Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine Vol 41 No 3 - Page 13

AJ’s Many Ways Introduction to (Continued from page 6.) Wells Daily Fishing Forecast Tidal Currents are the horizontal move- ment of tide waters. This horizontal movement is the most vital factor in marine life. Because currents control the movement of fish food, they are the only advance predictable factor in the movement of our gamefish. All the other minor factors which effect the movement of fish can only be determined on a day-to-day basis. It can be determined when and where the most fish movement will occur on any given day. You can decide whether to fish the deeper reefs, the close to shore feeding areas or the passes from the Gulf. The “why” it works is known to thou- sands of fishermen who have depended on the Fishing Forecast for 60 years. This explanation is mostly for new (to the Fore- cast) fishermen but regular users can ben- efit by reviewing this information. It is essential to understand that fish food starts moving IN and OUT as soon as a tidal current has gained enough horizon- tal speed to force them in the direction of its flow. The time required for a tidal current to build up to a horizontal speed of at least three tenths of a knot (forcing speed) can be from minutes to several hours. For this reason times given in the column, “Starts”, can never be correlated to the time of High Tide or Low Tide as given in sections of this magazine. The Forecast, therefore, starts with the time when a tidal current has reached nec- essary speed or Forcing Power to start a movement in the direction indicated, either IN or OUT. The second time figure repre- sents the end of the Forcing Power as the current slows down to slack water time. Analyzing the two time figures, we start with the first column, the time when movement starts. This time figure com- pared with the last time on the previous line tells you the length of time since the current moved the fish. If the previous current moved IN, then the fish will still be IN until after starting time on this line. If they were moved OUT on the previous current, then they won’t start IN until after this first time figure. The starting time represents the time when a tidal current has gained speed and force to start movement in the direction indicated. This time figure represents the beginning of a period when you do not have to hunt for your fish. By just being sta- tioned on a known and proven reef or channel leading to or from shallow water, the tidal current will bring the fish to you. (See no. 3 - next column.) These periods of movement will gen- erally provide the best and fastest action of the day because the schools of fish will be concentrated and will alway s be feeding on their moving and exposed food. Because the best fishing usually oc- curs each day following the time shown in this starting column, the variations in- volved are worth studying. First, a study of flooding or incoming currents shows that the IN movement of fish will be slower and more gradual than the OUT movement on an ebbing current. Fishing will be slower with fairly long in- tervals between schools of fish feeding their way into the shallow water areas. However, the continuing action should hold you at your fishing spot until this movement has ended. On the other hand, when a strong cur- rent begins to ebb or go OUT, it will move everything in a short period of time. Ex- cept when a tide is rated Weak or Very Weak, all the gamefish will be out of shallow water well before the time shown when movement is predicted to end. The column of Current Speed Ratings designates each current by its strongest speed. Each of these ratings represents a definite speed range. These speed ranges are Very Weak; Weak; Moderate; Good; Strong; Very Strong; and, Extra Strong. A current rated Good, for instance, will al- ways have the same strength and speed range regardless of when it occurs, either ebbing or flooding. It is very important to adjust the times as shown in the Fishing Forecasts to the area where you are fishing. The times given are for approximately the center of the various bays. Areas nearer the Gulf passes have movements start- ing earlier, so subtract time from that shown. Fishing areas further into the Bays will have movements starting later than the times given. CURRENT MOVEMENT DAY (1 ) TUE 1 DIR STARTS ENDS (2 ) ( 3 ) (4) I 05:30am 09:50am O 01:15pm 02:35pm O 10:20pm 04:20am* GOOD TO MID-MORNING (6) WED I 06:35am 11:15am 2 O 11:15pm 05:25am* MORNING VERY GOOD STRENGTH (5) Good Very Weak V Strong Strong V Strong2 1. Day and Date 2. Direction of current. (I) Incoming or Flooding. (O) Outgoing or Ebbing. 3. Approximate time that current will exceed .3 knot 4. Approximate time that current will slow below .3 knot. 5. Prediction of current strength. 6. Forecast of overall prospect forthe day. 7. A "1" following the strength rating in dicates a lower low tide than usual; a "2" indicates a higher high. sharp, rapid action that makes a butterfly jig or diamond jig resemble a wounded baitfish. The dynamics of a heavy jig with a dangling hook harness (or a big treble, as with diamond jigs) give head-shaking AJ’s plenty of opportunity to throw the bait. However, anytime a hooked fish unbuttons his jig, Mayer keeps the bait in play for the next willing player. “If a fish shakes the bait, just keep jigging because several more amberjack will typically follow a hooked fish up toward the surface,” he said. Plugs: Unquestionably, the most exciting way to catch amberjack, a big surface popper will unleash the AJ’s inner beast with spectacular drama. Obviously, a tactic reserved for fish that have already headed topside in response to chumming efforts, or a hooked fish, this is a case of more-is-better. With a heavy-action spinning outfit, fling a big plug off the stern, rip it vigorously and hang on. This is one of those times when a fish will literally take the rod right out of your hands. Fly Casting: Another cool way to entice surface-oriented AJ’s, a 10-weight rod and a chartreuse streamer fly usually gets the job done. You’ll rarely need to make anything more than simple roll casts, but be ready to strike hard and get your stripping hand clear, lest a fleeing AJ leave you with a nasty burn blister. Hit ‘Em Hard and Hang On Best advice for amberjack fights: Role up your sleeves and get it on. Forget finesse, this is a straight up tug-of-war that you only win by outlasting the fish. Caballero said that the spot he fishes determines a key element of the battle. Specifically, emergent rigs require an immediate angler-assistance move. “If you’re fishing a permanent rig above the water line you always want to pull the fish off the rig, so he doesn’t get you down in the (legs) and cut you off,” he said. “When we hook up, we back the boat away. You have to have two or three of your buddies hold on to you, because we take off.” The cut-off rigs and wrecks are also risky, but they don’t require such proactivity. Caballero doesn’t power back on the strike, but the potential for line cut- offs remains, so prudent response is paramount. “It’s up to the angler to get the fish to the surface, but you can’t give him an inch because he’ll try to pull you down and cut you off,” he said. Wherever you hook one of these (Continued on page 32.) JULY • AUGUST • SEPTEMBER 2 0 1 7 13