I had the opportunity to get in on the early action this past weekend with Jennings anglers Matt Solari and one of his sons Chris. Matt and Chris have been fishing the rock jetties for years, and they wanted to send me home with a bulging cooler and even more bulging muscles.
Solari had fished the tip of the jetties the day before our trip, and he found something very unusual – calm water. There wasn't a ripple or a wake anywhere, and he and his son battled the big reds for much of the afternoon.
As we approached the ends of the jetties on Sunday morning, a sinking feeling swept across Solari's face. The rollers were at least 4-feet high, if not higher. Confused as to why the rollers were so large, I asked Solari what was going on.
"We've got an outgoing tide pushing against this southerly wind," he said. "It's kind of like two immovable forces colliding with each other and neither one wants to yield to the other. If we had an incoming tide right now, it would probably be dead flat."
Solari fought his way to the west side of the west jetty and tried his best to hold us still while we made casts toward the rocks. The waves were too much, though, so we went back to the inside of the west jetty.
"We're just going to find some over here where it's calmer," Solari said. "They ought to be scattered up and down the jetties, so it shouldn't be too much trouble to find some more."
As we idled past another boat that had all four rods straining under the force of big reds, they called out to us that these would complete their limits and that we could have this spot after they pulled up. Their limits came within 20 minutes of dropping anchor. We filled ours just as quickly.
All our fish came on various soft plastics bounced off the bottom right at the edge of the rocks. While the Gulp! shrimp seemed to be most productive; the most important component of our presentation is that we tipped our jigs with a piece of market shrimp.
"It will be like this until it gets really hot in late July and August," Solari concluded as we limped our way back to Hebert's Landing with sore wrists, sides and biceps. "A piece of shrimp on some kind of plastic will get them, but you might also catch some on Rat-L-Traps fished parallel to the rocks or on Carolina rigged mullet and crabs."