Action Jackson

March 18, 2012
Yes, I know, I was just fishing on the 16th and here I am again two days later on the Triton.  It sucks to be me!  Bill and Ann offered up their house for us to stay at last night.  The house is in Panacea and only a few miles from Rock Landing Marina, so it is very nice to have that available to us and saves us a long drive in the morning.
On the boat today are:  Gene and "Action" Jackson Griffin, Cameron Paul and me. – Captain Marc Paul.  If you think I "love" fishing, well, you haven't met Jackson.  That boy LOVES to fish.  I promised him a long time ago that I would take him out on the Triton.
I would really like the boys to experience the Spanish mackerel that Bill and I caught on Friday, so I head straight for the location where Bill and I caught so many of them.  We fish there for about 45 minutes, but there is simply NOTHING biting.  That sucks.  I really wanted the boys to hook into those Mackerel. 
Seas are only 1 to 3 today so instead of heading into Ochlocknee Bay, I decide to head out to Ocklocknee Shoal.  The shoal is about 10 miles offshore.  There are some obstructions around the shoal that I want to fish and I wouldn’t mind fishing the shoal itself for trout.  The first obstruction we get to yields only a pilot fish.  Man, those things are ugly. 
The tide is coming in and the shoal is running about 8-11 feet deep.  I figure it is a perfect place to catch trout.  Alas, nothing is biting!  The boys are getting bored.  I feel bad, especially because I had such a good day fishing on Friday. 
I head to a couple of other obstructions that are on my map near the shoal but there are no bites.  I decide to head back into shore.  I am hoping that I see some schools of Mackerel, but except for a few dolphins playing in our wake, I see nothing.
I stop at an obstruction that is just outside the Ochlocknee Bay Channel.  We start catching some small silver trout and a few small drum.  Well, at least we are catching some fish.  We stay here for awhile and our fish count goes up, but honestly, it is still tough fishing. 
I don’t think Jackson cares.  Have I mentioned that that boy just loves to fish.  I don't think he ever quits smiling when he is on the boat.  I can’t wait to take him Grouper fishing.  I really hope he hooks into a big one.
We head back into the dock with just a few small silver trout in the livewell.  We had a lot of fun, but I wish we had caught more fish.
April 1 – Grouper season begins.  We are all looking forward to that!
My Panacea Fishing blog will take a break next week as I am on Spring Break Vacation with my family for a week.  We are heading to Savannah, Georgia, Florence S.C., and Wild Adventures.
I’ll write again in a couple of weeks.
Tight lines.

Captain Paul

Spanish Mackerel Slayers

March 16, 2012

On the Triton today is Bill Brattain.  The weather temp is 83 and sunny.  This is only the second time that I have taken the boat out in sunny weather.  A little windy, but all in all, a beautiful day.
Our first stop, of course, is "trout hole" next to the channel.  We stay for about an hour, but not much here really.  We both catch a small silver trout.  They don’t put up much of a fight, so we decide to move on. 

It is my intention today to head into Ocklockonee Bay and fish the oyster beds for trout and redfish.  But, before I do, I decide to head to another spot on my map which is on the way and which supposedly has an obstruction on the bottom.  Ryan and I fished this spot a few weeks ago, but didn’t get any bites.  This spot is only about a mile from trout hole.

So we drop our lines.  Bill starts with a DOA plastic shrimp.  I mention to him that I have never caught anything with those but he says he has had luck with them.  I am fishing with frozen shrimp.  A little time goes by.  Nothing.  So – it is going to be that kind of day!  Bill changes to something called a candy corn jig.  I have no idea what the heck that is, but hey, to each their own.  I stick with my frozen shrimp.    It isn’t long before something hits his rig pretty hard, but then it gets off.  He reels it up.  It bit the tail of his candy corn off.  Interesting.  So he sticks another one on and throws it out. 
WHAM!  Whatever hits it is big and strong.  It starts running.  What the heck is it?  It takes Bill several minutes before he can get it close enough to the boat.  A large Spanish Mackerel.  I grab the net, get it in the boat and just like that, we have a decent fish in the boat.  Cool! 

I am very tempted to borrow one of his frickin Candy Corn jigs.  But this time, instead of leaving my frozen shrimp on the bottom, I decide to reel it slowly.  WHAM!  Mackerel.  In the boat.

A couple of hours go by.  Bill and I have twenty Spanish mackerel in the boat – some of them quite large.  We are both exhausted.  These fish are VERY strong and fight like crazy.  The last one I caught took me 15 minutes to get in the boat.  Every time he saw the boat, he would take my line.   I thought you had to troll for these damn things?  We are simply anchored and reeling  slowly.  Honestly, I think we could spit on our lines, drop them in, and catch a mackerel.  These big monsters are hungry.  My fingers are all cut up; I am bleeding everywhere, because their teeth are sharp as razors.  Bill helps me put some bandaids on my fingers.  I’m loving life!

We have a snack and decide to head into Ochlocknee Bay to hunt for redfish and spotted sea trout.  As soon as we get there, I catch a 16 inch trout.  Okay, this could be very cool!  But after an hour of fishing the oyster beds, we get no more bites. 

It is such a beautiful day.  The temperature is perfect and the breeze is just right.  We have lunch on the back of the boat while anchored to the oyster bed.  After lunch we troll around the beds with various spoons and shrimp, but get no bites. 

We decide to head back to our “Mackerel” spot.  We both catch one right away, but after that, things quiet down.  I don’t think either of us are disappointed as we caught so many of them.

We shake hands on a job well done and head into shore.  I have caught Spanish mackerel on a charter boat before, but never on my own boat.  Without a doubt, this has been the most productive fishing day on the Triton. 

If anyone has any good mackerel recipes, please send them my way.  I don’t really know how to cook this fish.  Some people say it is wonderful, other’s - not so much.

That was a lot of fun Bill!  Let’s do it again soon.

Captain Paul

March and Baby Redfish!

Friday, March 2, 2012

I would like to say the weather is better, but it isn't.  It is warm though!  80 degrees.  Amazingly warm.  On the boat today is just Ryan and Marc.  I asked Russell Paul, but he wasn't feeling well.  We arrived at the dock around 7:30 a.m.  At least, I think it was the dock.  It is so damn foggy that I can't even see my boat.  Wow!  I've only seen fog like this once before and that was when Gene Griffin and I went fishing with a guide many years ago at Shell Island Fish Camp.  Except today, I am the guide.

We start heading out the channel, except I can't see the channel markers.  I have to admit though, I was kind of looking forward to this challenge.  I MUST trust the trail that I created on my GPS called "Channel Out".  Since I can't actually see the markers, I must simply follow the red trail on my GPS.  So I do.  I make one slight error and we come close to going aground outside of the channel.  Stay on the damn line Marc!  Without seeing channel markers until we are right up on them, we are still able to navigate.  Wow!  Both scary and exhilarating at the same time.  Without electronics, I wouldn't have made it 100 yards.

I decide to stop at "Trout Hole" which is just West of the last channel marker.  Once again, no problem finding this because of my electronics.  Because the weather is questionable, we only have frozen shrimp on board.  I have no intention of deep sea fishing on this voyage.  Even with my limited Captain skills, I do know that getting trapped 25 miles off the coast in heavy fog is not adventurous, it is just stupid. 

Drop lines.  Bam! Small redfish.  Well, that is kind of cool.  Drop line.  Bam!  Small redfish.  For the next hour, I keep this up.  Ryan is getting very pissed because he keeps missing his bites.  Then, he catches something that looks exactly like a spotted sea trout, but it has no spots.  Hmm.  Ryan says, "Maybe we should call back to the Marina and see what the limitations are on these things".  I reply, "Well, I'm certain they are trout so they gotta be 15 inches".  We fish for another couple of hours catching trout after redfish, after trout, after redfish.   The fog is unrelenting.  We hear a couple of boats around us, but we can't see them.  Wait, is that the fog lifting?  Is that sunshine?  Yes, no wait, No, it isn't.  Fog is back.  God Psyched us!  There is a sunken wreck on my map just South of us.  I decide to head for that even though we are catching fish.  We get to wreck but catch nothing.  I really want to fish the oyster beds in Ochlockonee Bay, but with this fog, I really don't have the confidence to go that far.  So we head back to "Trout Hole".  Bam, more fish.  At the end of the day:

Marc:  15 Redfish, 9 Silver Trout.  1 Hammerhead Shark, 1 Nurse Shark
Ryan:  12 Silver Trout, 4 Redfish.

Dang, that was fun.  It isn't Spring yet, so the fish are all small.  When we get back to the dock, we learn that there are no limits on "Silver Trout".  Either by count or by size.  Oops!  Oh well, we would have been cleaning fish for 3 hours, and they would have all been very small filets.

For now, let's keep waiting on the weather.  As things warm up, the fish will get bigger.  I have to admit, I have never seen so many redfish in one spot in my life.

I'll write again soon.

Captain Paul