We left Stan Blum a little after 7am on Sunday, 11/29/20. On board was myself, my wife and two friends.
Bait all day was live shrimp, often split in half and a few frozen sand fleas.
We started fishing near the end of an incoming tide. First stop was near the turning basin on the north east area of the confluence of the inlet and the ICW. I like to fish the slope on the incoming tide so I can anchor in 10' and adjust my position on the slope by just letting out additional rode.
We saw a couple of tarpon jump clear out of the water over by the anchored barges. While concentrating on her line, my wife was startled when a leopard ray flew out of the water about 10' off the stern. Beautiful but I think she wished it was a little further away, lol.
No good bites and after our third catfish, we decided to head to my spot south of the south bridge. While slowly heading there, I decided to troll a gotcha. Why not? We're stuck going slow anyway.
My wife grabbed the rod when it started zinging! A few minutes later, a big spanish mackeral was on the deck. I decided to circle around so we trolled around the turning basin for a few more minutes. No more hits. There was a commercial guy circling the area. He did pretty good. I stayed out of his way hoping for some stranglers from the school he was working. I didn't want to get right into his school, especially since it's his living and we were just having fun.
By the time we reached my spot, the tide had switched to an outgoing tide. We anchored up and dropped the lines. tackle was 1/0 or 2/0 circle hooks and 2 ounce egg sinkers. Some lines had a swivel and some were knocker rigs. For what it's worth, both set ups worked equally well.
Many undersized muttons were caught. One was 17 and a quarter inches! So, so hard to release. That's the biggest I've boated in the river. We also had a few ladyfish, one 24" goliath grouper and an 18" gag grouper.
In the box we had many mangrove snappers, a few lane snappers, 4 sheepshead and a few croakers.
One of my friends kept talking about all the black drum and sheepsheads he knew were under the bridge. So I broke a cardinal rule and left fish to go find fish.
We tried to anchor under the south bridge but the anchor just wasn't grabbing in the swift current. So I kept the boat in gear and just captained while the other three fished under the bridge. There were only a few bites and the only catch was one pork fish. Yes, dutifully released.(I've seen a lot of people keep these fish, apparently not realizing they are protected.)
After half an hour, we went back to my spot to the south and continued catching small muttons and small mangroves. A few of the mangroves were big enough to keep.
Next we weighed anchor and it was actually a struggle. Turns out, we had hooked into another old anchor. Eventually, we got them in. I'll probably switch to the "new" anchor after I figure out how to clean the barnacles, etc off of it.
Before calling it a day, we docked at "On the Edge" and had a great late lunch. Good food at fair prices.
So ended another great day on the water. I find it interesting that the catch was so different in almost identical parameters just a few days apart. It does make it interesting.
While out, we saw a sea turtle and several dolphins. Also several stops by law enforcement for folks speeding through the manatee zones.
Have fun and stay safe.