Thursday, July 08, 2010

North East Florida Fishing Report

June 2010

Ahoy there Anglers,

I know, I know, you all haven't heard from me in a while. I know, I didn't write a May fishing report. I have a good excuse. During January and February of this year the weather was so bad and continually cold and windy, (can you say global warming?) that I didn't work in January and didn't work much until the end of February and now these past few months I'm working every day. It's very tiring but I have to work every day just to catch up. The paycheck stopped coming in the first two months of the year but for some reason I can't figure out the bills kept coming in. Funny how that works.

It's summer time again and I know I wished for the winds to stop back in March and April but WOW, we've sure had some hot days with no wind lately. It's been great at the Mayport jetties. Calm winds means flat seas and the fishing's been great out there. Black drum, big redfish, the cobia run this spring was great on the beach and now the kingfish have been showing up good too. The bad thing has been the sharks. Big sharks have taken a few fish from us when we're trying to get them to the boat. What's strange is that we haven't lost a black drum to the sharks yet but quite a few big redfish have been eaten in half by 9 to 10 foot sharks. I don't know why they'll take a 30" to 36" redfish almost whole but not a black drum. I'm guessing that since the black drum have a taller fish body than the reds, they just won't fit into the mouth of a shark as well or maybe it's that the redfish thrash and run more than the drum and that brings more attention to the sharks.
On calm days when we have calm seas you can go out a couple of miles to look for triplefish. Great fighting and good to eat too. You can spot them floating on their sides about 2' to 3' below the surface and all you have to do is cast a live shrimp to them and they'll take it. Some people like to float a live shrimp about 2' to 3' under a Cajun Thunder float and that works good too. I like to sight fish for them and cast  to them.
With the water being so clear out at the rocks we've seen a few barracudas about 3' under the surface. I think they're there a lot of the times but when the water isn't as clear maybe you just don't notice them as much.

The oil spill has caused another few thousands of square miles to be closed in the Gulf. I'm sure glad it's not affecting us or the fishing here in Northeast Florida. As of July 21st the closure is now up to 86,985 square miles so far. I sure feel for the Charter Captains, commercial fishermen and women and the recreational anglers across the entire Gulf of Mexico. I hope everyone can understand just what it'd be like to take our favorite recreation, our jobs, our local seafood away from us and just close it down, completely. Remember, that's what all the environmental groups are doing to us and to fishing everywhere. THAT'S why ALL anglers need to stick together, inshore, offshore, recreational, commercial and Captains. The people in the closed areas are really missing their sport, going broke by losing their jobs and can't even enjoy their beaches. Let's not let that happen all across this great Nation. We HAVE TO stand up and NOT let this happen. The people of this country was raised hunting and fishing. The Indians lived this way. If people don't want to hunt or fish and live off soy beans that's their prerogative but don't force others into living the way you want people to be. How childish some can be.
Let's hope they'll get the oil stopped leaking and cleaned up real soon.

I know those of you who've been fishing lately have seen something different in the creeks this year. Huge redfish in the shallows. I can't remember a time where I've seen so many 30" to 34" redfish in the shallow water creeks as we're seeing this year. I've been fishing in these same local waterways for over 50 years now and have never seen so many of these huge fish like this. I know some of you have caught some big redfish in the creeks before but I'm talking a lot of these big bruisers are screaming drags regularly this year. I'm glad to see them. They're a blast! The flounder are just not in like they should be by now. We're catching a couple here and there when we really concentrate on them but the numbers are just not there. Everyone has been talking about the same thing, flounder and spotted sea trout. I think the 41 degree water temperatures we had this past January killed a lot of big trout, (repeat after me, global warming?). There were more snook killed this year than anyone knew we had up here in Jacksonville and I saw a lot of spotted trout dead this year. There is a few larger spotted trout in the creeks on the higher tides during the early mornings but after that people are catching small ones.
Black drum and sheepshead are being caught in the creeks now and then also. We caught a 10.5 pound sheepshead in a 30' wide creek this past week and there are quite a few small ones about 1 to 4 pounds. The reason we're catching some sheepshead and black drum while redfish fishing is we've been using cut blue crabs in certain areas and that seems to be the ticket. A few mangrove snapper are in the creeks too. Mud minnows or live shrimp are the baits of choice for this species. Tarpon are moving into the creeks now also. Starting to see more and more of them.

Huge redfish, a few slot-sized redfish, black drum, sharks, jacks and tarpon are what's happening mostly out at the rocks now. Redfish from 7 to 45 pounds are being caught along with 4 to 15 pound drum with a couple of 25 to 30 pounds. We did manage to catch an 85 pound black drum a few days ago but I think the big ones are lost or left behind from the spring run of giant drum. They're usually long gone by the end of April.
Whiting in the sandier areas along with some yellow mouth trout and there are a few legal-sized black sea bass at the stones too it's just most of them, hundreds, are too small to harvest.
Check out the tarpon mostly at the turn of the tides when the current slows enough to cast a live pogie out in front of one. Most of the tarpon I've seen so far are along the inside of the South rocks. In looking for the jacks I like to be out there on the last of the incoming, high and first of the outgoing tides. They'll be splashing water 3' high and the birds will be all over them inside and outside the rocks. Catching and releasing large sharks are such a blast! Pound for pound you won't find a stronger fish to fight. A live pogie either soaked on the bottom on the outgoing tide or suspended about 5' under a float during slack water is exciting. You can also freeline one out if you're outside the rocks where there isn't as much current.

Whiting, yellow mouth trout, black drum and big bull redfish are the ticket in the river to bend a rod right now. A cut blue crab will get you a black drum or bull redfish. A dead shrimp can get you some nice dinner-sized whiting and yellow mouth trout and live shrimp or live mud minnows fished around the dock pilings can get you some nice mangrove snapper. A few, but very few sheepshead are still around the rock banks and select pilings. I haven't seen any tarpon in the river but they've got to go through there somewhere to get to the creeks. I haven't seen the schools of jacks I usually see in the river yet.

A few spotted sea trout, yellow mouth trout, whiting and redfish in the Cove. I like to check out the reds in the flooded grass during the higher tides and while doing so you can find an occasional sheepshead or two in the grass. The tarpon are moving in in the Cove now also but most of them are still at the jetties. A coupld flounder here and there but looking for them being concentrated is tough. I sure hope the fall flounder run is better this year than last. It's not looking good.

The surf report I get from Rick at Rick's Bait & Tackle saying the whiting are still doing good along with some nice black drum and redfish are now being caught in the surf. He mentioned people are catching flounder around the pilings of the Jax. Beach Pier and you can actually see the sheepshead around the pilings now that the water has been so clear. People are also float-fishing for spotted sea trout and catching quite a few at the Pier.

That's about it for now. Please remember to bring a trash bag out with you and bring your trash back to the dock. There are trash cans at every ramp and at every park. Please help keep our waterways clean and trash-free.

You can say what you want about the South but,
you never hear of anyone retiring and moving up North,,,

Captain Vic Tison
Co-Host of WOKV's 'Just Fishing' Radio Show, Saturdays 6:00am to 8:00am
United States Coast Guard Licensed Captain
International Game Fish Assoc. Certified Captain
Regional Director for the Florida Guides Assoc.
Member of the National Assoc. of Charterboat Operators
Member of the American Professional Captain's Association
Sponsor of The Inshore Saltwater Anglers Club

Vic2Fish & Adventures, Inc.
P O Box 28208
Jax., Fl. 32226
Web Site

Neither Captain Vic nor Vic2Fish & Adventures, Inc. claims any responsibility for any injury or loss of property arising out of any party using these Fishing Reports.

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