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Updated: September 01, 2005.

Capt. Dave Sipler's, September Out-look

Dang, it's September already! I can't help feeling bummed out though. Just thinking if I was a fishing guide over in Louisiana, what life would be like or quickly become. Because, of Hurricane Katrina. If the weather's bad here for more than two days it's killing me that I'm not on the river bending a rod.

On the bright side though, here in the Jacksonville, Florida area the fishing is great! And is going to be even better as we slide into the fall season.

Lately, I have been enjoying river fishing for Mangrove Snappers. Had a few charters that became addicted to the quick bite, and the hard and fast fight of these good eating fish. Along with catching some Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder and Sheepshead.

BUT....it's time to also bend the big rods! And I mean by that, BIG REDFISH!

Just the other day I was out solo fishing for some Trout, and Snappers, having myself a ball. When I decided to take one of my light bottom fishing rods, with a Ladyfish steak pinned to the hook and cast it out and let it sit, while continuing to catch Trout and Snappers. It didn't take long before the rod bowed over and the little Accurate -197 reel started to go ZZZzzzzzzzzz....I had me a monster! And what a fight it was. The big Redfish weighted in at exactly 40 pounds. Not bad, my last bull Red was 43 pounds. So I'm getting pretty lucky on the heavy-weights, so far this year.

Let me clarify (in my mind) what a true BULL REDFISH is. A bull Red is one that isn't 33". A bull Redfish isn't 16 pounds. A bull Redfish starts to be a bull Redfish, when they are 25 pounds. The reason I say this is because, I hear people say, "I caught this big bull Redfish and it was 32-1/2 " and weighted 14-3/4 pounds." Which is a fine and dandy fish. But in my mind, still not a bull Redfish. A bull Redfish is one that is measured in pounds not inches. Because inches, just doesn't portrait the fishes true immensity.

With that said, I still have a on going "challenge" to my charter clients, which has not been redeemed yet.

If a 35 pound plus Redfish (or Tarpon) is caught on my G. Loomis BBR-904C rod, which I consider a light rod for a 35+ pound fish, along with my Accurate B-197 reel which is very small but with huge fish catching qualities. I will take a photo of the angler, the fish and tackle, enlarge it to (8x10") and frame it and send the whole thing to you where ever you live. As a reward for a great catch! BUT.... you can not break the rod, or damage the tackle in any way.

I just caught that 40 pound Redfish on that same tackle. And it was fun fighting a fish that size on lighter weight tackle. Although some folks my not be experienced enough to do so, if you listen to what I tell you, it can be done.

For many folks pursuing huge Reds that cannot be kept isn't what they are looking for, and that's okay. Because the light tackle fishing for Speckled Trout, smaller Redfish, Mangrove Snappers, Flounder, and Sheepshead is going to get even better. And it's pretty darn good right now.

I did a few half day charters lately, which means to me that we don't have a lot of time to mess around. So getting the action started fast is what I'm looking for. We got on one spot, and hammered the Mangrove Snappers, as they schooled us too. Hooking probably 40 or more, loosing half that many on the way to the boat, and keeping 20 of them from 12-14". Plus 2- Sheepshead, some Jack Crevalles, mutant sized Ladyfish, a small Grouper, and a Redfish. That was some serious action for a 1/2 day morning trip, let me tell ya'.

Another thing that might be worth pointing out, since we don't know what the future will bring in the way of fuel and live bait costs. If you reserve your charter in advance, it will lock you in for any "craziness" at the gas pump, and bait shop. I just want to mention this because we just don't know what the future brings. I'm going to strive to keep my charter prices reasonable, as I feel they have always been. And still provide you with the best tackle, bait and fishing action I can, giving 110% all the time.

Its an unfortunate reality, that the Gulf Coast charter fishing fleet will take months if not years to recoup from such devastation. And as I said, I thinking about my fellow fishing guides over there daily. Because "what if it was me?" The Louisiana inshore fishery was phenomenal, with more Redfish and Speckled Trout per acre than probably anywhere in the south.

I hope people will still want to get out there and fish. And do not discount N.E. Florida as a great fishing destination, over the Gulf regions. We have much going for us here. Uncrowded beaches, a huge river, plenty of open space and plenty of southern hospitality.

I just read an article the other day that said, "where does the south end?" Meaning what destinations still have the southern appeal. And North Florida is where they claimed, the "south ends". Then as you go past N. Florida, you start to loose, "the south", is what they were trying to say. If that makes any sense to you. It did to me. I do visit "South Florida" each winter and the life style is not the same as it is here.

****Watch my "daily" reports pages, and "recent catch" photos for Bull Redfish action along with Speckled Trout and more. And then call me fast! ****

Till next tide,

Capt. Dave Sipler's Sport Fishing

www.captdaves.com - for daily reports & recent catch pics!

904-642-9546- (8am-8pm EST)

St. Johns River & Inlet; Mayport / Jacksonville, Florida
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