Every year from labor day to Halloween, I run charters chasing big bull redfish in the St Johns River. Even though my heart is in the blue water, these trips are pretty special. It's got everything you could want in a great fishing trip- lots of big fish, easy to get to, fun to catch, etc.
Countless memories... From kids catching their first fish, to Grandpas catching the biggest fish of their lives, happens each Fall on my boat. This year was no different- from annual regulars who return every year, to a group that has never experienced the tug of a bull red on the line, it feels more like a reunion of family and friends out on the water for me than fishing charters, this time of year.
This year's run was average- with afternoons of 20+ fish from 25-50lbs common. Throw in a few teenage black drum and that makes for an awesome day on the water.
I use heavy tackle in order to respect the fish, and ensure a healthy release. 30lb mainline tied to a 60lb leader. Use half of a fresh blue crab on an 8/0 Eagle Claw circle hook, soaked on the bottom. The reds are in huge schools, so 3 to 4 fish hooked up at once is a regular occurrence.
Talk about fun! It's usually a trip where even the oldest anglers act like kids again. These trips bring me back to my roots and keep me grounded.
Watching the sunset every afternoon on the St Johns and taking people to catch reds until their arms hurt from reeling- is my Salt Life.