Monday, October 5, 2015


Had the Brandt's Family aboard once again. Don and his parents have been regulars of mine for 10 years at least. And over the years we've built up quite a few fishing stories.

But today, is one that was purely EPIC.  And one that in my entire 20 year career as a fishing guide in Jacksonville, has never happened before, or I have I ever witnessed. And there isn't a finer set of people who I'd rather share this with.

I threw my castnet twice, And had almost enough on the first toss. But as usual, one good throw always deserves another. I look to my left side while anchored in 18 inches of water from the bow of the Jettywolf and there they sat, literally hundreds of perfect 3 inch Mullet just milling around in a circle right next to the boat, I couldn't believe how easy this was going to be...

We filled up the bait well with perfect finger Mullet and I remember even saying, "That was easy, I only hope catching some Redfish will be as easy."  

Little did I know at that time, I was going to have the most Epic day of 2015.  Right here, right now!
Yes, right here. Because where I caught the Mullet is only 200 yards from where we were going to anchor up and fish.

I looked over at the "spot", and the birds were going completely nuts. Hundreds of gulls, screeching loudly and diving into the water 20 birds at a time. I remember saying to Bill Brandt, "that's where we're gonna fish!".

After we cast live Mullet out on the bottom with just 2 or 3 ounces of weight in the light falling tide current in what is a super hard bottom area in 20 feet of water, the birds started working the surface right behind the boat.  And off goes the first rod.  The Ugly Stik bends over and there we go, fish number one!

Don, brings in a perfect 27" keeper bronze colored Redfish. All the while around the boat fish are busting the surface, we're hooking up again and again, having big fish pull off the hooks, eat the bait off the hooks, break leaders off my rigs. I can barely make out what these fish were that are busting the surface. And then we all see it....Big Wide Tails!!

It's big Redfish coming off the bottom and feeding on the surface smashing some kind of bait, from below as the birds go nuts from above. I almost can't believe my eye's!

I've never ever sat in the river anchored up in 20-25 feet of water and seen schools of big Reds busting bait on the surface like a school of Trout, Jacks, or Bluefish.

Needless to say we fished the area all day long at anchor, catching big "pumpkin" colored  Redfish like it was shooting fish in a rain barrel. Don Brandt even said, "These aren't like other reds we've caught with you before, these fish act as if they have never eaten before." as he looses one that snatches his mullet off the hook.

They did that all day. Stole the mullet right off the hooks, bent hooks, and broke 40# leaders on bottom structure.

But, in between my crew caught more than their fair share. We estimated at least 25, from 27" to 30".
And they did it on the light tackle I brought. No heavy tackle needed, because it wasn't all that deep and the current wasn't like at the Jetties or around Mayport.

After a quick lunch we even started chasing the birds and catching the Reds on the drift. Again, something I have never experienced in my 30 plus years of fishing the St. Johns.  This might be something other people get into all the time, but I doubt it. Certainly not for this Mayport Jetty Guide.

But this wasn't anywhere near the Mayport Jetties. But rather closer to downtown. The water was so "sweet" with freshwater we even caught a nice sized Freshwater Catfish.  My hydrometer broke on me, so I had to test the salinity of the water the ole fashioned way, "I tasted it".   

Yep, my hunch was right, These fish are going completely nuts because we were fishing in water that had no salty taste at all.  The water was the color of that perfect cup of tea, and the Redfish glowed in the sun light, like Halloween Pumpkins.

We were in water that was, 'Perfect". And in all reality the way this river should be, given the fact that the State, City and Feds are out to destroy it.

After having so much fun in Mill Cove on Friday with Paul from N. Dakota using nothing but clip-on rattling corks and 1/4 oz. jigheads tipped with dead shrimp, filling the box full of puppy Black Drum and 18-19" Redfish and a few Trout in 2-3 feet of water.

Today was just icing on the cake of how great the fall fishing, can actually be.

There would have been even more. But the battery on my Smartphone went dead, between all the calls and all the photo taking.


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