Wow could you get an overall week of worse weather? RAIN, WIND, GREY SKIES, INSANELY HIGH TIDES, and then some. Still caught fish though 🙂 and still put clients on fish.
Thursday trip on the boat with Ben Cleghorn. Never, ever, ever ,ever, have I contemplated Dramamine in my life and especially not inshore but it was two foot and rolling in the river! At one point we were doing 2.8 miles per hour just being pushed by the wind. Very tough and way to short of a trip. But when your with good company it can make misery easier to deal with.
Friday night had the captains meeting and our booth for sponsoring the Jacksonville Kayak Classic. Great to get everyone in one place. Hell of a show and well supported. Probably 5- 600 people in a room supporting Jacksonville Downs Syndrome and 400 plus of them going to fish in utter slop on Saturday.
Saturday, tournament day. Ever have one of those mornings when you probably should have just stayed in bed. Welcome to my Saturday. I’m never not prepared when it comes to fishing. As anyone can attest I generally have way to much stuff. My first aid kit, while chartering, is bigger than most people’s tackle bags and my tackle bag…. Well lets just say my wife couldn’t fill it with all her stuff for a weeks vacation.
Now When in the yak I don’t take it all with me but I look at the situation and grab the selection I need and leave the rest in the truck. But not today I left it all at the house in a hurry to get there and be ready to make my first stroke at safe light, not still be packing. Luckily the launch is 2 miles from the house so I went back and got it. Crisis averted until I get back to the launch and realize the gate is locked still and a gentlemen, police officer, informs me I won’t be getting in there for another half hour. This has never been an issue before but I’m to old to argue with the law any more :).
So there goes my go to spot for the morning. There have been very large trout and upper slot to barely over slot reds less than a half mile from that launch for weeks. Oh well got plenty more spots but now I’m running behind. I Don’t even get unloaded till after safe light and have a twenty minute paddle just to get to start fishing. The trout are on fire despite the wind, rain and two foot chop on the water, they are fish the don’t care or notice any of it. Caught 20 trout, all 18 inches though, none of them are close to what I’m looking for by 830 and realize the docks I need to pitch for my reds are unfishable because they are all underwater due to a flood tide, coupled with a east wind and on top of that 6″ of rain in three days.
Knowing that I need to get to another spot and starting to contemplate calling it a day realizing I’d rather go home and get some work done than get rained on and blown around for one more second I start working my way back. Nothing like rounding a corner for your homestretch and realizing you have to paddle 1/2 a mile directly into a 30 mph steady wind with higher gusts. Yeah! This turns to be the deciding factor for me. While I’m extremely competitive I’m also not a glutton for punishment anymore and call it a day.
Sunday is large multi family charter day. Guiding two moms, three dads, two teenage kids and Sydney, my 7 year old coxswain for the day, with Bart of Action Kayak Adventures on Guana Lake. Weather was iffy and the wind was of course howling so this was gonna be an adventure all right. Luckily the family was running a little late because unloading and preparing eight kayaks to fish for the day is work in itself.
After a 30 minute debriefing of the day we headed off. Found out real quick Sydney, who was riding with me, was quite competitive. She wanted to be first kayak to each spot and since I like that idea too I am willing to oblige. I will say though we were lucky everyone was novice because paddling a Jackson big tuna loaded down with gear, a 7 year old and 20 knot winds will kill you.
Then I made by biggest and only mistake of the day. I explained to Sydney what a coxswain was and what their job entailed on the skull. Lets just say over the next five hours I heard the words row, row, row more than McDonald’s has customers served. I will say she was a pleasant paddle partner and I couldn’t have gotten a better boat mate for the day.
Sydney caught a few fish including a nice trout and was happy to try anything including paddling. Pretty much the whole crew caught fish including Syd’s mom who got a nice redfish. The fishing was tough though coupled with getting a large group on the same page but all had fun.