Fernandina – July Fishing Report

Fernandina – July Fishing Report

Author:  Captain Terry D. Lacoss
111 Centre St.
Fernandina Beach, Fl. 32034

Hot summer kingfish action will be at hand during the month of July which many seasoned fishermen believe is the best month when targeting speedy king mackerel. Schooling kingfish will be at hand at many of the near shore artificial and natural live bottoms where live bait trolling is key.  “Smoker” kingfish will be prowling the pristine beaches of Amelia Island and both inlet mouths where king fishing with large live baits including mullet, whiting, yellowmouth trout and Spanish mackerel are sure to hook your fishing party up with a giant “Big Mack”.
Summer kingfish will be also highlighted at the “39thAnnual Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament” July 15-20, 2019, www.kingfishtournament.com.  The “37thAnnual Fernandina Beach Kingfish Tournament and Rodeo” August 2-4, 2019, www.nsfafish.net

Steamy hot summer days also heats up beach fishing action where large schools of menhaden are a big drawing card for summer tarpon, kingfish, sharks, cobia and tarpon at both the Nassau and St. Mary’s inlets.  Beach fishing can also provide hot summer fishing action where Spanish mackerel, menhaden and mullet are numerous.  Simply look for diving sea birds and those clumsy pelicans!

First order of business includes cast netting enough menhaden to fill a 120-quart cooler with freshly netted menhaden as well.  Next fill your boat’s live well with 30 to 50 live menhaden, being careful to weed out the smaller menhaden while using the larger more attractive menhaden for live baits.

Twenty to thirty pound class kingfish tackle includes a three-foot section of #3 coffee colored piano wire leader is employed with a four-inch section of #4 stinger wire is haywire wrapped to a #4-4x treble hook.  The treble hook is barbed in the back of the menhaden and a small orange float is attached to the main fishing line to keep the menhaden close to the surface. With an early morning light southwest wind, set up a drift just 50-yards offshore of the largest concentrations of menhaden while chumming with cut pieces of menhaden.  Two “Flat Line” kingfish rods are then rigged with two live baits fished some 100-120 from your drifting boat.

Finally, two 30 to 40-pound fishing tackle is rigged to a six-foot section of 80-pound monofilament leader and a 7/0 circle hook.  Live whiting and croaker are caught while fishing on the bottom with a small piece of shrimp then nose hooked and set out 30 to 40-yards behind your drifting boat. Two or three small floats are also attached to the main line to keep the live baits close to the surface.

This deadly chum/drifting technique typically lures kingfish and cobia to the long drop back live menhaden baits and tarpon and shark to the close in live whiting and croaker baits.
Beach fishing is best early in the morning and late in the evening while fishing with live sand fleas, or fresh shrimp.  Expect to catch pompano, whiting, blues, red and black drum. Sea trout will be running during the last few hours of the in-coming tide while casting a clear plastic curly tail with silver glitter when rigged to a red ¼ ounce jig head. Some of the best areas of the beach include the footsteps of historic Fort Clinch, American Beach and the southern tip of Amelia Island where a set of rock jetties hold ambushing game fish.
Sea trout action in the backwaters of Amelia Island is excellent during the early morning and late afternoon hours, particularly when there is a flooding tide. Look for schooling mullet over a shallow oyster laden flat to produce the best speck action while drifting a live finger mullet under a small float or casting a Storm “Chug Bug” in the chrome and blue color pattern.
Redfish will be tailing in flooded spartina marshes during the last hour of the flood tide and the first hour of the falling tide.  Work a white Berkley Gulp shrimp rigged to a 1/8thounce led head jig slowly in potholes where tailing reds are foraging.

For more fishing and charter fishing information please visit www.ameliaangler.com, or call 904-261-2870.