Red Tide

September 28, 2016 by Kristopher Kell

Trip Info

The Catch
Seabass (Black)
Snapper (Vermilion)
Speckled Trout
Triggerfish (Gray)

  Redfish are absolutely lit up right now and we’ve been catching our limits in the vicinity of the Mayport jetties. Water temps are still holding around 83F but water clarity is hit or miss. The jetties have enormous amounts of mullet forced to swim around them to migrate and redfish, tarpon, flounder, Spanish mackerel, and trout have been taken the last week or so using exclusively mullet and 1/8 or 1/4oz jigs. We even landed two tarpon on these jigs! I’ll typically start with a 5” or so live finger mullet and while I catch a few fish, watch for the 8-10” mullet swimming by in schools and toss a small net on some for bull redfish action later on. BTW, watch that you don’t toss your net on top of predators when snatching these mullet or you’ll be sewing your net…just saying.
  Bull reds aren’t as hot for me as they have been in the past but there are plenty to be caught. Most of those are being caught upriver between the Dames Point bridge and BAE Systems shipyard on high and low tide with high tide working best for me in 35 – 40ft of water. We had a few outstanding offshore days with one in particular yielding triggerfish, seabass, red snapper, cobia, and a vermillion snapper about 18 miles out. Pogies were used along with squid but the pogies are harder to come by nowadays and I always carry the back-up cigar minnows, Spanish sardines, and squid. There are plenty of sardine bait schools around the wrecks and reefs and I always have a sabiki rig on the ready. 

    (TTPs - Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures)

  Jetty fishing takes some versatility from day to day and we have some days where only live mullet work and others where nothing takes them. When this occurs, try to cut your mullet with 3 vertical slits on each side or small mullet steaks and drop it down for redfish gratification. We still use jigs for this and don’t forget to tighten your drag enough to turn them from the rocks quickly or they’ll break you. I always look for clear water and the jetties act as an enormous chokepoint. For fishing outside the rocks, I have found that peak through the last of the low tide works best and the last two hours or so of low tide if fishing inside the river. 

  Flounder have picked up around the big rocks and we’ve got them on live finger mullet and jigs but I’ll be switching to Carolina rigs with 12” leaders and kahle hooks to target them specifically. This is my favorite fish to catch and eat because of the challenge sometimes posed with catching them as well as the white tasty fillets they make! 

  (What to Expect)
  The bait run should remain fired up and a cooling trend over the next week brings hopes of lower water temps with flounder and trout to follow en masse.  The best days to fish, in my opinion, are going to be October 1st – 3rd, 15th -19th, & 27th – 31st. 

Until next time!   

Fair Winds & Following Seas, Capt Kris Kell

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