The worst thing about a truly great day of fishing…

…is that it makes the next trip seem crummy by comparison. Even if it’s decent. Following last Thursday’s big fish fest, I returned to the same general area on Monday. Fishing was not in the same league as what I’d experienced 3 days earlier.

It wasn’t even close.

But it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, either.

Didn’t mark anything in the river until I was almost out into the sound. Stopped and grabbed my jerkbait rod. Four follows in six casts made me pull the electric and get out of Dodge.

Wait. What? Leave when the fish are chasing?

All four of the follows had been from sea robins.

No thanks.

Stopped at the scene of the big fish action from last week. If the fat girls were there, they weren’t responding. Most likely, they were gone. Still plenty of smaller fish there, and they were hitting the the jerkbait, so I made a couple passes through the area and caught a bunch of 16 inch range schoolies, along with one fish in the mid-20 inch class. Nothing like last trip here, but it was good just to get my rod bent.

Off to the next potential hotspot. Hooked what felt to be a very good fish on a jig & Fin-S Fish right off the bat. She got around some boulders and my 15# leader gave way when I leaned on her too hard trying to get her out of the danger zone.

Couldn’t seem to get another touch at that corner. Checked the other likely spots in that general area with nothing much to show for it. Got to the point that I had just about exhausted the area, and had to weigh my options — invest the time to wind my way through a shallow area to get to one more small spot I have a good history at, move off shore to a nearby reef, or start working my way back toward the mouth of the river?

It was a little too early for the last option, and the breeze had come up enough from the wrong direction that the reef would likely be uncomfortably bouncy, so I went with the first option, despite the fact that I might spend 10 minutes idling to make only three or four casts.

Luckily, the third of those casts, throwing an unweighted Freaky Fish, resulted in a 20″ schoolie. So did the next. And so on. I ended up spending 45 minutes casting at one little corner of a small rock island with a good current break. Turned out I was there at just the right window in the tide for a school of what I would call decent schoolies to be stacked there and feeding. When I finally went 5 casts in a row without getting bit, I knew the fast bite was about over. One more fish a few casts later, and I was back to deciding between that reef and working my way back toward the river mouth.

I chose the latter.

No fish at either of the first two spots I stopped on my way back, and the ride was getting a bit snotty. Decided to make way for the (hopefully) calmer waters of the river. Ran into Phil Co and his daughter along the way, shared some info, and apparently got my photo taken. Thanks, Phil!

By the time I reached the river mouth, the wind had lessened considerably, so I spent some time checking a usually reliable sand bar break, and a couple shallow rock piles without any action.

It was still early when I got to the no wake zone between the bridges, so I took a ride north of the I95 bridge to check a couple deeper spots in the river, and found fish stacked at one of them. Made a cast or three with the jerkbait, but knew I wasn’t getting anywhere near deep enough.

I finally thought to take a picture before unhooking my last fish of the day!

Tried the 1/2 ounce jig & Fin-S Fish that I had tied on one of my light rods, but that was swinging too fast in the current to get down effectively. Took a few minutes to rig up a one ounce head and larger Fin-S to more easily feel the bottom. I got hit within a few casts after making the switch. Fished the spot for fifteen or twenty minutes, and caught 5 fish, all in the low 20 inch range. Realized I hadn’t taken a picture all day. so made a few more casts to catch another, just for the photo-op.