Wednesday, August 24, 2011

TROLLING SKUNKINGS - 8/14 and 8/23
by Robin

(Sounds like a grammatical nightmare)

FYI - When we go out to fish but come home empty-handed, we call that 'getting skunked' or 'skunking'.

So, last week was a beautiful full moon and many boats went out to see if they could get the mangrove snapper to bite. We were not so ambitious with Jack having come off a tough week at work. We knew that it would be hard to buy a bite in the morning, but we figured eventually the fish would start biting.

In short, here is the report.... churched Sat night, so God did not find it offensive for us to fish on Sunday. In hindsight, maybe God still found that offensive. I can never come home w/ fish on a Sunday. Hmmmm......

Here is our sunrise as we headed over the causeway to the marina. Everything seemed in order.


We had a slight wind-wave in the morning, which smoothed out early afternoon. We started trolling. I had put together this bucket of trolling goodies for Jack to have fast access as he was rigging up the poles.


We went up & down, up & down 8A reef with nothing. We did see one other person land a kingfish, but we were empty-handed. Saw others diving and some bottom fishing. Jack decides to get the other poles out for a little bottom fishing and we came up with only black sea bass. Nothing else was biting and the current was ripping.

We ran over to Democles & Lead wrecks and dropped some live bait down there, too, and NOTHING. I'm telling ya, it was lock-jaw city!! I check the weights and they were warm, so it wasn't like the thermocline was still here.

We came back in because we promised the kids that we'd only be out for a half-day of fishing and then spend time with them the rest of the day. (They had a new birthday toy.)

Yesterday, Jack took a day off of work for a couple of reasons. One of them was that he wanted to run the boat prior to Hurricane Irene coming up the coast and dirtying (sp?) up the waters. We bought a pack of frozen ballyhoo, only using one of them the entire day.

Just out of the inlet, I noticed lots of bait right off the beaches. I suggested to Jack that we troll in that location because where there is bait, there should be predators. He set out 2 silver spoons w/ big hooks.

While I'm driving & photographing bait pods or bait balls, Jack is rigging the ballyhoo and putting some special skirt on it. I'm sure he added a little lipstick & mascara to attract the biggest & best kingfish in the area. At one point, I saw a tarpon roll, barely out of the water. It gave me a lot of hope for a good day, inspite getting out there at 10am (late).


We went past Cocoa Beach and back up to the pier. Bait fish were EVERYWHERE, splashing the top of the water. The birds are having a great feast. Where are the predators?

Our next option was to troll to the buoys. Did that. Then, we pulled in lines and headed out for slightly deeper water. We stopped at 47 ft, approx 8 miles out. Jack put the lines in.


That is his new orange pirate 'rag' to protect his head from sunburn & prevent sweat dripping into his eyes. Love my pirate! As you can see from the photo, the water was blue, clean and FLAT. Can you see the clouds building up, early!!

I became bored with waiting on a knockdown so I went to the front of the boat & took pictures. There were BIG pink jellyfish with big bells and very little stingers. I could see some of them 20 ft down. I took 3 pictures of jellyfish and this one I had to share. The sun reflected perfectly in the glass ocean surface, looking like it was right next to the jelly, deep in the ocean column.


As we puttered around, we came across flying fish and a school of some other baitfish. We circled around a couple times waiting for a hit. Saw a pod of dolphin playing & feeding. I have to blog one day about offshore dolphin behaviors. I've been noticing a pattern.

Anyhow, here are two of them coming by to look at me.


Then, one of them decides he is going to ride the bow for a second. Literally. There was no time to take 2 pictures. He was gone in a flash.


I also took a picture of the school of bait but it is hard to visualize the baitfish. Let me work on the contrast there.

At some point, we decided to troll back westward as the clouds were building. We did call into the marina and they said there was only 1 storm to our south. That's funny........ within 15 minutes, there was this big storm to our north.


Jack felt so awful for me, not catching a fish the past couple trips out. He set what he thought was a sure-fire hit. We ran 2 trolling baits right next to a buoy that had barracuda on it. I watched the lines go right past the buoy and anticipated the zing of the reel, but I got nothing. NOTHING.

We pulled in the lines, put up the side-eisenglas windows and secure all our poles & lures. It was going to be a wet entry at 12:45.


I don't mind rain and that's all this was coming down the buoy line. However, we had a long ride from the rocks to the marina in a no-wake zone. A t-storm was building just west of the marina. Worry from calculating if we would beat lightening to the marina first, burned a good 1,000 calories. Jack nailed the landing at the dock. The brave guys were waiting with a forklift and we all sought shelter.

Jack and I enjoyed a nice lunch at Rusty's - shrimp & flounder baskets. The boys were home, schooling & enjoying their peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. We went back later to the marina to flush the engine with fresh water & secure her down with straps. Hurricane Irene was going to be heading up the coast in less than 48 hrs.

Well, no fish, but the boat ran well. Our engine repair has nearly a 100 hrs on it since the overhaul in January. The new waterpump & throttle/shift cables work beautifully.

I'm sure fishing will get better as these temps decrease & the hurricanes stir the water. It can only get better, right?

God bless,

Stay safe on shore this week everyone!! Happy Hurricane parties!

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