shop and buy the first pint of fiddler crabs I've purchased it what seems like years!
I usually DO NOT purposely go Sheepshead fishing. And when I do, I wait till late Feb thru March and use cut clam, fishing for monster spawning female Sheeps. A couple 8-10 pounders is usually better than a bunch of 2-5 pounders in my eyes. Because I'm in charge of cleaning them 99.9% of the time.
So, today Tom and I went sheep herding. Oh it's been a long time since I "dangled a fiddler". I've pitched Fidd's and shrimp on jig heads more than ever doing the "dab down" style of sheeping.
So, at break neck speed we went about 200 yards from the boat ramp and got into what would set the precedence for the days fishing. A ton of bites. And a lot of small 12-14" Sheepshead.
As I told Tom. My number one deal for any day is A-C-T-I-O-N. So if it be nursery school Sheeps. So be it!
They were kinda small, so we kept Tom;s first one. It's not really good luck to toss back the first fish and first "legal" fish, no matter what. It's just bad mojo in my book.
So we caught a few more, and then released them. The spot was a real pain in the azz to stay on. The vortex of hell was whipping the boat back and forth. And that last time I fished this same spot must have been 10 years ago. And I remember myself and an ole buddy Joe, sat there slamming 30 Sheepshead, a lot larger than these!
But times have changed on the St. Johns in Mayport. That's for sure.
So after not sitting on the same spot twice, as the boat moved back and forth with each passing freighter pushing a wall of displacement water at us. I had enough. So we headed to the jetties.
On the south rocks at the tip the water was so clean and clear. I could look down in 8-10 feet and see the tops of boulders. And I remember the fishing for Sheeps being really difficult when the water gets like that. We never had a bite and never saw anyone catch a fish. So back into the river we went.
Actually looking for darker brown, real falling tide water. It wasn't hard to find. So we tried a few rock piles I know of and we caught more small "buck male" Sheepshead. And Then I nailed the largest of the day, a 6 pounder.
And after that it was more bites, lost fiddlers and some more small sheeps. But it was ACTION, and we had a good time catching them.
They gave a little tug, and after all was said and done. Adding in some Whiting I kept from yesterday's solo beach fishing trip. Tom had a bag of fish fryers.
Don't know exactly how many we caught. But it was enough, and enough kept. Because those little Sheepshead don't give up any large amount of fillet, especially after de-boning the fillet.
But, it was different and as I told Tom. "I may try this again."
But, "I'll be dead when they pry my cold stiff hands off of my float-rig rod."
Although I heard, "variety is the spice of life" but doesn't that just pertain to woman???
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