Is it that time of year, ALREADY?
As a dedicated inshore fisherman. And a complete "Trout fishing snob".
Some of you may not like what I'm about to tell you. While some of you may not.
Over the course of just two weeks. We went from nice cool spring time. To just about all out summer like conditions. No, I'm not talking about breaking a sweat sooner as you push the lawn mower around your yard.
I'm talking about the fishing in the St. Johns River!
The only real way to describe this, is what happened on two charters I recently had. Each trip was almost identical.
-Same exact spot.
-Each day, two experienced guys.
-Float-rig fishing live shrimp.
-Target species: Speckled Trout, and any other commonly edible, game fish.
On April 25th, they were catching 4 and 5 pound Speckled Trout. YES, Gators. Tree shakers! So easy, it was like falling off a stump! Just Trout and Sheepshead. NO BAIT STEALERS AT ALL!
Jump ahead exactly 14 days to May 11th, on the same spot.
Same falling tide. Same exact fishing technique, same live shrimp as bait. Upon arrival the bait stealing thieves, ie: Tiny Pinfish, Mangrove Snappers, a few small Bluefish, Jacks and Ladyfish, and whatever else lurked below the surface. Were making the use of fishing a live shrimp, almost a futile exercise!! Shrimp were eaten by "undesirables", almost immediately.
The water temp jumped from 68 degrees to a now warm 74 degrees in the St. Johns river.
BRING ON THE HUNGRY, BAIT SNATCHERS!
But, my two guys on this trip were experienced Anglers. And they prevailed. WHY? Because they didn't simply give up. As the tide fell further and further, they'd pick Trout off the spot. First, just a few 15 inchers. Then, a 5 pounder. Then a Sheepshead. Then a 23" Redfish. As the live shrimp in the baitwell, started to dwindle, less and less, from feeding the bait snatchers. They'd hook up another 5 pounder! Then another, and another! Till every live Shrimp we had was gone.
So, what am I trying to say here?
In this area, as the water's warm. The small undesirable fish start to become a nuisance. Stay with it. If you get live bait in the morning. Buy twice as much as you did a month ago. Don't get impatient. Summer inshore fishing isn't always going to be a "instantaneous gratification" activity, as it can be in the winter months. Stick with it. Fish harder and smarter.
-Capt. Dave Sipler - ''Trout Snob''